There are country club weddings, barn weddings, backyard weddings… And one of my favorites: Destination Weddings! There are many reasons why I love this trend that isn’t going anywhere, but I thought I’d share these questions I asked two couples I worked with. One couple had they wedding in Aruba, and the other one in Cancun. Destination weddings are not for everyone, but if you are thinking about it, these answers might just convince you to do it.
What made you choose a destination wedding?
TIM & SHAUNA (Aruba): Shauna and I both wanted a smaller wedding, and we wanted to do something different than traditional. We liked the idea of having less stress planning our wedding, and being at our honeymoon spot without having to fly the next day.
SEAN & LAUREN (Cancun): We wanted to be able to invite all of our friends and family. We also wanted to have our big day last longer than 1 day (or a few hours in some cases!) in a more relaxed & sunny setting.
What advice would you give to other couples choosing a destination wedding?
TIM & SHAUNA (Aruba): DO IT! Honestly, if you both are thinking about it and think it sounds like a fun idea than I would quit thinking and go for it. I would have not done it any other way. Once you pick a spot, find a good wedding planner, it would be really hard to plan all the details on your own. Don’t be afraid to switch planners if one isn’t meeting your expectations, we had to, and are really glad we did.
SEAN & LAUREN (Cancun): Don’t try to make it a traditional wedding, you’ll end up more stressed than needed. For example, I spent way too much time trying to make an itinerary of events including dinners, where we’d be during the day, etc. ahead of time but all the plans I stressed over changed once we got down there and my itinerary was pointless. Also, trust the resort you are working with. They may take awhile to respond and their responses might not always make sense but if it’s a resort that does regular weddings they know what they are doing and it will all come together.
What were some of the challenges of choosing a destination wedding?
TIM & SHAUNA (Aruba): Chances are, at least one close friend or relative won’t be able to make the trip. It was hard for me because my grandparents couldn’t make it due to health reasons. Also, if you are religious, it may be a challenge to find someone to do a ceremony that goes along with your believes. Shauna and I asked a friend who came along and did our ceremony, and did a wonderful job.
SEAN & LAUREN (Cancun): Visualizing what the event will look like and communicating with the resort. We wanted to have everything planned before we arrived, they wanted to plan once we got there. In the end, I wish I would have just planned everything once we arrived as it would have been a lot easier and answered a lot of the questions I had throughout the months before.
And the rewards?
TIM & SHAUNA (Aruba): Our wedding was like a dream. Having your friends and family with you on a gorgeous beach when you get married and celebrate your marriage was just beyond words. Multiple friends told me during our reception they felt like they were in a movie, and I agreed, it really is just beyond compare. Plus, you are at your honeymoon destination, no need to wake up early the next morning and get to the airport to wait in security. I also loved that it forced my parents to take a vacation, they don’t travel very often, and they loved the trip.
SEAN & LAUREN (Cancun): Beautiful photos!! And unforgettable memories with a group of people we probably never would have gotten together for more than a few hours in Minnesota. We have family and friends all over the US so it was great to have them meet one another in a relaxed setting and spend some quality time together. Some people used the trip as an anniversary celebration, a baby moon, or a way to celebrate a life event they were having that year so it really was a vacation for our guests.
Was flying your own photographer there worth it? Why?
TIM & SHAUNA (Aruba): Absolutely. You know your photographer’s style, and you know that you can work with them well and you are comfortable with them. We actually canceled our other photographer and flew Poly, because we decided it was worth the cancelation fee to have someone we knew would get great pictures we would love. We are so happy we did, we love our pictures, and it is so great to look at them and remember the wonderful and amazing day. We knew Poly made the trip to photograph us, she wasn’t photographing another wedding before or after ours, and she was totally focused on us. Plus she has professional photography level equipment, something a lot of the photographers we saw on the island didn’t have.
SEAN & LAUREN (Cancun): Absolutely! You definitely want to work with someone you know and ideally has taken photos of you in the past. It’s important to have someone supporting you and organizing the group. Poly Mendes Photography did an outstanding job making sure all 70 guests faces were showing in the group photo (that takes a lot of attention and assertiveness to organize!) and took individual photos of all the guests prior to the ceremony so they had a keepsake.
A lot of people are scared that it is too expense to do a destination wedding, are they right?
TIM & SHAUNA (Aruba): Overall it was much cheaper for a destination wedding, I would guess it was less than half of what we would have spent if we had our wedding in the Twin Cites. You are asking your guests to pay for a flight, and hotel, but they are getting a vacation in addition to being at your wedding.
SEAN & LAUREN (Cancun): We found it to be more affordable. We would have had to either cut our guest list by 75% or give up food or alcohol to have a traditional wedding. This way we invited everyone and it was up to them to decide if they could make it. Also, you don’t have to select a pre-arranged resort wedding package, often you can keep it simple and add one things al la carte. Most of our guests were paying for all inclusive so we decided we’d rather have them chose what they want to eat for dinner from the number of places at the resort instead of paying for a pre-arranged meal. We did snacks and let people eat before/during/after the reception. We also used our iphone play list to play music through their sound systems instead of staffing a DJ.