Top 10 Things to Consider When Planning a Destination Wedding

My husband and I knew that we wanted to have a destination wedding after getting engaged on the beach in Rivieria Maya, Mexico. Lucky for us, our parents completely supported that idea. I used for all of my questions and many of my craft ideas. The other pro is the total cost of the wedding. Did you know the average wedding today costs $30,000?! And this doesn't include your honeymoon! We got married in Lucea, Jamaica at the Grand Palladium Resort and spent a little over $9,000! That included the 9 day all-inclusive hotel, flights, decor, invitations, my dress, his outfit, our at home reception and everything that came with planning it.

{Texas Craft House} Top 10 Things to Consider When Planning a Destination Wedding

1. Location, Location, Location

Where do you want to get married? This is the most important decision, after who you want to marry. A vineyard in Napa Valley? A beach on a Caribbean island? A small mountain town with snow capped peaks in the background? A rustic barn on the Texas Countryside? We decided on Jamaica for several reasons. Most importantly cost per person, the trip including airfare, for one of our wedding guests cost $1200. Second, the local requirements for a wedding (i.e. Mexico requires a blood test, translation of a wedding license to English can cost $300 in order to file at your local court house, etc). The other reason I liked this resort is the wedding packages they had to choose from, the colors and the decor were exactly what I wanted.

{Texas Craft House} Top 10 Things to Consider When Planning a Destination Wedding

2. Wedding Size

Have you always wanted a large wedding, or would an intimate wedding be just as memorable for you? It's important to realize that depending on the destination your RSVPs will dwindle because of the cost on your guests. We were super excited and thankful to have 19 guests make their way to Jamaica for our wedding. Knowing our guests were fronting the bill to attend our wedding I made sure to put things together so they felt appreciated for coming. I made luggage tags and packing lists that I sent out before the wedding and Welcome Bags for my guests once they got to Jamaica.

{Texas Craft House} Top 10 Things to Consider When Planning a Destination Wedding

3. Wedding Dress

I chose my dress based on the location. I didn't want a train that would get caught in the sand and I wanted something light so that I would not overheat in the Caribbean. I found my dress at David's Bridal after going to a few places around Dallas, TX. I also chose not to have a veil because I didn't want to have to worry about it with the ocean breeze. For shoes, I found the perfect starfish beaded sandals from Not on the High Street.

{Texas Craft House} Top 10 Things to Consider When Planning a Destination Wedding

4. Booking

We booked our trip through because it's an amazing website and we didn't have enough people to qualify for room discounts better than what was offering. This made it very easy for my guests to book from wherever they were coming from and reserve roundtrip airport transportation. Should you have enough guest to reserve a block of hotel rooms it's very important for you to realize that you will need to provide specific information to the hotel before your guests can start booking. You will need to tell the hotel how many rooms you anticipate needing, how many guests per room, and bed size. This is all information the hotel wants before they agree to block off anything. I would suggest sending something with your save the dates that ask guests to get back to you before a certain time.

{Texas Craft House} Top 10 Things to Consider When Planning a Destination Wedding

5. Wedding Party

Travis and I decided that we would not have a wedding party because we did not want our friends to feel obligated to fork over money and make the trip for our wedding. We did have my brother in law and one of my sisters sign as witnesses for each of us. The other thing to consider is if you have a relative or friend that you want to marry you and your spouse, or is the minister provided enough? We used the provided minister, but I do want to share how much of an honor it is to marry someone you're close to as I had the opportunity to do it last year in California!

{Texas Craft House} Top 10 Things to Consider When Planning a Destination Wedding

6. Wedding Day Preferences

The wedding packages available came with all of the flowers, two parasols for the ceremony, a cake, a non-private reception, the minister, and the wedding planner. After I chose the wedding package I liked, there were still several preferences we had to choose. The preferences included ceremony location, private vs non-private reception (we chose non-private to avoid any more cost to the wedding), food, wedding music (this was the hardest thing to choose out of the everything), religious vs non-religious ceremony. The only thing my husband and I would have done differently is had a private reception instead of the non-private. We would have been attended to better and it would have been more fun for our guests. Looking at Grand Palladium's website now they offer a Beach Bash for a maximum of 25 people, this would have been perfect!

{Texas Craft House} Top 10 Things to Consider When Planning a Destination Wedding

7. Transporting Decor

From the US to Jamaica the airline allowed two carry-on bags and one checked bag a person. In our case, I carried on my wedding dress and the carry on luggage that fit over head packed with clothes. I packed most of my decor in a hard shelled luggage with the items for the Welcome Bags and the bags taking up most of the space (I did pack everything separately and put the bags together after I got to Jamaica). My husbands checked bag had more clothes and the rest of my decor. Some things that I packed included an empty frame for photos, Thank You Signs for photos, his and hers toasting flutes, cake knife and server (I borrowed my mom's from her wedding).

{Texas Craft House} Destination Wedding Welcome Bags

8. Photographer

We toyed with the idea of having one of my sisters take all of the pictures at our ceremony and then take our photos around the resort. We quickly realized she would not be able to enjoy the wedding and started to look at hiring a local photographer. We decided on local because we were a month out from the wedding and we knew the thought of flying out a photographer was unrealistic at this point. We found Dwayne and Judine Scott, owners of True Colors Photography, which were amazing! Let me tell you getting a local photographer was the best thing we could have done because they knew all of the great places to take photos.

{Texas Craft House} Top 10 Things to Consider When Planning a Destination Wedding

I did recently have some friends very close to me get married in California and they flew out their photographer William Denson to take their pictures. William recently went back to strictly film and the results are amazing! Check them out here. The benefit of having someone you know taking your photos is you know their work and unwanted surprises are unlikely. {By the way, if you went to William's website and checked out the amazing photos, that is me marrying my friends Will and Aubry :) }

9. Wedding Week Itinerary

I wanted our friends and family to have a great time, but I also wanted to have some events that we all did together as a group. I decided on one event a day that had everyone come together. To communicate this I created Destination Wedding Guides from brag books. My favorite event, aside from the wedding of course, was the Sand Ceremony where each of our guests had the opportunity to fill a glass jar with sand to take home with them.

{Texas Craft House} Glass Sand Jar Wedding Favors

10. Switching Hotels for Honeymoon

In our case, all of our guests left the resort to return home the Friday after the wedding. This gave my husband and I until Tuesday to enjoy our honeymoon so there was no need to switch hotels. Unlucky for us there was a lot of rain, so when we returned home we took an impromptu trip to California to enjoy each other's company and drive up Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean. Should your guests want to stay longer, it's easy to move to a sister property or another resort altogether.

{Texas Craft House} Wedding Photo Shoot Thank You Signs

I hope this helps with planning your upcoming nuptials! If I can answer anymore questions let me know!

{Texas Craft House} Elisabeth

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