5 Tips On How To Choose Your Wedding Resort
Tip #1 – Not every resort is a wedding resort
A really great wedding destination travel agent once told me that almost all resorts can do weddings, but only some resorts are wedding resorts and do weddings well. This statement really resonated with me, and it holds so much truth. Any resort can accommodate your wedding, but how will it be executed? How often do they get weddings? How do the guests and staff feel about weddings? All these are questions that can typically be answered by some simple research into the resort you’re wondering about hosting your wedding at. Tripadvisor and any other sources of reviews will all play to your advantage in figuring out if the resort in question is truly the one for you!
Tip #2 – Who are your guests?
This question can really range in answers. The idea is you want to ensure you’re picking a wedding resort that will accommodate your guests as best as possible. We all have those family members with special requests, expectations, or wants, but whether you have 26 kids and 8 babies going to your wedding, your young (all night, till sunrise) party crowd friends from high school, or Grandma Mary and her 4 best friends coming, can all very drastically change what you’re looking for in choosing the perfect resort and venue.
Sometimes certain resorts will check all boxes (having a late night-club on site, an adult only resort, one with a full spa, wheel chair accessible resorts for certain guests or a monitored kids zone with water park) but sometimes certain must haves and wants will need to be discussed. At the end of the day this may vary in importance according to you and your partner, so in the end make sure it’s what YOU want for your special day!
Tip #3 – Costs/Value (for Wedding)This is a very important factor when choosing your wedding destination. The cost is not only referring to the cost of the trip for the guests but also the cost of your wedding. Very few weddings don’t have a budget and if you’re one of the lucky ones where budget isn’t an issue, then move on to the next tip! Alright, so for those left, budget was a very important factor for my wedding destination and is as well for a lot of my clients. Some resorts will ‘nickel and dime’ you for every little thing!!
Example: “Oh you want string lights around your tables and dance floor during the reception? No problem! We rent poles to hold the lights up, $100/pole and we will need 10 of them. The lights themselves are a $50 rental per strand and we will need 12 strands. We have a setup fee of $200. So your total is $1800 for these patio lights. Don’t worry though.. we don’t charge you for the power. That’s free!”
These sort of fees and charges can immensely add up. It’s a great idea to request the wedding price lists before making any decision on which resort to choose. Keep in mind that some coordinators will help you with budget and barter with you, and others have very strict pricing in place!
Tip #4 – Costs/Value for Trip(Guests)
The second part of costs/value is the cost for your guests. If cousin Johnny has been laid off work for awhile and he’s got 4 kids to bring along but it is very important you have him there, you must really try and sharpen your pencil when looking into the costs of your trip. Some travel companies will give you promotions such as free upgrades, with a certain amount of people you are bringing within your group to your wedding.
Some even offer things such as: 1 free paid trip every 16 guests, so things like this can be used sometimes to help bring your family members who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a trip of this extent, or to give a few of them some room upgrades to really make their stay special.
*Another PRO TIP! If you get certain free trip credits, and have a couple extra to spare, they can be used to fly your dream photographer and their second shooter to the wedding with you. This will help keep costs low for your photography budget and allow you to bring a photographer from home that you know and trust, making things a lot easier than having to source a local photographer at the location of your destination! We did this for our wedding and it was a very good use of some of our large group booking, free credits!
Tip #5 – Availability
This is a bitter sweet tip that could even be mentioned first. The availability is one of the first things that should be asked upon researching a resort for your wedding. Not only do you need to make sure they aren’t all booked up, but you need to get the proper venue and time of day to make your dream day that much more amazing. Lots of resorts have preferred venues that book up quickly, so this could be the difference between getting married directly next to a pool with 20 strangers still swimming (in bikinis and speedos) posting your wedding on their Instagram story, and having the private beach terrace setting you’ve been dreaming about.
This is why its important to have at least a year’s notice if possible (I mentioned this in more detail in my A Bride’s Guide to Destination Weddings: Timelines for Save the Dates, Invitations & RSVPs blog post earlier) The best venues at your location will have a better chance of being available the more time in advance you can book your trip, and sometimes you may get the better times of the day slots! Its always better to not have the wedding during the heat of the day (noon-4pm) if you’re choosing somewhere very warm, like Mexico! Nobody likes to be sweating in +40 degrees listening to your ceremony, and there’s nothing fun about heat stroke!
Another great question to ask is if the resort is making sure they have the amount of available rooms, to accommodate your whole group. As nice as it may be to tell select few of your in-laws that you don’t have room for them at your wedding resort, we want to try and avoid this from happening! (Even though that sometimes may be what we really want to say).