Of course we do destination weddings - and of course they are the best - highly memorable, very personalized, and fun for you and your family - but what's the point of talking about all that. It's more fun to share a check list of things to do if you are planning a Destination Wedding - at Sugar Beach - or anywhere else for that matter. So read and enjoy - take notes - and let me know if you have other suggestions/ideas/experiences to share. There's nothing like the magic of a Destination Wedding to make everyone smile!
Start on the Web
There are lots of great websites - mostly free even - that you can use to keep track of all the ins and outs. One I like is theKnot.com - but do your research first. There are lots of options out there for the choosing. And make a gift registry. Old folks really appreciate knowing what you really, really want - and for those who think it's tacky - they will ignore your list anyway. It's a win-win, and you might not have to return 3 coffee pots.
Research the Weather
All destinations have high season (the best weather) and low season (more iffy) - although in St. Croix our high season is dictated more by the weather in the US then our weather. Spring (April thru June) is pretty consistently amazing, and yet it is officially 'low' season because it's not longer so cold and nasty state-side. But where-ever you decide to go - be sure you know what to expect. And be sure to let your guests know too. My favorite website for weather checking - http://www.wunderground.com - Weather Underground. There's a priceless option that allows you to enter your travel dates - and the destination - and they give you the historical weather pattern. Very nifty.
Make sure it's Legal
This is easy in St. Croix - we're actually in the US - so the same rules apply. To make sure you are getting properly hitched - call Sharon (1-800-524-2049) - She can give you a quick run-down on the ministers we recommend. Another source - check out www.gotostcroix.com - they have an entire section under 'Who to Know' that explains how to get a license, and gives a short list of 'officiants'. Sharon knows lots more!
Talk to your prospective Guests to get a good date range
More important you'll can appreciate today - this will really pay off later. If there's a relative that you'd be disappointed couldn't make it - get an idea of what date range will work for them. You'd be surprised how much grief just sounding people out on when works best will save you later.
Use a Travel Agent (or not!)
This is absolutely a personal decision. If you like juggling a zillion balls while trying on wedding dresses - you can definitely do this yourself. But having a travel agent plan on how to get 30 or more people to the same place on the same date is a bit like letting the caterer do the cooking. One less thing for you to worry about. Just be sure that you make it clear when you really need everyone to be there - and of course - where there is - and the travel agent can work from that.
Let Guests know well ahead of your dates - and destination
It takes time for people to get their heads around a destination wedding - and if you really want them to come - sending 'Save the Date' emails and note cards at least 6 months ahead is not too early. I'd recommend several e-blasts - being sure that the guests you want to come know when and where is important - letting them know well ahead is critical.
The more Affordable, the more of your guests will be able to come. This is where Sugar Beach can really help you out. All our units are condos with kitchens - and our prices are unbelievably reasonable. And even better - every single condo is right on the beach. Plus, since St. Croix is in the USA - no passports are required. And the language is English. So you get all the advantages of being in the Caribbean with none of the disadvantages. Perfect. And very affordable. Sharon is your go-to option again - 1-800-524-2049.
Think a Week
In a week you can Get married, Relax around the pool with your Aunts and Uncles, Go scuba diving with your bridesmaids and groomsman, Check out several bars in Christiansted with one crowd, Do Cane Bay with a different group, Get a good Suntan, and Relax before and after you tie the knot. So when you are doing your planning - make it a week (not required of course - but you'll thank me for this piece of advice), and encourage your guests to do the same. It's a special occasion, and it's worth making it even more special by taking it a bit slower. Spreading out the festivities will only make them more fun, less pressure, and more memorable.
Ok - enough advice for now. Happy Planning - and consider - a Destination Wedding is generally a less expensive option - there are fewer guests - and you get to spend more quality time with them. And - the best part - everyone will always remember your wedding!
Sun, Sand, and Wedding Bells. Perfect.