Resort: Sandals Royal Bahamian
What made you decide on having a destination wedding?
Many of my married friends who had traditional weddings have confided in me that they wish they had just gotten married on the beach instead. I decided to skip the regret and just go for it! I was shocked and pleased when I realized how affordable it was to have a destination wedding (especially if you don't have a lot of guests), and you can't beat the stress free experience of tying the knot at an all inclusive resort.
What made you decide on the (original) destination/resort/venue?
My main criteria was that I wanted to be on a beautiful beach, and be at an all inclusive resort. Originally I chose Jamaica, but my now husband told me during the planning that, "Everyone gets married in Jamaica, let's go somewhere more exotic." We settled on Sandals Royal Bahamian (in the Bahamas), but in an ironic twist of fate we had to choose another resort about a month before the wedding due to unexpected maintenance. And guess where we ended up? Jamaica. We both loved every moment of our experience in Ocho Rios, and are happy to join the ranks of "everyone" who has gotten married there. I feel like we definitely ended up there for a reason!
What was the biggest difficulty in planning your destination wedding?
It was a little disappointing that none of the guests we invited were able to make it out to the wedding, but we ended up really enjoyed the intimacy of a one on one ceremony and not having our family at the resort during our honeymoon. As I mentioned. the original resort we chose ended up closing for 2 months which happened to include our wedding date, so we had to scramble a little to change our plans and choose another resort. It was a very stressful bump in the road, but luckily we had new reservations and flight booked within a week.
What was the highlight of the experience and what was the biggest surprise?
The actual day of our wedding could not have possibly been more perfect. We had a brief but sweet ceremony barefoot in the sand, which I had been dreaming about for a long time. We met another lovely couple at the resort who attended and took some photos for us, and shared our cake and champagne toast later. Everywhere we went for the rest of the day, the staff and other resort visitors congratulated us. Then we spent the day on the beach and saw the most beautiful sunset of our entire lives.
The biggest surprise came when we went back to our room on our wedding night. Our butler really went all out to decorate our room, including a disco light, an entire cake, rose petals, and a card. I was so surprised that I accidentally locked myself out of the room running to get my husband to come and see it!
How well was the resort and your On site Wedding Coordinator to work with?
It felt a little awkward at first sitting in the wedding coordinator's office, because we knew going in we were just going to have the bare bones minimum and not make any extra purchases. I was worried she might pressure us into buying something additional, but she ended up being absolutely understanding when we told her we wanted to keep it super basic since it was just the two of us with no guests. I feel like she put the same amount of effort into our wedding as she would for a bride with 100 guests. I really can't thank her enough for her understanding and her help.
If your best friend were planning a destination wedding what would your advice be to her?
I would tell her to really embrace the stress free experience. Don't worry about planning and just let the resort coordinator take care of it, all you have to do is show up. Make your wedding about you, not about your guests.
Was there anything that you would change looking back?
I might have set some more money aside to use for excursions and spa treatments, but I still think that my experience was absolutely perfect and I would not change a thing.