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Why AI or non-AI?

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#1 EmeraldPalms

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    Posted 31 March 2009 - 02:21 PM

    It seems that the vast majority of brides here have selected large AI resorts for their wedding. I am curious as to why this is so popular.

    I have never stayed at an AI resort. I'm a more indepedent type traveler. I really like smaller properties, and love to explore local choices for eating. When I've looked into it AIs also seem very expensive. I know it includes all your food and drink, and maybe is great if you're a big drinker? I, however, have found I can plan a much less expensive trip by staying at a non-AI. I also try to be environmentally and socially conscious, and feel it is easy to find a small, independent resort that is in line with that.

    I'm interested in selecting a smaller, non-AI resort for my wedding, but am wondering if there is some benefit to AIs that I am overlooking. I know my honey and I prefer the ambience of a smaller property, but I also want to take the needs of my guests into account. The wedding will be small but we do want some family members and close friends to be able to join us. I like the flexibilty a small property might offer, one which doesn't require all guests to stay at that resort. I think it would be nice for guests to be able to choose a property that they like and is in line with their budget (of course they'd all be welcome to stay where we are if that is what they want). But am I missing something? Do you think some folks are just more comfortable with international travel if they book in to a big international AI chain resort with name recognition? Would they have safety concerns about leaving the resort? I really want the best possible experience for those who are joining us.

    Sorry if I've rambled on a bit, basically I'd love to hear your views. Why did you choose what you chose?

    #2 ebredhawk

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      Posted 31 March 2009 - 05:24 PM

      I think destination weddings have a lot of room for personal taste and preference when it comes to planning. Personally, I chose an AI because the whole idea of a DW for us was to be as stress-free as possible. Since I'm not hugely experienced with planning international vacations, and because I wanted my guests to know up front how much everything was going to cost, I went with an AI. Honestly, the "name brand" kind of thing didn't have much of an effect on me. The resort had great reviews and included everything that we were looking for.

      If a non-AI is more in line with you and your FI's style, then I say do it. Definitely take into consideration the effect this will have on your guests though, but it looks like you have. I think planning events, meals, etc. may be more difficult if you're not at an AI, but it sounds like this is something you enjoy doing, so if you're up for it, go for it!

      Although you seem like you're pretty knowledgeable with international travel, I'd say just do your research about the resort and surrounding area before you decide anything. I'd bet there are places that are safer and easier to plan the kind of wedding that you're thinking about than others.

      Can't wait to hear what you end up doing. Sounds like you could whip up something extremely unique and fun for your guests!

      #3 Jacilynda

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        Posted 31 March 2009 - 05:42 PM

        We are doing a non- AI wedding. I think you can do whatever you like for your DW. I think are wedding is ending up alot cheaper than AI, but its very simple. We are having ours in Akumal which is actually a very environmentally friendly community.

        We chose not to do AI cause we really don't like touristy stuff. We've traveled the world and don't care for resorts or anything like that. We love backpacking through Africa, and eating local food, and staying away from real tourist stuff. But i think you should do whatever you and FI prefer.

        #4 EmeraldPalms

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          Posted 02 April 2009 - 12:01 PM

          Thanks for your input ladies! I am so excited to begin the planning process. I trying to be sure to keep an open mind going into this so I can plan something that will be great for everyone! I am thinking of Negril in Jamaica which offers a ton of different options, from Sandals and Riu to a little bitty botique resorts. I'm sure something will fit the bill. There are a few properties that don't require you to be guests to have your wedding/reception there, I might pick one of these and let guests pick whatever accomodations suit them. I'd put together a list of a variety of places with good reputations to make it easier for them. I feel like that might be the best way to meet the needs of everybody from low-budget backpacker type friends to relatives that love luxury.

          #5 petunia

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            Posted 02 April 2009 - 09:26 PM

            One consideration in choosing the site for your wedding might be the variety of attractions around the location and the availability of accommodations nearby. On some islands, like Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, you are much better off staying at an AI because the surrounding area is not tourist-friendly (safe). The resort you chose might be isolated with not a lot of resort/hotel/villa options in different prices for your guests locally. There also might not be many different restaurants nearby for your guest to choose. Your guests might have a variety of interests, such as sight-seeing, shopping, boating, golfing, swimming/snorkeling/diving/beaching, hanging around the pool or at a bar, entertainment, dining choices. Most all-inclusives take the varied interests into consideration and offer something for everyone. Using a smaller more remote resort might limit your guests' enjoyment. Try to keep in mind that guests will be combining your wedding with a vacation.

            I chose a small resort on St. Thomas, USVI, for my wedding. It's a very small, tourist-safe island that offers something for everyone.

            Have fun planning and drooling over all the possibilities. Each one will look more beautiful than the next.

            #6 Danyelle

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            • 368 posts

              Posted 06 April 2009 - 09:39 PM

              We love traveling on the indie tip as well. It's fun to explore and be adventurous and chill with the locals. I enjoy AI vacays as well.

              However, this wedding is serving as a vacation for more than just me and my lovey.

              We've chosen to go the AI route because it makes everything fool-proof and stress free for all of our guests.
              And not to mention stress free for me. I like the thought of my guests not having to reach for their wallets at every turn.

              #7 blushingbride

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              • 366 posts

                Posted 07 April 2009 - 12:44 PM

                The only place I have tried AI is in DR and it makes sense there because it comes out so cheap for all you get! I love not having to fork money to get a drink, and then for breakfast, lunch, dinner. In the end, it ends up costing more. The many times I've stayed in DR at an AI, the onyl things we've had to pay for is tips, cab rides, and souvenirs if any. I think AI have lots of reasons for the appeal. For those of you having guests, I think it's more attractive when guests know they can pay for their vacation before they go! AI's are not for everyone; but we love it.

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