FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Destination Wedding Planning Questions
Where should we go for our destination wedding?
A couple of deciding factors to consider when choosing a destination for your wedding is the expense involved with certain destinations and the travel time for you and your guests. Are you looking for a great value or something more exotic and luxurious? It’s important to be financially conscious for your guests and to consider whether they’re traveling for the weekend or can travel for a longer time.
Mexico is the top destination for Caribbean destination weddings because it has the most resorts at the best values. You can still find great value in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. Locations like Costa Rica and the smaller Caribbean islands can have much steeper price points with less all-inclusive options on offer. To put it simply, it’s more likely your guests will attend in Mexico over Bermuda, which could be a pro for some couples and a con for others.
When should I start planning my wedding?
Planning a destination wedding is different for every couple, but typically a year is a common length for planning. The sooner you get your deposit in the sooner you can reserve your wedding date, as most resorts only host a few weddings per day. We recommend allowing your guests seven months or more to book, as the more time they have the lower the rates can be. You can learn more about the planning process by visiting our timeline tools here.
What are the legal requirements for a destination wedding?
The legal requirements depend on the country and ceremony type. For symbolic ceremonies, there is much less work involved. Civil ceremonies require more document fees and can require a local judge or minister at an additional cost. To learn more about the difference between symbolic and civil ceremonies, and the legal requirements for a civil ceremony visit our detailed article here.
Who pays what for my destination wedding?
Destination weddings offer flexibility in the financial aspects of planning. It is common for the couple to pay for their wedding package and room. Guests typically pay for their own travel fare and rooms. If you would like to help cover costs associated with specific guests, A. Marie Events & Design and Travel is able to assist in managing these payments towards other’s packages. By hosting a wedding at an all-inclusive resort, the food and drink costs are built into the room rate. You can learn more about the costs in comparison to a local wedding here.
What’s typically in an entry-level wedding package?
An entry-level wedding package most commonly includes minimal ceremony decoration, a ceremony location, and a small guest list capacity. They work well for small wedding parties, or as starting points to add customization too. However, every package is set up to welcome additional guests at an additional cost should you exceed the capacity.
Are free wedding packages legit?
Yes, however, they often have stipulations that must be met such as a minimum number of rooms or nights booked.
What should we wear to our wedding?
That’s up to you. Some couples choose a casual, beach-inspired dress code while others may choose formal attire. Your wedding venue will be a large factor in this decision as heels, long dresses, and full suit jackets typically do not work well for daytime beach venues. It may be important to note that some resort restaurants require a dress code at dinner, which often won’t allow for men to wear shorts or open-toed sandal, for after your ceremony.
How should I bring my dress?
We recommend always bringing your dress with you as a carry-on. Bridal boxes with handles are available and designed specifically for carrying wedding dresses. Garment bags are also available but may be more difficult to carry
What are the decor options for our ceremony?
Wedding packages can be very customizable. Resorts typically offer a number of themes and color options, from classically white to beach-inspired motifs. They are always up for your suggestions and can offer other vendors if you have a specific theme in mind.
How much can I customize my wedding?
As little or as much as you want! Many resorts welcome customizations to their already offered packages and will work with you to make sure you have the personalization you desire. Additional costs may be required.
Can I release paper lanterns during my wedding?
Few resorts will permit this. Some reasons why they are not permitted include being in lush populated areas, or even because the resort features thatched roofs that are easily flammable. The resorts that do allow it will still require that the lanterns are biodegradable and base the launch on that day’s weather.
Would we be able to have an ala carte wedding instead of choosing a package?
Yes, depending on your resort. It is very common for a resort to have an ala carte wedding menu should you choose that over a preset package. In comparison, couples typically save money by choosing a package as many things are bundled together at a lower rate.
Do you have resorts that accommodate Indian weddings?
Yes, many resorts can accommodate Indian weddings and offer packages specifically for this style of event. The biggest deciding factor will be if the resort can accommodate a larger sized guest list if necessary. Some resorts even train their wedding department specifically on Indian weddings, so they are knowledgeable of the traditions, and prepared for each ceremony and event.
Do any resorts offer fireworks for my wedding?
Yes, many resorts offer unique fireworks or sparkler packages at an additional charge.
Do any resorts offer performance artists for weddings?
Yes! Depending on the resort, it’s possible to book musicians, fire dancers, Mayan drummers, and many other performance artists for your wedding.
Does the resort block off an area for my ceremony?
This differs by the resort you choose, along with the actual ceremony venue. Some resorts offer private gazebos or sections of the resort for your ceremony. It is not uncommon for some beach ceremonies to include spectators simply because beaches aren’t always private at every resort. If this is an important topic to you, it’s good to learn more about the resorts you are interested in and their ceremony locations.
What is the difference between Semi-Private and a Private Dinner?
A semi-private dinner is more cost effective and included in most wedding packages. It is hosted in a sectioned area at one of the resort restaurants and is limited to a small number of guests. Some resorts may require a set menu for your guests depending on the size of your party. There will be no music, but this option works well if you plan to use the resort’s bars and entertainment after dinner.
