Planning a destination wedding in Jamaica is like planning any other wedding if you were at home. It contains all of the same elements, a cake, wedding ceremony and reception etc. But then there are the differences, like finding an officiant and helping your guests make travel plans. Below are our checklist of things you must do:
1. Devise a Budget
2. Hire a local wedding planner to help you pull all the details together – You will need someone to do the groundwork for you. So do your research and select someone with expereience in planning and executing destination weddings and someone thats the right fit for both of you.
3. Decide on a date and place – These two go hand and hand. You need esearch weather patterns so you don't inadvertently choose a date during hurricane season. The location will be one of the hardest decisions during the entire process so give yourself enough time to do the groundwork. If you can visit any sites you're interested in, go for it; if not, call prospective resorts and talk to their event planners. Don't just rely on photos and details on their websites. (Make sure your cell phone plan includes international calls, if relevant.)
4. Come up with your guest list – Start out with your dream list but then be realistic: Will your elderly relatives be willing and able to fly to Jamaica ? Or keep the list small from the start if you have a modest budget.
5. Know your wedding marriage requirements
6. Make Your Travel Plans
7. Create A Wedding Website – It's the perfect place to keep your guests informed. Update your site whenever you have more details to share, such as hotel accommodation info.
8. Mail Save The Dates – Do this about nine months before the big day. Give the date and location of your wedding and your wedding website address.
9. Pick Your Bridal Party – Pick your favorite friends – this is no different than if you were marrying in New York, the only difference is that: If anyone will be very pregnant on your wedding day, she may not be able to fly and can they afford to travel.
10. Work with Your Planner To Find Suitable Vendors – You'll need recommendations for services like a photographer, musicians, florist, and officiant. If you are working with a resort planner, do your research, before booking anyone, make phone calls to each vendor rather than putting all your trust in the hotel's suggestions.
11. Get a Passport or Visa – If you're getting it for the first time, apply at least 12 weeks ahead of your departure since it could take months to process, especially during the busy spring and summer seasons.
12. Book a Block of Hotel Rooms or Villas if That is Your Preference – For hotel rooms ask for a group rate if you guarantee a certain number of rooms..
13. ORDER YOUR DRESS
Think about the climate on your wedding day. If you're getting married on the beach a full ball gown may look out of context. Order your dress about nine months ahead so it arrives in the salon with plenty of time to get all your fittings done before you hop on a plane.
14. ORDER THE BRIDAL PARTY ATTIRE
The girls' dresses should be ordered about six months ahead and the guys' outfits about four months ahead.
15. BOOK ALL VENDORS
Get signed and countersigned contracts from the musicians, caterer, baker, etc. Everything you discussed and ordered should be listed.
16. SEND OUT INVITATIONS
Do this eight to 12 weeks ahead of the wedding.
17. GO SHOPPING
Your to-buy list includes wedding rings, favors, bridal party gifts, and honeymoon clothes.
18. HELP GUESTS PACK
Add a section of packing tips to your wedding website so guests will be prepared. They may know to take bathing suits to a beach destination but may not pack a hoodie for when the sun goes down and the wind picks up. If you're planning any special dinners, they'll be dress-code-ready and won't show up in shorts and tees when dressier attire is expected.
19. PLAN GUEST TRANSPORTATION
You can use local transportation which your planner can help you arrange and which is always cheaper or you can have a hotel van pick up guests at the airport to shuttles driving them around to different wedding events, providing reliable transportation is just one way guests will feel cared for by you and glad they made the trek.
20. CONFIRM EVERY DETAIL WITH EVERY VENDOR
If you are not working with a planner two days before the wedding, call the officiant, caterer, photographer and all other vendors to make sure everyone knows arrival or delivery times, addresses, and what they're doing/bringing to the wedding. Give them your groom's and maid of honor's phone numbers too.