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Newly Engaged: Planning Destination Wedding, Desperately Needs Help!

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Hi Everyone! 

I am totally new here and am excited to see if this site, the vendors, and all you awesome brides out there can help me out!

My Fiance is seriously the prince charming I always dreamed of finding as a kid, he and I met and it was love at first sight. He quickly became my best friend, and now we are planning our happily every after! The only catch? I am having to plan the wedding and I am pretty much horrible at this so far. I usually love coordinating events, and planning parties, yeah this is nothing like that and I am soooooo stressed out! 


First off, how we met... 

[We both were seeing other people, both of us had been dating our ex's for about three years at the time.] I'll never forget the date June 5th, 2012. I woke up very nervous as I was starting a new job. I had finally got the call I was praying for the previous Friday, to start Tuesday in a new industry and to shed the waitress apron! to finally work towards my career! yaaay!! So I put on my little suit jacket, and hit the road with a new found confidence. I started work early so I could get the paper work out of the way and my new manager gave me the tour of the company. It was then that he had introduced me to my future husband. I remember it like it was yesterday and I hope the memory will stay with me forever; he was there strong build, dark hair, tan from the summer, and sitting at his desk doing his work. His hazel eyes looked so dreamy and complemented by his light green shirt. He stood up to come shake my hand and introduce himself and my knees went weak. (I know cheesy right?) He gave looked at me and gave me a side smile that made my heart just jump into my throat. we just locked eyes and he forgot to introduce himself so the manager said this is Dave, Dave meet Gianna and I swear I couldn't talk to save my life. I felt my face flush and get red and I just smiled and said hi. He played it smooth and as the manager and I walked away I was filled with so much happiness it was indescribable. 

 fast forward a few weeks and started to talk to each other like normal people but were still very nervous around each other. Each of us having bf/gf that lived with us we just wanted this to be a friendship. It wasn't until he started saying that his gf was mean and almost abusive to him, that I opened up and let him know my home life was not so great either. My ex had actually started to abuse me, but as a child of abuse I thought I deserved it -- that it was ok to be held up by my throat against the wall and screamed at because I did something to make him mad--I've grown to know that no one deserves that treatment and have grown as a person. When things got bad at home for the both of us we would call each other and just talk out our frustrations. Then he realized he just didn't love the person he was with. He said so many times before that he never felt like he was in love. I had a particularly bad night with my bf and I called him crying saying how I was just beaten because I broke a jug of milk and I had had it, I wanted out of this relationship but had nowhere to go. He told me he broke up with his girlfriend and had been living at his brothers for a few days now. He came and picked me up that night and we never looked back on our old lives. He took me downtown (Chicago) to the Bean at around 1 am and asked me out in the park as a security guard tried to tell us to bugger off. we spent the night laughing and walking the streets finding secret places that I still have never found again to this very day. We watched the sunrise on lake Michigan by navy pier and just held each other. I felt like I was in a dream, that a real life fantasy was happening to me. I was in love with this man and he truly loved me in return. We had been dating four years when he finally asked me to be his wife. 


The Proposal....We were on vacation in Florida at his parent's beach house. We had been there since Saturday, the day was barely started yet but it was the following Friday. I had a slight idea that he might use this vacation to propose but then discredited it because we were this far in already. We were asleep in bed and he turned to me and gently shook me awake. He looked at me like a kid at Christmas and said honey get up, I wanna wake up and see the sunrise with you. Me being on vacation and loving the fact that I could sleep in replied, "that's ok honey I like my sleep" and rolled over. He laughed and said get ready and we'll go down [to the water] to hunt for sand dollars before all the old people nab em. I laughed and said alright. Since I was thinking I was only hunting for sand dollars I put my hair in a messy bun and threw on my new hoodie he had just bought me last night and grabbed a sandcastle bucket. (No makeup, no cute dress, definitely not how I thought I would have looked when he proposed to me!) So we walk down the boardwalk from our house to the beach and we see a little armadillo on the putting green of the golf course. Dave had been coming here since he was a kid and he had never seen one before. So we took pictures and went on our way. Once we were on the sand he and I started to walk alone to find the best shells and sand dollars. We got to be a few feet away from one another and he started to cry out, "sweetheart come here, come look what I found!!" I turned around and saw him bending over looking at the sand. Thinking he found some cool starfish or a crab or something, I came running up the beach back to him. "What is it babe?" I said and then he gave me that side smile that melted my heart from day one. He pulled a little brown leather box from his pocket and got down on one knee. The sun started to just break over the horizon and the sunrise was so bright red and beautiful. His eyes sparkling reflecting the ocean waves that were rolling in right next to us. He said, "I talked with your father and he gave me his blessing, Gianna ..... [my full name i don't want to put online] I have loved you since the very day I met you. You are my best friend, my partner, and now I want to ask you....Will you marry me? .....I swear to God I could not breathe.... I cried the happiest tears of my life, I hugged him and put on the gorgeous ring he slipped on to my finger and kissed him so hard we both fell over and just hugged and kissed passionately in the sand for a while. No one was around so it was very beautiful. (see what I mean, prince charming IRL!)