A private reception is an additional cost, allowing for couples to include unique menus or themed buffets, typically at a per person rate. You will have your own secluded space and private wait staff to give attention to your group. There is also more freedom in the flexibility to do what you want with the space, from decor and table open bar, to DJ and dance floor.
What kind of food would be served at our dinner reception?
For either a semi-private or private reception, gluten-free and vegetarian options are available. What is served is ultimately up to what you would like. A semi-private dinner menu will rely on the type of restaurant you have chosen while a private reception allows you to choose. Many resorts offer a traditional surf and turf option, or you can be more adventurous with their local cuisine menu.
Can waiters be included for our reception?
For private receptions, the cost of the wait and bar staff are included in the cost. For semi-private events, typically waiters already working are assigned to the group.
Our package says we receive an open bar after our dinner reception, where is this bar?
This will be handled by your wedding coordinator. In some cases, it will be at a certain bar on-site or hosted in a private location.
Additional Guests and Services
What does it costs our guests to join us if they aren’t staying at the resort?
This will vary by the resort chosen. Most wedding packages require that at least 80% of your wedding guests be staying on-site at your resort. A day pass for an off-site guest often costs about ½ the price of a one-night stay, depending on the resort it could be less.
How much does it cost for additional guests to join our ceremony?
There is an additional fee for guests at a ceremony if the capacity exceeds the built-in number. This differs by resort. For a simple ceremony there may be an extra fee in place simply to pay for an additional chair. If your wedding includes a private reception or dinner there may be a higher additional charge in place per extra guest in order to pay for their food, drinks, and other accommodations.
Can we pay to extend our open bar or DJ past their allotted time?
The answer is almost always yes, depending on the event’s time slot. Additional charges will differ by the resort. Most outdoor events must end by 11 pm, indoor events (such as ballrooms) offer more flexibility in how late they can run.
Is there still a fee for an outside photographer, DJ, or florist if it’s one of our guests?
Some resorts will waive this fee if the vendor is staying a minimum of three nights at the resort. In most cases, an outside vendor fee applies with an average range of $150 – $500.
Do any resorts offer salons onsite where I and my bridal party can get ready?
Yes, many resorts offer salons, and even bridal suites for you and your party to get ready. Some wedding packages will even include hair and makeup as a perk or at a discounted rate.
Can we bring our own minister?
It is possible to have an ordained minister perform your symbolic ceremony. Many couples find their wedding more personal by having a loved one or close friend of the family perform this ceremony. For a civil ceremony, this varies by country but is typically not permitted as there are certain rules and restrictions that must be followed.
Could the resort help us give out our gift bags?
Yes, many resorts will happily help give out your gift bags. Or your destination wedding planner can assist with having them placed in the guest rooms as they arrive.
Travel Agent Questions
What is the job of A. Marie Events & Design and Travel?
Our job is to handle the entire “booking” of your destination wedding, from travel to guest accommodations, to all of your destination wedding planning working closely with the resorts wedding department, so that you can focus on you, your family and friends who will be attending. We also assist with pre and post events as well as setting up excursions for you and your guest. Designing save the dates, wedding invitations, itineraries and customized welcome bags for your guest. We can also be on-site if you need us as well!
Why should my guests book with A. Marie Events & Design and Travel?
Booking with us ensures the most perks for both you and your guests. Each resort offers different perks based on the number of rooms booked, so by booking together, you could receive great extras at no additional costs. For your guest, we provide a free service, from the day they book until after they return from vacation. We guarantee the lowest booking rates, with low deposit and payment plan options in order to make it affordable for everyone. We can also price match other competitors.
How much do your services cost and how much do you get paid?
Our services do have a fee but we mostly work off the commissions directly from the resort. It is similar to using a real estate agent, who doesn’t get paid unless you purchase the house. Therefore it is always in our best interest to give you the best service and find you and your guests the best rates available......along with the customized wedding website, dashboard, and mobile app available to you.
But then who plans our wedding?
We offer a wedding planner built into your costs that will coordinate with the wedding department at the resort we have a close relationship with these resorts and work with them personally to oversee every aspect of your Destination Wedding. We will handle all of your decor and requests, event booking at the resort, and will be on-site once you get to the resort. We are also be hands on to offer assistance between now and your wedding day. We will help you get in contact with them personally, while also having their contact information for you easily accessible in your wedding dashboard. The wedding dashboard is created for you and serves as an online portal to make coordinating your wedding easier.
What preparations should I make for traveling?
Other than your common travel necessities, it is important to make sure your passport and license or identification card are valid for up to 6 months after your wedding, along with your guests’ passports. It’s important to check out the TSA’s list for traveling, which you can visit here.
Many couples bring wedding gifts, welcome gifts, or even their own decor, which often requires items to be shipped to the resort. Each resort has their own shipping guidelines to make this easier, and your wedding planner/agent can assist you in learning more about a country’s shipping customs.