The “B” Word

No, not that one. I’m talking about the worst “B” word related to weddings.

Okay, no, it’s not bridezilla either. Actually, there’s quite a few “B” words related to weddings…

It’s BUDGET.

One of the more frustrating aspects of planning a wedding is fitting every detail of that special day into some sort of category with some sort of monetary amount attached to it.

What makes matters even trickier for those of us planning a destination wedding is that there is one element that is so key to our weddings that are quite often absent from the generic spreadsheets out there in the vast reaches of the internet. The category for TRAVEL. Yes, travel is not listed for the majority of budgets out there.

That means that when you find one of those lovely online budget calculators that takes whatever your total budget is and separates it into different categories with various percentages, that your budget is wrong because the travel costs are not included. For the majority of destination weddings, this is problematic. Because most people travel elsewhere for a destination wedding.

Otherwise… it wouldn’t be called a destination… wedding…

So, after searching the internet in vain for a wedding budget specifically for destination weddings, I decided to make my own. I even have percentages and everything. So pro.

Colour coded and everything!

You may notice that my budget doesn’t actually add up. We’re over by $6,100. I am unconcerned at this point. Our reception and ceremony costs are budgeted for 50 people, and I highly doubt we will have that many people attend.

Also, there is this lovely little thing called group travel bonuses.

As we get closer to the big day and more money starts leaving our bank accounts, I’ll do some updated budget posts so the world can see how our budget it working out. I have good faith in this little budget.
 

Deciding to Do a DW

DW is destination wedding for all you people that are not members of the Best Destination Wedding forum. Only the most helpful forum for weddings I’ve ever come across.

I want to start from the very beginning and explain why we decided to go the DW route. Everyone has a different reason so I wanted to share mine.

Growing up I wasn’t one of those girls that planned her wedding. I didn’t think abut looking like a princess in a big poofy dress, nor did I think about being the centre of attention for a whole day. Thinking about 200 people staring at me while reciting my  vows was more likely to instill feelings of anxiety than joy. After attending a wedding or two in my teens, I knew I did not want to have a wedding in my hometown. Hell no. I thought it was an ugly place with ugly venues.

Somewhere down the line I learned abut destination weddings and from that point on everything clicked. Saying my vows with my toes buried in the sand? Sounds amazing. Only having my nearest and dearest there for such a highly personal moment? Sounds perfect. From that point on if anyone asked me what kind of wedding I wanted, I’d say destination.

My ideal wedding day shoes: none – Photo by Robert Evans Studio

Then I had the privilege of actually attending a destination wedding and that sealed the deal for me. We travelled to Aruba for the fiance’s brother’s wedding and it was by far the best wedding I’ve ever been to. There was a ceremony on the beach, dancing on the sand, some the most delicious food I’ve come across and it was all an intimate affair with only 30 people. Oh, and there were wild flamingos strutting around the site. Just saying.

Real wild flamingos from the private island wedding – Photo from Marriott.com

When P, my fiance, and I started discussing marriage, I explained my dream. But P, always the realist brought up some sad facts that I had neglected to really consider. Like the fact that my parents were in a poor financial situation at the time as would either not be able to attend, or we’d have to pay for then, thereby blowing our budget. Reality sting sometimes. We decided a DW was not really in the cards for us. We settled on a local wedding: an intimate ceremony followed by dinner with immediate family and bridal party, followed up by a cocktail party with everyone else we knew a couple days later.

We got engaged in a private moment overlooking the pacific ocean. There were whales. We returned from the trip happy to start this new adventure together, and after a few months of purely enjoying our newly engaged status, I started looking for venues.

Frustration set in as I set up appointments with venues, fell in love with them and then was slapped with a quote that was beyond our budget. Every venue that passed my quality test (because I would not get married somewhere ugly) wanted to charge us up the wazoo. Every venue that was ugly wanted to do the same. There were a lot of tears and unhappy discussions where venue possibilities were scratched off the list because we just couldn’t afford them. Once we scratched off all of them, we knew we were in trouble so we chose one of the cheaper venues and startin cutting things from our quote. Cut some food stations. Cut the open bar down to a toonie bar, much to our dismay. It was still too much which meant we would really have to cheap out on everything else: photography, my dress, etc. Even more frustrating was the fact that we couldn’t have the little wedding we wanted. The more we cut, the further we strayed from our vision.

The venue we tried so hard to make fit – Photo by Photography by Yvonne

One weekend shortly after the new year P’s brother was in town and we all went out to a bar for drinks. At one point the topic of our wedding came up and P explained the frustrations we were having. P’s brother turned to me and asked “What kind of wedding do you want?” I responded honestly with a DW. He said, “Then do that.” He sold us on the DW, talking us how amazing he thought his wedding was, how inexpensive it had been, and how great it was to spend a week with everyone that came. At the end of the night we parted ways with the promise that we would look into a DW, just to see it is was an option.

We never looked back.

Welcome to Our Wanderlove

I decided to start a little blog about planning a destination wedding for a number of reasons. The main reason being that there really aren’t that many blog dedicated to planning. I was shocked! Especially since according to this wedding infographic (I secretly love these things), 24% of couples plan destination weddings. Where are all the planning blogs then?

The blogs that I have come across are mainly for inspiration; photos of reception table set-ups and ceremony programs. Which is fantastic but…what about the hard stuff? Like dealing with the invariable issues with family members and friends that weddings tend to bring out. Those things aren’t just reserved for at home weddings. Oh no, I have already had to deal with my fare share of rude relatives and flaky friends and the wedding date is still a year away. 

If anything, I think destination weddings bring about their own sets of challenges that most people are not aware of. Through this blog, I hope to help others work through those challenges. Or at least give them something to laugh about. Either or works for me. 

So spread the word and get ready for some destination wedding discussions. And pictures. It would be a boring blog without pictures.