Picture this (on this cold February day, as you are surrounded by wedding magazines and the impending stress of making the biggest day of your life come together): You’re about to be married on a beach. It’s sunset. You can hear the calming sounds of the ocean and smell a mixture of salty sea and fragrant local flowers. You are warm from the day’s sun and your closest people surround you. You’re looking at your future spouse with all the feels of love. The romance is palatable in the air. Do you know what’s not in the air? Stress. You know why? Because you’re attending your own destination wedding, you’re on “island time” and there is not a worry in the world.
There are two types of destination wedding locations: resort weddings and off-resort weddings. Resort weddings are probably the most commonly thought of as the typical destination wedding, although off-resort weddings are becoming a go-to as well and below will outline some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.
The advantages of resort weddings:
- You and your guests are already at your venue.
- Usually coordinated by a single, English speaking planner.
- Everything is included and booked through the hotel – flowers, décor, entertainment, food, rentals, etc. – this means that it is extremely convenient, a one-stop shop if you will.
Resort wedding drawbacks:
- Of course, because this takes place on the resort, that you will be sharing with hundreds of other guests, you’ll have to consider that privacy really isn’t going to be possible, creating a less intimate feel.
- Hotels also usually mark up costs for resort weddings in terms of rentals, flowers, cake, etc., and you may be limited to what the resort has to offer, as it is not common for them to allow you to outsource to other vendors.
- In case resorts allow you to bring in an outside vendor, they would charge you a vendor fee, which ranges around $200-$300US per vendor. Unfortunately this is not something that resorts will be discussing with clients or make it clear to them before the contract is signed.
- Exclusivity may also be absent as most resorts book weddings back to back, especially in primetime seasons and you may wind up feeling like you’re on a wedding assembly line, especially if the hotel’s coordinator is running back and forth between the weddings and you aren’t being attended to as you should on your big day.
- Since it is a resort and has other guests there, they don’t allow parties to go passed 11pm, meaning that 11pm the music has to stop and you may or may not want to continue your party at the disco place, surrounded by other strangers.
Your alternative to resort weddings is an off-resort wedding or one that takes place in a private villa, beach club, private wedding venue or restaurant, for example.
Pros consist of:
- Frequently includes on-site venue coordinators that are helpful and can usually speak English.
- Flexibility in terms of design and décor. You start with a blank canvas and can transform the space to match your exact personal preferences.
- You can ensure that you have your own private location, sans bystanders and enjoy the exclusivity together with your family and friends..
- You are in control of sourcing out all of your own rentals, flowers, food, etc. from local vendors with direct costs and no mark-up, helping your vision stay aligned with your budget.
- It is highly recommended to hire a Destination Wedding Planner, that will take care of sourcing vendors for you, arrange deliveries, make sure all contracts look good and someone who speaks Spanish.
- You can design your wedding in any way you wish with no limitations on anything. Sky is the limit!!
- There is no stop time at 11pm, you can party for as long as you wish!
- What many people don’t realize is that putting together an off-resort wedding is NOT going to cost them more than a resort wedding. Our team did a thorough comparison for some of our brides to show them that after upgrading a few things at the resort, adding more hours for the resort photographer (which they will need for sure) etc. the resort wedding sometimes will cost them even more, considering all the mark-ups and limitations and no exclusivity at all, as well as the quality of service, food and customer service from the resort coordinators.
The only off-resort disadvantages that are common and that your planner can easily take care of are:
- Guest transportation from and to the resort will need to be arranged (which your planner will help you with)
- These locations come with nothing included which means everything has to be sourced on your own from local vendors, most of which do not speak English (which again your planner will help you with).
Your dreams can be made a reality by hiring your own planner who can take on these challenges for you, allow you to enjoy each moment with ease and be with you from start to finish because of the following:
- Your interests are protected and represented, you will not have to worry that your vision will be anything short of perfect because you are taken care of by someone you can trust to care for your day as much as you do.
- You can rest assured that your Designed Dream coordinator can speak Spanish and ensure nothing gets lost in translation and you will be able to avoid complicated communication with the local vendors.
- We can even make arrangements outside of the wedding day, such as excursions and other activities for you and your guests.
- A coordinator also helps to organize a rehearsal before the wedding, and a banging party after the wedding.
On and off-resort weddings each offer pros and cons, but fulfilling the desire of your dream day in an exotic dream location is what is most important. Most importantly, the peace of mind that is accompanied by having your own planner/coordinator with you is worth it in itself. Stress-free, island-style and happily ever after!!
Photo credit Fable Studios
Designed Dream is an award-winning wedding planner and design company in Toronto, pride in being in the event industry for over 10 years, and has successfully planned and coordinated over 300 weddings and events! Quality is always more important than quantity, and for that very reason, they never overbook and always ensure that all their clients get the personal touch and attention they deserve. The Designed Dream’s talented team also speaks several languages including Mandarin, Cantonese, Hebrew, Russian Spanish, and German.