Written by Juliana Gover, AVDW Specialist.
Everyone has the perfect picture of their dream wedding.
What do you want to see around you while you stand up there saying “I do” to the person of your dreams? A castle for the grandists, a church for the traditionalists, a field for the boho types, a beach for the romantic? Where you first met for those sentimentalists or a secret garden for those naturalists?
The options are literally limitless. As long as the two of you are together and there is someone there to conduct, it is a wedding.
But for those of you who want to follow the amazing trend and get away, maybe save some money, and have a destination wedding — where do you go?! When it comes to selecting that dream destination wedding, how do you choose where you are going to stay and share that special kiss? You could have a beach or garden wedding on every coast and anywhere plant life can grow, so where in the world do you want to go?
Let us help you decide…
How to Pick Your Destination
Would you rather go where you have been before or do you want something new?
For well-traveled folks, they know what area of the world that they like and know the perfect spot for a wedding. However, if you are like me and have only really been to Mexico, you may want to try something new. Research your destinations, look into the culture around the resort area, look into the safety of a destination, and look into the different environments. Weigh how much each of those factors matters and choose a country and city if you want to be in the center of it all.
How to Pick Your Resort
1. Ask your specialist: Now that you know the airport you are flying into, where is your van going?! When I first started working in this industry I couldn’t believe how incredibly vast the resort choices were. In general, yes, there are many choices, but each location also has several choices to consider. That is where your specialist comes in handy! They can help you sort through online reviews, give you past bride’s feedback, show you pictures from their own trips and more!
2. Foodie for a week: Look into a resort’s restaurant selection. Food is such a large part of the all-inclusive experience, I would hate to hear that someone only liked one of the restaurants in resort. I promise, there is a hotel with restaurants that fit everyone’s taste buds!
Resorts to Consider:
– Breathless Punta Cana has eleven amazing restaurants including, not one, but two international spots!
– Secrets the Vine has nine gourmet restaurants and wine tastings!
**Please remember when you are traveling for a destination wedding you will be entering another culture, therefore food is prepared differently and may not be exactly what you are used to.**
3. Judge a book by its cover!
Next, consider the look of each resort and surroundings. Is that what you want to be surrounded by when you are getting ready to walk down the aisle? Some resorts are vast and spread out, some are quaint and quiet, and some have a non-stop party surrounding them.
Resorts to Consider:
– Panama: Gamboa Rainforest Resort lives up to its name and is surrounded by the rainforest. It also has several jungle adventures that you can try!
Even though it is not all-inclusive, Riu Plaza Panama is in the heart of the financial district of Panama City. It is a great destination for adventure, night life, and of course my favorite… shopping!
– Cancun: Dreams Sands Cancun is only five minutes away from downtown Cancun, which allows for some great bar hopping, shopping, and restaurants to venture out to if you feel the need to explore and get off of the resort property. As an extra bonus this resort has a gloriously beautiful white sand beach.
Iberostar Cancun has an onsite 18-hole golf course and a professional soccer field. This resort is great for people who need more than just a beach to explore.
– Playa Mujeres: Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort is only 10 minutes north of Cancun and has beautiful white sand beaches. This resort is in a privately gated community adjacent to the Greg Norman Golf Course. Even in its seclusion it is near shopping centers, beachfront restaurants and nightlife.
Zoetry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres Cancun is a secluded resort on the island, but only a 30-minute ride on the resort’s yacht to Cancun. This resort is small, with only 35 rooms, and has a beautiful beach.
– St. Thomas: Dreams Sugar Bay is a very quiet, relaxed resort on a very luxurious island. As a bonus they have fantastic food!
4. Through the vines or the water?
Now, where do you want to walk down the aisle? A Garden, gazebo, pier, or of course, the beach? Make sure your choices have that location available. If not, congratulations you have eliminated another option.
Resorts to Consider:
– Dreams La Romana’s pier ceremony location is so unique and gives a truly spectacular view of the ocean! However, they also have two other locations, the garden gazebo and the beach gazebo.
– Sandos Playacar has a brand new wedding garden complete with a beautiful arbor gazebo!
– Finally, one of my personal favorite locations for weddings is the Dreams Riviera Cancun has a three beautiful ceremony locations: Wedding gazebo for those who want to look onto the beach and not actually be on the beach. The beach, for those who want a laid-back barefooted wedding. And the breathtaking lobby staircase. However, that is not all. They have two different cocktail locations (Jacuzzi and the beach) and four reception locations (wooden deck overlooking the ocean, pool or the terrace, beach and the ballroom).
5. To do or not to do!
So this is still a vacation right? While you are meeting with the wedding planner and hopefully not stressing about your special day, make sure there is stuff to do around or in your hotel, especially for your guests. Even for yourself, these activities could be a great distraction from all the worry about the wedding planning that you may have. Even if you can just sit on the beach and relax for a week straight, this time should be memorable and only consist of beach time and room time.
6. The little things
Finally, you have eliminated your choices to just a few options. Communicate with the wedding coordinator, and with the help of your Destination Wedding Specialist, make sure those tiny and personal touches will or can be there. I think the coolest thing about a wedding is what the wedding couple makes their own and their personal touches included. With a destination wedding, planning is done by the wedding coordinator — all while you are hundreds and thousands and miles away. Make sure that they can make your little details come to life or ask if there is another way to make it happen.
Just remember, this is your wedding. Make it special! As long as your chosen partner is standing across from you when you say “I do,” and those you love witness this moment, your day will be memorable. Good luck and happy eliminating!
If you are interested in a destination wedding, contact your travel agent or click here for more information!