Having given everyone the overview of my Backward Bride journey thus far....it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty of planning this wedding!!! I thought that it would be a good idea to outline the five "W's" , the Who, What, Where, When and Why of my destination nuptuals.
Well I am the self-titled Backwards Bride. I explained how I named myself that in the first two blogs, but my name is Krista. I am a forty-two year old mom of two teenagers, a 17 year old girl and a 13 year old boy. My prince charming and soon to be fiancé's name is Rob and he is the father of 3 boys, aged 14, 10 and 7. Rob and I met almost five years ago online and we have been living together for 3 years. I've always wanted to be married but Rob doesn't really see it as necessary. He's been married once before and although he says he's not jaded, he just thinks it's a really expensive day. Rob is for sure not the only man to think this way, but none the less I've sold him on a destination wedding!
I thought this will be great, we'll get a wedding, a honeymoon and a family vacation all in one shot. Then I started thinking about what we will need while on vacation. The logistics of seven of us travelling together and all that it entails, has become a little overwhelming. When I realized the costs involved, I knew we were looking at a least two years of saving up in order for it to happen. Our brood loves being outdoors, we love to swim and we try to squeeze every last ray of sunshine out of our short Canadian summers. In the end I think it will be something every member of our family will remember forever. Hopefully the kids will catch the travelling bug and they will continue to travel throughout their lives and explore many destinations.
The destination that I have chosen is Jamaica. Rob does not really care where we go, as long as he can sit in the shade with a gallon of sunscreen beside him. My 6'2", 250 lb hunk of a man was cursed with the skin of a delicate English Lady and goes from white to red in the matter of seconds. Although I am fair and quite pale in winter, I tan well. It will be interesting to see the pictures at the end of our trip. Rob still white as a ghost and the rest of us with glowing tan lines.....anyway. Jamaica! I contacted several travel agents and received a lot of excuses as to why they could not provide me with prices quotes on some all inclusive resorts that I had in mind. I asked for quotes for 2016 because I knew that they would not have prices for 2017 yet. I gave them all of the details, how many rooms that our family would need. The ages or the kids, the type of hotel we were looking and the time of year. Only one out of a dozen agents responded with actually, down to the penny, prices with airfare and taxes on three specific hotels that I had in mind, and one that I hadn't thought of. This allowed me to create a budget and see how much we would need to save in order to make my dream come true. I've narrowed it down to The Grand Palladium or The Grand Bahia Principe!!!! Yeah for progress! I realize that prices will change and resorts change as well, so I will make up my mind when I sit down to book with the agent.
As I mentioned, I chose 2017 for financial reasons. To save for the seven of us to spend an all inclusive week together, it will be a lot of money. The trip aside, there's seven of everything to be purchased. Seven suitcases, seven wedding outfits, seven passports, seven bottles of sunscreen (or maybe 10- for my English Rose...lol). I figured that April or May would be a good time to go. It's still not too hot here in Canada, so we will appreciate the sun. It's a little cheaper and it's not a bad time of year to have an anniversary. The quotes I received are for early May. So there we have it. My destination wedding in Jamaica in May of 2017!!!
I chose Jamaica for a couple of reasons, the first being is that it is English speaking. I thought it would be easier to have the wedding ceremony and documents in English that way there would be no need for translation. From what I'm finding out is that most people actually have a civil ceremony at home if the destination is not English speaking. Also, some members of our family have not travelled to the Caribbean and I thought it may be easier. I'm sure we will all be surprised by how strong the Jamaican accent is though.
I know that there are cheaper places and just as beautiful places to go for a destination wedding but here are a few more reason why a narrowed my choice down to Jamaica. The only other place that I have been to in the islands is Cuba. I went on a girls vacation several years ago to Varadero. Although it was beautiful and I would go back in a heartbeat, I just wanted to explore something different. I could have chosen The Dominican, but everyone I know that has had a destination wedding has gotten married in The Dominican. I would have entertained Mexico but a lot of my entourage, as I'll call them, is turned off by the negative press that Mexico had been receiving. Although I think bad things can happen anywhere, I just thought that perhaps they would relax more if they were at ease. I really want my guests to enjoy themselves.
Some of my guests are very seasoned travelers of the Caribbean and have stayed at some of the poshest resorts with Gold club memberships while others have never been anywhere but the local beach. I wanted to choose a destination that would suit as many people as possible that is still affordable. I also wanted a resort that was big enough to keep the kids entertained for a week, allow the adults to find quiet nooks to relax and to provide plenty of dining and entertainment options. From reviews on this site, trip advisor and their Facebook pages, here's what I liked about the two resorts in contention.
The Grand Palladium
A large resort with a grand open airy feel. The picture of the entry takes my breath away. The pool is stunning and beach looks like it had lots of shade. As much as I love the sun, I hate the thoughts of being stuck in it with no relief. Reviews said that chairs at the beach and pool were plentiful. The rooms look nice but a few reviewers said that the beds were very comfortable. This was a big selling point for me as the beds in Cuba nearly killed me! The reviews for food were good with lots of restaurant choices. We need a resort with lots of American food, as we have some pretty picky kids. The reviews of the weddings on this site have mostly been favorable. I believe that here is no "free wedding" at this resort like some of the others, so I will weigh out the cost difference when we get closer to the booking date.
