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Overwhelmed...where do you even begin?

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Hi ladies,


If anything, please, read this in amusement that a bride-to-be has lost it even before STARTING to plan her wedding and felt the need to vent...on this Friday night, sitting in front of TV, with her dog asleep at her feet, FI is long distance and away...


I've now gathered a bunch of information from a bunch of venues from Pacific to Atlantic. [Mind you, I still haven't heard from some resorts, and do not have info for 2010.] But none of the venues, I fear, has provided me with clear information. What happened to a table clearly identifying "what; when; how much"?


I know my FI is expecting exactly that. This means, I will have to go through all the information, sort them out, make a table, and be able to present a clear proposition as to why one venue is my favorite and it should be our venue...that is, when I figure out for myself what I want...


I know, I know...this should all be fun! [Not really...when I ask a venue, that is a service provider, I expect the answers to be given to me clearly...which has not been the case.]


Yes, a small voice inside me says just do it - start reading, writing, organizing, listing, etc....[but I just find myself being overwhelmed over and over.] I did get as far as organizing my overflowing inbox by venue and highlighting the front runners (solely based on the look of a few pics on website).


Most venue won't give me a specific proposal or even a guideline unless I know how many ppl and when - well, HOW AM I SUPPOSE TO DECIDE WHEN AND HOW MANY TO INVITE IF I DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH IT'LL COST MEhuh.gif My FI wants to gather all the info; then for us to sit down and weigh all the options. Well, hm...I cannot gather the information without having some of the details which are dependent on info I would like to gather first!


So, how did you do this? What was your priority? Where should I begin? sad.gif


Also, do you know exactly when is ON versus OFF season in Mexico vs. Caribbean vs. Hawaii? Are they different? I'm such a novice to this...


Thanks for reading. [i promise you, I'm not usually this whiny. I'm a "do-er", not a whiner...but this wedding planning thing has been more difficult to start than anything else I've done!]

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I wish I could give some good advice...all I can offer is how we came to choose where we did. We chose Bermuda because we are bringing our son, who will only be 1 yr old, and we know that it is a very safe place. That was the only important factor to us. Many of other places would have met that criteria, but we didn't want to fly either, so a cruise to Bermuda was it for us! I think the best way to start is to choose which country is your first choice. Narrow it down to one or two countries, then worry about specific venues so you don't feel so overwhelmed.

P.S. I saw *Petals* wedding pics up, not sure what her venue was, I think it was in Jamaica, and the place was stunning!

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It does get a little overwhelming in the beginning especially when you have all these resorts you are looking at. At least you have started to organize the venues according to the ones you liked best by their pictures. I did the same thing. Then I would contact my travel agent and she would give me the pros/cons of that resort. Then you look at cost, not only for you, but for your guests. Also look at their wedding venues. You have to figure out if you want to get married on the beach, gazebo or another location at the resort. My FI just cared about how much it was going to cost for our guests. That was hard. I would find a place that I liked, but the price was not right. You just have to keep thinking of what you want and what you always dreamed your day would be like.

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We chose to do a cruise wedding because most of our guests are in driving distance of the cruise port. We also wanted the option of being able to invite people who cannot go on the cruise (elderly relatives). We're getting married in port before the cruise leaves the dock so we'll have the entire cruise to enjoy with our guests. We both have teenage brothers, and several of our guests have children, so we thought a cruise would be the best option for them as well because of the activities available for all ages.

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For me location was the most important factor. We both agreed that we wanted to get married in the sand on the beach. I also made a list of everything that was important for me in a location. I went on Trip advisor and looked at lots, and I do mean lots, of resorts and locations. We chose our resort based on the fact that it was eco-friendly, fairly small (65 rooms) and AI. It was more expensive than others that we looked at but it provided most of the things that we wanted. We knew that were probably losing a few guests since we chose something so far from LA and a pricey resort, but we will celebrate with those folks at our AHR when we return. I know that you will find the right location for you if you make a list of your priorities and then narrow it down. This site is great because you can chat with brides who got married at your resort and get first hand info. Previous brides on this site are so helpful and will be glad to send you pics and inside info on the resorts that you are considering. Good luck and with your dog at your feet while you are working on your wedding, you just can't go wrong!



