Destination weddings are gaining more and more popularity, especially among millennials. According to a recent study by the Knot, the average traditional wedding cost in 2016 was $35,329, and that's not including the honeymoon. Destination weddings are often considered to be a more cost-efficient route when it comes to wedding expenses.
Being the budget-friendly person that I am along with my wife wanting a small wedding, a destination wedding was the perfect choice for us. We got married back in July of this year in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and we just celebrated two months. As we reminisce through our wedding photos and video that we just received, we discussed what went well and what we would have done differently. We're happy to share our top 8 tips for planning and enjoying your destination wedding.
Enjoy your day - At the end of the day, you have your family and friends with you in a beautiful place. If everything else fails, enjoy your loved ones and take in the scenery. We don't remember everything about our wedding, but we do remember how beautiful Mexico is and how much fun we had with our loved ones. We had the best time and so many memories were made that will last a lifetime!
Be on one accord with your wedding coordinator - If you get a wedding coordinator, make sure you are in one accord. This is huge for a destination wedding, especially if you will not be traveling back and forth to tastings, viewing venues, decorations, and etc. You need to be very specific in what you want with your wedding coordinator. This will be very beneficial for those in the moment decisions. Communication is key to a smoothe wedding planning process.
Constant communication with guests - Communication with your guests is just as important. The more information they have prior to your departure date, the less you will have to worry about when you are actually at your destination. This relieves a lot of stress and time. Things couldn't have gone smoothly for us. We made it a priority that our guests knew everything (accommodations, tours, dinners, etc,) beforehand. We didn't want any extra added stress!
Be intentional about your guest list - It was super important to us that only those that were super supportive of us were at our wedding. The ones that would encourage us to push through on days that we didn't even want to even look at each other. With a destination wedding, there's a fine line between people who are coming because it's an excuse for a vacation and people who will sacrifice to make sure they are there for your big day. While we hope it was a relaxing, fun getaway for all guests, it meant so much to us that they made being there a priority.
Reviews are Gold - Reviews are EVERYTHING. This can make or break your destination wedding. There are some couples who are able to travel back and forth from their destination. We weren't one of those couples. We relied heavily on reviews and referrals. This is where you want to go the extra mile because this is your only resource for information. If our wedding coordinator or Airbnb host recommended something, we would fact check it with reviews. Don't check just one platform either, check them all! Trip Review, Yelp, Google, Facebook, you name it, we checked it. We never read so many reviews in our lives.
Arrive at least 24-hours before guests arrive - Leave yourself at least a day before your guests arrive to make sure everything is in order. Remember, you want to have as little stress as possible on your wedding day. Meet with your coordinator, check out the venue, meet the DJ before your guests arrive. We arrived in Puerto Vallarta on Wednesday afternoon, and the majority of our guests arrived on Friday. We met with our wedding coordinate as soon as we landed!
Triple check the DJ - This was one of the things we were most worried about. Due to the language barriers and the cultural differences, we were highly concerned because we wanted our reception to be super fun. We personally spent hours piecing together a specific playlist for the reception dinner and the reception party. So here's the mistake we made. The playlist was composed onto a Google Spreadsheet and was confirmed by the coordinator that the DJ received it. We're not exactly sure what happened but the DJ had all our songs for the reception dinner but did not have one single song for the reception party. We don't know if he just didn’t see it (the playlists were on separate tabs) or what, but we should have tripled checked with him! Luckily, my best man and I use to DJ and emcee back in college so we were able to save the day.
Have a secondary plan for pics - We planned so efficiently for our wedding pictures. We even made a Google Doc of the exact pictures we wanted. What we didn't plan for is how hot we were after the wedding ceremony. We were so hot and sweaty, we had to stop taking pictures and change into our reception outfits. We got a lot of great pictures, but there are still some shots we wished we would have taken. So have a secondary plan in place so you can make sure you capture those moments! For us, our photographer flew in with us so we had him for the entire trip. We should have planned a backup time to finish taking pics in case we needed it (which we did).
These are our top 8 tips for planning and enjoying your destination wedding. This was absolutely one of the best times of our lives. If we could go back in time and choose between a non-traditional wedding or a destination wedding, we would choose a destination wedding every time!
Brandon and Shaleka Boone
-Check Out some of the photos and Video from the Boones' Wedding
All Photo Credit Attributed to Garren Bunton of Foto Peligroso
@Foto_Peligroso on IG