With so many amazing resorts to choose form, it gets overwhelming trying to figure out the best resort for your destination wedding! We tend to look at resort features, aesthetics, and pricing first and foremost, but there are a lot of other details that you should consider that could be destination wedding deal-breakers.
Read on for some examples on what to look for as you compare resorts for your beach wedding.
Wedding Package Options
You should go over the resort wedding package options with a fine-toothed comb – preferably with your destination wedding travel specialist – and be sure to check the fine print. While some packages can look appealing at a glance, there are often red flags in the fine print – and some that you may not even find out about until you ask the specific questions related to it!
Some things that you could run into include, but are not limited to:
Will You Be Rocking a Neon Wristband With Your Wedding Attire?
You’ll likely want to find out if the resort that you’re considering requires hotel guests to wear wristbands – and what they look like. If wristbands are mandatory, you’ll want to find out what the resort policy is for wearing wristbands during the wedding.
Many resorts don’t allow wristbands to be taken off at all, so your wedding pictures could end up showing brightly colored wristbands or you might need to pay extra for a photographer who can hide them or edit them out later.
Additionally, some resorts might allow the couple or bridal party to take off wristbands for the ceremony and pictures, but may charge a fee for allowing this privilege.
Glassware – and I don’t Mean Cinderella’s Glass Slippers
Yet another aspect that many people don’t give a thought to during resort selection process, but end up being disappointed in upon arrival. If you’re dreaming of colorful cocktails in tall pretty glasses (perfect for those insta-worthy posts!) and then get handed a small, flimsy, plastic cup like you’re on Spring Break in college – you might end up unimpressed. Especially if you have waited awhile for your fancy tropical drink!
Don’t Throw in the Towel! (no, really, that might be your only one...)
Towels are another often overlooked and yet important detail. Some resorts cost cut by requiring guests to use a beach towel brought from their room or picked up upon arrival to the pool area in exchange for your “Pool Towel Card”. You are then required to use that same towel and return it before they close for the day to get your card back. If you end up losing that card or towel during your stay, you are on the hook for a hefty fine - all for a cheap towel you can’t even keep. Whereas other properties simply have unlimited towels available for use with no card to track.
Foodies, Take Note:
Most of us love the idea of the different variety and options of dining available at resorts, however, you’ll find that some have strict rules governing their restaurant use. Yep, you read that, rules for eating at all-inclusive resort restaurants!
During your search for the perfect resort for your destination wedding, you’ll find some that don’t have all of the restaurants “included” in your stay, and some require reservations to be made in the early morning so you aren’t stuck at a buffet for dinner too (which usually means that someone has to head downstairs before breakfast to try to beat the line at the concierge desk).
Mind you, all of that is STILL better than the resorts that hand you “tickets” for dining during your stay or limit you to only dining once at certain establishments – so too bad if you loovveed that ceviche at the gorgeous seafood restaurant overlooking the water – it won’t be an option a second time!
Lastly, be wary of resorts that limit how many a’la carte restaurants you can enjoy based on your length of stay. Buffets are not the most gourmet of options, so if you get stuck with buffet food for 4 days out of your 7-night stay, morning, noon and night, you may get board or even worse, ready to head home for some decent food. These restrictions can be hard to find on the resort websites, so it’s important to deep dive for these things while you are doing your research.
Differently Abled Accessibility and Entertainment
Are you inviting anyone who has trouble with walking on uneven surfaces or long distances? In the same vein, you’ll need to consider if any guests require a walking frame or wheelchair. If this is the case, then you will need to pay close attention to what accessibility the hotel offers for differently abled guests. There isn’t much point choosing a resort for the amazing over-the-water sky terrace if Grandma Sally will have to watch the ceremony via Zoom at the bottom of the stairs after all.
Please note: There are many quality resorts throughout Mexico and the Caribbean where you may run into this issue. They do not have the same ADA laws that we do in the United States and thus, are not required to include ramps, elevators or alternate entrances for guests.
Likewise, if you have anyone attending with other special needs or major dietary concerns, you’ll need to take that into consideration as you select your resort – while a mega-resort could sound appealing due to the amount of different activities on offer, you don’t necessarily want any of your guests to be confined to their room because they are unable to walk the length of the hotel. (There are quality resorts that offer golf cart assistance around the property for this reason, but you’ll need to check for that amenity and be sure to inquire about the availability, wait time, etc!)
Mind Your Business – Powder Room Practicalities!
Whether we like to talk about it or not, the fact of the matter is, that everybody pees! Granted, when you sit down to excitedly plan your dream destination wedding day, toilets are probably not something that come to mind.
I recommend paying close attention to the bedroom layouts, as the newest “open room concept” has been taken to an uncomfortable level at some resorts – so if you personally prefer privacy, you can bet many of your guests would also want that seclusion. Especially if you’ll have families with kids or friends sharing rooms together! It’s not a fun surprise when you arrive for your tropical vacation and realize you’re going to be real close and personal with your roommate (or new spouse!) You don't want to worry about how to awkwardly hide from each other for bathroom privacy.
Special Services to Escalate your Event
We see a lot of couples who would like to incorporate a special family tradition – or create a new one – on their big day and the last thing that you want is to select a resort, sign a contract for a group room block, and then get into the planning stages only to find out that your request can’t be accommodated or will cost a significant amount extra to implement.
On that same note, if you have visions of a beachy welcome bonfire party with your guests, fireworks at your reception, or are envisioning a cocktail hour with strings of fairy lights reflecting off of the grains of sand while enjoying drinks by the firepit, you’ll need to find out in advance if any of that is even available before settling for that resort. There could be government laws on the public beaches that may not allow those type of options, or require a permit.
Pretty as a Picture... Created in Photoshop
Sad as it is, touching up photos for the internet isn’t just limited to magazines and Instagram. Resort brands have been doing this for a long time and it breaks my heart to see disappointed couples when they arrive on property and realize that they were sold an illusion.
This is a bit of a minefield because even resorts from the same brand, may not be consistent from country to country, so this is where a travel advisor who specializes in destination weddings in your chosen location can really be worth their weight in gold.
Even without an agent however, you can still try to do your due diligence by sourcing pictures from other travelers and really looking past the cocktails and pool to look for the details.
Take note of the following areas within a resort:
I could keep going on and on – with having over a decade in the destination wedding industry and seeing, as well as, experiencing countless resorts first hand, it has opened my eyes to situations and questions I had never thought about before until I observed the major differences between properties. Nonetheless, I’ll just leave you with the above points to consider for now and will be here when you need any assistance!
I hope you found some valuable insight on what to look for as you search to find the best resort for your beach wedding. If you feel overwhelmed or would like assistance to narrow down the perfect destination or resort, we are here for you! This is what we do every day!
We spend most of our vacation time touring resorts, meeting with the wedding coordinators and training for destination weddings, so we can make it very simple for you. We save you time by filtering out all the bad advice and countless options for you. Let us take the guesswork out and match-make you to the destination and resorts that fit your style, vision and budget the best.
Together we will find your perfect wedding resort and we take care of the logistics after that. All you have to do is the fun wedding planning and creating an unforgettable event your friend and family will remember for a lifetime! Schedule your free consultation to see how we can assist and learn more about our services!