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Believe me, we've all been there!


A few things that will help you if you keep them front and center in your mind.


Google is your friend. I mean that. When it comes to things like off season, wedding packages and photos...go to Google and Yahoo Search and take a look at what has been listed on sites like Tripadvisor.com to get at least an idea of what the general consensus is on what each resort has to offer in terms of weddings.


Don't expect U.S. customer service from Caribbean locations. This has been THE HARDEST lesson for me to learn. I expect answers to be timely, concise and detailed. There is a whole different mentality outside of America especially (since thats the only country I can vouch for living in) when it comes to what a "timely response" is or even "detailed". lol WE are looking at it thinking "we have SO much to do that will depend on getting this info-c'mon!" THEY are looking at it as "We are still negotiating our rates with the touring companies..you have a whole year-relax!" Ofcourse WE are right.lol But they aren't wrong either. It's just different perspectives. Plus, remember they are dealing with couples who are having their weddings NOW as opposed to you (and all the others) who are just putting out feelers and haven't even CHOSEN their resort. Potential incoming business is important, but pleasing the guests you HAVE locked in is equally, if not moreso. There are resorts averaging 5 weddings per day...things get busy on their end so we do have to be patient as much as it sucks.


Have an idea of the atmoshere you want and work from there. WHERE do you want to be as far as your destination country. Do you want a huge mega-resort or a smaller one OR something in between? Does star rating matter to you? Luxury accomodations? It's pretty easy to weed out at least an initial list from those things as soon as you have a country selected. Just those things alone can cut your list in half when looking at places. Then? Go back to tripadvisor with that shortened list and start looking at reviews keeping in mind, there are some disgruntled guests no matter what hotel it is. Some people are never happy, so go with the average review and don't worry TOO much about a negative one here and there as long as they are few in number.


As far as costs, what really helped me was just looking at rates for THIS year and figuring in a 10% increase. As it turns out, my resort isn't having that big a rate hike (yet) but it is really helpful to use that as a guide so that you possibly come in UNDER budget. There should also be previous year wedding package information available on most of the resort web sites--do the same thing with those and that will give you a ball park of what you'll spend. Most resorts are willing to work with you on tailoring a package to fit your needs, ie if you need a cake, but don't care about a music trio. Or you plan to hire/bring your own photographer, so don't need the resort photog that is included in the package. That type of thing. So you can guesstimate a bit on the price going higher or lower depending on your needs.


I hope this helps a bit. I know it can seem like you are starting in the middle and doing nothing but chasing your tail when you are so dependant on info from uncooperative sources early on. Just hang in there, and the info will start coming in. Just be persistant and don't panic!

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I was going to respond until I saw Savannah's response - which pretty much sums it up! Go girl! Picking the resort was by far the most difficult decision for me!

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Savannah has great tips!! I was in your shoes for the last 6 months!! I kept procrastinating because it was so frustrating every time I'd research a hotel. I would love pictures from one resort and then find out that it would break my bank. Also, we were having a hard time getting quotes from hotels because apparently, I was researching too early. Here are some things that helped me with deciding on a hotel:


1. Google was the first thing I turned to.

2. Tripadvisor and their hotel rankings/reviews/pictures was the next thing I stumbled across while on google.

3. The Knot's Guide to Destination Weddings...a book that is very handy. Buy it on Amazon for about $13.

4. Knowing what you can and cannot do:

-I had to pick a large resort because we have a lot of people who are interested in coming. If I had a choice, I would have chosen a smaller boutique hotel. Check out Casa Natalia in San Jose del Cabo if you are having a small wedding (~30 guests). My friend got married there 5 years ago and it was beautiful! The staff is great and Natalia, the owner, takes care of everything for you.

-We will have children with us, which weeds out a lot of the nicer adults only all-inclusive hotels. Royal Playa del Carmen is great because although it is an adults only all-inclusive, their sister property, Gran Porto is across the street and is family friendly.

5. Take into consideration the ease of travel for your guests. My family is mostly on the west coast and FI's family is mostly on the east. We chose Cancun because non-stop flights go there from both SF and NY

6. Read these forums!! I have crossed out hotels simply from bad reviews. I've ready many good reviews of The Royal and their WC's.


