Hi everybody! I’ve gotten behind on my blogging again — my apologies! It’s been a busy week. I’m in the process of actively planning eight different weddings right now, both in Vieques and in Old San Juan. One of them is particularly challenging, but it led me to my topic tonight — how to know if you’re a good candidate for a destination wedding.
I have one bride from the Midwest who is currently living in San Juan for her job. She’s engaged to nice guy from Fajardo, the town on the big island, across the water from Vieques. She has a tight budget, and it’s being stretched even further by her fiancé’s extensive family.
I first met this bride when she called me for a consultation to plan her wedding in Vieques. A week later she called me and said she wanted to hire me, but that she had decided she needed to get married on the big island because it would be difficult for the groom’s family to all come to Vieques. I said no problem because I also plan weddings on the big island and in Culebra. And then she changed her mind again. Now that’s okay. She’s my client and she’s entitled to change her mind and it’s my job to help her. But I can tell she’s really struggling. In her case, Vieques is a destination wedding for all of her guests. Any place on the big island would be “home” to the groom’s family. What’s a girl to do?
Before you start planning a destination wedding in the Caribbean, or anyplace else for that matter, you need to ask yourself a series of questions:
- Can the people on my guest list afford to pay for airfare, rental cars and accommodations to the destination I’ve selected?
- Will I have to subsidize any of the key players (help pay for a bridesmaid’s airfare or pay for your little sister’s hotel room)?
- What will I have to give up to be able to afford to have a destination wedding?
If the people you really want to have at your wedding can afford to pay their way, then you’re good to go. If they can’t, can you afford to pick up the slack? And if you do, what will you give up? Will helping your most important guests attend your wedding mean you can’t go on an extended honeymoon? It’s all a trade-off.
Your next step, if you still want to get married someplace other than home, is to contact a wedding planner in that destination and get a free consultation to discuss realistic budgets. Any good wedding planner will give you a free consultation. Don’t waste your time with anybody who won’t give you that much of their time. A good wedding planner will be able to tell you how much you can get for your money in any particular destination. That will help you make your final decision.
If you find out you can’t afford to have your favorite 50 people with you at a destination wedding, but you still have visions of palm trees dancing in your head — do not despair. It’s just time for you to think about having a smaller, private island wedding, and then follow it up with a big party back at home that includes everybody you couldn’t invite to your wedding.
In the case of the bride I was talking about before, she’s in a difficult position. And she really has to make a decision quickly about where she wants to have her wedding so we can book a venue. The funny part is, she’s never been to Vieques! She just knows how beautiful it is and thinks it’s probably the best spot for a wedding in Puerto Rico. She’s thinking about coming over to our island to spend a night so that we can check out venues. I’m willing to bet that if she visits Vieques, she’s going to want a wedding in Vieques!
Next time we’re going to talk about something more fun — sand blending ceremonies. Don’t miss it!
Happy Wedding Planning!