Joe, Musician & Justine, Designer
One sentence sum-up of the wedding vibe: The most amazingly radtastic paradise vacation party celebration ever of all time.
Planned Budget: $15,000
Actual Budget: $13,000
Number of guests: 80
Where we allocated the most funds
Travel: Our flights were about $400-plus each round trip and our stay (we stayed in the house the wedding was located at) was about $9000 for the week but had seven bedrooms and eleven bathrooms, so we split the cost of the house to be $200 per room per night.
What I did, that many might not need to do, is that I asked everyone for their flight information as soon as they booked their flights, and asked for their accommodation information. Getting this info from some folks was like pulling teeth, but once I got it all, I generated a list for everyone’s reference. I also took the flight info and arranged for a ride service for everyone to and from the airport so they didn’t have to deal with trying to catch a cab. It was really nice actually; the drivers take your actual flight info so they can track whether your flight is delayed and what not. They were incredibly helpful and sweet.
I also generated a map that listed where all of our guests were staying so that everyone could find each other. This might not be necessary for if your guests all stay at one hotel. But we printed a bunch of the maps and left them (as well as some other necessary goodies) with the shuttle service who distributed them to our guests when they dropped them off at their vacation rentals.
Where we allocated the least funds
Attire: My dress was $400 plus $300 in alterations. The bridesmaids dresses were $30 each, sans alterations. The groom, groomsmen, fathers of the bride and groom, and little brother of the bride’s suits were $700 all together (clearance deal at Jos. A. Bank—buy one get three free)!
What was totally worth it
Everything. Sky lanterns were a hit; they were magical and we only spent $120 on them. The churro guy was also a hit, although I only had a bite of my friend’s who happened to be dancing next to me on the dance floor. No time for dessert when there is awesome music playing.
What was not worth it
Nothing. It was all so wonderful.
A few things that helped us along the way
Our coordinator! Hiring a coordinator was the only thing I put my foot down on, because I didn’t want to be a stressed-out bride who leaves her own wedding early. She was worth every penny times ten. Also, having awesome friends. We were so well supported with love and excitement. Friends offered to help with all sorts of things, but we didn’t even need the help because our coordinator was taking care of everything.
Having a week with all of the wedding guests before the actual wedding also helped us relax, because we were able to visit with everyone and still party and dance on the actual wedding day.
My best practical advice to my planning self
Get a coordinator. Don’t turn this wedding into a stressful project; the engagement is part of the fun so don’t turn it into chaos. Relax and enjoy it. DO NOT work on your wedding day!
My advice to those planning a destination wedding is to stay organized before you get to your destination and then have printed copies of all of your documents. I printed three copies of everything just in case I lost one or wanted to give a copy to a vendor or the coordinator or my maid of honor. Having a printed out list of when people were arriving and departing and where they were staying was really handy. I put all of these documents in a folder with our wedding contracts and such. It was nice having one organized location of anything important that we might need to reference. You’d be surprised how much information your guests expect you to know off hand. It was nice to not have to worry about memorizing information and to just have a document we could reference.
Favorite thing about the wedding
So many things! How happy and handsome my husband looked. That it lasted a week. The music was amazing. We got the best wedding photos to remember it with!
I can’t imagine a better wedding in the whole world.