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How to Select a Resort for your Destination Wedding
There are literally thousands of beautiful locations around the world available for your wedding. If cost is an issue there are a few things to keep in mind: 1) consider the amount of time it will take to reach your destination 2) A particular resort might offer great rates, but airfare might blow your budget. Of course Tahiti is beautiful, but to get there from the US or Europe, it will be quite costly. If you want to go to Mexico, someplace like Cabo or Puerto Vallarta will be cheaper and a shorter flight from the west coast. Those on the east coast might want to opt for Cancun or the Mayan Riviera.
Look at current published airfare and hotel rates to get a sense of the approximate cost of your resort. Keep in mind that most airlines will not publish schedules or rates before 330 days out (approximately 10 months). These rates and flights are still subject to change.
Do you want a large resort with hundreds of rooms? Something modern or something that reflects the local culture and architecture? Do you prefer a new hotel or one that has completed recent renovations? Have you considered a private villa or a smaller property for a more intimate setting? Is there a minimum length stay or rental required? What about the setting? Is your resort on a beach, Cliffside, both?
All Inclusive or Not?
All Inclusives are nice because they offer â€œone stop shoppingâ€. Once your guests arrive they should not have to spend any extra monies for food and beverages and certain activities. This can be a major selling point and certainly helps you and your guests stay within budget.
Adult Only or Kid Friendly?
Will you have any children in your wedding party or will you or your guests bring your children? What are the age ranges of your resort, some are 14, 16, or 18 and up? Will your resort allow children on the property for the wedding ceremony or wedding activities if it is adult only?
If you (and your guests) have children but are not bringing children, it can be a nice break, maybe even a second honeymoon. If your child isnâ€™t there do you want to have to listen to someone elseâ€™s child by the pool?
What amenities are important to you?
Do you want lots of pools, restaurants â€“ what kind of cuisine, a spa, beauty salon, golf course, room service? You resort should be a reflection of you and your fianc© and your lifestyle together but should also be comfortable and appropriate to your guests.
Will your hotel provide transportation to and from the airport or do you need to make alternate arrangements? Will they have trouble accommodating a large group if you are all traveling together?
What kind activities would you like to do?
Are certain activities included at your resort? What is nearby â€“ historical sites, shopping, excursions, etc? Are you dying to go horseback riding on the beach or swim with dolphins? If so, is there a place to do that and how far away is it?
Does your resort allow outside vendors?
Do you have a photographer or a particular photographic style in mind? Have you found an amazing bakery? What if your brother is a professional photographer and offers to shoot your wedding for you? How will the resort handle this, e.g. do they charge extra?
Does your resort allow same sex couples?
Not all properties will allow same sex couples and/or the corporate chain frowns upon such things. Do you have any friends or family that are in a homosexual relationship or do you simply have 2 female relatives that want to share a room? Do you have a personal, moral objection to such policies? *Note that when booking as a group you can sometimes get special permission to have same sex couples
You may choose to offer your guests several different lodging options to accommodate different budgets, children, etc. What does your resort charge for a Day Pass? Will you pay this or will your guests? (Keep this in mind for budgeting purposes)
How many of your guests must stay at your resort? For example at the ROR you must have at least 80% of your guests stay on property to host your wedding there.
Some resorts have great rewards for group bookings. Check to see if yours offers free nights or rooms and what the requirements are to qualify. Example: Book 10 rooms, get the 11th free or Stay 7 nights get the 8th free, etc.
The Wedding (the most important factor)
What are the legal requirements for your country of choice? Will it be a legally recognized marriage in your home country? What kind of documents and translations will you need to provide? What are the costs and fees associated with your marriage?
If you choose to get married at home first, will your resort allow a symbolic ceremony only? Does your resort offer religious ceremonies? Will they refer you to a Catholic church or Synagogue in the area? Can you have your wedding ceremony at an outside location and your reception only at your hotel?
Does your resort have an on-site wedding planner? How long does it take for her to answer correspondence?
*Disclaimer* Many of the larger resorts are busy with weddings year round. You resortâ€™s planner might be very busy and it can take up to week to get a response. A 3 day window is probably considered a good response time. It will be frustrating now, but when itâ€™s your turn you will want to be her first priority!
How many weddings are held each day?
What days/times are weddings available?
Is there any additional charge for a wedding at sunset?
Does your resort offer a wedding package? What is included in that? How easily can you make changes or upgrade? *Note that many places offer â€œfreeâ€ weddings but there will still be fees associated with your marriage license and filing fees.
**Tip** Before upgrading, look at what the individual cost is for each item. If there are services you donâ€™t need, it may be cheaper in the long run to go with a la carte pricing.
- Try searching or browsing the BDW wedding review forums for first hand experiences.
Wedding Reviews - Best Destination Wedding Forum
- See if your resort website has a wedding section and/or a message board.
- Look up reviews on Trip Advisor Reviews of vacations, hotels, resorts, vacation and travel packages - TripAdvisor
***Always keep in mind that reviews are subjective. Try to look for common themes or lots of complaints about the same exact situation before you worry or decide against a particular property.***