The Grand Bahia Principe
I actually thought this resort was too big in the beginning of my research and had chosen The Rui: Ocho Rios as my other option to The Palladium. Unfortunately the Rui came in a little over my budget. The GBP was the resort that the travel agent included that I didn't ask to be priced on. I thought the price was good so I put it back in contention. The reviews are a little less favorable then the Grand Palladium but the wedding reviews are mostly wonderful. This resort has a very big and bustling kind of feel to it and I can't help but feel that we will all get separated and spend half our vacation trying to find each other.
Well that's my five W's of my destination wedding so far. Please feel free to add any advice that any of you may have for me as nothing is written in stone yet!!! My final choice is going to be a hard one so any information at all is appreciated. I will continue to blog as I make decisions throughout the next phases of the wedding planning. Now if I can just get that blasted ring!!!!! Wish me luck ladies!
My Unconventional Journey to the Alter Continued....
If you read the first entry of my blog, you will remember that I had outlined how I felt that I had become a Backward Bride. By the end of the entry, you may recall that I had written about having endured some failures and tragedies and found myself in quite a low place. I was single and lonely, raising two children, going to college and dealing with loss and illness in my family. I felt my world collapsing around me and I wondered how I was going to make it through it all. When out of no where a beacon of hope shone in the distance waiting for me to reach out and follow it.
Before my parents got sick and I had more time, I had joined a dating sight. I was not thrilled with the results and looked at the site as more of entertainment then finding a relationship. Most men on the site, in my age range, were bitter, divorced men who just wanted sex. The others were generally single for a good reason. One night after spending several hours at the hospital with my Step dad, going over what direction to take with his cancer diagnoses, I popped onto the site as a distraction. After sifting through the usual crap messages from horny womanizers, There was one that was kind of nice. He introduced himself, wrote about himself in way that utilized self deprecating humor, something I tend to do as well. His communication was well thought out, informative and funny as hell. I had to respond. I hadn't laughed that hard in a long time and it felt good.
Our communication was slow as I was still busy with all of everything, but it was easy and natural. I felt as though we had know each other for years. We had a lot in common. He had kids, I had kids. He was starting a new career and I was just finishing school to start a new one of my own. We both enjoyed that same subjects (mostly- I can't stand hockey and he's obsessed) and we both love to talk. We talked so much that when we first went shopping together to grab dinner items, it took forever because we kept stopping in the aisle, without noticing, to talk about some random events we found interesting. And even though I was in a cyclone of stress and chaos, I found myself feeling like everything was going to be all right because a hero had arrived. Not a swoop in and fix everything hero, but a genuine kind hearted person who cared about me and what I was going through. A hero who knew when to make me laugh or when to give me a hug. A hero who knew when I needed silence or a distraction. A hero that would show up at the front of the hospital to drive to wherever I had parked my car, just so that I didn't have to make the walk alone.
Shortly after meeting my Sir Galahad, my stepfather passed away on Christmas day. Having been though it only months before when my mother passed, I plunged into making the arrangements and let my grief take a back seat. Because I had only been dating my new fellow for a few weeks, it was not appropriate to expect him to attend services with me and I didn't ask. The support he offered throughout in subtle ways meant the world to me. Just before service started at my step fathers memorial, I received a text with a simple message; "Thinking about you today". And from that day until now , five years later, we have spent barely a day apart.
My new fairy tale began. Although we did take things much slower then my past relationships, we did end up moving in together and becoming a family after two years of dating. It has not always been easy, but we work on it. There is financial struggle with both of us in new careers, dealing with ex's and differing parenting styles. We are figuring it out. I have not always made things easy by wanting to get married and take our relationship all the way. He always said he's not opposed to getting married again if that would make me happy, however, despite my best efforts, no ring has appeared.
So I sat my beloved down and said "Here's the thing, I'm forty-two and I'm feeling kind of spinsterish having not been married yet." I told him that I was not planning on being his girlfriend forever so he'd better get off his duff and get he show on the road. I explained that planning a wedding was a good two year process perhaps longer and that emotionally I needed to be married in order to keep investing in our relationship. Of course we had the discussion of how it's only a piece of paper....blah, blah, blah. He dug in and was stubborn for a while but after mentioning a destination wedding, he began to like the idea. No church, no formalities, just the kids and those close to us. A wedding, a honeymoon and a family vacation all wrapped up in a neat little all inclusive package. He was sold.
Although my unconventional journey to the alter is not near it's end, at least I feel like I can truly begin. The green light has been given to plan this adventure, so plan away I will. I've already begun my research and that's how found this site. It has been incredibly helpful so far. So as I, the Backwards Bride await my proposal, I will continue to blog my planning progress as many of you have done so well.
Next Blog: The Five W's of the Backward Bride's Journey to the Alter.....
