Decisions, Decisions … Is a Destination Wedding Right for You?

We know that destination weddings can be a hot topic for couples and their families once they are engaged. Most of the time families want you to get married close to home so that everyone can attend and couples often felt torn between what they want to do and what their families want them to do. So if you are one of these couples on the fence we have found a little quiz from Destination Weddings Magazine that might help you make a firm decision.

 Here are 10 questions to ask before you commit either way.

1. The main reason we’re considering a wedding away is:
A. We want to slash the guest list without causing a familial civil war.
B. We’ve both been to a million mediocre weddings and want to do something different.
C. We fell in love with a particular locale on a previous trip.

2. When picturing our wedding day, our main focus is on:
A. The setting: a meaningful locale with lots of flavor.
B. The details: the perfect flowers, an amazing menu and an out-of-this-world wedding cake.
C. The people: It’s all about spending quality time with the ones we love.

3. The bulk of our A-list guests:
A. Have never stepped foot outside our home state.
B. Like to travel — just nothing too exotic.
C. Have multiple inoculations and well-used passports.

4. We need to find a band at our locale. The plan: 
A. Import a band we know — we need someone who can do a note-for-note cover of “Purple Rain” for our choreographed first dance.
B. Look for recommendations, then ask potentials if they can play the must-have romantic standards on our list.
C. Troll the Internet, then pick the band with the most interesting name. How could you go wrong with Reggae Ron and the Rake ‘n’ Scrape Trio?

5. If the wedding flowers drooped before the ceremony and the cake was the wrong flavor, I’d likely:
A. Weep uncontrollably in the ladies room until my MOH calmed me down.
B. Call up the vendors immediately and demand a refund.
C. Shrug my shoulders and hit the dance floor. Hey, at least we’re married!

6. I have a question for the photographer. I expect a response:
A. Immediately. I’m the client here!
B. Within 24 hours. Patience is a virtue, but only for so long.
C. Whenever they manage to get back to me. They’re probably busy with other weddings.

7. One of our VIPs can’t afford the trip. The solution:
A. Go on without her, but have a celebration back home and share the video.
B. Spring for her airline ticket and hotel room so she can celebrate with us.
C. Panic. A wedding without our A-listers is not going to happen.

8. As a bride, how would I rate my organizational skills?
A. I thrive on chaos and haven’t planned anything bigger than a last-minute barbecue.
B. Call me a star strategist: I’m the go-to gal for organizing group plans with my friends and have been known to alphabetize my spice rack.
C. I’m about average: I can definitely keep things straight, but I don’t freak out if the unexpected occurs.

9. How complex are the wedding plans we’re envisioning?
A. We want everything customized: a totally done-up space, five-star menu and couture cake. Is it too much to have a monogrammed dance floor?
B. We’d like some special touches — certain flowers in my bouquet, a few favorite dishes on the menu — but nothing too crazy.
C. As long as the food’s good and the location’s pretty, we’re set. We’ll pick a package and be done with it.

10. When it comes to wedding planning, my groom:
A. Is pretty easygoing but wants input on a few key details like music and food.
B. Wants to be involved every step of the way — why should all the burden fall on me just because I’m the bride?
C. Just wants to know when and where to show up: The rest is my call.


Score Yourself:
1 A: 0, B: 1, C: 2.
2 A: 2, B: 0, C: 1.
3 A: 0, B: 1, C: 2.
4 A: 1, B: 2, C: 0.
5 A: 0, B: 0, C: 2.
6 A: 0, B: 1, C: 2.
7 A: 1, B: 2, C: 0.
8 A: 0, B: 2, C: 1.
9 A: 0, B: 1, C: 2.
10 A: 1, B: 2, C: 0.


What did you score? 

If you scored less than 6: Stay home. Marrying away complicates every detail of your planning, and your circumstances may make a far-from-home ceremony challenging, if not downright impossible.

“A destination wedding is not for someone who has a large list of must-have guests,” says Alison Hotchkiss, owner of Alison Events in San Francisco and author of Destination Wedding Planner. “It’s for someone who wants to spend quality time with a small group of her friends and family.” External issues — VIP guests who can’t (or won’t) travel, a large must-have guest list or a less-involved groom — may mean you’ll need to decide between eloping at your dream locale or saying I do near your loved ones.

