(Closed) Destination Weddings – The Good… The Bad.. and the UGLY.

posted 9 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 3
207 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Walnut Beach Resort

My wedding is in a month, but I can tell you my experience so far. Honestly it has been pretty easy dealing with vendors. Most vendors use email which is an easy form of communication IMO, especially with how easy it is to find a picture of what you want and just send it in seconds. If something is more complicated I just pick up the phone. I only have 3 vendors that I”m dealing with; the resort which has a caterer, my photographer, and the decorator. I enlisted my dad to deal with the DJ and he is all over that. The event planner at the resort basically coordinates everything and she is the main person I talk to.

The main reason people arent attending is definitely the inconvenience/cost of travelling. I was told to expect at 40%-50% decline rather than the usuaal 10%-30% and so far that has been right on track. There will be about 60 people at the wedding, which is exactly what I wanted! I was at a wedding of 100ish people aawhile back and the bride and groom had to spend SO much time making rounds and talking to people they barely knew rather than with their close friends and family and enjoying their reception. I can’t imagine 200+ weddings! (Although I know that is what some people want and I get that!)

My wedding is a 10 hour drive away from my town, in Southern British Columbia. Guests are coming from my town, Vancouver, some from Alberta, some even from the east coast. The packing aspect is a little easier than with a plane trip but a longer haul. The town is very “destination” it is on two lakes so there are beaches all over, resorts, and the weather is usually 25-30’C in the summer. I was originally thinking of a Destination Wedding in the carribbean somewhere (where he proposed) but then I thought about all the family that wouldn’t be able to come to something like that (and that is important to me) so I made an adjustment and I think it turned out pretty well! That is how I decided my location.

If you have any other questions let me know!

Post # 4
151 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I have found it easier as I am using a wedding planner. But I learned early, that you have to let go of control and be open to having things done differently.

As for guests, we invited 30, 22 are coming. Those who are not, it was because of money. But we are doing a reception in our hometown and that has relieved some pressure. My mother and family are not coming to the wedding but to the reception – I had to be ok with that. For me, the wedding was not my big thing…more the commitment and party later…it saved us money by doing it this way and we get a great honeymoon:)

The hardest part is some of the comments you get from people about doing it away…some don’t understand why you would want to..



Where are you thinking?

Post # 5
38 posts
  • Wedding: May 2013

A destination wedding is definitely not as easy as some people may think it is. Mine is in 11 months, in Cuba, and it has definitely been a challenge. We were originally thinking of having just close family and friends, but now more people are wanting to come. It’s hard having to decide if you’re ok with not having all your family there, as they may not be able to afford the trip, or cannot take the time off of work, etc. I will say it has not been easy, running around trying to get everything organized, when everyone else seems so laid back about it. I am using a wedding coordinator because it comes free along with my package at my hotel. If I didn’t have the wedding coordinator, i’m pretty sure I would have pulled out my hair by now lol. Where are you thinking of having our wedding?

Post # 7
156 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Wow, that’s admirable that he wants to pay for everyone.  When I first read that you didn’t want to invite some husbands, I thought no way.  If people are traveling, they should be able to travel with whoever they want.  But I guess if you are footing the bill, that might work.  But you should also give them the option to pay for their husbands if they would like them to come.  Also, if you do plan on paying for everyone, favors and welcome bags are not necessary.  You’re paying for their food, alcohol, and hotel if it’s an AI so there’s no need to thank them with favors.(in my opinion).


My Destination Wedding is next April in Jamaica, so I may not be the best advice but I’ll try to answer some of your questions.

I originally was going to have my wedding at an AI in Negril, Beaches Negril.  With 6 nights or more booked at the resort, I would have had, essentially, a free wedding.  That basic package included the basics, such as officiant, bouquet, bout, champagne, setting for 8 for 1 hr cocktail reception, etc.  No extra decor, no arch, no sit down dinner, etc.  So those would have been additional charges.  However, if 10 people booked a room, I would have received a free rehearsal dinner and some other things, I think maybe one person free.  No discounts really.  You would have a wedding coordinator.  Extra for photographer.  

