If you’re reading this, then you’ve settled on your perfect destination - or at least narrowed it down to a few locations that are ideal for your destination wedding. One step down, but now it’s time to decide on where you and your guests should rest your heads after fun-filled days in paradise together!
First things first, you need to figure out what type of accommodation is best for your dream wedding. You’ll likely run into the following options:
Before you can figure out what is right for you, think about your vision for the ceremony and reception. For example, If you’re planning an off-site wedding and reception, you may not need the on-site wedding coordinator and the packages offered at an all-inclusive resort.
You should also consider the experience you want to have and the size of your group to determine if a house or villa rental would be something of interest. Keep in mind, you’ll also need to add the cost of transportation for all of your guests between the event locations and accommodation(s), wherever your guests will be staying. Etiquette dictates that when having an off-site wedding, the transportation for guests should be arranged by the couple.
While a house rental can sound like an affordable and fun option to spend time together, the biggest complaint I often hear, is that the couple forgets that it’s also their special day, making it impossible to spend intimate time together before and after the wedding since everyone is sharing the same space.
There are also extra expenses and decisions that you’ll need to orchestrate, such as food and drink, preparing meals, entertainment, transportation to explore off-site areas, and of course, hiring a wedding coordinator to arrange the details and set-up.
Depending on the location that you’ve chosen, you may opt for a regular hotel (room-only) or an all-inclusive resort. All-inclusive resorts are limited to certain destinations, so that might not even be an option for you.
Your next decision will be to decide what type of property you prefer. When selecting an all-inclusive resort, you will have the option to go small, mega or something in between. Properties also vary in experience and vibe, which can range from a spring break party feel to a tranquil relaxing ambience. The quality, inclusions, service level, comforts and benefits differ as well, so it’s important to understand what you are getting into before committing. Photos can help you narrow what you like, but the true assessment, that you will need to dig more in depth to find, is the experience you and your guests can expect.
As you compare resorts, think about your own style. Do you like more modern chic décor, large resort feel, upscale luxury, eco-friendly features, or perhaps you want cultural elements that tie in the feel of the destination you’ve chosen. Once you know the type of property you are looking for, you can filter out options rather quickly.
Keep in mind – as mentioned in my post regarding planning a destination wedding on your own – that reviews, opinions and suggestions are based on a person's own style, budget, experiences and expectations, so what was amazing to someone else, may be unacceptable to you.
Another thing to consider as you narrow down accommodation options, is the wedding date you’re planning around. Check what’s going on locally. If it’s a national holiday or festival time in the country you’ve selected, you might want to avoid certain areas that will become more congested and crowded. Some businesses could also be closed, so you’ll want to ensure your local vendors or tour company you were planning to use will be available.
Speaking of tour companies, do you have a certain activity or excursion you were planning to do with your group? If so, you might focus on hotels that are closer to that particular area to keep transfer costs down and utilize travel time efficiently. If you’re looking for multiple off-resort experiences to go shopping or party nightlife most evenings, you should focus on those properties that are closer to points of interest to you.
Furthermore, if you have mermaid blood coursing through your veins, and want a property where you can spend more time playing in the ocean instead of just lounging around the resort pools, you’ll need to research the area very well. Some destinations have rough water or rip tides and warn you to not get in the water for your safety.
Other areas have pockets along the coast line that are rockier, more prone to seaweed, have large or smaller beaches, clear or murky water, etc…, so knowing what experience you prefer will help you narrow the area you should focus on to find a resort. One tip I have in this regard – do not trust the resort pictures of the beach. Unfortunately, many properties have very skilled marketing firms, photographers, and photo-editing that know how to make a beach look like something that it isn’t.
As you look at the resort options, don’t forget to know what the “Plan B” venue location is in case weather is an issue the day of the wedding. In addition, review the wedding packages and group amenities in careful detail. You may find that one property has much better perks or inclusions that can end up saving you money or provide a superior wedding affair.
Lastly, if you are thinking about moving resorts after the wedding for your honeymoon, you might want to focus on accommodations that are closer to your next location to make it easier and more efficient with time and the cost to transfer over.
I hope you found some valuable insight to get you started. 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 most 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!