Destination Wedding - My Poor Sister and Advice

Updated on February 26, 2013
M.D. asks from Washington, DC
22 answers

My younger sister and her fiance have been planning to get married in St. Lucia in May 2013. She went online last night to show a friend the resort and the resort is no longer showing! It was bought out by another company and they have doubled the prices. Now my sister has decided to cancel that because it makes it too expensive for everyone AND customer service told her too bad that she wasn't notified and that it wasn't their problem. She already had the invitations ready to mail :(.

My sister wants to do a local wedding at this point, but her fiance still wants to do a destination wedding . SO...does anyone know of any good islands that have affordable for both the wedding party and guests? They want as much family to be able t ocome as possible.

(When she bought her wedding gown back in October, she bought the one she did because her plan was already in motion to be married in St. Lucia on the that is another reason she is very upset.)

Added - Yes, I know the wedding is far out. Our older sister is planning on getting married this September, so my younger sister wants to give plenty of time for family and friends to plan for the destination. That is why they set it so far out. I'm wondering if anyone knows of any great places to go.

And I would be MORE than happy if they did it locally or at least in the US!!

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So What Happened?

Not a typo Jo :). They got engaged early August of this year and set their date so far out to give family and friends (plus themselves) time to plan and save for that trip.

Invitations READY to mail - not sent out yet. Really I'm just trying to give them good places to look otherwise. They did not have any money invested in the resort yet.

I am also trying to push the more local idea. My sister is really trying to do one LOCAL to MD now and just honeymoon - the way it should be. But her fiance is a complete pain and baby, he wants to do destination. My husband will go if I tell him we all want to go and can afford it, but no, I don't WANT to spend so much money to attend anyone's wedding.

And nope - my sister and fiance really don't have a lot of money and were going to skip the save the date's since they are doing a very small (close friends and family) wedding. So they were just letting everyone know and were going to send the invites out later this spring?summer. sister is overly excited as any bribe would be and has them already, plus had them addressed - luckily not stamped.

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answers from Houston on

The Dominican Republic is a great destination. One of the ladies I work with had her's in Punta Cana at the Beaches Resort. We stayed there in June and her wedding was in July. Its a beautiful resort and they do weddings all the time so they are used to working with families. We met a family that their daughter was getting married. They said that the package they were getting was around $10,000. I know there are cheaper packages but I didn't think that was too bad.

Another place would be Hilton Head. LOVE it there!! Very family friendly.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

hey, what's wrong with the good ole' USA....the Gulf Shores? I know of several couples who were married on the beach there ++all family was in attendance! Fun for all.....wonderful "destination"!

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Phoenix on

Can't she she still do a beach wedding in the states? I think destination weddings are great if the attendees can actually afford the expense, or if the couple can afford to pay for close family/friends to be there. Otherwise, I think they are kind of selfish. Expecting people to pay for a pricey vacation that is centered around your wedding is kind of ridiculous in the state of economy we're living in.

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answers from Chicago on

I think since the wedding is not until 2013 they have plenty of time. Try Jamaica. A lot of people go there. Also Mexico. The resorts there are all inclusive and I am sure have reasonable packages.

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answers from Hartford on

Your sister may be giving people "time to save" but not everyone will be able to save up or take time off of their valuable jobs for someone else's destination wedding. I can tell you that if any of my family or friends, close or not, told me that they were planning a destination wedding to an island or anywhere outside of the U.S. I would wish them well and ask them when they were planning to have their local reception.

In this economy it's just ridiculously selfish and self-centered to expect the wedding party and wedding guests to attend a destination wedding. They would do far better if they chose a fantasy location, went there to marry by themselves, and then came back and threw a reception. It would be much, much more tasteful and much, much more considerate of them.

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answers from Washington DC on


YIKES!!! Destination weddings can be complicated!!! However, it does NOT have to be OUTSIDE the U.S.

Bob and I got married in October in Massachusetts - it was TRULY beautiful with all the fall colors!!!

Florida Keys to include Key West...
Disney World
Outer Banks, NC
Martha's Vineyard, MA
Catalina Island, CA (right off the coast of Los Angeles)
Myrtle Beach, SC
Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head
Taos, New Mexico - lots of resorts there
Las Vegas

There are lots of others...will this help them?

I would remind them that the wedding is just that - a wedding - it's the marriage that matters. If he is immature NOW that will NOT change when they get married - she DOES realize that, right? It is soooo sad to see sooo many people getting caught up in the wedding (can we say Kim Kardashian?) and forget about the marriage!

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answers from Orlando on

Lots of great beaches in Florida that have that "island feel" and cater to weddings. The Ritz in Sarasota, Don Cesar resort on St. Pete Beach, Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, Key Largo Marriott is great, Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada, Key West? How about the Bahamas? Love it there. Beautiful beaches and the water is so pretty!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

9 years ago we had a destination wedding on New Year's Day at the Hilton in Daytona Beach. It was beautiful and we had about 75 of our family and close friends that were in attendance. And since it was New Year's Day instead of New Year's Eve, the prices were wonderful! Maybe she can try something in the US instead (West coast, East coast, Gulf) since she has plenty of time to investigate and may be a lot more affordable for those who would like to attend.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

My best friend had her destination wedding in the Bahamas. Great time:)