Hope this helps and good luck planning. I HATE planning ANYTHING and all this wedding stuff has been a headache for me. But knowing that a place has been booked definitely eases my mind. Keep us updated on what you decide on! Can't wait to hear!!

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I think go back to basics too.

1. Decide what type of wedding you and your FH want i.e. big, close family only, small.

2. make lists of venues and destinations - and as people have said as you go to the different forums, cross things off your list if they don't suit what your vision is.

3. If in doubt - google.

4. utilise the search function in the forum - it is amazing the info and resources that are here for you.


Good luck

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Hi! Wow, I know EXACTLY how you feel!!! Like you, I'm a detail-oriented person (civil engineer - go figure) so I like all my information to be presented in tables, in an organized fashion where I can easily compare and sort different options. I felt the exact same way as you do, so much so that we got engaged in January and we still haven't picked an exact site yet, though we've narrowed the options down a lot. However, I do have some advice to help you filter everything in your head so you can focus in on what's important to you.


It sounds as if you're suffering from information overload. When you get engaged, it's very tempting to immediately start contacting all the resorts you can and gather as much information as possible. However, this can cause a lot of confusion. It is so much easier, before you ever even think of specific resorts or locations, to start at the top and work your way down, eliminating options as you go. I suggest taking a deep breath, stepping away from your computer (I know ... gasp!) and curling up on the couch with your doggie and a good old-fashioned notebook and pencil. Write down everything that comes to mind when you think of your dream wedding. I mean, really, spend a lot of time and put down EVERYTHING you can think of. Write a story, jot down random words, whatever. Just get all your wishes onto paper. Then, using this, you can go through the following steps to narrow down your choices.


1. Decide whether a destination wedding is really right for you. If so:


2. Pick a country


To do this, you need to decide a few things:


a) How much do you want your guests to spend to get there?

For us, we wanted our guests to spend as little as possible in order to have as many people join us as we could, so we picked Mexico because flights are cheapest from where we live.


B) What kind of climate are you dreaming of?

I've always dreamed of a tropical, Caribbean-like climate, with those balmy, sultry evenings and turquoise ocean ... this helped us decide on Cancun/Riviera Maya as opposed to Cabo or Puerto Vallarta.


c) What time of year would you like to marry?

You may have must-attend guests who can only make a certain time of year, or you may only be able to do a certain time. Google is the best way to find on- and off-seasons of different locations. This could help you rule out some countries.


3. Decide what style of wedding you would like


Making this decision can help you eliminate a ton of potential locations. For example, we decided that we're really not all-inclusive resort type people and would prefer a more unique, intimate wedding. So right away, we were able to eliminate all of the big resorts and focus in on smaller hotels, restaurants, beach clubs, etc. This really helped to cut out a lot of the "chatter" in my head and clear my thoughts.


a) Where would you like your ceremony and reception?

If you've always dreamed of getting married on the sand, you can immediately eliminate those locations that don't offer beach ceremonies. Likewise, if you've always wanted your reception on an outdoor terrace overlooking the ocean, you don't even need to consider sites that can't provide that for you.


B) What is your budget?

You don't even need to contact resorts to find out approximate rates ... you can find a ton of info from real brides on here. Also, simply looking at room rates can help you out. If you want to keep your wedding under $5000, for example, you don't even need to consider those places where rooms run at $900/night.


c) By now, you should have a relatively small list of potential options.

Yet, you still don't even need to contact places yet! By reading reviews on here and seeing what other brides have to say about the various locations on your short list, you may find out that some of them may not be able to provide you with the wedding you want and you may be able to eliminate a few more.


4. Contact potential sites


Now, only now, do you need to contact locations. By now, you should have a really good idea of what you want so that you can ask them specific questions and request specific information.


I really hope this helps you a little bit. By figuring out exactly what you want and working from the top down, eliminating different options as you go, you can fairly easily come up with a pretty small list of places. This should help filter out some of the confusion, organize your thoughts, and avoid that dreaded information overload! Good luck!


- Jen

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