We leave in 10 days!!
I never thought the time would come for me to post my planning thread. Time has sure flown by since I first started reading threads/posts on here. I have come a long way from having no clue about where to begin with planning our destination wedding to almost being married! We were engaged on December 14, 2010 and will be married January 13, 2012. Since we were both University students (yay, done my degree!) we are on a pretty tight budget.
I want to thank everyone on here for providing their amazing ideas and inspirations. My wedding sure would not be the same if it wasnâ€™t for everyone on here! I found way too many great ideas and have had so many questions answered on here by past, present, and future brides. I wish I had kept track of who I borrowed my ideas from so I can give you some credit, but unfortunately I didnâ€™t.
I have been putting this planning thread together right from the beginning of my planning to make it easier. I will try to include where I got things from.
How it all Started
I wonâ€™t rewrite my engagement story as it can be found here:
This was by far the hardest decision we made in the entire planning process. When we first got engaged we had thought we wanted to get married in the Mayan Riviera in Mexico. After looking at every single all inclusive resort in the Mayan there was not one that we really fell in love with that fit the budget. Plus, my family has never travelled anywhere other than Hawaii and they werenâ€™t too keen on travelling to Mexico. We then chose Jamaica.
Once we narrowed down the location to Jamaica it was relatively easy to choose a resort. I feel in love with the gazebo at the Gran Bahia Principe in Runaway Bay, Jamaica and it fit the budget. It was also a bonus that I personally know some people who go there every year and they gave me rave reviews.
Another reason we chose this resort was because of the variety of wedding packages offered. It gave us the most flexibility depending on how many guests we would end up with. We ended up going with the free package.
We consulted with a travel agent right from the beginning in helping us decide on the perfect location. We are using a travel agent from AMA. We chose her as she is a good family friend. My parents have used her in the past for travel and were happy with her service. I canâ€™t say anything bad at all about her, she has been nothing but amazing.
Once we decided on a resort, we went to her in early February and asked her to get us group quotes from a few airlines for one week travel to the resort. The lowest quote came back for Sunquest Vacations. The travel agent has some recent negative experiences with Sunquest (cancelling flights two days before another brides wedding was supposed to depart for their destination). Transat was the middle quote, with Air Canada being the most costly. We decided we wanted to go with Transat. She then went back to Transat and explained that another company was cheaper and asked if they would match their price. Transat did.
We also were able to qualify for $400 off the price as an early booking bonus. I also happened to be looking online in June for prices for the week we are going, January 9-16, 2012, and I came across prices that were about $300 dollars cheaper than our group price. I called the travel agent and she was able to pass this info along to Transat and they decided to give us $500 dollars off per person.
Originally, the price for one week all inclusive from Calgary to Jamaica was about $2000 per person. With all the discounts we are now paying $1300 per person, tax included. Also, as a gift from Transat for all the troubles they are upgrading all our guests to Club Golden for free.
Also, at the time we booked Transat offered us the 16th trip free for every 15 people that book. Because we have exactly 16 people booked we get one trip for free. We are being selfish and using that money for ourselves.
The next decision we made was in regards to colors. I had really wanted to go with bright colors such as fuschia, orange, or purple. However, my Fiance didnâ€™t want to go with anything to girly. We compromised on turquoise and green. This was my color inspiration:
Save the Date
Shortly after choosing the resort and the approximate date we decided to send out Save the Date magnets. As we werenâ€™t exactly sure about the exact date of the wedding as the flight schedules werenâ€™t out yet, we just put the month on them. We sent these out in the end of January 2011.
We got these for free on Vistaprint so we only paid for envelopes and postage. It cost us less than a dollar for each.
We sent out 50 STD magnets. Out date to pay deposits by was June 30th. By the beginning of May we already had everyone respond to us to say yes they would be coming and paying a deposit or no they wouldnâ€™t be joining us (even though we didnâ€™t include any RSVP info). Because of that we never sent out formal invitations, but rather a postcard with a bit more information about specific dates ect.
We wanted our wedding ceremony to be legal not symbolic. That was one of the reasons we decided on Jamaica- it is relatively easy to get legally married there. We had to both get our long form birth certificates. My FI was born in Ontario; we were able to order his online. I was born in Alberta, I had to go in and apply for mine at a registry office. For both birth certificates it was $55.We also had to get our IDs (drivers license) notarized by a notary public. We went to a local Lawyer and she did this for us in about two minutes. It cost us $40.
Where I live there is only one small bridal shop. One day, shortly after I was engaged, I was with my friend out for lunch when she suggested we go try on wedding dresses. I never really thought I would find my dress at this small local store, and had been planning on making a trip to the city to find my dress. I didnâ€™t really know what I wanted in a dress, however, I wanted it to be fairly light. I am a plus sized bride and therefore, thought the selection at the store would be even less. I was sure wrong. I tried on about 6 dresses that day and fell in love with one.
However, I couldnâ€™t commit to a dress without my mom seeing it first. It took about two months before I was able to take my mom and show her the dress. When I went to show her the dress, I tried on two other dresses along with the one I loved, but didnâ€™t tell her which one was my favorite. As soon as I put the dress on I loved and came out my mom started crying. She said it was definitely the dress!
Here is the sample dress (a few sizes to small):
The only alterations I have made to the dress was to have the train chopped off in the back. I made the train into a small sweeping train less than a foot long. I hated the way the dress looked bustled and never really wanted a train to begin with.
My dress cost $900 and alterations were $108.