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answers from Richmond on

A destination wedding does not have to = a foreign country. You can have a destination wedding to a beach in the US. The Outer Banks in NC is very popular for weddings and I have seen some beautiful ones. My husband's cousin got married in Cocoa Beach, FL and the wedding was lovely (and affordable - they had a tight budget). I know that many places along the FL panhandle are quite affordable now as they are still attempting to lure people back after the oil spill; by 2013 I would imagine it will be beautiful again. Everyone I know who has had a wedding outside of the US has said it was nice but expensive and they missed the fact that so many people simply could not come to the wedding b/c of the expense and/or time it would take to travel. Something for them to consider. If their hearts are set on an island, a friend of mine just got married in St. Croix and it wasn't too expensive. It's not the most glamorous island (I've been there) but the beaches are gorgeous. Any place in the USVI would probably be fairly affordable as well as Puerto Rico. I would avoid islands owned by other nations since our dollar exchange rate with most of those currencies is really bad right now (which means everything will be that much more expensive)! As for the invitations, if she loves them then she should try to book for the same date/time elsewhere then have a simple card printed announcing a change in venue. Put both in the envelope. Good luck to her - wedding planning is so stressful!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

She has well over a year or was that a typo? If she has over a year she still has time to find a deal but she needs to be smart about it, book and lock in prices.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

A friend of mine had her son's wedding on the beach at Best Western beach Resort, Monteray, CA. It was quite beautiful, they have a lovely area for receptions and a huge veranda looking down over the beach. The bride came out those doors and walked down the stairs onto the beach where the clergy was waiting with his back to the ocean. The bride and groom even had their dog's with them, they had on a wedding dress and tuxedo too.

It was a lovely wedding and I was asking my other FB friends and they recommended getting some phone book pages from the local library for islands just off the coast, like Santa Cruz, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, The Bahama's.

Cruises don't cost that much if they are booked in advance and are to places like Bermuda or the Caribbean. I would tell her to go to the library and make lots of copies of hotels in towns she would consider. Then to call each place she has on a short list.

Making plans ahead is a wonderful skill, good for her.

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answers from La Crosse on

how about the South Padre Islands? Its beautiful there.

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answers from New York on

I was at a wedding in Puerto Rico on the beach at the Westin Rio del Mar. It was very nice.

I would think that most beach hotels in the Caribbean do weddings. She just needs to sit down and do some research and figure it all out. I think it's very possible to do. Plus, if she is guaranteeing a specific number of people, then they will cut the room rates, etc.

Also, she shouldn't limit herself to going out of the country. Since it's May, there are lots of places along the East Coast to consider. Do it before Memorial Day and she will get a low rate. How about Rhode Island? It's beautiful there. CT, Maryland, NC - all have beautiful beaches in May. And lots of people can drive.

Do you mean Save the Date cards that are ready to mail? Save the date can go out as soon as the date is concrete. Invites 6-8 weeks max before the wedding.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

She has over a year to research different areas and prices. I am not sure if I would respond to a wedding invite that was so far in advance. I have trouble planning stuff six months in advance.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Not sure if she's feels she has to do her beach wedding outside of the states, but we have beautiful beaches right here and it would be affordable for everyone? I'm not familiar with many locations for weddings, but my sister planned her honeymoon for Jamaica and it was affordable too.

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answers from Washington DC on

Try looking at the Dominican Republic. I had initially looked at the Paradisus Punta Cana for a destination wedding. I decided to have a local wedding but still love the area. ( I am not sure how the property has aged since that was 6 years ago.) I do think my money went a long way there.

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answers from Kansas City on

was that the only place in St. Lucia to stay? there have to be other hotels or some such to stay at.

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answers from Austin on

FYI, If they have any money invested at that resort that is non refundable... , they can just use it as their Honeymoon location.

Destination weddings in general are just expensive.
Invitations in the mail? For 2013?

I am sure they can just retract those and consider, Jamaica, Aruba, Sandals Resort, Florida St. Johns. How about on a Cruise Ship. Puerto Rico?

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answers from Los Angeles on

Everyone keeps giving advice that the wedding doesn't have to be out the country, inside the country is great!

Yeah, for you. Obviously they have already decided between themselves that a Destination wedding is right for them.

I hate people saying its selfish, it is probably true they want it private.

My partner and I are going to get married just the two of us then have a big party so all family and friends can come when we get home.



answers from Washington DC on

Hi there - We got married at Tensing Pen in Negril, Jamaica, and it was fantastic. Eight years later our friends and family are still calling it the best wedding ever. It was not expensive or stressful at all; we rented out the entire resort, and the only thing people had to pay for was their airfare. I think the whole thing - including rooms, wedding, and reception - was under $10,000. Totally low-key, no planning involved (they used local flowers, local minister, local band, etc. and planned it all - I'm not picky). We flew into Montego Bay, and Tensing Pen arranged for shuttles; it was about a 1.5-hour drive to the resort, maybe $20 a person? In any event, it's not a fancy beach resort - it's a rustic place out on the cliffs (right on the water) with a small outdoor restaurant and bar. No TVs or phones (although they do have WiFi now). We had about 35 guests, short wedding with a live saxophone, dinner and a band playing reggae for dancing. So, so fun - we just went back for our anniversary with some friends who came to our wedding, and it was like spring break for adults. If your sister is more into the all-inclusive/beach thing, I think there's also a Sandals or Beaches in Negril. Good luck!

Added: We went to Anse Chastenet in St. Lucia for our honeymoon. Also great, but not as secluded and rustic as Tensing Pen, and harder to get to.



answers from New York on

Cancun, Mexico. Most major cities have direct flights. It is a popular destination, which means good prices. They cater to this type of thing, so she should have plenty of options to pick from. I always read real-traveller reviews on "Trip Advisor" before going anywhere.

Best of luck to your sis!

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