After waiting for what seems to be a lifetime, you finally have found the right person to marry. Now that you are ready and eager to say “I Do” to the man or woman of your dreams, you won’t let anything ruin your special day. And now you realize how important wedding planning is from this moment on. The most common question that I get asked by couples is “what are the things that we have to consider when planning our wedding day?”. To help make your wedding day happy, unforgettable and fun, here are some vital considerations that you should not take for granted.
#1 The Date
One of the biggest mistakes couples make when planning a destination wedding is not checking the local activity calendar. This will help you see if there are big local festivities or holidays that may coincide with your wedding. You may have your preferred date already, like your birthday or your anniversary, but you have to check to see if there will be anything that will affect you being able to book your selected venue, get great rates on flights and hotel rooms, or even if traffic will affect your guests transportation. The key here is to plan ahead – and if you are getting married in Puerto Rico, try to avoid holidays like Christmas or New Years – as hotel rates and flights are at their highest. Consider the weekend before or after the holiday or even a mid-week wedding to avoid overpaying and lengthy traffic jams. And if you want to enjoy these holidays on the Island, plan on extending your stay after your wedding.
#2 The People
Before you start ordering your invitations, you should create a list of guests so that you will have an idea how many people you are going to invite to your wedding. This way, you can have enough invitations printed. The key rule here is one invite per person or couple and about 5-10 extras to cover any mistakes or new guests that may arise. Make sure to make an A list with the people you absolutely want at your wedding – like family and very close friends. And a B list for people that you would like to have but it won’t kill you if they didn’t come – like coworkers, colleagues etc. Know your guest count and it will help you order just the right amount of invitations. It will also help you figure out the next step…
#3 The Budget
The biggest mistake you can make with your budget is setting a number without knowing what you want or need. The amount of guests, the type of wedding you want and the amount you can afford are the most important factors when creating a budget. Before proceeding with the rest of the wedding planning, talk with your partner and together decide on: 1. who do you absolutely want to be present on your special day, and 2. how much the two of are you willing to spend on this celebration. So if you are thinking of keeping your budget low, then you need to keep your guest count low and your wedding simple. You have to remember that soon, you are going to start a new life and this is when you will need enough resources to build a home and simply enjoy your lives together. So if you have the resources, go for it and have a spectacular event! If not so much than small and simple is the way to go. And yes, you can have a beautiful and simple destination wedding on a small budget…
#4 The Venue
After you are certain about the budget, you can now start to narrow down your venue choices. Most of the destination weddings here in Puerto Rico take place at a resort or hotel meaning that your ceremony and reception will take place in the same venue and maybe within two different location at the same venue. To start, you should allocate 50% of you total budget to Food and Beverage, including service charges and taxes. You’d be surprised on how expensive this can get depending on the options you choose. Along with this, you should start planning the design and flowers you may need to compliment the space for your big day. But also remember to leave money available for other important vendors such as photography and Bands or Dj’s. Most venues would offer you packages that include food and beverage, officiant and marriage license concierge but they don’t usually include decor, a wedding planner, or photography. So be sure to study your options and hire a professional planner that will look out for your best interest.
#5 The Entertainment
Last mistake I see couples make when planning a destination wedding is not considering entertainment before and after the wedding. We all know that there will be a beautiful ceremony followed with dinner and dancing on the wedding day, but what will your guests do before and after your wedding? You have to consider that many guests will be spending a lot of money to come to your wedding so they will want to have it be a fun occasion from beginning to end. It may be safe to consider that many guests will consider coming to your destination wedding a vacation as well. So it’s important to keep them entertained and well-informed of the options available to them. This doesn’t mean you have to foot the bill for everything, but it would be nice for you to plan some fun things to do with everyone and some things that they can do on their own.
Some fun things to do while in Puerto Rico is visit Old San Juan, go the El Yunque Rain Forest, Ziplining at el Toro Verde or even kayaking in a bioluminescent bay. So have a Puerto Rico Travel Expert and wedding planner help you coordinate your activities for the week and build a wedding website where your guests can have all the information at hand. With a well thought out wedding plan you and your guests will be sure to remember your epic wedding for years to come.