10 Things I've Learned Destination Wedding Planning
Another week of chaos has passed and we are less than ONE MONTH FROM THE ACTUAL WEDDING DAY!!!
This last week I had to fill out 18 pages worth of questions for the resort to plan for our arrival. Things like what kind of ambiance lighting do you want for the cocktail hour (I didn't even know that was a thing!) to questions about flowers, menus, chair counts and cake choices. I picked up my wedding dress from the final alterations and it fits amazingly (big relief since a month ago it was a littttttllleee too snug!)
While going through this whole process over the last year I've had many people ask me questions regarding planning a destination wedding. While answering questions I've been keeping a list of things I wish I would have listened to or done. So for anyone thinking about planning a destination wedding, hopefully this will help you, (realistically this could go for a traditional wedding as well.) [I'm going to have a follow up to this post AFTER we have the wedding so you will have an idea of do's and don'ts of how the actual wedding went as well.]
1. DON'T SAY THE BRIDAL PARTY CAN WEAR WHATEVER- I learned this the hard way. At first I told the girls "you can wear whatever, you'll look great in anything!" Then it turned into, "you can wear whatever but it needs to be in this color scheme" Now I'm wishing I would have just been like, "you wear this, you wear this and you wear this" The only reason I say this is because no one wants the bride to NOT like what you picked out so I always felt bad when the girls would ask if I liked a certain dress or not. I love all the dresses they picked and they go nicely together but laying something simple out like find a long dress in navy would have been smarter on my part then me trying to be an "easy going bride" when ultimately you still want a certain look.
2. PICK COLORS/THEME- Another thing I was very like "I'm not having a theme or color scheme, as long as everything looks nice I'm cool with it!" My wishy washy ways caught up with me when I changed my colors and my mom remade all the banners for the pre-ception because I switched my theme/color scheme. This also goes with #1 which you just read because I changed my ideas on those colors/theme so.many.times. Damn me!
3. FIGURE OUT HOW PEOPLE CAN HELP- Everyone wants to help, everyone asks to help and they mean well. My problem is I don't like asking for help and I don't like giving up control. My mom offers help all the time but I have no idea how to let her pick up something as simple as a slip for under my dress, because I feel this need and desire to do everything myself! #controlissues So make a list of all the things you need to do, every month, week or days as it gets closer and write peoples names next to the functions or things you will need them to do. The ask if those people can help YOU do these things or just do it themselves. It makes them feel involved and useful and that they are helping you out, which they are, give up some control why don't you!
4. DON'T TRY TO "DIY" EVERYTHING- I had this whole vision that I would be making all these decorations and bringing everything with us and as it's has gotten closer I've not only realized I don't have the TIME to do all the things I had envisioned, I also don't have the space in our extra luggage to bring all these brilliant ideas! I will have more on this later about what I DIYd vs. what I spent money for someone else to make and what I said eff it all together to in posts after the wedding.
5. DON'T THINK OF IT AS A VACATION- This entire time I have just been thinking about this as a vacation with my closest family and friends. Once we got the boys passports in and our flights booked I literally didn't even look at that 18 page booklet I needed to fill out. I didn't think about chairs, lighting, menus or anything else until about a week ago, big mistake! I thought of it as a vacation and it was getting close, how exciting! It's still a wedding and weddings take planning! Remember to keep your mind in "wedding mode", you're just planning it from afar so you don't loose scope of what is really going on or you'll end up stressed when that 18 page document is due to your wedding coordinator in 3 hours. Just me? mmkk...
6. INVOLVE FAMILY THAT ISN'T GOING-When you plan a destination wedding you have to go into it knowing that maybe no one may be able to come. With that said try and do things that involve family or friends that won't be able to partake in the festivities. For instance, I had a dress fitting for alterations and my mom, aunt, grandma and I all had dinner before and went to the dress fitting after. They were able to talk wedding plans with me and see me in the dress. We took some pictures and it was great time! I personally didn't think that it would be a big deal but my mom mentioned involving them and making it a little girls night out. I was so glad that I did because it meant a lot to them and me in the end.
7. HAVE A PRE-WEDDING PARTY- Ours was in September and we combined it as a wedding shower so anyone that couldn't (or could) go to Mexico could go to the party and celebrate with us. This also was my preferred method so I didn't have to have a wedding shower and sit and open gifts awkwardly in front of people. I HATE opening gifts in front of people, my reaction is never as genuine as I'm feeling inside.
8. DON'T WORRY ABOUT TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS- 90% of our guests going to Mexico are leaving out of Michigan but there are some leaving from San Francisco, DC and Chicago. Then there are some staying the entire week and some are only going for 4 days. I decided to not go through our travel agent for booking flights because 1. She sucked (but that's another story for another time) and 2. Everyone has their own agenda. Some want leave early, some later, some out of Detroit some out of other cities and it can get to be a bit much trying to please all parties!
People also have their own price in their mind they are wanting to pay and I just can't be stalking the internet for people to find good flights and the perfect time, for the perfect price, I just can't. With our wedding being over a Spring Break week prices are a little higher than normal. As we are in the less than 30 day range I've been extremely stressed that some people haven't bought tickets but as others have reminded me, they will get to Mexico and it's their own problem, don't worry about it. Truth be told, it's hard not too, work life is crazy busy and we still aren't 100% sure on what Jerek and the boys are wearing so I'm trying to concentrate my mind there!
9. DON'T BOOK THROUGH A TRAVEL AGENT-I know, you may think I'm crazy but you know what the travel agent did that I couldn't do through the resort website? JACK SHIT! In fact, she has only made my life so much more stressful! There was literally NOTHING she did that I couldn't have done myself or done WITH the wedding coordinator. As long as you do a little research and have good contact with the wedding coordinator at the resort you WILL BE FINE!
10. DO A DESTINATION WEDDING- If you're on the fence read some more posts and dig a little deeper, I'm sure you will find your answer son! This past year I've been in weddings, gone to weddings and shot video for weddings and after each one I always ask myself, do I wish I was having it here in Michigan? And every time my answer to myself is NO, absolutely not! Sure, I would love it if my entire family could be with us celebrating, my dad could walk me down the isle, that I didn't have to try and fit everything for a wedding into suitcases or to try and pick out chairs, flowers, decor, dinner and cake without seeing ANYTHING for ourselves.
This day isn't about anyone else but me, Jerek and the boys. We aren't going into debt or taking out loans for a wedding, we aren't getting just a few hours with family and friends hoping by the end of the night you made sure you said hi to everyone, (including aunt Bertha who is your moms, sisters, best friend cousin but just haddd to be there.) What we are getting is an entire week with family and friends. We are paying for everything with cash that we've saved. We get to have a vacation in the sun with unlimited food and drinks, with room service 24/7 filled with swimming, laughter and fun.
No matter what wedding route you go make sure it represents you, the couple getting married, and what you both want. At the end of the day you are still going home as a married couple.
Remember: A tiger doesn't loose sleep over the opinion of a sheep
Don't be a sheep, baaa betch!