If you’re a bride or groom simply trying to find some answers during your destination wedding planning – I got your back!
First off – I’m officially a Mrs! It feels damn good and it feels different. Maybe a strong sense of security? I’m not sure how else to really describe it. Even though my husband (yay husband!) and I have been together for 10 years, we really do feel like newlyweds, or what I imagined newlyweds would feel like. Our wedding was a bit of a disaster – future review to come but for now, I will share our tips and tricks that I wish we knew when we were first starting to plan.
So! Before I start rambling, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty on all things destination wedding.
1.If You Don’t Ask, They Don’t Offer
It is as simple as that. When you are presented with all the wonderful things that you are told will be included in your wedding package during the sales pitch with your travel agent, be very aware that if YOU don’t actually ask for these special perks, you will not receive them.
I know, it seems unfair and that they shouldn’t be offering these things if they don’t actually plan to give them to you, but they can be very sneaky in glamorizing the sales pitch until it comes down to crunch time and that’s when you need to be persistent and confident in what you believe you are entitled to.
For example, one our “perks” included a $100 credit in excursions through Air Transat. When we went to book our excursions, we did not receive this credit because we didn’t mention it. I only knew about this credit when I came home and read it in one of our emails from the travel agent. I had completely looked that over and must have just assumed we would be told about it with the Air Transat representative. That was not the case.
Every perk, and offering they tell you that you should receive – keep it on hand in a list with some type of proof (emails exchanged, a printed package list).
Make sure you get everything you are paying for and don’t be afraid to ask for it. You have paid for these things and you should receive them.
If you don’t ask for it, forget about it.
2.Be Very, Very Clear About Plan B
This one is the THE biggest mistakes I made. When we went for our meeting with the coordinator, we only discussed the location we would be getting married at. We didn’t discuss what the back up plan would be in case it rained.
I know you know this but I have to say it – having a destination wedding comes with great risks with weather!
Maybe it was from being in hopes that our day would be sunny and beautiful, or maybe it was from feeling really rushed in our meeting but our lack of knowledge in Plan B, caused us to have a poor experience on our actual wedding day.
It was a torrential downpour for most of the day and we were devastated.
Here I was watching the rain come down, panicking and then having the coordinator shove a piece of paper under my face to sign what the plan was – to go with Plan A and hope it cleared in a few hours, or move to Plan B. I had minutes to decide.
Of course, I chose Plan A hoping it would clear, and of course – it didn’t.
Since I had signed my life away to Plan A, they gave our Plan B away to other weddings happening on the property. Which meant, scramble time to find a location for our ceremony and reception.
We ended up being stuck in a dining room (mind you the fountain in the backdrop was pretty), but I was so heart-broken that we weren’t on the beach and just placed in a location that was chosen at last-minute.
Long story short – be prepared for rain and be VERY aware of Plan B and be okay if Plan B is what needs to happen.
3.Let Go Of Everything You’re Picturing In Your Head
Going off the previous point – everything that is dancing around in your wedding dreams, let them go.
Now, that is not to sound pessimistic. I just wish I didn’t have my heart so set on a picture I had in my head that anything else that happened would just not be acceptable.
Life is just so unpredictable. You literally do not know what is going to happen at any moment. I had such a picture of my head of being on the beach (and of course I am allowed to think that!) but the thought of that not happening was not even a question.
So, you can imagine my reaction when I realized I would not have my dream beach wedding.
I went the entire day thinking about how sad I was for not having what we had made total sacrifices for, and spent a lot of money on. I couldn’t let it go, and just enjoy myself.
I truly believe that if I mentally prepared myself for the alternative, I would have been in a better frame of mind.
Absolutely – have the idea of what you want in your head, I mean, you wouldn’t be planning a destination wedding if you didn’t have an idea of what you wanted; that I understand. Just don’t let that be the be-all and end-all.
To sum it up – go with the flow and be open to things happening at any moment because you really can not control the day, weather, or mishaps.
4.Don’t Go With Intentions of Total Relaxation
Usually, a week down south means sipping cocktails by the ocean, catching some rays and living in pure bliss. We maybe had an hour of this total the entire week; let me explain why…
You as a couple, are the “hosts” for not just the one day on your wedding – you are the hosts for the entire week. I know, I know, you say that it’s a two-in-one! We all get a wedding and vacation at one time! That may be the case for your guests, but it is go-time for the hosts.
We felt that we needed spend time equally among our guests the entire week, which was a total blast, but it leaves little time for rest. Our group divided up most of the time so we made plans every day with a different set of people – which meant we were on our feet every day doing things with them. No rest for the wicked.
Not to mention, the wedding appointments to attend, the dinners, and spending the last day running around collecting your decorations, resort pictures and making the final payment for the wedding. It’s a busy, busy week. SO much fun, but busy.
*Corey and I joke that we wish one of our friends would do destination now so that we can go to relax with friends while they do the dirty work!
5.Live In The Moment
Last but not least, and probably the most important – take a deep breath, look at your amazing partner, hold their hands and just be.
After all the craziness of the day, the rush, the adjustments we had to make, it felt almost impossible to take in the moment at any time.
I do remember the exact times that I was able to catch my breath and look at my husband and realize that we were right there and doing something we both so badly wanted for ourselves. Those were amazing moments.
My favourite was our first dance together. Everything was starting to come to an end and it was just us on the dance floor. I remember serenading him, laughing and crying together through the whole song. We were lost in the moment and those memories will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Look around, take in the atmosphere, look at the ocean, look at all your loved ones and breathe. I cannot express that enough.
At the end of the day, you are there to marry the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with. THAT is the the only thing that matters, no matter how crazy it gets and how hard it is to not get lost in the chaos.
Please leave me a comment if this was helpful to you, or if you have anything to add! Would love to hear your suggestions as well.
*all photographs were beautifully done by Eleanor Dobbins Photography
*You can check out this post if you’d like to hear all about the planning process and the fun that was involved in that.
*I wrote an entire review on our experience with the resort and I am sharing this on the blog here soon, so stay tuned for a full review of the Grand Bahia Principe Coba in Mayan Riviera, Mexico. Lots of great tips and heads-up in this post, coming soon!