Q: I recently got engaged, which is wonderful! And what’s great is my fiancé and I know we want to have a destination wedding in the Caribbean. Both of our families enjoy traveling there and we have fond memories of being there together as well. So, that’s not a hard decision. But, this is – we don’t know which island we want.
We haven’t been to all of them yet and while we’ve liked many of the ones we’ve been to, we just aren’t sure which island is the right one. How do we go about figuring this out?
First off, congrats on the engagement! And secondly, congrats on picking a location! Sometimes that can be the hardest part. So you’re right, you have one less decision to make, which is great!
But, now you need to pick an island. And as you know, there are a lot of them. So, where do you begin?
Before you even look at a map or start debating islands for your Caribbean destination wedding, start by figuring out what you want.
So, what do you want for your Caribbean destination wedding? What do you want that experience to be like for your guests? What do you want that experience to be like for you?
You want to think about the entire experience from start to finish.
Step #1 – So, start by thinking about the travel aspect. Think about how your guests will get there. How easy does it need to be? Think about where you want people to stay or where you want to stay. Do you want everyone together? Do you want them near a town?
And then think about how people will get around. Do you want people to just walk everywhere? Do you want them to be able to drive? You’ll want to think about your particular group of guests and their limitations or conditions when you consider all these items.
Step #2 – Then think about the wedding itself. You’ll want to think about what you want to happen and what that looks like. Think about what you want in a venue, the vendors you want or items you’re looking for.
You don’t have to know everything (and you won’t), but if there are certain ideas you have your heart set on, you’ll want to keep that in mind. For example, getting married on the beach. Or having a bonfire. Or having the whole property just for your group.
(Photo credit: McAllister Photography)
Step #3 – After you think about the wedding, think about the events outside of the wedding. Think the types of events you want to have like a welcome dinner or day after brunch. Think about what you want to plan or the activities you want your guests to have access to.
Similarly to the wedding, you’ll want to think about what you want to happen and the vendors/items you’re looking for. And of course you don’t have to know everything, but if there is something you have to have, that’s a consideration to take into account.
Step #4 – Lastly, think about the island itself. Every island is different. So, what do you want or not want in the island? Maybe you don’t want it to be a cruise ship island. Maybe you want some nightlife. Perhaps you’re worried about hurricanes and want to be outside the hurricane belt.
The currency and the exchange rate might be a factor. Or how lush the island is. Or maybe you want it to be easy to travel to other islands for your honeymoon.
Going through these 4 steps will allow you to come up with a list. Like apartment or house hunting, you’ll have things you’re looking for your Caribbean destination wedding. Some are deal breakers and some are not.
This list will help to guide you when you’re looking at the different islands. When you do your research you’ll be able to eliminate or consider islands based off your list. And then if you’ve narrowed the field to a few islands, you can then explore venues which can also make or break your island decision.
But, start at the beginning and create your list of wants. It will make the process much easier and faster. And it will allow you to find the right island for your Caribbean destination wedding.
And if you’re not having a destination wedding in the Caribbean, but somewhere else and you’re not sure where exactly you want to get married, these same steps will help you too.
Got a wedding planning problem you need help with? Ask us in a comment below and we’ll answer it in an upcoming Wedding Wednesdays Q&A.