So now that I've started really planning this shindig called a wedding I wanted to share some details that we needed to consider before we could get the ball rolling.
One of the biggest considerations was the time of the year. The first question after we announced our engagement was when. The first thing that comes to mind when you mention the tropics, at least for me and my family, is hurricane season. Hurricane season runs from the beginning of June to the end of November. We are actually entering the height of the season right now.
photo courtesy of Hurricane Science
Throughout the season there is a fairly predictable pattern of where storms form and move. Adding to that is the heat, while I'm from Florida and have been to the Caribbean in August with no problem, our guests may not appreciate that so that eliminated all of the summer between these two factors. I HATE the fall and winter now because I HATE cold weather. While fall does have some beautiful days, I find it hard to enjoy them because I know they are coming to an end.
Photo from Sodahead.com
So obviously, we wanted to have a spring wedding. Done right? WRONG!
The spring in the Caribbean screams SPRING BREAK!
Photo from beachbelievers.com
The last thing I want around my wedding a bunch of drunk college kids. (Not that we're all going to be totally sober the entire weekend or anything, but that's different). Fortunately, after spring break season (after Easter-ish) it becomes the 'low season' for most of the resorts. Low season = cheaper prices. Our resort is almost half the price of the high season in the low season. We also wanted to avoid May because Ben's little sister is a senior in high school and needs to be home for AP tests, prom, and graduation. We were quickly running out of weekends!
Image from just allcalendar.org
I narrowed it down to the last 3 weeks of April. When we found our resorts the last 2 happened to fall in the low season so we picked April 21 and sent in our request. I received a prompt reply that it was booked as well as the following weekend but the previous weekend was open. Only hitch - Sunday April 15 was the beginning of low season. I was deadset on getting married on the weekend to minimize the time I was asking our family and friends to miss work to be with us so I went out on a limb and asked if we could secure low season pricing for our guests. After a few days of waiting (it felt like an eternity because I was busy showing off the resort to anyone who would listen), the manager agreed! YAY! We quickly sent them our deposit and had our wedding date of April 14, 2012. We were required by contract to have our guests stay for 3 nights so we will all be in Jamaica together April 13-16!
For most couples planning a wedding transportation includes limos, buses, etc to transport themselves from to and from the venues and maybe their guests if need be. We didn't have to worry about that but we were asking our guests to travel over 1500 miles to join us. I have the ladies of weddingbee to thank for explaining the process of getting flight discounts for their guests at their destination weddings. I quickly e-mailed the 3 major carriers that we fly when we visit family - American, United, and Delta - about securing a discount. Delta never e-mailed me back (SHAME!), United required everyone to purchase their tickets as a group, way ahead of time and NO cheaper than the searches I was turning up in Orbitz, but American happily supplied us with a code for our guests flying from ANY city to Jamaica. It's only 5% but its something. So far my parents are the only ones who have booked flights and didn't use it but hopefully someone will be able to take advantage of it.
We now also have several days to fill with our guests. We're not only planning our wedding and reception but events on Friday, Sunday, and Monday for them as well. Luckily, we're pretty much taking over this boutique resort so it will be easy for us to just relax together around the property. We're also working with our resort to plan an excursion off the property for Sunday. Even if it's just to the beach, where we can explore, it will be something to do that our guests don't have to think about. My goal is to give our guests as little to think about and plenty of things to do once they land in Jamaica.