After I decided that this route was too expensive, and too ‘cookie-cutter’ for me (I have a lot of cute decor ideas I want to do), I went a different route.  I rented a house that sleeps 10 on a 2 acre property with two private beaches.  This way, 10 of my guests could stay there and I’d have a private ceremony with no random people around.  It’s going to be about the same costs for 6 nights at Beaches Negril as it is to rent the house for 6 nights (but for 10-11 people, minus food of course).  So, in the end, I think it will work out because food doesn’t cost that much and I do like to explore local cuisine and culture.  AND I get to have more control without paying ridiculous amounts for the extras that the resorts charge.  It’s probably not as luxurious as a resort, but I think it’s more intimate and more a reflection of me.  

So, that is always an option.  There are a ton of large villas for rent in Negril that have chefs, housekeepers, and security.  I’ll bet most destinations have the same.  Just find a good wedding coordinator to help you out, and it’ll be way less stressful.  Just my two cents.

Post # 8
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

@Diamond84:  Hi, sounds great.  I havent had my Destination Wedding yet, still planning it next year for Phuket.  I am also a bit of a control freak and perfectionist (with some things if that makes sense) but am finding it ok planning over the net, not easy but preferable to organising a big wedding at home.  It is generous for your Fiance to pay for all your guests but I wonder if by only inviting your gf and not their husbands they might prefer their husbands to be invited but not paid for? Or what if Fiance paid for all accomodation and you can give a travel voucher to the Girlfriend and that can be shared between them and their husbands?  Also usually with resort packages you get set things and can sometimes swap things out for others or pay to upgrade, ie you get a set amount of flowers but if you want more you pay for more. wedding cakes etc are extra with my package. Costs will definitely add up.  You could maybe invite more people as I have heard up to 50% cant attend a Destination Wedding anyway but I guess if you are paying for them it might raise the amount of people attending.

Post # 9
651 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I had a destination wedding and it was harder than a normal wedding (but this is my choice). Why is it harder? If I had my wedding in the city, they have these packages. Everything is included (up to favours, car decor etc.), it’s easy to find vendors but yes, the guest list would have been much bigger (that said, the venue coordinators are used to such crowds) and it would be nothing special (cause everything would ‘standard’).

What was ‘hard’ about the destination wedding was having to meet them at least once on the island. We arrived just 2 days before the wedding and we had loads to do (favours etc. which you can only do on location as we wouldn’t have been able to travel with them all folded into boxes etc.) so we felt really ‘busy’.There was a slight sense of ‘having’ to entertain your guests because they flew all the way (15 hours flight and expensive so..).

Would I do it again? YES! We loved the whole wedding. It was gorgeous and not typical. The beach was amazing, the resort was the most beautiful place anyone (in our crowd) had ever been to. No regrets.

Resort Wedding Packages: Yes, they can be somewhat cookie cutter-ish but it depends. We did everything without a package and it was quite annoying at times. Anyway, the package is usually for a wedding with 2 people or with like 4 guests or something. Extra=extra$.

Attendance rate: Except for one couple, groom’s sister’s family (preggers) and a friend of the groom, everyone came ( 40 out of 50).

You asked how to draw the line:

i) We chose only the closest (+partners). By closest, we mean people we see very regularly.Only best friends. No acquaintances or ‘hang out’ friends (unless we really really like them and hang out a lot;) ).

ii) I did not invite anyone from my mother’s side of the family (meaning her brothers/sisters + family). Not because I hate them or they are mean, it’s just that we’re not close. We never celebrate birthdays or whatever together. I did invite my father’s side (cousins+aunts/uncles) because I grew up with them (see them like 3-4 times a week!).

We were brutal and frankly, just said no. A cousin of the groom did request to come but we said no (we never see her- not even once every 10 years. I don’t even know her name. She probably wanted an excuse to go on a holiday and frankly at $300 p.p. for food and drinks, we couldn’t afford to just invite everyone).

