Q. When should I start planning my destination wedding?
A. The sooner, the better! If you’re planning on having guests, you’ll want to give them plenty of notice, so starting your planning early is a good idea. You should definitely commit to a date and location within 9 months of you wedding. However, 12-24 months will give your guests more time to budget, plan, and make it more likely they’ll attend your big day. If you’re eloping, planning 2 months in advance is a good idea, but we can still make it work with 1 month. If your heart is set on a specific wedding date, it’s best to reserve it with the resort’s wedding coordinator early. Keep in mind that you cannot book a flight until about 11 months from your travel date- but you should reserve your resort stay ASAP.
Q. Where should I go for my destination wedding?
A. The destination you choose depends on a variety of factors- personality, budget, legal vs. symbolic ceremonies, number of guests, etc. You have to balance these factors to make the right choice. First, keep in mind that legal ceremonies are easier in English-speaking destinations (Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, Turks and Caicos). Since Spanish-speaking destinations (Cancun, Riviera Maya, Punta Cana, etc) require your legal documents to be translated into Spanish, most couples who choose these destinations get legally married at home and have the symbolic ceremony at the resort. Either way, symbolic or legal, you still have to choose the destination that fits you, as a couple, the best.
If you’re on a budget, then choose a more affordable destination, like Cancun or Jamaica. If you want a more exotic location, St. Lucia, Grenada, or Anguilla may be good choices. If you have a large number of guests, choose somewhere that is affordable and easy to get to. Do you want a small resort or a large resort? Do you want to be the only wedding at the resort that day, or are you okay if there are other brides walking around? The perfect destination wedding location is different for everyone- we can guide you, but ultimately, only you can make that choice.
Q. What are the legal requirements of getting married abroad?
A. Your resort wedding coordinator will guide you through the required paperwork and deadlines. Don’t worry- it’s not as complicated as it seems. Go to our requirements page for details.
Q. Can I have a religious ceremony at the resort?
A. Yes- the resort will work with you, but it may take extra time and money. Catholic and Jewish weddings can be arranged, but there may be extra requirements, steps, and fees involved. You may bring your own minister, rabbi or religious official as a guest speaker, but a legal ceremony must be performed by a local licensed official.
Q. How do I plan the wedding with the resort? Are you wedding planners?
A. No, we are simply travel specialists- although we often help clients secure the wedding date and time. Our job is to find the resort that best suits your needs and to book your stay and airfare. Most resorts have on-site wedding coordinators that are included with your wedding package, and we will make sure you are in contact with each other. Once you confirm your wedding date with the resort, you and the wedding coordinator will work together to make all the wedding arrangements, from legal paperwork to choosing your cake and flowers. You will work with them via email and phone, until you get on-site. All of your wedding details will be planned with the coordinator- they are experts and will make sure everything gets taken care of! You can also check out our getting started page.
Q. If I get married at a resort, will the ceremony be on the beach?
A. Most resorts offer several locations, which you’ll inspect and choose after arriving on property. There’s usually a wedding gazebo, beach location, garden location, and chapel to choose from- but it varies by resort.
Q. How many days does a destination wedding last? What day of the week is best to get married?
A. Most guests stay 3 nights when they attend a destination wedding, but this can be extended for as long as you like! The ceremony itself is usually 15-20 minutes, followed by a 30 minute reception- but you can add as many events before or after as you want. If you want more guests to attend, get married on a Friday or Saturday. This will make it easy for guests to book 3 night packages- either Thursday-Sunday or Friday-Monday. If you want the cheapest packages for your guests, get married on a Tuesday or Wednesday. This will require them to take more time off work, but will allow them to take advantage of cheaper weekday airfare and hotel rates.
Q. Do we still get wedding gifts with a destination wedding?
A. If your guests paid to come to your destination wedding, it’s best not to expect gifts. Emily Post’s etiquette states “The best thing a couple throwing a destination wedding can do is let guests know that 'their presence is their present.'” Your guests paid a decent sum to attend your big day, and that shouldn’t be overlooked. Some guests may still give you a gift, while others may not. We love the idea of having a reception back home for the guests who couldn’t travel, and that would likely result in wedding gifts.
Q. I already know how I want my wedding to look- will the resort help me?
A. Resorts understand that many brides have their dream wedding details already figured out, so most offer customizable wedding packages where you can choose your color palette, flowers, etc. Keep in mind, however, that a customized wedding may be more expensive. If you want to control every detail from the place settings to the exact chair decorations, we recommend a pre-wedding trip to meet the resort’s wedding coordinator. Resorts also offer a variety of professionally designed wedding packages to choose from, at different price points, which make the planning process easier. These work perfectly for more laid-back brides that simply want a beautiful wedding.
Q. Should we honeymoon at the same resort we get married at?
A. That is up to you! Split stays are becoming more popular, as they allow you to see more of the island and experience different resort atmospheres. If you are having guests, and some are planning to stay for a few extra days, you may want to change resorts so you can have privacy on your honeymoon.
Q. Should I travel under my maiden name or married name?
A. For everyone travelling abroad, your airline ticket MUST match the first and last names on your passport exactly. If you are recently married and your passport still says your maiden name, then your airline ticket must be under your maiden name. If you arrive at the airport and your airline ticket and passport don’t match, you will be denied boarding. If you book a resort-only package with us, you can use whatever name you prefer.
