(Closed) Destination wedding questions

posted 12 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 3
149 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2007

Hi Sphbride,

I believe there is a great destination wedding website/forum somewhere.  I think a BEE wrote about it once.  As for the most beautiful beach… it’s pretty subjective.   Also, once you’ve narrowed down your location, many places have website with wedding resources.  Also, there is most likely an event manager at the resort/site who can help with your planning.  Kelli Williams in a huge destination wedding coordinator; you should check her out.  Good luck!

Post # 4
385 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2008

Just an idea— consider a continental destination wedding… there will be less travel cost to your guests and it is easier legally. Also, you don’t have to worry about having the paperwork all in before you go, less time off work, etc. Also, people won’t have to worry about getting passports or updating them.

Florida and Hawaii have great spots for weddings. But maybe I’m just partial b/c I’m having a pseudo destination wedding in Florida! 😉 (Pseudo as in FH and I live here, but all of our families have to travel!)

Post # 5
323 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

there is a great magazine called Destination Weddings that you should look into. I highly suggest hiring a planner, either locally to that area or a destination wedding planner (if you are in CA there are quite a few).

you are legally married when you get hitched in the carribean or jamaica, you just need their justice or majistrate there to preside as well.

Bahamas are great. Jamaica is beautiful but its resort style. Hawaii is lovely but probably the most expensive.

Post # 6
149 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2007

I agree about the continental wedding.  I limited my wedding choices to the US because I had a bridesmaid who couldn’t travel outside the country due to her visa.  So, we kept it in the Outerbanks of North Carolina, and they had great web resources that I didn’t need a planner at all (then again, I became a planner afterwards, but oh well)… http://www.outerbanksweddingassoc.org/

Post # 7
242 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2020 - Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa

I great website to use is: http://bestdestinationwedding.com/forum/

I mentioned them in my "Venue of my Dreams" post.

This site can definitely help you narrow down your choices.  Where do you live, I don’t see it in your user profile.  I only ask because if you live on the west coast, I would recommend Cabo instead of Cancun if you want to have it in Mexico.  And how many guests are you planning on inviting if you have a DW?  How many do you think will actually show up?  Are you only deciding between Jamaica and Mexico?  Weighing the costs of each depends on what type of wedding you want to have.  Are you having your guests stay at an AI (all-inclusive) or have them do regular (european plan)?  Are flights easily accesible from your hometown to these places?  You also have to keep in mind of your budget and the possibility of having to pay travel fees for a photographer if you have your heart set on a pariticular one.  

I think you first step is finally deciding on a destination.  We had thrown around the idea of Jamaica and even made a trip out to the Rockhouse Hotel after being inspired by Mrs. Ant.  But for us, since Mr. Lovebird proposed in Cancun, we thought it was more fitting that we got married in Cancun.  When we first got engaged, we even thought about getting married on a cruise cuz we love cruising.

We plan on getting legally married in NY because we don’t have to go through the Mexican marriage requirements like getting a blood test and what not…Look into the marriage requirements of the countries you are considering.  I think they usually refer to the ceremony we are having as a "symbolic ceremony."  Sometimes, for the hotels that offer free packages, this won’t be free since it’s not a legal wedding…and keep in mind these "free" packages offer very basic services like use of a wedding gazebo and a non-private dinner in one of their restaurants…

I’m definitely having a reception at home~ not sure if it’s going to be before or after at the moment…this is nice to have for the people who can’t attend the wedding due to the expense or time/work commitments.

Depending on the venue, sometime a WC (wedding coordinator) comes with the hotel.  Although depending on how many people you plan on inviting to the wedding, you may or may not want to use a travel agent.  I invited like 200 people to my wedding and tried to handle it myself for a while until I caved.  Having a great TA (travel agent) is such a blessing.  But if you wedding is small, you can totally do without.  I’ve done posts on wedding/group airfare if you want to check it out (if you decide to do this on your own).  

Post # 8
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2020

Hi sphbride –

As I am in the midst of planning my own destinatation wedding, not sure if I’ll be able to help you completely.  But I’ll try….

1)  What is the most most beautiful caribbean place, or even Hawaii?  With white sand beaches that are not so public?  Which country is cheaper in costs?  Jamaica, Mexico, etc?  I picked Hawaii since I love the beach.  I still wanted a semi-formal affair so I chose a hotel with an amazing view.  Also in choosing a location, I know that Hawaii is relatively cheap (cheaper than some flights to Mexico) from SoCal, where most of our guests are from.   I wouldn’t choose anything on the east coast, or Jamaica, Bahamas, etc because almost everyone would need to make the transcontinental flight, incurring higher travel fees and more time off from work if needed.  If you pick a "destination" that is somewhat close to home for most of your guests, they can make it an extended weekend getaway.

