I’m hot and heavy in the final preparations for a destination event in Costa Rica, which is going to be fabulous to say the least, and Claire, the bride I am working with, couldn’t be a more perfect candidate for a destination wedding. Now, many, many of my clients consider and even dream of a destination event, but let me be the first to say that they certainly aren’t for everyone! Cultural differences, language barriers and the inability to touch and feel every element of your day can get to even the calmest of brides. So, before, you book those tickets to Capetown or even Napa, take the following quiz to determine if traveling outside of your comfort zone is the right move for you.
1. Your best friend since the third grade just let you know she cannot attend your destination fete due to finances, you:
a. Tell her you understand, but secretly feel like your relationship will never be the same.
b. Totally get it. You wouldn’t be able to spend $1000+ for her either.
c. Foot the bill for her ticket and demand her attendance.
2. I want a destination wedding because:
a. Duh, it’s cheaper!
b. I want my guests to have an experience like no other wedding they’ve attended.
c. Who has the time to plan anything else?
3. The internet and you are:
a. like old friends who spend hours interacting every day.
b. acquaintances. You email occasionally, but are not completely web savvy.
c. What’s the internet?
4. You think a wedding planner is:
a. A luxury reserved for brides with much larger budgets than yours.
b. Pointless. Why would I hire someone else to do what I can do myself?
c. A necessity. How the heck am I supposed to go it alone thousands of miles away?
5. Your attitude towards your wedding style is:
a. everything must be perfect down to the exact shade of ribbon tied on my bouquet.
b. I have a vision, but since it’s in such a great destination, I know it will be beautiful no matter what.
c. What do you mean wedding style? I think my wedding planner is taking care of that for me.
6. You think you’ve found the perfect photographer for your day, but can’t meet him in person, you:
a. Blow your budget by scheduling a planning trip to your destination. You can’t do this without touching everything and meeting everyone involved in your day.
b. Send in your wedding planner to do the footwork. That’s what she’s there for anyway.
c. Risk it. He’s got a nice web site so he must be legit.
7. Your Aunt just called you for the 17th time to ask where the best restaurant in your destination is, you:
a. Send her the link to your wedding website where all the information is readily available.
b. Tell her she is on her own. How are you supposed to help with other people’s vacations when you have a wedding to plan?
c. Get her started by giving her the phone number of your wedding planner, hotel concierge or local travel agent so she can do the research herself.
8. How do you feel about the culture in your destination?
a. Love it! The traditions, people and foods are the inspiration for designing my day.
b. It’s a little tacky, but it’s fine, as long as it doesn’t show up on my big day.
c. I don’t know much about it.
9. You want to be married by a catholic priest, but just found out that this is not an option in your location, you:
a. Cancel the wedding. Religion is a non negotiable factor for your ceremony.
b. Marry anyway, but plan a small ceremony in your own church when you return home.
c. Don’t care too much. You were really only doing it for your mother anyway.
10. It’s the day after your wedding and you can’t get a minute of alone time with your new hubby, you:
a. Secretly check out of the hotel you have been staying at and head for more secluded accommodations.
b. Love it! You want to spend every last minute with your family and friends.
c. Let them all know how rude they are being. After all, this is your honeymoon too.
1. A. (1) B. (5) C. (3)
2. A. (1) B. (5) C. (5)
3. A. (5) B. (3) C. (1)
4. A. (1) B. (1) C. (5)
5. A. (3) B. (5) C. (3)
6. A. (3) B. (5) C. (1)
7. A. (5) B. (1) C. (3)
8. A. (5) B. (1) C. (3)
9. A. (1) B. (5) C. (3)
10. A. (5) B. (3) C. (1)
10 to 16: CONSIDER A HOMETOWN AFFAIR: Unless you have the time and budget to make multiple trips to your destination of choice, save the pain and stress planning a destination wedding will cause you. Choosing the exact shade of peony, the perfect material for the table linens or ensuring your favorite cousin is able to attend will be a whole lot easier to manage with a hometown affair.
