Step 1- Deciding on a location and date

Even before we got engaged, we knew that a destination wedding was for us. Neither of us wanted a big wedding and traveling is something that we love to do. So, next step was to decide where and when.

Deciding where to focus our search took a little while. My side of the family aren’t really travelers, so we tried to pick a place that wasn’t going to have too much culture shock. Additionally we tried to select places that wouldn’t have a very long plane ride/transfer. Half of our guests would be coming from the East Coast, the other half from the Midwest. This really ended up narrowing down our search to places in the Caribbean. Finally, trying to keep our location budget friendly for our guests really eliminated a lot of options. I sulked for a few days about having to eliminate some beautiful places like Costa Rica and Belize but realized it would be much easier to eliminate them than to hear complaints, so off the list they went!

Eventually we ended up focusing on Riviera Maya area of Mexico… Sadly that did not eliminate many resorts as that area is PACKED with options. This became both a blessing and a curse.

We consulted a travel agent who helped us navigate through some of our options. However, I ask a lot of questions and like to see/learn things for myself, so I ended up reaching out to many of the locations and doing additional research on my own. Most people could probably skip this step, but I couldn’t help myself!

Availability was the next hurdle. Not only did we have to account for the availability of the resort, but also of ourselves and our immediate family! I never thought it would be so hard to schedule a wedding!! By the time we evaluated the calendar for other close friends and family members weddings we were scheduled for, the all important college football schedule, and other major life events for our immediate family, we were left with a few dates that fell into our preferred window.

We wanted to take full advantage of beautiful beach weather so picking a good time of year was important to us. If we picked in the summer months (June – August) we were worried it would be too hot for us and our guests to enjoy being outside. The fall months were at risk for hurricane season, so the prices were great, but our dreams of an outdoor ceremony had a higher risk of being cancelled. We were really aiming for one of the cold months, so we could escape the sometimes brutal East Coast winter. Our travel agent told us that early December was the most budget friendly, but we had some major family events happening at the time and so we had to push it out farther. We finally settled on the second weekend in January… whew!!

In the next post, I will talk about the pros and cons and things to look for when selecting a resort for our destination wedding.