2) What’s the first step.  Hiring a planner? I started with booking my hotel first as that was the most difficult.  The hotel comes with a catering manager and a specific "approved vendors only" list.  It made it very easy to pick vendors off the list and know the hotel trusts their work and work ethics.  I MAY still hire a DOC although the catering mgr has been superb and told me she’ll be there for anything I need the day of.

3) Did you do the civil ceremony at your home city first/after?  Can you actually not get married on the foreign island but just perform the ceremony?   You’ll need to look into the legalities of where you’ll be getting married.  In my case it’s very easy to obtain in HI.  In my cousin’s case, they officially got married at the courthouse prior to their wedding.

4) Did you have a reception in your home town before/after? We plan to also have a welcome home reception a few after we return.

5) What’s the best web resource??  GOOGLE.  No seriously, I like specific answers to specific questions and google everything.  Theknot.com has also been my go to resource.

Hope This Helps

Post # 9
242 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2020 - Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa

ok~ I just read the other threads you put up and it seems you are from seattle…that being said, I would definitely look into hawaii, cabo san lucas and even beach properities in california, whose says you have to leave the continental U.S. to have a dw? 

Post # 10
1 posts

Hi, an abroad wedding sounds a great idea.  We got married in Barbados and it was fab!  If you do decide to have a recption either before or after you go away you could always do what we did and hire a marquee, you can put them pretty much where you want and they come in loads of different sizes depending on how many people you have going.  We hired it from a great company that did them at really good prices.  Have a look at this link because they also have a wedding guide on there with guides to all aspects of your wedding. http://www.marldonmarquees.co.uk/weddings_home.php  Hope this helps.

Post # 11
95 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2008

1)  What is the most most beautiful caribbean place, or even Hawaii?  With white sand beaches that are not so public?  Which country is cheaper in costs?  Jamaica, Mexico, etc?

This is entirely up to you, your style, etc.   I chose Jamaica because it is easy for all of our guests to fly to (everyone’s on the east coast).  I love the Caribbean but there are amazing beaches in the States, Mexico, really everywhere. 

2) What’s the first step.  Hiring a planner? 

Our first step was finding the place.  Researching all the various websites that were mentioned etc.  Reading the Knot Guide to Destination Weddings, etc. Also, as some people mentioned, some hotels or event spaces have their own planner.  So once you pick the place, then you can see if you need a planner etc.  We hired a planner based here in NYC to make things easy.

3) Did you do the civil ceremony at your home city first/after?  Can you actually not get married on the foreign island but just perform the ceremony?

-We are still considering getting married at home first. But you don’t have to.  It might just be a little easier paperwork wise.  I’m thinking if I need to get a copy of my marriage license etc.

4) Did you have a reception in your home town before/after?

We are having a reception at home first- next month!  A bigger party to invite all our friends we can’t invite to the wedding since it’s going to be quite small. 

5) What’s the best web resource??

-hmm… the knot?  I’m still searching for the best for destination website… I like the one Ms. Lovebird found.  

Post # 13
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2007

Hi SPH! 

I am obviously biased about Hawaii, but it gets my vote for sure!  We’re a state, so your guests don’t need passports, and you don’t have to do any crazy international anything to make sure your marriage is valid there or in the US.  (Altho’ I *think* some states require some doodad of some sort to validate again in your own state of residence.)

I recommend a book called "Hawaii Weddings Made Simple" by Keri Shepherd. It will help walk you through things like permits, etc. (I do not recommend "The Best of Hawaii Wedding Book" — just buzz I’ve heard around town; the author of the other book is well known and respected by industry pros.)  It covers all Islands. 

Technically, yes, you need a permit to hold a ceremony in a public park (which includes beaches)…but I’m not saying everyone gets one!  Tee-hee!  Depending how snazzy vs. lowkey you want to be, you can go through a hotel or other venue that has beachfront property and thereby get around the permit thing.  Or have a guerilla ceremony, heh-heh…Keep in mind that public means public, so you are not legally allowed to shoo away any homeless or totally random hairy shirtless Speedo clad people who want to gawk. 

If you go to a Neighbor Island, you will have a better chance at more secluded beaches; there are just fewer people. 

If you are considering holding your reception at the beach/park, it has to be dry.  Again, I’m not saying people *don’t* bring alcohol, but you’re not supposed to b/c it’s a public park.  (Again, that’s why doing it through a hotel may be less stressful.)  I tried renting a beachfront estate, but the only ones that would allow me to throw a party (and I did feel I needed their OK b/c these estates are in really ritzy residential areas, so you can bet neighbors would complain) cost about $8000+ just for the privilege of putting your feet on their property.  But there are lots of wedding planners who would be happy to help you figure things out.  Sounds like Vivian got one she likes!  And, there are other great options for venues that aren’t beachside. (Which is what we chose in the end.)

HTH!  Good luck!

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