Friday, August 10, 2012

How to have an Awesome Destination Wedding

According to some wedding websites, about about 20% of couples are having destination weddings. While you may irritate some of your guests by daring to have your wedding in a place of your own choosing, you should just do whatever you want. Those who want to make it will make it and those who can't...can't. Life will go on.
  1. Pick the Right (Appropriate) Destination: It's difficult and takes a lot of guesswork to pick the right spot, let alone the right city and country of your wedding, but you can pretty much determine the number of guests you'll have at your wedding by the degree of difficulty it will take guests to get there. If you want a tiny wedding then pick somewhere in the middle of nowhere where you have no friends or relatives. Be prepared for even some close friends to not be able to attend and don't be offended. That's one of the costs of a destination wedding. In our case we wanted about a hundred guests and we hit our target by picking Cebu. We had a good mix of guests from the US, Singapore, southern and northern Philippines. Check out more of our experience picking out our destination here.
  2. Videos/Photography is (virtually) forever: One area where we decided not to be cheapos was with the video and photography. No matter how good your actual wedding is, probably the only thing people will remember--besides your baby picture slide show--are the official wedding pictures and video. Check out our wedding video by Mayad Studios:
  3. Save money by DIY - We picked up a bunch of our decorations from some really random places. That's the beauty of a vintage wedding... even old stuff and cheap stuff can be acceptable decorations (just make sure you can recognize the fine line between vintage and "junk"). We got stuff from trendy artsy fartsy shops in Singapore like Typo. Even Daiso (the equivalent of the Japanese 100-yen store) had some great items we were able to use at the wedding reception. Carissa's dad helped make an "I Do" signpost for us (as seen in the video) and hauled it all the way from Manila. We did our own slideshow, prenup pictures and videos, which saved us on pre-wedding photography and video costs, allowing us to get the videographers and photographer we wanted for the wedding day.
  4. Get a good, experienced coordinator or don't get one at all - don't make the mistake we made of choosing a coordinator who didn't have much experience under her belt. In fact, I think we may have been her first guinea pigs. In the end we had to do a lot of the tasks the coordinator is supposed to do, and also needed call in my cousin, an  experienced wedding coordinator, to save the day. I should have just asked my cousin to help us coordinate it all, or we should have done everything ourselves and ....
  5. Let the hotel do most of the work if possible - Since we had chosen Shangri-La, we could have passed most of the decoration responsibility to them. It would have been slightly more expensive and maybe not as customized as the wedding we had, but it would have saved us so much more heartache and time in the end.
  6. Remember that not everything is going to go perfectly. - Yes, not everything went according to plan. Even though we had agreed with the hotel to let guests order liquor from the bar on our tab, the hotel was charging guests to do so. Another irritating thing that happened was that there were hotel guests walking around (in speedos) and a loud annoying lady (in a thong--just kidding) on the phone during part of the ceremony--even though we had told the hotel to clear the beach of other guests. In the end, most people probably won't remember these details without me bringing them up again, but they didn't detract too much from the overall event. I wrote to Shangri-La to let them know my displeasure and they promptly replied with an apology and promised not to let it happen in the future, like if we go back for our 50th wedding anniversary or something :D
  7. Most importantly--Have Fun! - We almost lost sight of our goal in the midst of our planning--giving our guests an entertaining, enjoyable, and fun time.. and getting them to dance at the end. We were on the verge of going completely insane at one point but thankfully a few friends reminded us that it was all going to work out in the end and that no matter what happened, our friends and family would be there to support us and that it would be the happiest day of our lives. They were right.  Everything turned out beautifully and we're not broke.

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