Ok so flash forward to three months of amazing engagement bliss...and now the stress and reality of planning this wedding is slapping me in the face. Turns out that just about everyone I know at my work got engaged too, oh and they all got engaged a week or so after I did, and they have everything planned already, and are just sitting back enjoying things. Me on the other hand. I am tearing my eyes and hair out trying to find something in budget, awesome, and in Maui or an all inclusive destination venue. I know, what you are thinking, well temper your expectations and just get married back home... Well to be honest it is more of a savings to do it there and have a small wedding then the cost of one in Chicago. Oh, and I probably didn't mention. We moved to Oregon two years ago and all of our family is in IL still so they/us will have to travel anyway to be together on our wedding day. Might as well have it where we would like, on the beach just like our engagement?!


Wedding stuff:

Budget, our max budget is 7000 for ceremony, reception, food, bev costs. at the most we are thinking 60 people and at the fewest 25. We don't mind getting married on a knoll since we would like to have chairs for our guests to watch the ceremony and the law doesn't allow for chairs in the sand, but we need to be able to see the ocean and have a stunning view. The reception; we would like to have an open bar, Dave also works in the wine industry so we could potentially have a good hook up to bring our own if the venue allows it. I have called multiple wedding coordinators for assistance and I have been referred to Gannon's and Mulligans so far. Gannon's seams pretty and we put a date on hold but they only allow dancing for one hour!!! Two hours at the max but the second hour is an additionally $500! YIKES! Mulligan's on the blue is pretty and allows for live entertainment and dancing into the night, but is not on the beach --at least from what I can tell in the pictures so correct me if I am wrong! The price per person for food looks to be in the 40 per person or less range and the 12 or less per person for drinks. If anyone has other suggestions please, please, please send info my way! 


Thank you so much to anyone willing to read my story and even more so anyone willing to help a girl out! 


Best to you and yours!

Gianna :wub:

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HI @GiannaM and welcome to the bestdestinationwedding.com community. It's an awesome place for information and help with your destination wedding to the beach destination you're hoping for. First of all, congratulations on your 2017 wedding and it was lovely to hear your story. HOW EXCITING this must be for you! Hopefully you're considering your destination wedding in the Riviera Maya, Mexico maybe? That is the areas  of Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. It's beautiful here and there are many all-inclusive options and also some smaller boutique hotels that offer wedding services for the smaller more intimate setting. We are a hair and makeup agency that has been here in biz since 2009 and are very experienced in weddings. We have also recently expanded to the Puerta Vallarta area, on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Both areas are wonderful for destination weddings and if you consider one of these area, let us know if we can help you some more, with planning ideas, hair and makeup ideas, photographers and/or other vendors. We've worked with some of the best. In meantime, happy happy wedding planning and let us know if we can be of any assistance! 