But your personality also comes into play. The complexity of a destination wedding may be beyond the grasp of a not-so-organized bride, while a perfectionist may have a hard time handling the fact that some details will veer from her vision. “If you want that fairy-tale, black-tie wedding with an eight-course meal and lots of exotic details, it’s going to be complicated,” says Tatiana Byron of 4PM Events in New York City. You’d be better off planning a wedding close to home, where you’ll be available to manage every detail to your liking.

The alternative: Hire a planner and let her handle the stress. “If you fall in love with specific photos from magazines and you’re very particular, you really need to get someone who can help you,” says Napa, California-based wedding planner Sasha Souza. A top-notch consultant can make certain that your vision is carried out — even halfway around the world. But you’ll have to pay for it: Expect 10 to 20 percent on top of the wedding budget.

If you scored 6-12: Venture forth — but not too far. You have the organizing chops to put together a destination wedding, but to make it simpler for you and your guests, stick with more established locations along easy travel routes. “You need to ask yourself, ‘What will my guests be into? How easy will it be to get there?’” Byron suggests. “If you fall in love with a venue that takes three planes to get to, maybe you should just elope.”

Choosing a domestic locale, especially in a popular wedding spot such as California, Florida or Las Vegas, ensures that you’ll have access to quality vendors used to working with destination brides. Better yet, you can make a site visit (some resorts offer complimentary planning trips) so you’ll be able to meet with vendors and get a more accurate picture of their capabilities. “The people at these locations do weddings all the time, so if you like the way they presented it to you, let them do their thing,” Byron suggests.

If you scored 12-20: Grab your passport and pick your spot. Experts agree: You’re the perfect candidate to wed away. “Destination brides tend to be nontraditional, adventurous and open-minded. They want something unique,” says Hotchkiss. Your excellent organizational skills will help you strategize a multiday event, and your laid-back attitude will enable you to have the time of your life, even if a detail (or five) isn’t exactly as you’d expected. “If you can just relax, you’ll have an amazing party — even if it doesn’t turn out precisely as you had in mind,” says Souza.

It also helps that your friends and family are willing to travel to the ends of the earth to witness your vows — and that you’re excited to spend several days with everyone you’re inviting.

Most of all, it’s important that you’ve fallen in love with your destination. “If you’re planning a destination wedding, you need to have a passion for the local culture,” says Byron. “The food, the music, the flowers — it’s all going to be influenced by the local scene.”


Wedding Day Love Letter….

This is a short story on how a love letter I received from my bride-to-be came at exactly the right moment….

If you think a mistake was made above, and I really meant to say “groom-to-be”, think again, this is written by a happily married, former groom, who wanted to share a special wedding day moment.

My wife is not the type of person to vocalize her intimate feelings, instead choosing to show me how much she loves me in many other ways (too numerous to name here). On our wedding day however, this was not the case…

As I was up in the bedroom of the estate we had chosen for our big day, showering, shaving and getting dressed to exchange vows with the love of my life, the weight of the moment suddenly dawned on me, and I grew nervous. Those who know me best, know that I am not the type of person to be nervous or stressed about much, and, up until this point, I had not been the least bit nervous about “taking the leap.” At that moment, however, I WAS nervous. I had so many things going through my head…Are we ready for this? Am I ready for this? Are we too young to get married? Is this crazy? It was then, as I stepped into the closet to retrieve the shirt I would be wearing, that I saw an envelope with my name on it, written in the handwriting of my bride-to-be. I stopped, grasped the letter, and thought to myself how thoughtful it was of her to get me a card. When I opened the envelope my bride-to-be had left for me, time stood still, and every worry I had before that moment ceased to exist. The card was sweet, and the words she wrote within brought tears to my eyes; from that moment on, I knew that I had nothing to be worried about because I was (and still am) the luckiest man in the world…I got to marry my best friend and the love of my life.

The rest is history, she looked more beautiful in her dress than I could have ever imagined and our ceremony could not have been more perfect, more “us”.

The moral of this story is that you may see it as only a small gesture of your love, but a “wedding day love letter” can have a profound effect on the one receiving it…

Finally, to my best friend, my wife, my love…always remember

You have my Whole Heart,

Forever and For Always

I Love You. 

 

Kid Friendly Activities in Hawaii for Your Out-of-Town Guests

Destination weddings often turn into mini or full-blown family vacations for some guests. With that in mind you will most likely have friends and family that bring their children along for the fun. While beach activities are the primary means of entertainment for children and families, sometimes it is nice to do some exploring!

Here is a list of kid friendly activities for families in Hawaii that you can provide your guests.

