Before you get too far into dreaming of the perfect beach wedding dress and walking down the aisle in a tropical paradise to say “I do”, you first need to choose the date before you start planning your destination wedding. If you have a special date in mind that means a lot to you and your partner, you’ll need to consider a few things before you want to settle on the location that you’ll married at. Even for those of you that have more date flexibility, there are still some important factors that will play a role in deciding when is the best time of year for a destination wedding.
In addition to all the below influences in figuring out your perfect wedding date, keep in mind that Friday and Saturday evening weddings are the most popular and are the first to go. Quickly followed by the day before and after, so if you are considering a Thursday to Sunday wedding date to create a long weekend for guests, I highly recommend you start planning around 12-16 months prior. On the latter side if you’re hoping for that unique memorable date such as 11/11/21, 2/2/2022 or 4/22/22 – you can bet there are hundreds of others trying to get the same date, so you have to be first!
Below will highlight our tips for how to pick the best wedding date and what to consider before you start planning your destination beach wedding...
While you won’t need to take a poll and find out all of your guests schedules for the next two years when you pick your wedding date, you will want to think about those closest to you, and who you absolutely do not want to get married without being in attendance – and for these guests, you may want to reach out for tentative information about their availability.
One of the biggest guest commitments to take into consideration is actually related to their children – if they have kids and if those children are school age or not. Many parents may not want to – and in some cases be unable to – remove their children from school to attend an international wedding, and particularly if their kids are in sports, extra-curriculars and/or in junior or senior year of high school.
On the other hand, this might be ideal if you are hoping for an adults-only wedding! Selecting a date that you know won’t be ideal for a child’s schedule, may make it easier for you to request no kids, but also the parents may not feel as bad for leaving the kids knowing they have activities keeping them busy with their care-givers.
Additionally, you may want to check if those closest to you have any “blackout” dates at their workplace – these are dates in which employees are heavily encouraged not to request to use time off because the business is just too busy – such as accountants in tax season. While this may not be a deal-breaker, it’s nice to consider your guests when you start planning your dream wedding!
Weather can wreak havoc on the most well-laid plans and unfortunately Mother Nature will do as she pleases, regardless of how long you’ve been planning your destination wedding! The easiest way to circumvent her and set yourself up for wedding success though, is to have a thorough understanding of the seasonal destination wedding weather of the location(s) that you are considering.
You’ll find that many tropical destinations have a high humidity rating and relentless heat during the US summer months, which can be so oppressive that it’s nearly impossible to enjoy yourself outside of the pool – or even keep makeup and hair in place. This can be especially uncomfortable for those who prefer a more formal men’s attire, because dress pants, dress shirts and closed toe shoes in formidable temperatures is not a good combination.
Another often over-looked piece of the equation is ocean and pool temperature. Due to the balmy weather found year-round in destination wedding paradises, some resorts don’t offer heated options for plunge pools, swimout suites, and even the main pools – and of course there is no way to regulate ocean temperature (not without a specific superhero power at least).
This means that if any swimmable water, such as swimout or plunge pools are located in an area that blocks the sunlight for part of the day, you’ll be paying for a fancy feature that will be too cold to use in the “winter” season! Similar can be said of the ocean – while shade isn’t the problem, the significant drop in temperature in the evenings of these cooler months tend to mean that the ocean can be quite chilly in this season. This varies depending on where you travel to, but just know that not all Caribbean water is warm in the winter months.
On top of the above, hurricanes, rainy seasons and seaweed can significantly effect quite a few tropical destination wedding locations at varying times of the year, so you may need to consider date flexibility, and if that’s not an option, destination flexibility.
Briefly touched on in my Savvy Soulmates Guide to Planning a Destination Resort Wedding, ecological events can be found across Mexico, Costa Rica and the Caribbean – such as turtle nesting season, sargassum seaweed, and red tides.
During turtle nesting season for instance, areas of the beach where the turtles need to nest are off limits and as such, cannot be used – so if your heart is set on a sunset beach wedding or reception, you’ll need to find another location, resort or date that won’t be affected by this.
On the other end of the spectrum, ecological events such as Whale Migrations are also seasonal events that many people love to plan their unique wedding concepts around. In the same vein as the above, you’ll need to select a date that falls within this spectrum for the chance to have such a momentous event take place during your proceedings.
Holidays – Local and International
Many couples think that planning their destination wedding to fall over a holiday weekend is the best of both worlds – kids are out of school, most people are off of work an extra day, so why not jet off to paradise for a beautiful wedding and some fun and sun?!
The only caveat is that – everyone else is off of work and school. This means that holiday periods have limited availability AND resorts and airfare are often priced significantly higher than non-holiday periods. This can occasionally be circumvented by being the proverbial early bird and getting your contract and air locked in early, so if you have always dreamed of a Valentines Day wedding or are thinking of using Spring Break as a way to ensure travel easier for your guests, you should jump on the train well over a year in advance!
Christmas Couples – many resorts do not allow weddings on major holidays such as Christmas or New Years, because they usually have resort wide events that ALL resort guests are invited to partake in. If your absolute dream is to have a destination wedding on a major holiday, I recommend reaching out to a destination wedding travel agent to discuss your options.
The other holiday factor to take into account are the local holidays of the country that you’re visiting. If you don’t do your due diligence with researching your destination wedding locations local holidays, you may find that a weeklong national holiday event is taking place the week of your wedding.
If this happens to you and your partner, you could suffer from limited vendors availability, limited staff on the resort, resort wide events to celebrate, limited accommodation availability as local nationals are off work and vacationing too, increased pricing due to requesting services on national holidays, or simply have nothing to do in the place you chose for its breadth of nightlight and local activities because the locals are off enjoying their holiday and you find many closed businesses and shops.
While no-one wants to spend more than they need to, some couples prefer to stick to a tighter budget for their destination wedding. With that in mind, you’ll want to get to know the peak and off-peak seasons of the destinations that you are considering and begin looking at wedding dates that fall into those off-peak parameters.
Just be aware – off-peak is often priced lower for a reason, so you’ll need to be very careful that your “great deal” doesn’t coincide with a weather, ecological or holiday event in the country where you’re getting married that may affect your experience!
I hope you found some valuable insight on what to consider before deciding on your date for your dream destination wedding. If you feel overwhelmed or would like assistance to narrow down the perfect destination or resort, we are here for you!
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!