Trust me, you do NOT want to pay for everyone’s trips. You might think you are able to do this now but you cannot guarantee it. Personally, I think it’s best if you don’t and IF you really have money when the time comes, you can pick up the tab of those who are going. Promising guests to do so would be.. scary. Can of worms.




Post # 11
5285 posts
Bee Keeper

View original reply
@amazinglysimple:  My wedding is in 11 months also in Cuba!!! We are getting married May 3, 2013. what resort are you going too?


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@Diamond84:  Having a destination wedding is NOT the easiest but it is less stressful than a wedding at home in my opinion. I was in a wedding last year and that experience totally turned me off a wedding at home! It was like everyone was glad it was over and I didnt want that feeling for my wedding. The most stressful party of the destination wedding for us was telling our parents who they can and cant invite we wanted something small and intimate and it took them forever to understand out “vision” for our wedding day but I think they are starting to come around now. I’m at the pint now where if I invite people and they come that is great and if they dont come I wont have any hard feelings 🙂



Post # 12
2175 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Although it’s SUPER generous to want to people for everyone’s stay, I still think its inappropriate to treat invited guests differently (i.e. pay for your friend but not her husband). If I were your friends, I’d be a bit insulted that you’d offer to pay for me, but not my husband/signicant other, and if it were my boyfriend’s friend’s offering to pay just for him, I’d be really hurt. I think you would be better off paying for everyone’s resort stay, and letting them pay for their own airfare. I know you are trying to be generous, but I think you need to treat all invited guests equally across the board, regardless of your relationship with them. I also don’t think any of those “extras” , like gift baskets, etc are necessary. You’d be doing MORE than enough.

Post # 13
2175 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I also see where you are coming from with your plan with the rsvps, but I think you’ll also lose out on the people who would genuinly love to come, but just can’t afford it. If you are okay with those people not being there despite really wanting to celebrate with you, I think you are fine. Although, if I were you, I’d only invite people I really really want there, and those who are close enough that I wouldn’t resent paying for their own way instead of pulling a bait and switch after you receive the rsvps.

Post # 14
2852 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

We’re planning a destination wedding for this September, on the Sunshine Coast, just outside Vancouver. My family is all on Vancouver Island or in England, and his family is mostly up here in Northern BC or in Alberta. We chose a resort that was able to provide us with food, drinks, lodging, a sound system, space heaters for outside, chairs, tables, linens, glassware, dinnerware, tableware, and  a day-of coordinator (who is also the woman I’m in contact with to plan it all beforehand), that was all included in our price (which was just the cost of food and drink and lodging….no rental fee). The main reason I think it’s been easy to plan is that the resort we chose will provide almost everything we need. The only things we’ve gone outside the resort for were: attire for the wedding party, flowers for the wedding party, the officiant, the decor, cakepops (to be made by me), and a party tent to be placed on the bluff overlooking the Pacific.

I think that I would say a Destination Wedding is easy to plan, IF you pick the right venue/resort to hold it, and IF you have the right person working for you at that resort/venue. And I think attendance will depend on where it is and how easy it is to get there, as well as the determination of those attending. For ours, everyone where we live will have to drive 15 hours or fly ($1200 per person return – we live in an oilfield town and the airline takes advantage of that), and most other people will have to drive a few hours and take 2 ferries. Also, ours is on a Wednesday, because the resort demands a minimum attendance for weekends. With all that in mind, we expected about 40 people. We sent out invitations to 110 (most of those were to be polite, never assuming some of those would come, just because of the Destination Wedding fact). We already got all our RSVP’s (I sent invitations in January to allow for people making travel and vacation plans), and we are looking at a 70-person wedding.

The only issues we’ve had have been to do with things not relating to the resort/venue, but only to do with people making their own decisions about things. So, so far, it’s been a pretty easy ride. KNOCK ON WOOD!

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