Your wedding day will likely be one of the biggest and most important days of your life. And if you’re planning on a destination wedding, it could very well be one of the biggest trips of your life. Before you start stressing over where to say “I do,” read Jessica Mulroney’s tips for choosing the ideal spot for your wedding size and style. As a bridal expert for Kleinfeld Canada, she knows a thing or two about not only weddings but also destination weddings.
1. How To Choose The Right Location
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to your wedding location. It’s not just about the pretty photo ops or the romanticism of being on a beach. Mulroney lists the top points to consider before selecting your final destination.
• Consider how far away it is and how you and your guests are going to get there.
“If you can pick a destination that’s accessible from multiple gateways across Canada then this will help,” explains Mulroney. “Good examples include Riviera Maya or Cancun in Mexico, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and Varadero in Cuba. Along with frequent flights, often daily from many cities, these destinations also have a wide variety of venues to suit different tastes.” Mulroney suggests looking into tour operators such as Sunwing to help tailor a package and help with guest arrangements (flights and rooms, which is convenient if you have guests coming from all over the country).
• Think about cost.
“How much is it going to cost for your guests to get there, and think about if the destination itself is within budget,” advises Mulroney. “Wedding resorts vary enormously in terms of price from destination to destination so it’s important to settle on somewhere that is as accessible price-wise for you as it is geographically.”
• Consider what type of wedding you want to have and if you want to honeymoon there.
“More and more couples are including group activities for the wedding party as part of the overall celebrations – so the wedding becomes much more than one day. So if you have particular wants – e.g. snorkelling with turtles, whale watching, jungle zipline tours – then it’s worth checking out if these are available in your destination before you travel.”
• Look at the people that you want to share your wedding day with you.
“If it’s an adults-only crowd, you may prefer a more laid back, quieter destination like St. Martin that offers boutique resorts that specialize in French and Creole cuisine. If it’s a larger family with multiple age groups, you may want consider somewhere with more attractions such as Jamaica, Mexico or the Dominican Republic.”
2. How to Pick The Perfect Venue
Almost as tricky as deciding on the location is narrowing down the actual wedding day venue(s). “Look at who you want to invite, as this influences the type of venue you choose,” suggests Mulroney. “If you are thinking of having children at the wedding, it’s important to look at resorts that offer activities such as children’s clubs, water parks and babysitting. Then consider the type of ceremony you want to have,” continues Mulroney. “Some resorts have sky terraces, private dining rooms, beachfront gazebos, their own catamarans for pre-wedding party cocktail cruises, for example. Whether you want a formal or informal ceremony, it’s important to choose the resort that offers what you’re looking for.”
3. Find the Best Dress for Your Destination
“Often brides assume because they are going to a beach that they have to choose a certain kind of dress,” says Mulroney. “But just because you decide to do a destination wedding doesn’t mean you can’t have the dress you’ve always dreamed of! Often the venues at different resorts are air conditioned and not on sand, therefore any dress goes.” Instead of thinking you need to be limited on style, think more about the actual fabrics when making your decision. “I would be careful about getting something heavy or in a fabric that doesn’t breathe,” warns Mulroney. “Perhaps getting a second, shorter option for after the ceremony is a good idea, especially if there will be dancing under the stars!”
4. How to Prep Your Hair
Let’s face it: a tropical destination might wreak havoc on most people’s hair, and there’s a lot of prep work that goes into picking a style. “Great bridal locks require a little love and devotion,” says Mulroney. “You should start thinking about your hairstyle for the big day at least nine-12 months before your wedding if you have the time, so you can ensure you’ll have the hair you desire for your wedding. Decide on the style you want to go with, and if you need to grow your hair out or want extensions.”
5. How To Prep Your Skin
“Make sure to start early with your skin,” Mulroney says. “If you are trying new treatments, you want to avoid having a reaction the week of your wedding, so experimenting about eight months before your wedding is a good idea. Oxygen facials are a great option for glowing skin, as well as full-body gommage exfoliators.”