I Had A Destination Wedding: Part 2

This post means one thing and that is…our photos are back!  Our photographer did such a beautiful job capturing our day.  So my last post on our destination focused on why we decided to do it that way, and how we planned for it.  This post will focus more on what it was like at the resort, and day-of logistics.  Lots of pictures!

Resort Perks:

  • One of the main reasons we went with an all-inclusive resort was that most of them have really great deals for weddings.  The Hard Rock Hotel has a complimentary ceremony & rehearsal dinner if you decided to do a wedding with them (there are collections you can pay extra for if you want fancy decor, but the simple white chairs and linens that came with the complimentary decor was fine with us).  So we really only paid for our 10 day stay at the resort.
  • Another reason why we chose this hotel, was that you got more perks when people coming to your wedding stayed on the resort.  Since we had 40 people stay for at least 3 nights, we got a complimentary catered 3-hour “private event” for every night that we were there.  We took advantage of this by having a Friday welcome dinner, a Saturday rehearsal dinner, and we extended our dinner reception into a full cocktail hour and dinner, and then had a farewell brunch the next morning.
  • Remember its an all inclusive resort, so open bar and all you can eat.  This extends to those private events.  We got to pick a signature cocktail and a menu for each event.  They have multi-course meals, but I know my friends and we went with a buffet.  We had BBQ Friday, Mexican on Saturday, and Caribbean on Sunday.
  • Finally, we didn’t have to do anything as far as setup.  We picked the menu, drink, and location on the resort, and the wedding day coordinator from the resort was there at every event making sure everything was done.  All Mason and I had to do was show up.  Below are some photos from our Friday welcome dinner:

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Wedding Day: Getting ready

  • I feel like all wedding days are going to be  little hectic so here was no different.  A few things that made it a little less stressful were:
    • Everyone was already on the resort.  No worries about people getting lost.
    • Room service was included with our stay, so we could order up as much food as we wanted while we were getting ready.  The maids of honor brought up sparkling wine and orange juice for mimosas.
    • The boys got ready in one of the groomsmen’s rooms.
    • Our wedding day coordinator was the point of communication for the vendors, so I didn’t have to worry about handling any of that the day of.
  • The weather was pretty iffy all week, and it looked like it was going to be a rainy day that day, so we went ahead and made the call to have the reception moved from an open terrace over to a gazebo.  Luckily there weren’t many weddings that day so we had lots of backup options.  We made the right call because though it cleared up for the ceremony (which was on the beach), it did rain right before, which would have ruined all of the decorations and the catering that had already been set up.
  • The wedding day coordinator was the one to make sure everyone was in their spots at the right time.  She delivered my bouquet to my room, and brought Mason’s boutonniere to him, and shuttled him and all of the boys to the venue.  She made sure the right music was playing, and organized golf carts to take me and the bridesmaids over from our rooms.

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Wedding Day: The Ceremony

  • We had two venues for our wedding day.  Our ceremony was held on a  private beach on the resort.  We picked that particular beach because of the lack of sunbathers in that area (no sunburnt bikini clad wedding crashers in our photos, thankyouverymuch).
  • Since we were on the beach, no shoes!  Boys wore some sandals, and the girls wore sparkly toe-thongs that I spent weeks making.
  • We had 40 guests including the wedding party.  The complimentary collection we chose included 32 chairs, and 32 glasses of sparkling wine for after the ceremony.  That ended up being just enough, and the cool sparkling wine was a welcome treat after sitting through the muggy ceremony (thanks rain!).
  • Because our ceremony was in Mexico, it was logistically easier to just get legally married beforehand.  So we had a county clerk ceremony back in April, and my friend Becca led our wedding ceremony and did a beautiful job.
  • I walked down the aisle to a pre-recorded soundtrack.  You had the option of hiring a musician, but I knew it was going to be a quick ceremony and didn’t really see it being worth it.  My dad is a musician and spent a couple weeks in the recording studio playing and creating a CD for the ceremony.  So the music he walked me down the aisle to was him playing guitar, which was really special.
  • Our resort had a lot of lovely spots for photos, so we did our formals right on the beach with a little grotto behind us, and then our photographer took us to some spots she had scouted earlier in the week for our couples photos.

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Wedding Day: Reception

  • Like I said, our wedding day coordinator made sure everything was set up for us, we didn’t have to lift a finger.  The only things we paid extra for were the lighting and the photo booth and the coordinator organized everything and everyone, everything else was included in the cost.
  • If you are worried a smallish wedding won’t be enough of a party, do not worry, because we had a blast.  I was not expecting everyone to be up and dancing, but we sure did!  We saved money by buying our own Beats Pills instead of renting their sound equipment, and it was plenty loud for a dance party.
  • The photo booth was also worth the splurge because people had so much fun with it too.
  • All of the food was hot and delicious.  Usually buffet food is luke warm, but not here.  We had to wait a bit for it to cool actually.
  • Unfortunately, with it being so humid after the quick rain, we had a swarm of mosquitoes that evening.  Luckily, since everyone was staying on the resort, they just went back to their rooms to grab bug spray.
  • We ended the evening with sparklers, and then everyone changed into swimsuits for a dip in the pool before retiring for the night.

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    Overall, I wouldn’t change a thing.  We had the absolute best time at our wedding, and it all came out as I imagined.  We had only close friends and family, so 40 people was just the right number for us.  Some things to consider if you are thinking on having a destination wedding:

    • Not everyone is going to be able to make it.  There will be some people that you really wish could be there, but for one reason or another, they just can’t.
    • Not everyone is going to be excited about spending the money to go to an event like this.  I leave you with two truths: first, they will come either way because they love you, and for every person that is feeling that way, there is another that is just pumped.
    • If you need everything to be perfect, just be aware that it probably won’t be.  You are planning an event from a distance, so there are so many factors that you won’t know to consider.  Just remember what you are there for, and nothing else will really matter.  I remember that there were mosquitoes at mine, but its not the first thing I think about and it definitely doesn’t make our day any less special.
    • Pick and choose what to spend your money on.  If you are having a resort wedding like we did, everything is going to be upcharged like crazy.  We took the hit on the lighting – I didn’t have a lot of expectations for what our day would look like, but I knew I wanted those twinkly lights.  We saved money by bringing our own table centerpieces, and I made the bridesmaid bouquets and groomsmen boutonnieres out of silk flowers from the craft store and brought them with us.
    • HAVE FUN.  I was very rarely stressed planning this, which is just what I wanted out of wedding planning.

 

Do you have any other questions that I didn’t answer?  Check out my last post, or feel free to leave a comment below!

-jules

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