I know this is the part you have been waiting for. The real details on planning a wedding in Negril, Jamaica. Just to recap if you missed part I, you can find it HERE. Planning a destination wedding can be fun and stressful at the same time, but if you are a control freak then this would not be for you. There are so many variables that you have no control over. One of the main things is the weather, which leads me to …
6. Research, research, and research
All that we knew was that we wanted to have our wedding as close to our dating anniversary as possible because it means so much to us. As previously mentioned, we looked at California in November and my husband advised me that it was cold by the water that time of the year. We went through the whole process of contacting vendors and getting ready to take time off work to visit the venues only to discover we would have to transport everyone to the location from a hotel that wasn’t close by. Plus, there was a steep hill that our guest would have to walk down and I didn’t want anyone to get hurt, so that was out.
I found the Sandals Resort advertisement on Pinterest of course. Anyone who knows me and as you get to know me will learn that I am a HUGE fan of Pinterest. Well, thankfully my obsession paid off. I found out that you could have a wedding and honeymoon at one of their resorts. We decided to go with Sandals because we wanted everyone to be able to have adult fun.
We looked online to see what the weather would be like and found that we would arrive after hurricane season.
We thought that was perfect. Little did we know, we would still have rain showers throughout our trip. Usually, I’m good at predicting when it’s going to rain, obviously my spidy sense isn’t so reliable in another country. We got caught in a big down pour when we were coming back from the gift shop and my husband and our best man ran back to our rooms to get their ladies an umbrella.
They were drenched. It wasn’t a storm that we got caught in, just a cloudburst that seemed to have an unlimited amount of rain to spare for us. The staff advised that this type of weather does not normally last this long after hurricane season, so “how could you prep for this type of weather?” You ask. Well, make sure to always bring an umbrella and contact the resort to see how the weather has been acting lately. This way if it does rain, it won’t come as a surprise. Fortunate, for us, it didn’t rain when we got married, just that morning before the ceremony. We had the sun shining on us to make it a perfect day.
Leading to my number seven rule to follow:
7. Dress for the weather
The one thing we knew was that we didn’t want to see feet in our wedding photos or blue jeans, so the attire was semi-formal. Our guest came prepared with the knowledge that it was a resort in the Caribbean and wore lightweight clothes. Unfortunately, the majority of the wedding party didn’t have that option.
The fellas were in three-piece suits with closed toe shoes and I was in a satin fitted dress. My bridesmaid was in an empire styled chiffon dress, so she was part of the 5 percent that was dressed correctly for the party. Do we regret the choice? No. The guys looked sharp and we just made sure they had plenty of water.
Plus, it was a good way to hide any sweat for those who perspire a lot. Now, me on the other hand, I would have had my bridal party remind me to go for a chiffon dress that was flowy instead of satin.
Would I have listened? Probably not. When you fall in love with a dress that is it. Plus, the sales clerk kept saying it’s perfect for the Caribbean. She was really selling it. This leads me to my next point:
8. Make sure you and your guests are comfortable.
Our onsite wedding planner, Andrea was amazing. She thought of everything. We were nervous when we got to the resort because there was still so much that hadn’t been planned or advised. For instance, we were never asked who should sit next to who. Luckily, for us, our group all got along, so it didn’t matter where everyone sat. If you have a preference, make sure to speak up about it loud and early.
It’s easy for the pre-wedding planner to miss some things because they are working so many weddings. It’s important that you make sure you tell your onsite coordinator if something isn’t right. Speaking of coordinators…
9. Prepare for the upsell
You’ve gone through your bill and everything seems in order, so you start getting ready for your trip. Once you land in Jamaica and have gone through customs, you arrive at the Sandals resort waiting area. You are greeted by friendly staff who check you in and advise when the next van is leaving. There you can have a drink or two and a little bit to eat and then you’re called out to the van. (Make sure you bring cash to tip the person carrying your luggage)
When you arrive at the hotel, you go through orientation for couples getting married and then the fun begins. When you go up to the front desk, you have the option of leaving a card on file for expenses while at the resort. They would hold $600. You can only do this if you have a credit card. Otherwise, you pay as you go with your debit card at the different areas where you decide to make purchases. This includes add-ons for the wedding.
When we met with Andrea, our wedding planner, we went over the original plan we had for the wedding. We had champagne and tasted the different cupcake options, which makes sense. You won’t know if you like it thousands of miles away. The fruitcake is surprisingly good with the piña colada frosting.
We adjusted our photographer package to get more photos because she advised we wouldn’t have enough. That was a wise choice. There were more photos that we liked than we thought we would. We also added parasols because we wanted our guests to be comfortable in the sun or rain.
Additionally, we added fake flowers because my allergies couldn’t handle real ones and that was all. We had to make sure we didn’t go crazy because the beach was the backdrop we wanted all along. Those minor updates added up quickly to another $600, which is why I say prepare for the upsell. You may want something else at the last minute, but know your limits to stay on budget. That is important, but the most important thing is…
10. Have fun
Yes, everything wasn’t exactly as we rehearsed in our minds, but life is unpredictable that way, so you just have to go with it.
You’re there with the people you love and who love you celebrating a once in a lifetime event, so dance a little
or a lot…
laugh and enjoy being with family because you never know what spontaneous events will occur…
Enjoy celebrating the next chapter in your lives.
Until next time…