Big Island

  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Visit an active volcano, see a lava tube and spend an afternoon hiking.
  • Dolphin Quest Swim with dolphins!
  • Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens Visit rainforest animals at this zoo. Admission is free and it is a great place to have a picnic.

    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

  • Zipline Tours: Soar through the rainforest (multiple companies offer these tours)
  • Punaluu Black Sand Beach Visit a black sand beach.
  • Manta Ray Night Snorkel Tour: Snorkel above beautiful manta rays at night (multiple companies offer these tours).
  • Hike to Waterfalls: Numerous hiking trails lead to magnificent waterfalls.

Kauai 

Maui

  • Atlantis Submarine Tour exploration Maui at a depth of 100-ft below the surface
  • Lahaina Kaanapali Railroad tour The Sugar Cane train, as it is commonly known, is an open-air coach car pulled by a steam engine.
  • Maui Tropical Plantation an agricultural history of Maui
  • Haleakala National Park an opportunity for children to learn about a variety of ecosystems
  • Hawaii Nature Center provides an excellent view of the Iao Needle, another of those unforgettable images of Maui. The more than 30 interactive exhibits and guided rainforest walks are a hit with kids of all ages.
  • The Maui Ocean Center The Maui Ocean Center was voted Hawaii’s Top-Rated Family Attraction. Touch-pools get children actively involved in learning about new creatures. The highlight of the Maui Ocean Center is the glass tunnel that leads into a 750,000 tropical aquarium where sea creatures, including sharks swim overhead.
  • Whale Watching Tours (during the winter months)
  • Whalers Village Museum Learn all about whales anytime of the year!
Oahu
  • Hanauma Bay Snorkeling & beach fun for the whole family.
  • Dole Pineapple Plantation Originally operated as a fruit stand beginning in 1950, Dole Plantation opened to the public as Hawaii’s “Pineapple Experience” in 1989. Get anything “Pineapple” you can think of as well as explore the “World’s Largest Maze”.
  • Honolulu Zoo Animals, animals, animals! What’s not to love?
  • Polynesian Cultural Center Child friendly luau.
  • USS Arizona Memorial Pearl Harbor-WWII Valor in the Pacific World War II

    Pearl Harbor: USS Missouri Battleship

    Valor in the Pacific National Monument preserves and interprets the stories of the Pacific War, including the events at Pearl Harbor, the internment of Japanese Americans, the battles in the Aleutians, and the occupation of Japan. Educational and Fun!

  • Hiking Diamond Head Short, kid-friendly, hike with a great view of Waikiki from the top.
  • Waikiki Aquarium Waikīkī Aquarium brings guests face-to-fin with colorful tropical fish, reef sharks, living corals, endangered Hawaiian monk seals, sea jellies, squid, octopus and more!
  • Sea Life Park and Pacific Whaling Museum Swim with dolphins and dive with manta rays, all in the safety of the park.

Wedding Party Bonding — It’s More Important Then You Think

Once you and your spouse have selected your wedding party it is a great idea to let everyone get to know one another before the big day. Chances are that you both will have friends from different stages in your life and family in the wedding party, and these people might not have had a chance to meet. Having both the bridal party and groomsmen come together and meet beforehand will create a sense of unity and help build relationships. Everyone will be relaxed at your wedding and this makes for great pictures!

Wedding Party”Bonding” Activities:

  • Wine Paring Party: Have a lot of wine enthusiasts in your wedding party or people that like the just drink…wine? This is a great opportuity to loosen up and learn a little something. Many restaurants and wineries have paring classes so you can start your search there. There are websites online that can also help you find local wineries, such as All American Wineries.
  • BBQ/Pool party: This is always a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Depending on where you live and when your wedding is, this might be a good activity for you. You can make it a potluck so that everyone can bring their favorite dish or host the BBQ with traditional staples.
  • Dinner (at home or out): Love hosting dinner parties? Host a dinner at home or at a restaurant for the wedding party. Everyone can always bond over food and drinks. Everyone is bound to have scheduling issues and if this is a problem, a dinner is perfect — everyone has to eat dinner, right? A dinner usually has a shorter time commitment and can be easily put together.
  • A hike: If you have a more adventurous wedding party, then get active with them! Go for a mid-morning hike (nothing to strenuous because you want people to be able to chit chat). Depending on where you love golfing, camping and a beach day are also bonding ideas.

When it comes down to it, plan something that you know everyone will enjoy! This is supposed to be a fun event where everyone can meet and have a few good laughs!

Happy Wedding Planning!

XO