17 to 32: DON’T GO TOO FAR: A weekend in Napa or the Palm Springs area might be the perfect getaway for someone like you who doesn’t want to relinquish complete control, but still wants a new experience for their guests. This will allow you to make a couple of road trips to your destination for planning without breaking the bank.
33 to 50: ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD: You’re all about the destination wedding experience and are open to the bumps in the roads that may come along with the journey. You know what you want, but at the same time know when to trust the experts. Consider Greece, South Africa, Bali or anywhere else in the world for your big day.
Why: When choosing a destination wedding, you have to consider that many key people in your life may not be able to attend. The best attitude to approach a destination wedding is if it only ends up being the two of you, you will still have the wedding of your dreams. Now obviously, you will have some guests, maybe even a lot, but unless you have the budget to pay for your guests to attend, or you associate yourself with guests with a bit of money, do not expect lots of people to shell out hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for your big day.
2. B or C
Why: Unless you are a no frills, no fuss type of gal or you are eloping, destination weddings are not always cheaper. While destination weddings tend to have fewer guests, there are more factors that contribute to the cost of the event. For example, you may want save-the-dates, welcome baskets and even to plan a day trip or extra events for your guests during the week. Also, expenses like shipping items to and from your destination or something usually simple like roses in your bouquet can add hundreds of dollars to your wedding budget. Now, if you’re a bride who doesn’t have a lot of time and can let go of the reins, destination weddings are perfect for you. Hire a wedding planner to spend a couple of hours on the phone with and she can take from there. Or, if you’re someone who wants to make the day very personal so your guests to have an out-of-this world time, destination weddings are also the way to go.
Why: If the internet is not currently part of your world, prepare for it to become your best friend during the wedding planning process. Because of time differences and the fact that you will not be able to see each detail in person, email will be your number one means of communicating with your wedding planner and other vendors as well as viewing pictures of flowers, linens, chairs, etc.
Why: When it comes to destination weddings, a wedding planner is a necessity. She will be your eyes and ears at your destination of choice and steer you in the right direction when it comes to choosing vendors as well as any other details for the day. While you do not need to relinquish complete control over to your planner, definitely find someone who is on your side during the planning process.
Why: When choosing a destination wedding, recognize that you may not have as much control over the design of your day as you might prefer. If you have a good wedding planner, she should be able to get you just about anything you want, but be prepared to pay big bucks if you are not willing to settle for what is readily available in the region of your choice. In an effort to save your sanity and a few dollars, go into the planning process with a bit of flexibility on the design of the event. Embrace the atmosphere of your destination and everything else will fall into place.
Why: Never hire a vendor without doing the proper research on him or her first, especially for a destination wedding. Unfortunately, a web site cannot tell you the whole story, but a wedding planner can do the necessary leg work to ensure you are hiring a reliable team for your day.
7. A or C
Why: Do not try to take on everything yourself with a destination wedding. Aside from the wedding, you are essentially inviting all of your guests on vacation with you too. To avoid a million phone calls, contact a travel agent immediately to provide information on flights, accommodations and activities. If you are able to compile this information upfront, you’ll be home free from time consuming phone calls and frustrated wedding guests.
Why: One of the best things about destination weddings is exposing your guests to new and unique cultures. To get the most out of your wedding celebration consider incorporating some traditions and foods from the destination, even if it is something as greeting each guest with a lei in Hawaii, or having a flamenco dancer during the welcome party when in Spain.
Why: Often with destination weddings you have to take what you can get when it comes to ministers or other members of the clergy. Just like in your hometown, often Priests, Pastors, etc. will not leave their congregation to perform wedding ceremonies. Unless you are willing to fly your officiant in with you for the ceremony, more often than not, you will need to settle for a non-denominational officiant for the day. Since religion often is a big factor in your day, determine whether this is a deal breaker for you and your fiancée.
Why: It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be rude to anyone who just traveled thousands of miles to be with you on your big day. On the other hand, you do need to spend some time alone with your new spouse. The best solution is to let guests know up front that after the organized activities are over, the two of you will be heading off for alone time. While most people will expect this anyway, this will prevent any potential hurt feelings or conflicts from arising.