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    • So, this will be another one of those venting it all out topic but it won't be the last one (Well last one done by me)😂.   I got engaged back in the August bank holiday last year when covid restrictions were lifted. I knew this problem would occur so I wanted to get things rolling with my group of friends asap. I have 2 sets of friends that I plan on inviting to my DW (Next year). The first group are from the UK and the other group is from the other side of the world. Before I get started, we are planning our DW as normal with the hope that covid will be as less impact as possible. Me and my SO planned our guestlist and we would predict that there will be problems with both sides of invites. We both predicted that the UK groups would pose possible problems due to costs etc. Our other groups (Other side of the world) most of them will come barring any restrictions but all of them pretty much confirmed it. Now, this is where it gets interesting. My UK group (JAWSNA they're the initials of people within this group) posed the problem straight away when I announced that me and SO will have a DW (Even though A, A and W knew of this before I got engaged!). This group revolves around the first A and W.  A - I have known A since I first started university and it happens that A lives in the same city as me. Common sense will dictate that A will be the bestman of the wedding. Before I get started if it weren't for A then I would not have met everyone from the UK lot.Everyone knew including the test of the groomsmen knew I would ask A to be the best man. In total 3 groomsmen and a best man. I asked W to be one of the groomsmen and he gladly accepted it. The other 2 spaces were filled up by 2 people from the other side of the world group which means all I had to do is ask A to be the best man.  So forward 2 weeks after I got engaged I asked him. At first he paused for a few seconds then A went onto say "I feel the other 2 (Referring the 2 people that I asked to be part of the groomsmen from the other side of the world group) are better placed to be your best man because I feel suitable". When I heard that my heart literally stopped. He then went onto say "If the other 2 are still not up for it according to you then I will be your best man". That was the first warning sign. I didn't say much to A the following few days but I was adamant that A will be my best man. Ovdr the next month or so I kept at it to the point when he said "Sorry I do not want to be your best man so you can now do that 'group' you kept on saying" (Referring to my earlier point where I knew this will be a problem.  Things calmed down and he said that "We will have a heart to heart talk about your situation and will talk about the best man position" right until this day I have been waiting to see him in person. I know there wete 2 lockdowns but at the same time before the lockdowns occured couldn't A find the time even for an hour to talk about this? He said he wanted to do this face to face which is why he does not want to have this conversation over the phone but it's very hard considering we're still coming out of lockdown and easing of restrictions. This is where things take for the worse. From last February I kept in contact with A with everything and I let it slip that out DE will be next year. He went into a rant where he was "shocked" to find out that the DW was happening next year and warned me if I do not have a clear concise figure then people from the UK will not out effort into the DW. This is where I started a group from my side of the guest lists with the UK group and the Other side of the world group and effectively telling both sides of the group that DW will happen next year at this location (I do not want to disclose the location so I can remain as anonymous as possible). The other side of the group all confirmed they are going and this is where the UK group start to say their views. S and W sugfested that I was "loaded with money" whereas A start to say that I needed really clear figures otherwise people will not turn up. Ever since A messages that text the group has been stone called silent. A is literally impossible to get a hold off. I live really close to him yet he always has excuses to why he is not free. These ranges from "I have been getting a property", "Lifes busy man" or "Work gets in the way". Because of these lists of excuses I started to question whether I want him to be the groomsmen or not. He keeps on making excuses and I even tried to lie to him I was down the road from him to which he said "I have to get this furniture in place, watch the football then I need to get to bed by 9:30 pm)." I will invite him to the wedding but at the same time serious doubts are there whether I should or not and regarding the groomsmen? I don't even know because of all these doubts. To make things worse, A's girlfriend is a makeup artist and for obvious reasons A will have her as a plus one if he was a groomsmen. My SO reached out to her asking for a price to be my SO's MUA. A's girlfriend tried to make my SO to pay for her travel and flight costs along with her rates as the make up artists for the day. When this failed, A's girlfriend then mentioned that she looked at the costs and flight and it would be very costly for her. Then she made the point that she does not want to travel currently due to covid and wouldn't know if it's safe or not so my SO should reach out to her later down the year to seek clarity. Needless to say this is the works of A because this is something he would do so A must have taught his girlfriend to try and get a holiday out of my SO. A keeps on saying that I am.mkte financially stable than a lot of people throughout. This may be true but at the same time I have had to save and budget out money throughout my life so I do not see a major problem although I do understand where A is coming from. That's it for now for A. We move onto W who has been unsupportive but not to A's scale. W - as I have mentioned he is the other person I asked to be the groomsmen. Unlike A, W accepted straight away. I told him that the wedding would be abroad back in September and he was excited about this. Fast forward late February where I made the group telling people that it will be a DW, I felt something was wrong with him. I called him up a week later to which he said "I'm not going to lie, it seems pretty expensive. I have been saving up for a holiday since 2019 with a couple of the lads in the UK group. The destination we are going? It is a lot more less expensive than your DW. We wil be going to this destination for 2 weeks whereas for your DW it is for a week. Not to mention the costs. Before I step foot at the location of your DW I would need to spend hundreds of pounds before stepping into it. Not to mention the petrol costs and the car parking costs. I also have a plus one, that will be double. I can get off work for a week and wouldn't need to spend that much money on flights to your DW. If we did something in the UK you would receive a larger wedding gift and I still wouldn't be anywhere near your figure. What happens if S said "We not going to your DW but we will celebrate your wedding before you set off?" That would mean everyone from the UK group will stay here to celebrate with you but not come to your wedding." At first I didn't think much of W's comments. But the longer it went his comments infuriated me. I have been transparent from the first day I understand that costs for my DW will be a problem for some but it feels like I am forcing them to my DW at this point. S - probably the most sensible one out of everyone. He said he will try his best with his wife to save as much money as possible. It will be a test because he has a lot of things to pay for (But don't we all?). He is one of the ones who had supported me more than the others. He did mention that if the UK lot cannot make it they will do something to make it up to me. Nice gesture because A and W never thought of this. N - he is a nice guy because he is someone who I can talk. However I felt that he will be the first ones to drop out for my DW because he is less financially stable compared to the others. J - quiet throughout. Hasn't said a word to me. Thinking the same as everyone else and moaning about my DW. A2 - Ah, the second A. A2 has been one of the most supportive person throughout. I understand that he will probably drop out because he is the only person working from his family and money is hard to come by. He can even see that A has been very unsupportive. If he drops out I will not have a problem with him. He would have like to come but at the same time I know it will be very difficult for him because A2 and his wife wilk struggle to save up. I have already prepared my Plan B. Unfortunately I would like to not to use plan B but hearing from the consistent moaning of A and W's comments made me do this. I am planning for the worse and everyone from the UK group will drop out which is why I am ready to execute plan B. Forgot to mention. My SO's UK lot? We both feared it would have ended up the same situation as my side but to our pleasant surprise all of them confirmed they were coming! We were shocked to find out they are already booking that week off to celebrate our wedding! To make things worse, my SO's UK group's salary are a lot lower than my UK group yet her UK group can make it? Time to evaluate the friendship of my UK group!!!   /Rant over
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