Destination Wedding Mythbusters

By: Jessica Mulroney

Week-long celebrations in the sun and breathtaking ocean backdrops are just a few of the reasons why destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular. Yet, for some couples the idea of tying the knot down south can feel daunting. How would they arrange all the details for their big day, coordinate travel for their families, deal with the legalities? To clear up these common misconceptions, we asked our contributing editor, Jessica Mulroney, to give us the low down on how planning your destination wedding can be a tropical breeze!

Myth #1: Resort packages are cookie cutter and not personal

Reality: Everything can be customized from the décor to the menu

A very common destination wedding myth is that all destination weddings are the same and that you only have a few options to choose from based on “one-stop shop” wedding packages. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! Destination weddings are customizable to your personal style and tastes. Your destination wedding planner is available to help you personalize every aspect of your big day, from the venue and décor to the menu and more, by communicating your vision to your on-site coordinator and vendors.

For example, at Royalton Punta Cana Resort and Casino where our cover story couple, Bobbie and Alonzo, tied the knot couples can choose from an array of packages to suit a variety of styles and budgets and several religious service offerings. Additionally, couples have from an extensive menu of add-on experiences to customize their celebration, from late-night food stations and candy bars to a private disco complete with a DJ and an open-bar and more.

Myth #2: I have to get married barefoot on the beach

Reality: Most resorts offer a wide variety of beautiful venue options to suit all types of wedding styles

Sky Terrace at Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica

Although getting married on the beach is a popular trend for many destination weddings, brides not into the beach Boho chic look should not despair. Many resorts offer gorgeous ceremony venues other than the beach such as garden gazebos, elegant terraces and breathtaking indoor spaces. For example, the Sky Terrace at Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica is a stunning ceremony space that’s both formal and intimate and offers striking ocean views. In addition, even beach weddings can be conducted on a boardwalk, so you can still pack those killer heels!

Myth #3: I have to organize travel for my guests and travel research takes too much time

Reality: Your destination wedding consultant can help arrange all your research and travel

Destination wedding packages can also include all travel arrangements! This can make it easy when you are looking to unite family members from coast to coast in one place. If you’re travelling as a group you may also benefit from some additional perks depending on your group size such as dedicated private transfers, pre-allocated rooms together and more. At Wedding Vacations we book the entire package from the airport transfers to the accommodation and the ceremony – we  can even on add on excursions for your wedding group. You’ll also benefit from our preferred rates with our extensive network of resorts and vendors in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.

Myth #4: Having a destination wedding means I won’t have a honeymoon

Reality: Destination wedding couples can enjoy a pre-moon and a honeymoon in destination 

Riu Palace Baja California

Many couples choose to take advantage of the fact that they’re already in destination and extend their stay at their original resort or relocate to a new resort after the ceremony to enjoy a change of scenery. Your destination wedding consultant can assist you in arranging your resort stays and recommend the perfect place for your romantic escape.

A popular option for honeymoons is the adults only Riu Palace Baja California that overlooks Los Cabos’ famous arch from its stunning rooftop lounge. Next door is the more family-friendly Riu Santa Fe with water park; making this a great option for those couples looking to cater to all tastes.

Myth #5: My guests with food allergies and diet restrictions won’t have food options available 

Reality: Resorts offer a wide selection of dining options for all tastes and diets

Bio restaurant at Hotel Xcaret Mexico

Most resorts can  accommodate specific dietary restrictions or allergies within your group when you discuss your needs with your destination wedding consultant during the planning process. To allow the resort to prepare accordingly, it’s best to have all your guest’s food allergies and restrictions carefully tracked and provided to the resort well in advance. For example, Hotel Xcaret Mexico offers an assortment of dining options to suit all travelers such as Bio, an elegant vegan and vegetarian restaurant nestled in a cave overlooking the beach.

Myth #6: Resorts have limited dining options, offering only buffet style restaurants 

Reality: Resorts offer a wide selection of gourmet dining options

Menu from Bobbie and Alonzo’s wedding at Royalton Punta Cana Resort and Casino, planned by Jessica Mulroney

Your destination wedding consultant can recommend an array of resorts that offer gourmet dining options; from elegant steakhouses and unique fusion restaurants to Michelin-starred venues and more. For example El Dorado Royale Resort by Karisma offers a Gourmet All Inclusive® concept where wedding groups can look forward to meals prepared by world-class chefs using the freshest and finest ingredients locally sourced from the resort’s green house.

Myth #7: The heat will make our wedding day uncomfortable

Reality: There are many ways to ensure a comfortable tropical experience 

Laura and Kevin’s Real Wedding, Photographed by Daniel McQuillan Photography

Hosting your ceremony later in the day and your reception dinner at sunset when the sun isn’t as strong, is a common practice that will help you and your guests stay comfortable on your wedding day. If you prefer, you can also celebrate indoors. Many resorts offer stunning indoor reception venue options to accommodate all sorts of group sizes, such as Majestic Colonial Punta Cana’s glamorous ballroom that holds up to 300 guests.

Myth #8: My destination wedding color scheme needs to be bright and tropical

Reality: You can customize your color palette to your taste

Majestic Mirage Punta Cana

Even though you’re celebrating in a tropical destination, your wedding color palette doesn’t have to match the tropical vibe. Whether you prefer a neutral or a bold color scheme, resort décor vendors and florists offer a wide array of colors to help bring your décor vision to life. In fact, neutral color schemes are very popular for destination weddings.

Myth #9: If I get legally married in destination, it won’t be recognized in Canada

Reality: You can choose from both legal and symbolic ceremonies

Legal weddings overseas are recognized in Canada and the United States. Your destination wedding consultant can help you choose the right ceremony type and will be a valuable resource for explaining all of the legal requirements or paperwork (if needed) to you in advance, as these may vary by country.

Myth #10: My partner and I need to have even wedding parties

Reality: Your wedding parties can be as big or as small as you like 

Lauren and Rob’s Real Wedding, Photographed by Fostered Photo

It’s very common for couples to have uneven wedding parties. Your destination wedding consultant can help you determine your processional order to ensure your wedding march looks seamless. For photos with your wedding party, your photographer can help you find the best way to organize your group or you can find lots of wedding photography inspiration on our Pinterest, Instagram and Real Weddings blogs.