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More couples today are choosing to go the destination wedding route and frankly, I don’t blame them! Michael and I took off to sunny Huatulco, Mexico, to share our vows and we couldn’t have been happier with our decision. The waves were rolling, the margaritas were flowing and all of our guests, as well as ourselves, were on top of the world.
Are you going back and forth with the idea of saying your “I dos” on a Caribbean beach? Well I hope my experiences with a destination wedding can help make up your mind. I know, I know, it’s not for everyone… I totally get that. But I believe that there are brides that have too many unanswered questions about tying the knot in a faraway land and they might think it would be easier doing it home.
Let me share some of the reasons why my husband and I chose to flee.
1. We’re travel bugs – After flying on over 40 flights in just one year, Mike and I decided it was only obvious that we both thoroughly enjoy traveling. What better way to showcase our love for one another than to choose a beautiful beach somewhere south. Our venue fit who we are and what we love to do with one another.
2. Grew up on opposite sides of the country – Over five years ago I left Ontario to work in British Columbia and fell hard for Mike, a handsome Vancouver Islander. We knew from the gecko that if we were to get hitched, it wouldn’t be fair choosing either Ontario or BC. We figured, one way or another, one of our sides would have to travel so why not make it fair to everyone and give them all an excuse for a holiday!
3. Honeymoon and wedding all-in-one – If you are planning on going on a honeymoon, you could choose a wedding location that you would love to have a romantic get-a-way with your sweetheart and just stay a week longer than the rest of your guests. You won’t have to break the bank because technically you wouldn’t be doing any extra traveling. Staying an extra week at a resort can be very affordable. Mike and I decided to go up a week earlier to get some things sorted out before our guests arrived.
4. Focus more on YOU - Your wedding day is supposed to be all about you and your spouse, but let’s face it, we all get caught up on trying to make our guests happy and often put ourselves on the back burner. The beauty of spending an entire week with all your guests only means that on the day you walk down the aisle, you don’t have to worry about making your rounds to all of your friends and family, saying hello to them and thanking them for coming… You have ALL WEEK to do that. Your husband has the entire wedding day to drool over how gorgeous you are in your wedding gown. It’s your day to shine!
5. Resort wedding discounts - This one is huge and many people don’t realize that most resorts offer free rooms for x amount of people that book with your group. We looked at over a hundred (no, no I am not over exaggerating, I swear!) places and we found the best deal was with the Dreams chains. For every 6 rooms booked, the bride and groom receives one room FREE (this would be the cost of a double occupancy room before taxes).
Since we had about 40 guests, the fabulous Dreams Huatulco wrote us a hefty cheque for over $8,000 and we could choose to spend this money how ever we fancied! There are many ways you can spend this extra cash. In our case, we divided up the balance and made all of our guests trips cheaper so everyone would be happy :) However, this may not be the right option for you. You could consider putting it towards your ceremony and reception costs, or possibly use one of the free rooms for your maid of honor, who was a big help with all the planning and another room for your photographer or videographer that you chose to fly out from back home. The possibilities are endless.
6. Save on decor - Who needs an abundance of flowers and candles when you can have natural beauty surrounding you on your big day. Decorations can be pricey, so opting out on them and taking advantage of what mother nature has to offer can surely save you a couple of bucks.. We all know, every penny that you can save during this time doesn’t hurt!
7. Limited choices - Instead of being at home overwhelmed with all of the floral shops, bakeries and catering options in your area, sit back and let the resort take care of that for you. They will send you a document of all the options that they offer and let you choose between their few selections. If what they offer doesn’t appeal to you, there are always other local places that you can also look into.
8. Vacationing with your loved ones – I don’t know about you, but when I look back at my life, my most fondest memories are of vacations I took with my friends and family. Hanging out at a beautiful resort with no worries in the world, with all of the people you share your life with .. It truly can’t get much better than that.
9. More memories - Who ever said your wedding day flies by before you know it wasn’t lying! Waking up on my wedding day, I told myself many times to take it all in, remember every moment and focus on the now. I will say that although it did go by pretty darn quick, I managed to remember a handful of things (many of them being sparked by the photos and video from the day). However, the wedding week with all of our friends and family was just as memorable. I contribute my ability to absorb what went out throughout our wedding day to the fact that I was on holidays, was extremely relaxed and had no worries on my mind.
10. Your photographer will love you (even more) - A wedding photographer who is lucky enough to receive an email asking them to shoot a happy couple in utopia will jump for joy…. Well I know I would.. just try me, lol. But seriously, your photographer will have ample amount of time to scout out the different spots to shoot, get to know when and where has the ultimate lighting and most importantly, will be given the opportunity to spend more time with the couple so when it’s time to shoot, you will be so comfortable around them.. It’ll show in your photos. We flew our incredible photographer out from Chicago. We had never met her before, but fortunately we had 5 days to bond. When our big day rolled around, it felt like we had a good friend shooting for us rather then a stranger that we might have felt a bit awkward around.
BONUS PERK - Trashing your dress will never be so exciting! There was no way I was leaving Mexico until I “trashed my dress”. I am SO glad we decided to do it. We got some killer shots and when everything was said and done, my dress was still as clean as can be! I highly recommend you do it.
I hope I could help you decide whether or not a destination wedding is right for you. If you know anyone that may be considering this option, feel free to share this post to them.. It might be the kick that they needed to get packing their suitcase!