What I Learned Planning A Destination Wedding

It’s officially been a month since we’ve said our vows! Time is flying and I wish we could go back and do it all over again. Reflecting on that day, I realized just how lucky we were to have been surrounded by such wonderful people and in such a beautiful place. I’m not sure we would have done a single thing differently. However, there are a few things I wish I would have known while planning. Here are the five things I learned planning a destination wedding;

You can invite more people. When Rob and I debated having a local wedding, I truly was struggling to decide who might have to be left off the invite list. (I’ve always been a “everyone’s welcome” kind of person.) But, with a destination wedding, you can send as many invites as you’d like because…

You’ll more than likely have a smaller, sometimes much smaller, group of people show up. For us, we invited just over 200 people and we had 44 guests at the wedding. Now, I knew that we would have a small number when we booked the resort. In fact, it ended up being a perfect amount of people! But, what got to me was the lack of communication or even effort from some really close friends/family. I totally understood why folks couldn’t come! We were asking a lot of them. But, some invitees didn’t even blink an eye before saying they couldn’t come…or didn’t RSVP at all. Just be aware that some people may unintentionally disappoint you.

You may have to put on the wedding planner hat for a while. Depending on your destination, you may have to be the one to stay on top of details (see #4). One of the largest tasks was asking people to RSVP, so we could give the resort a final headcount. I had assumed that those guests who hadn’t RSVP’d weren’t coming, but you know what they say about assuming…In regards to the destination piece, I knew I wouldn’t see a lot of things come into fruition until we were there, so spreadsheets of details are imperative.

Remember & respect the culture you are working with. As someone who has visited Mexico several times, I was aware that sometimes their timetables did not line up with that of us Americans. In addition, I knew that details and over communication were going to be my best friend. Especially, since the resort was in a different time zone than me. This understanding was essential for not only the planning process, but also for not losing my mind. Constant communication and reiteration helped to alleviate some major errors that could have occurred, and allowed for my experience working with the resort to remain pleasant.

Things will be out of your control. Weather, good food, dancing…all are things that are out of your hands no matter where you are. But, with a destination wedding, we hadn’t actually seen the outside venue until we arrived at the resort, tried the food until the night of our wedding, or heard the DJ until he started playing music for the reception. All in all, everything turned out great. But, just know that in some aspects you may be going in a bit blind. With those areas, you may have to trust that the resort (who does this all the time) works with top-notch vendors. One thing I will say about the food is we were staying at an all-inclusive resort, so we knew that if the guests weren’t satisfied with the food, they could order room service or get food from another restaurant. That may not always be ideal, but this way everyone wins! In terms of weather, it was supposed to rain on the day of our wedding (but turned out to be perfect weather) and the resort had a ballroom designated for us just in case.

*Bonus. Everything will be absolutely perfect because you are marrying your best friend!

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