Taking care of the details
Congratulations, your destination wedding or vow renewal is booked! Now it’s time for the fun stuff. You’ll get to work with your wedding coordinator to make your big day exactly how you imagined it.
Have we jumped too far ahead? Here are some resources:
Do I require a wedding coordinator at my destination wedding location?
Most resorts offer these complimentary services for the couple to make sure all is smooth. We highly recommend working with a wedding coordinator in destination so your wedding is what you imagined it would be. The wedding coordinator will be there the day of your wedding to ensure everything is organized.
It is possible to hire a local coordinator and make arrangements off site in destination. Our experience shows that most couples are avoiding a traditional complex wedding at home for a reason. Complexity can bring unique experiences, but it also takes effort and cost to plan and execute.
How do I contact the wedding coordinator at the resort?
Your wedding travel specialist will give you the wedding coordinator’s email/phone number so you can be in touch. Remember that these wedding coordinators are busy with many guests’ plans starting many months in advance. They will be most focused on those guests whose weddings are underway or happening that day. Their attention will be focused next on weddings occurring in the next few days. It’s important to keep this in mind when you’ve just emailed what you think is a burning question months in advance and expect an answer immediately. You’ll appreciate their closer attention when it’s your wedding day and on arrival at the resort and understand why it sometimes takes a bit of time to get back to people with requests that are further out. Mostly, contact is by email.
What will happen when we arrive?
Upon arrival, you will meet with the resort’s wedding coordinator who will give you a tour of the grounds and go over the details – from documentation to flowers. You’ll get to ask your questions and scope out the best photo locations.
Where will the ceremony take place?
You usually have a selection of options depending on what is available at the resort. From the beach to pavilion to a la carte restaurant, you can choose your location in advance with the wedding coordinator. You can do off-site ceremonies too, for example, at a local church. However, this is at the expense of the bride and groom. The wedding coordinator does not get involved in planning off-site weddings and transportation to and from the site is your responsibility.
Do we get our own space for the reception or do we have dinner at the buffet and party at the disco?
This depends on your package. This can be arranged with the coordinator (sometimes for an additional fee).
Many people find it surprising that this might cost extra at an all inclusive resort. Once you have a room with a sit-down dinner where everyone is eating all at once, it increases the cost of labour for both food preparation and service. It is entirely different to serve 40 people coming in and out of the restaurant at different times, than serving 40 meals hot all at once. Further, groups are not in a hurry to leave, which means they cannot use the restaurant for other guests. This is why they will likely charge extra for a private dinner. However, it may be possible to reserve a section of tables in a restaurant depending on your group size. This is where a smaller group is easier to handle than a larger one. Many people think that there is negotiating power when there are more guests in a group – this is not usually the case. Larger groups are more labour intensive and difficult to service than individual guests at a resort.
What if some of the documents are not in English?
Translation may be required depending on what document is required. This will have to be done in advance and we can recommend a reliable translator for you. There is a fee involved to have documents translated.
What about hair and beauty appointments, music, photography and videography, cake, florals, reception, etc.?
Your wedding coordinator will help you organize all the details for your special day! They can help you book appointments and select the services you desire. Depending on your package, some services may be included while others may cost extra. If you require specifics, such as a certain type of music, there may be an additional cost.
What happens if I want to bring a photographer from home? Will it be expensive?
This depends on the legal requirements of working in destination. Believe it or not, sometimes a work visa is required. This can be a surprise when a professional photographer shows up with all kinds of equipment without a permit, only to have the equipment tied up in customs with a huge hassle of forms and fees. We strongly advise you to reach out to customs to have all the accurate information. Other times, the person may travel as your guest and take pictures personally. Some couples will pay for a photographer to come as their guests and have them take photos throughout the trip. Low key equipment is the key to avoid problems with customs, and an amateur or a pro with modest equipment is sometimes best. Most resorts offer photography services. This may be at an additional cost depending on your package and the extent of the photos you would like to be taken.
How can I organize a band or DJ?
These services are organized through your wedding coordinator and depend on your package. If you would like to bring your own DJ, confirm this is okay with the resort and note that DJ equipment would need to be marked as extra, fragile luggage on the plane, unless you rent equipment in destination. We strongly advise you to reach out to customs to have all the accurate information. It may be better to bring media with your favourite songs to play on local equipment.
Are onsite vendors reliable?
If they are trusted by the resort’s wedding coordinator, they should be reliable. We recommend sitting down with the photographer/videographer when you arrive at the resort to communicate your vision. You can also ask the photographer for work samples before you book with them.
Who do I call if there’s a problem?
Your wedding coordinator is the first point of contact in destination if your inquiry has to do with the wedding. If you are still having issues, your wedding travel specialist will be happy to help if you are not getting answers locally. This is very rare when things are organized in advance through the wedding coordinator using email. Bring critical email correspondence that mentions key confirmations with you at the resort.
Can the bride travel home under her married name?
The name the bride travels home under must match her passport, therefore she will travel under the same name she booked under. Until your passport has changed into your married name, you are travelling under your maiden name, or whatever name is on your passport.
When do we receive our marriage certificate?
It depends on the destination and how fast they process it. It usually takes 4-6 weeks.