Q. How do I get the lowest prices?
A. Keep in mind that you'll want to choose a resort that you'll have fond memories of for the rest of your life- and your wedding deserves a little splurge! That being said, book with us! We deliver superior service while guaranteeing the best price. We will automatically apply any discounts that you are eligible for and will price-match on request. To get the best rates, make sure to book early, and flying mid-week will also save on airfare. The destination you choose will also affect the prices, so keep that in mind while planning. Also, group discounts are available- check out our Caribbean Wedding specials page.
Q. Are there any fees?
A. No! Honeymoons, Inc. does not charge any fees on top of the cost of your package. Our services are free to you, paid for by the resorts. While we do not charge any fees, you may still incur some along the way, which we cannot prevent. To get legally married, many resorts do have government processing fees, which vary by country and resort. Keep in mind that some resort credit promotions do incur taxes, which must be paid at checkout. Also, we are not responsible for any airline or luggage fees that you may incur at the airport.
Q. Is a destination wedding more expensive? Can we save money?
A. Since the average cost of a wedding rivals the price of a car, you can definitely save money by having a destination wedding. Many resorts offer free wedding packages if you stay a certain number of nights, and group discounts are also available for you and your guests. Prices vary greatly by destination and resort, so by going to a more affordable location, like Cancun, you can save even more. Since the resort takes care of all the wedding details, you’re saving money by not having to pay the venue, caterer, bartender, florist, and baker separately. Destination weddings are great because by combining your wedding and honeymoon, you’re already saving money! If you have a group, the whole wedding and reception will usually cost less than a 2 hour open bar reception here stateside. Group rates are usually slightly lower than individual, but not always. The big advantage for having a group is that most resorts will give you perks, like a free room, cocktail reception, or dinner party.
Q. Do resorts have free wedding packages available?
A. Many resorts offer free wedding packages if you book a certain room category or higher, for a minimum number of nights. Please see our special offers page to check out some of the free wedding offers from the major resort brands.
Q. Should I get local currency or traveler's checks?
A. The American dollar is widely accepted. Traveler's checks are a great way to protect yourself from lost or stolen money. Credit Cards are also widely accepted at the resort and in the major shopping areas, but not in the local markets.
Q. Do we have to pay in full right away? How do I pay?
A. When you reserve your package, a minimum deposit of $300 is required. The final payment is due 45 days prior to your departure date. You can make payments of any amount at any time as long as the final is paid on time. Most packages booked with airfare included will require the airfare to be paid, in full up front, in addition to the $300. If you choose the optional insurance, you will also need to pay the insurance amount in addition to the $300 with your deposit. Group deposits are usually just 10% of the total price.
Deciding on a Destination Wedding
Q. What are the benefits of having a destination wedding at an all-inclusive resort? Why should we have a destination wedding?
A. Destination weddings are great for so many different reasons! If you’re eloping, it’s a no-brainer- getting married in paradise, with just your partner by your side, is as romantic as it gets! If you want a more traditional wedding, a destination wedding can actually save you money by having all the different details, like venue, catering, and flowers, taken care of by the resort- as opposed to paying a premium to several vendors back home. Renting a nice venue alone can cost several thousand dollars- that money could pay for your entire destination wedding instead! Other benefits include:
- neutral location if guests are based in different cities
- the resort handles the details for you
- food/drinks/lodging are taken care of for yourself and your guests
- your celebration can last a few days, instead of just a few hours
- good option if you want a more intimate wedding
Q. Is a destination wedding right for me?
A. Your wedding has to be right for you and your partner- so only you two can make that decision. If you want your friends and family to attend, run the idea by them- early. You can see if they’re interested and would be able to come. If you’re eloping, a destination wedding is a great option- just you and your love in paradise. Do you and your partner enjoy traveling and adventure? Talk about it and figure out if it’s right for you. Keep in mind, you can always have a reception party when you come home for your loved ones who couldn’t attend the ceremony.
Q. Do we pay for our guests travel and accommodations?
A. Typically, the bride and groom (or their parents) cover the cost of the wedding events, but the guests cover their own travel and accommodations. This holds true for traditional and destination weddings.
Q. Will my guests come to a destination wedding? When should we inform them?
A. If you are inviting guests, it is best to give them as much notice as possible. You can start by running the idea of a destination wedding by them, 18-24 months in advance. This way, you can see if they are interested and able to go, while giving them enough time to budget and plan. You can also help your guests by choosing a more affordable destination, like Cancun or Jamaica. Send out your save-the-dates 10-12 months in advance, and then keep your guests updated with one of our free wedding websites. The more advance notice you can give your guests, the more likely they are to come to your destination wedding. We do encourage that you choose a resort you love instead of settling for one that more guests can afford- this day is about the two of you! You can always have a reception party back home for those who couldn’t travel.
Q. How can I share a destination wedding with loved ones back home?
A. If you elope or your family and friends can’t travel, you have several options to share with loved ones back home. Many resorts offer live streaming of your wedding online (for a fee), with a URL you can give to your virtual guests. Just tell them when you’re getting married and they can watch the ceremony from home. You can also have wedding photos and even videos to take home and share. Many couples choose to have a welcome home reception- and love it! It’s the best of both worlds- having the wedding you want and getting to celebrate with people you love.