Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Travel Tuesday- Destination Weddings

Hi everyone! Today I have a special guest post from Karen. I hope you enjoy :) I'll warn you right now that Ecto seems to hate when I cut and paste so I'm sorry in advance if the spacing is CRAZY in this post. I swear it looked normal before I posted it!

Hola Bloggies!

Let me introduce myself - my name is Karen but on the blogosphere I go by Toronto Girl West, and you can find me at the blog of the same name. And I'm here today because Kelly has been wonderful enough to allow me to guest post on Travel Tuesday.


Like Kelly, I'm a healthy living blogger with an absolute passion for travel. There are few things that thrill me as much as experiencing different cultures and seeing the world. In fact, if it were up to me I'd travel pretty well every other month.

Unfortunately, that's not realistic but I get my trips in where I can! And that includes planning destination wedding - which is what I'm here to talk to you about today!

You see back in November, I married the love of my life at the beautiful Cabo Azul resort in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. Our big day was honestly like something out of a fairy tale . . . I will forever remember dancing the night away under the stars, waves crashing in the background, and palm trees rustling in the wind.

In that moment, I couldn't believe that the dream I was living was actually my wedding day!  So without further ado, I present to you the "Top 10 Reasons to Have a Destination Wedding:"

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1) You'll save big $$$!!! The Husband and I paid for our own wedding so we really wanted to make sure we get the best bang for our buck. First, we started off by looking at venues in Toronto (where I'm from) and in Victoria (where the Husband is from), that's when we discovered that many places were looking for $5000 for venue rental alone! The thought of paying that much and getting nothing but a space hurt our wallet. And then came the costs for flowers (very pricey) and food. That's when it became blatantly obvious that a wedding in either the U.S. or Canada would be very costly indeed. So we considered a destination wedding instead! The same wedding services that at home would have cost us a fortune were a mere fraction of the price in Mexico. Take the flowers for example, our reception was absolutely full of orchids - I was stunned to see how beautiful everything looked. There's no way we would have been able to have such extravagant florals on the same budget in Canada. Let me put it to you this way, a welcome reception, a rehearsal dinner, an eight piece mariachi band, a wedding planner, stunning florals, a DJ, a cocktail hour, a plated dinner, an open bar at every event, the cake, the venue, and the officiant all came in under $12,000USD for a party of 35!!! And while I know that may still be over some people's budgets, consider that we had our wedding at a non-all inclusive resort. You could easily plan a destination wedding for much less! In fact, many all-inclusives offer complete packages for just a few thousand dollars. wedding 2.jpg

2)  The Help is Included Most destination wedding venues include a wedding planner - which is a HUGE help when planning such a big event! Because let's face it, we all lead busy lives and although it would be absolutely fantastic to have endless hours to plan a wedding it's just not going to happen. Enter the wedding planner. She (or he) can be as involved as you want them to be. In my case, I had a vision for a big day and I chose to be extremely involved in all the decisions but if you're a totally hands off bride you can leave the planning up to the planner and basically just show up for your wedding. Any way you look at it you come out winning!!!

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3)  Might as Well Get a Vacation out of It If you're anything like us, you'll have guests attending your wedding from many different cities. In our case, we live in the Rockies, and our friends and family are either in Toronto, California, or British Columbia. It was inevitable that people were going to have to travel from far away to attend our wedding. And that means spending big $$$$; add in the price of a hotel in our wedding destination and it's likely that a couple would have spent well over a $1000 just to share in our big day. But that's where a destination wedding is perfect - since people are already going to be travelling it makes complete sense to hold the wedding abroad. That way, your guests at least a get a vacation out of all that travel! And potentially for a cheaper price too!

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4)  It Weeds People Out This one may be a bit controversial - but one of the things we liked most about destination weddings is the way that it weeds people out. Yes, you may lose some guests because you're holding your wedding abroad. But at the end of the day, those that really matter will most likely still be there. When we were planning, we didn't know how many guests we would end up with but we knew we could count on our parents and best friends. Ultimately, we had a small and intimate wedding of 35 people (which coincidentally is considered large in the destination wedding world) which turned out to be perfect!

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5)  Three Days is Better than One A huge bonus of destination weddings is the fact you get to spend a couple of days with your guests in the lead up to your big day. Think about it, there will be only a few times in your life that you will be fortunate enough to be surrounded by such unconditional love and joy. Why not make that feeling last? Most of our guests arrived at least three days before the wedding - which gave us time to share special moments with each of them. Plus, by the time our wedding day rolled around, everyone was friends and it really showed when it came time for the reception!

