Planning a Destination Wedding Isn’t “Easy”
People keep telling me that I’m taking the “easy route” when it comes to planning a wedding, which might be true, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Seriously, if one more person tells me that planning a destination wedding is easy, I might punch ’em in the face. All of this being said with a grain of salt, because I am still planning a destination wedding. But let’s get into it, shall we?
Why We Chose a Destination Wedding
Lots of people our age get married “back home”. Well, we’re both from totally different towns in Kansas. I’m from a town that I haven’t been to in over 4 years. Austin is from a small town where the closest airport is nearly 2 hours away. My family current lives in Kansas City, but neither of us have strong ties there.
Other people get married where they currently live. Well, most of our friends live in Texas, but none of our family does. I’m sure you’re following, but in case you’re not, no matter where we decided to get married there was going to be travel involved for the people closest to us. So if we’re making people travel for us, why not travel somewhere fun??
Second big pillar in our choice: wedding size. We both have huge extended families… and I have a rather large network of friends. As much as we love these people, having a 300 person wedding seems a little much for us. I’ve heard horror stories of brides saying they spend the entire reception walking around thanking people for coming and didn’t get to enjoy the celebration that they paid for. Speaking of paying, we knew our budget would be on the lower side for the average these days and more people = more money.
Where Are We Getting Married?
So, the true “easy” part was deciding on a destination wedding… We were in total agreement that this was the best for us, and our families supported it. Now where we’ll get married is a completely different ball game. Seriously, it’s September 2019 and I still can’t tell you where we will get married.
One of the first things I did when the crazy holiday season was over (side note, December engagement right before Christmas equates to you being asked your entire wedding plan just days after the engagement as if you have your whole wedding planned already) was head to Pinterest. I was a pinning machine! Honestly I was pretty convinced that I had my whole wedding figured out in a matter of hours, until I realized I had no idea on an actual wedding location. YIKES. Guess that’s an important piece of the puzzle, yea?
And by important, I mean the biggest hurdle we’ve had to face. Not only did we need to figure out a venue, but we had no idea where we wanted to get married. Would it be Mexico? Bahamas? Florida? Your guess was as good as mine. We knew we wanted water, but we weren’t sure on much beyond that. We thought being open minded was great, but it actually just added a lot of extra research for me.
Researching Wedding Venues
There really aren’t many resources available when it comes to planning a destination wedding. Most of the resources available are just people trying to sell you something. Photographers showcasing weddings they shot in hopes you’ll book them. Resorts showing you pretty photos but you have no true understanding of what it costs– and then you have to jump through 99 hoops to get that information from someone.
I spent hours upon hours Google searching rental properties through VRBO and AirBNB. I would find the perfect spot, then see no events allowed. I’d finally find the original source on a Pinterest image I love and track it to a resort, only to find out that the resort has nothing about pricing on their website and even after calling and emailing for weeks, I still couldn’t get information I needed.
Thought I found the perfect property in Florida. Spent weeks emailing back and forth about a few properties, then it got quiet. I called only to find out they couldn’t get me rates until May (this was February). Why waste my time and drag me along while “your team looks into it” when it reality you couldn’t give me what I needed?
I had lots of people tell me I was doing too much on my own and to try websites like The Knot and Wedding Wire. Look, I am sure they are great, but not for destination weddings. Maybe I’ll use one for our reception party in Dallas? We’ll see!
So I created an account on Destination Weddings and finally felt a glimmer of hope… After a call with a specialist, I felt like she understood what I wanted in a venue, our price point and our ideal spots. Too bad it took months to hear back from her. Seriously. I’ve heard other stories where people were connected to someone who helped them plan the wedding of their dreams, but I guess my luck was not the same.
Then I got crafty and started searching on Facebook. I found a Facebook group specifically for destination weddings. Y’all, Facebook groups are really bomb. To this day I would say it’s been the most valuable tool for planning a destination wedding.
Visiting a Possible Venue
So this Facebook group led us to a possible venue… WOO! We booked tickets to Cabo for August and got rooms at the resort we thought could be the one. Most of my wedding planning motivation halted for the summer. We had this trip planned and had a great feeling that it would be the spot. Honestly, the resort was beautiful and we loved meeting with the wedding planner. The only downside was the food. Our favorite meal was at the pool bar… and we ended up getting food poisoning on the last night of our trip. Even though this checked so many things off our wish list, the food was a huge red flag.
Back to the Drawing Board
So now here we are, it’s September 2019, and I don’t have a wedding venue picked out. Maybe we’ll still find the perfect resort in Cabo… Maybe something else will fall into place. Who knows. But the one thing I do know is that planning a destination wedding is not the dream I thought it would be. Visiting venues is so much more work. Planning with people’s schedules (well, this is always an issue, but you need a few more days when it’s a destination wedding). Making sure the price is accommodating for your guests + your budget.
Everyone has an opinion, but it’s important to remember that at the end of the day it’s your wedding. (Honestly I am saying this more for myself than anything right now).
Help Planning a Destination Wedding
So with all of this being said, I am still planning a destination wedding for summer 2020. I have kept most of the planning process to myself because quite frankly it’s been stressful. I’ve spent many days in tears, which shouldn’t be part of the wedding planning process. But from now on I’m going to do better at sharing the good and the bad along the way. Just because planning a destination wedding isn’t easy, doesn’t mean it has to be hard! Resources are key.
If you have any questions, whether it’s about the destination aspect, size inclusive wedding dresses, vendors, honeymoon planning, etc, please don’t hesitate to ask. It’s important we all help each other during this process! xoxo