By Mark Haughey
A couple of years ago, I was on a Destination Familiarization trip with my then-girlfriend Megan. I took the opportunity to propose to her, and to my surprise she said yes! It was a night I will never forget.
A month after arriving back home, we found out we were going to have a baby. This was not the plan, but now I am blessed with a beautiful daughter who makes me as happy as her mother has for the last 6 years.
Our wedding had to wait.
However, in the summer of 2012, Megan and I were both in the wedding party for our good friends Jenn and Eric. While this was a great honour, we found that it involved a lot of work.
We had to plan a Jack and Jill, Bachelor and Bachelorette parties, and wedding showers, all while trying to look after a newborn baby.
This experience convinced Megan and I to have a destination wedding, which we are currently in the process of planning.
Destination weddings save a lot of hassle. No Jack and Jill, no cake tasting, no venue choosing, and no deciding who makes the cut and who doesn’t. If people could afford the time and money, they could come.
Our first task was to decide which destination and which resort to get married at. This was fairly easy for us. We decided to go back to the Ocean Blue in Punta Cana; the same resort where we were engaged. We were familiar with the resort, so we could answer our guest’s questions fairly easily.
After we decided where our wedding would take place, we had to get in touch with the wedding coordinator on site.
If I can recommend anything to people planning a destination wedding, it is this: HAVE PATIENCE WHEN DEALING WITH THE WEDDING COORDINATOR. You have to keep in mind these people receive hundreds of emails a day from brides (and I am sure a few grooms too) making inquiries and kicking tires.
If you email the coordinator, give them 2 days to respond. If you speak Spanish or know somebody that can translate your emails to Spanish, this will be a great help. We found there was a lot of miscommunication with our coordinator about the package we wanted and the day we needed to book.
Once we sorted through that, and had confirmation from the coordinator that the judge was available for that day, we sent down our deposit.
The first order of business was choosing our wedding party. This is like a fantasy draft: your best man is your first round pick, and then you fill out the rest of your roster.
My Brother is my best man and then I have 3 really close friends to round out my team. This needs to be coordinated with your fiancée; you don’t necessarily have to have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, but you don’t want her to have 6 to your 2.
We both have 4, but we each have people in our wedding party that might not be able to make it. This is okay with us, and if you’re planning a destination wedding this has to be okay with you too.
After picking my wedding party, I thought my work was complete. Little did I know I would still have to advise Megan what colour dresses I think the bridesmaids should wear. This always seems to happen when I am watching sports. Megan gets bored, pulls out the laptop, and asks me which one of 30 options I like best.
(Note to grooms, you cannot get away with saying “whichever one you like best sweetie.” You actually have to pick one or two you like. Don’t pick the first two you see. Try to mix it up so she thinks you’re actually looking.)
I still haven’t decided what I’m going to wear. In fact, I’m hoping Megan picks this for me. All I know is I am not wearing a tuxedo on a beach in the Dominican Republic. When my brother got married in Cuba it was very casual. He got to wear khaki pants and a white shirt. I don’t want to be quite that casual, but I don’t want to overdo it either.
We are still at the beginning stages of our wedding in terms of planning. Even so, we filled our group of 36 in less than a month. Now we have the task of telling the latecomers that they’ll probably have to pay a much higher system rate.
That being said, I would take this stress over the stress that comes with a traditional wedding any day.
Our wedding date is November 20, 2013; sometime after that I will write a blog on how smoothly everything went, and how perfect everything was!