Well, you can tell I'm new to blogging! I created the blog, then typed away my story. I took so long that the page expired and didn't publish or save the entry. So sorry to the two people that viewed to find nothing. Hope this one goes more smoothly!
After reading some of the blogs on this forum, I decided that it would be fun to document and share in my wedding adventures thus far. I call myself a Backwards Bride because that's exactly how things have happened for me, almost all the way flipped upside down! Here I am in the early stages of planning a destination wedding and I'm not even engaged! Not that I haven't tried, I've been down that road twice before.
It seems that as young women, we have been raised to follow a specific order for our romantic lives. First we date, then become engaged, plan a wedding, get married, start a family and for the most part, that is the order most of us intend to follow. In the past few generations the order of things may become a little bit skewed but not many have messed up the order completely, like I have. Planning a destination wedding without an engagement will seem perfectly normal after I explain how my unconventional journey to the alter got me thus far.
Being a forty-two year old wanna-be- bride was never part of my fairy tale. I dreamt of it all- the white dress, the church wedding, gobs of friends and relatives fawning over me and my mystery husband. Now after a couple of decades of life getting in the way, it's time to build a new dream. But first I'll explain some of my backwards antics that led me to this point.
During my early twenties, I met and fell quickly for a man ten years older then me. Not having much experience in relationships, I fell for his charms and well...nice months later my beautiful daughter was born. That's not really anything new as there are lots of young women who find themselves pregnant before getting married. However, the father and I never really dated until after my daughter was born. I gave him space as I didn't want him to feel that he needed to be with me because of our child. But he stuck around and we gave it a go. We had another child (planned this time), and when my son was around a year old and my daughter was ready to start school, I started putting some pressure on Daddy Dearest to get married.
So that following Mother's Day, my gift was to go ring shopping. Woohoo! Ya.... NOT! On shopping day, I met my man on his lunch break at the jewelers and within five minutes, I was engaged.....I think! I tired on a ring, he asked if I liked it, I said yes(what else do you say?) and he paid the lady. She asked me to take it off so that she could put it in the box and he asked "What for?" The sales lady said "So that you can give it to her Sir." (meaning propose). His replied as he headed for the door, "I just did." I was left standing in the store with my children. I'm not sure who's jaw was closer to the floor, mine or the salesladies. After broaching the subject at home it was made clear to me that my ring was in fact a "shut up ring" and I was expected to act as though we were now married. Needless to say I was the one who headed for the door after that.
As much as losing the relationship with my children's father was hurtful, it was more then ten years ago now, and he and I truly do make good co-parents to the kids. We both stayed single for a long time after we separated and eventually we both met other people. I began a relationship with a man that I worked with and had known for many years. Were had been friends and I had known him as a dedicated husband and father who worked hard to provide for his family. We saw it as a sign that we both found ourselves unattached at the same time. We started getting the kids together for play dates and then he asked me out. I was gun shy a little but I thought what the hell, he's a great guy, he's stable and a good dad.
Within a year we had moved in together and gotten engaged! He was really pressuring me to get married, so I started planning the wedding. I bought a dress, put a deposit on the hall, booked a minister, picked and outfitted the wedding party. After an unfortunate lay-off we postponed the wedding for a year. It was how his time off was spent that perpetuated the beginning of the end. While I continued to work, instead of job searching, my fellow was spending all of his time with his daughter. At first I was glad that he was getting time with his daughter but then I found out that he was spending with her mother as well. This behavior confused his young daughter greatly and she expected that her father was coming back to live with the family. He decided that she was too young for the truth and changed the subject when she asked questions instead of being honest with her. Needless to say this caused for her to resent me and the girl rejected me whole heartedly as part of her father's life. The child was allowed to be rude to me and my children and demanded to be taken home to her mother when ever she didn't get her way. Sometimes pick ups and drop offs would last for three hours because they were spending time together. I was devastated when my fiancé told me that his old family was more important the building ours and that I would just have to except that. I did not except that and sent him packing. He did not fight for us and after a few months went back to his first family, where she greeted him with open arms( and legs apparently) as they had another child 14 months after our split.
As much as I knew we were not meant to be together the sense of failure was overwhelming and I felt that I had disappointed my family, my friends, my children, and everyone who knew me. The wedding was off, deposits lost, halls cancelled, dress left hanging in the abyss of an alteration room somewhere.I felt judged and unwanted, and I became a little depressed. It took a couple of years before I could even watch a wedding show and was genuinely bitter towards anyone who made to their wedding day. Before I was to completely become myself again, tragedy hit my family and I lost my mother to Cancer and I began taking care of my dad who was lost without her. Five months after my mom passed he went into the hospital with pneumonia and was diagnosed with last stage Cancer. I was burning the candle at both ends and had still had not grieved for my mother. I was raising two children, in college full time and caring for my father. I was emotional and physically exhausted. I promise the sad part is almost over, for I did not know that a knight in shining armor was on his way to rescue me.......
Next Blog: How the Backwards Bride found her Hero