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6)  Experiencing Something New is Always Fun One of our biggest considerations when planning a wedding abroad was the ability to expose our guests to something new. Some of our guests had not traveled very much and most of them had never been to Latin America. Granted, we chose to host our wedding at a luxury resort but we still took great pains to make sure our guests enjoyed some of the real Mexico. For us, that included exposing them to different food, walking around the nearby town, and planning a full-day boat excursion so they could see the beautiful Baja Coast from the water!

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7)  Because Weddings are Stressful and the Ocean Makes it Better I may have been as prepared as any bride will ever be but that doesn't mean that the wedding day wasn't a little stressful. But rather than rushing around a city trying to make it to the church on time I had a relaxing day by the Ocean. On my wedding day, I woke up early and enjoyed the sun rise with my mother down at the beach. Those are moments I will always treasure. And I'm convinced they wouldn't have been nearly as relaxed or memorable had I not chosen a destination wedding.

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8) Your Pictures and Videos will Look Even Prettier Ask any of my friends or family and they will all tell you how very important wedding images were for me. We were fortunate enough to book our dream photographers and cinematographers for our big day. And while we knew that we picked a beautiful hotel to host the wedding at, it didn't hurt that the scenery was so spectacular. Having seen some of the images, I can tell you that a destination wedding makes for spectacular memories caught on film! And while I know that a ball room wedding in a city can also be very beautiful there is just something special about having an exotic location as a backdrop to your big day!

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9)  You can Incorporate your Culture

While this one may not apply to every couple, I would encourage those that come from different cultures to consider having a destination wedding in a location that allows them to showcase their heritage. I am not Mexican but I am Hispanic, and having a wedding in Mexico meant that my traditional Spanish dress and mantilla veil fit perfectly into the surroundings. Plus, everything from the flowers to the flavours of the dishes spoke to tastes and sights familiar to my Latin American self. But please don't think that you have to be from a warm tropical place to incorporate your culture into your destination wedding! A big day in the Tuscan hillside or in a beautiful English Castle would be equally as appealing!

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10)  Your Anniversary Trips are Planned for You Admittedly, we won't choose to spend every anniversary in our wedding location but when we're ready it will be wonderful to take a trip back to San Jose del Cabo and reminisce our big day. And when the time comes - we're looking forward to taking our children to Mexico and showing them where mom and dad were married. Think about it . . . how special would it be to be able to re-live your destination wedding for years to come!!

So there you have it bloggies the "Top 10 Reasons to Have a Destination Wedding!"

I think it's clear to see that we're thrilled with the way our wedding turned out and we would recommend a destination wedding to anyone looking to have an unbelievable event!!!

Here's hoping you enjoyed my guest post - please feel free to drop by and say hello at Toronto Girl West!    Question: Have you ever attended a destination wedding? What did you think? Would you ever consider a destination wedding yourself?


  1. I REALLY wanted a Mexico/Jamaica/Dominican type destination wedding but after a lot of discussion we decided it just wasn't feasible to us. A lot of people (like my grandma and most of Eric's family) just wouldn't have been able to make it and it was important for us to have them there.

    So that's why we're doing it on the Sunshine Coast! Still a destination wedding, still on the ocean, but the vast majority of our guests can (and will) drive to it :)

    Also, Karen, your wedding photos are TO DIE FOR gorgeous. Seriously!

  2. Thanks for asking me to guest post Kelly!!! It was totally my pleasure!!! :o)

    And Amber - muchisimas gracias!!! I can't wait to see your wedding pictures!

  3. My first destination wedding will be Amber's. :) I am super excited for that!

    Great post! The pictures are beautiful!!

  4. THANKS FOR THIS POST! Wow, it's like you read my mind. I have been thinking about wedding none stop lately. Here is my situation;

    My bf and I want to get married at a cheaper price (similar to your price), but we are afraid to ask our friends to pay so much to travel for our wedding. How did you deal with that? We want to do a cruise wedding...any things to suggest about a cruise?

    Did you get to choose your photographer? Amazing pictures, by the way, absolutely beautiful.

    Lastly, how did you deal with the rest of your family not being able to come...did you throw a party the trip?

    Thanks again for all the great tips. Your wedding looked so fantastic and romantic. What a memory!

  5. Our friends got married in Jamaica and we went. It was awesome. They got married the February after we got married so we used it as our honeymoon. We spent 6 days and 7 nights at an all inclusive resort and it was awesome. We had a ton of fun hanging out with our friends or just doing our own thing. Best trip we've been on.