We’ve all see the advertisements for the perfect destination weddings; bride, barefoot in her beautiful white dress, her hair blowing gently in the tropical breeze, with her husband smiling and admiring both his new wife and the sun setting over the ocean. And yes, it can be this way…but it does take some planning.
I had the chance to sit down with Samuel Barajas, responsible for wedding sales at the Iberostar Gold Premium Resort in Playa Mita, Mexico, recently to talk to him about some of the logistics and challenges it takes to pull off the perfect destination wedding. With approximately 300 weddings a year at this resort, but no more than one a day, they’ve seen just about everything. (The strangest request was a bride who wanted her Chihuahua to proceed her down the aisle; as a ‘no pets allowed’ resort, they had to decline this request.) Weddings are booked about a year in advance, and most of the couples booking the resort had never visited it in person before. I decided to dig a little deeper and find out what you need to know.
What’s included? Each resort would have a separate price list, but typically what you can expect the resort to provide, at different price points are the wedding venue, decorations, flowers, food (from simple canapes to buffet to sit down meals), alcohol (especially at an all-inclusive resort), music, and someone to actually marry you.
Is it legal? In the case of Iberostar, they take care of all of the paperwork for Canadians (and other countries), so all you have to do is show up. A blood test may be required depending on the country where you are being married.
Who pays for what? Tradition is typically that the bride and groom (and/or their family) would pay for the wedding amenities, as well as their own room. In the case of all-inclusive, with all food and drink provided, there would be no extra charge outside the wedding meal itself if you use one of the all-inclusive restaurants. Couples can choose to host their wedding meal at one of the specialty a la carte restaurants as well. Set up in a separate area of the resort with a customized meal would be an additional cost. Guests are expected to pay for their own airfare and resort accommodation, plus food and alcohol during their stay, if not included in an all-inclusive package.
Is there a “Plan B” for bad weather? All resorts will have the capability to accommodate a wedding party indoors should the weather dictate. The decision to go indoors is typically made by the bride and groom, not the resort.
What’s the least busiest time? In hot destinations, the least busy times are typically January, February, April and November, when families are typically not taking up all the rooms. Great time to have a wedding.
What’s great about a Destination Wedding? Most details are managed by the resort, it can be quite a cost savings for the wedding couple, as they usually push the cost of attending the wedding (airfare, etc.) back on their guests. Typically guests might stay for a week (in an all inclusive), which is a fantastic way for friends and family who might not see each other very often, due to living apart, to spend time together. Or for them to unwind by the pool or beach with a waterproof Kobo Aura e-reader (which would be an excellent gift for the wedding party) and catch up on their reading.
What’s the downside of a Destination Wedding? The cost to the guests makes it prohibitive for those on a tight budget. As well, travel is not always an option to those with physical limitations, very young babies, or the elderly. Additionally, time lost at work at a prescribed time might be tough for some. So, even though you might be saving money on the wedding itself, you may have to plan a party at home to include all of the guests who couldn’t make it.
For more information on wedding planning at Iberostar resorts, visit http://weddings.iberostar.com/en/Home/Index
by Kathy Buckworth
Author, I Am So The Boss Of You (Random House)
Chief Family Advisor, PCFinancial & PCPlus
Columnist, “Parent Hacks” Post City Magazines
Travel Feature Writer, Metro News
TV Columnist, “Get Set, Go!” CHCH Morning Live
Radio Columnist, “How She Travels” on What She Said Talk Radio