How to Plan A Destination Wedding in Mexico, Jamaica, & the Caribbean

Destination 'Happily Ever After': A Pro's Tips on How to Plan Your Dream Destination Wedding

Whether you're still considering a destination wedding, or you’ve decided to officially have a destination “I DO!”, the complexity of putting together a destination wedding is often underestimated. To shed light on this, I've gathered five crucial tips to show you how to plan a destination wedding that will save you time, money, and stress as you embark on planning your destination celebration. Let's delve into the expertise needed to plan a destination wedding like a pro.

1. Choose a resort that is a good fit for YOU and YOUR guests' needs:

One of the top questions you can get in your head or hear from others is “Are destination weddings selfish?” The answer is obviously “NO”, but one way to show your guests that you are thinking of their comfort and enjoyment is to select a resort wedding venue that will meet the diverse needs of your wedding group. Account for dietary restrictions, physical limitations, and children's requirements. Knowing these details ensures your chosen location caters to everyone, making the overall experience enjoyable for all.

2. Ensure smooth travel with airport shuttle service:

There’s nothing worse than traveling for hours, finally landing at the airport, and then not having a ride available to take you to the resort as quickly as possible. Arranging roundtrip airport shuttle service for your guests is a game-changer. Don't leave it to chance or your guests; take the initiative to guarantee stress-free travel from the airport to the resort. Avoid the hassle of last-minute arrangements and start your wedding celebration on a positive note. 

3. Recommend guests arrive two days before the wedding:

Give your guests the gift of time by suggesting they arrive two days prior to the wedding. This ensures any unforeseen travel hiccups won't jeopardize their attendance. By planning ahead, you mitigate the risk of guests missing your special day due to travel delays.

4. Guarantee your guests have a room by holding rooms in advance:

I know of a wedding couple, who did not hold rooms for their destination wedding, and the resort sold out before most of their wedding group could book at the resort she had chosen. NOT GOOD! Securing a block of rooms at the resort not only ensures your guests have accommodation but also comes with perks like free upgrades and events. By taking control of room reservations, you avoid potential booking errors and capitalize on cost-saving opportunities.

5. Make your life easier by working with a destination wedding travel agent:

For the ultimate stress-free experience, collaborate with a destination wedding travel agent who excels in both travel logistics and wedding planning. Their expertise, connections, and first-hand knowledge can save you time, and money, and offer unique venue recommendations, ensuring your destination wedding is a dream come true.

Bonus Tip: Don't Book Your Wedding Directly With the Resort:

This bonus tip goes along with Tip number 5. Avoid the pitfalls of booking directly with a resort! Believe me, many couples try it, but they usually quickly regret it with poor communication and complex contracts that make you liable for just about EVERYTHING! Let a destination wedding travel agent take this off of your shoulders. They will navigate complex contracts, secure room blocks, and ensure your guests' specific needs are met, preventing potential headaches and financial penalties.

JSTG Destination Wedding Blog Post: 01/14/24

Beyond the Aisle: A Couple's Guide to Selecting the Best Destination Wedding Travel Agent

The world is your wedding venue, and choosing the best destination wedding travel agent is like picking the perfect travel partner for the most important journey of your life. Asking the following five questions before hiring:

1. What services do you include?

This question may seem basic, but it's the cornerstone of your destination wedding planning journey. Beyond the obvious—venue selection, resort location, travel logistics, and vendor coordination—ensure you discuss finer details. Does the destination wedding travel agent handle legal requirements for your chosen destination? Are they well-versed in local customs? Will they assist with guest travel arrangements? Clarity on services ensures your celebration unfolds seamlessly against the backdrop of your chosen paradise.

2. What is your communication style?

Effective communication is the key to any successful relationship, including the one you share with your destination wedding planner. Understanding their communication style—whether it's through the laid-back charm of emails, old-school phone calls (gasp!), or the personal touch of video conferences—is crucial. Consider time zones if you're planning a destination wedding in a different country. You want a planner who keeps you in the loop, respects your preferences, and ensures that every decision aligns with your vision.

3. What is your availability?

Destination weddings require meticulous planning, and you want a wedding planner who is as dedicated to your special day as you are. Clarify their availability during the planning process. How often can you expect updates on your wedding in paradise? Knowing your planner's availability ensures that you're not left in the dark and that adjustments can be made promptly if needed.

4. Are you the owner or an employee of a your destination wedding travel agency?

Understanding the organizational structure of your wedding planner's business is essential. Some planners operate independently, while others are part of a travel agency. Knowing this can impact the level of personal attention and flexibility you receive. If they are part of a seasoned crew in a travel agency, inquire about autonomy. This insight helps you gauge the extent of personalization and customization you can expect.

If they are independent, you’ll likely find the service to be more hands-on and personal because the destination wedding specialist has more control over how many couples they work with and thus has more ability to give better overall service.

5. How many destination weddings do you do per year?

Quality over quantity is a mantra worth remembering when it comes to destination wedding planners. While experience is valuable, you also want to ensure that your planner can devote ample time and attention to your celebration. A planner handling an overwhelming number of weddings may face challenges providing the personalized touch your event deserves. Strike a balance between experience and dedication to make your wedding truly exceptional.

JSTG Destination Wedding Blog Post: 01/02/24