Having just returned from a lovely weekend in Block Island- a beautiful spot for destination weddings, I have them on the brain. This ‘ask the experts’ post focuses on a destination wedding expert- Jess Mcann Nana.
We love every single one of our brides. Every once in awhile, one of our brides truly touches our lives and becomes not just a client, but a friend. Jess is one of those brides! We loved every second of working with Jess as a bride and now we are thrilled to continue to work with her as she grows her incredible blog – Destination Inspirations. As destination weddings (and proposals) have become increasingly popular, we asked Jess to weigh in on the trends that she is seeing.
Jess graduated from Sacred Heart University with a BA in Media Studies and has always had a love for exploring blogging and social media. She continued on to Quinnipiac University where she graduated this past May with a Master’s of Science in Interactive Communications. It was during her graduate studies that Jess found her love for blogging and learning more about SEO. During that time she was also planning her own 2010 destination wedding in Mexico. The experience inspired her to launch her own destination wedding blog, Destination Inspirations. Having lived in both Ecuador and Belgium along with her love for traveling, Jess wanted to create a blog that would inspire weddings from around the world. In addition to daily inspiration she wanted to be a resource for those planning a destination wedding and share her own experience. Below are her insights on the latest trends in destination weddings.
What are some of the most popular locations for destinations weddings?
#1 is definitely Mexico. It offers the widest array of accommodation’s for guests and also offers the most for every budget. With such an array of both adult only or kid friendly all-inclusive and non-all-inclusive resorts, couples have a variety of options. From beach side affairs to private restaurants, in Mexico you can have it all.
#2 Jamaica, it offers the most all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. With its tranquil beaches and laid back island feel, most venues offer packages that include all your wedding vendor needs from florists, makeup artists to DJ’s.
#3 California, Napa Valley has really increased in popularity as destination weddings are no longer just thought of as a beach celebration. From wineries to shabby chic barns, couples come to Napa to share a one of a kind experience with guests.
#4 Florida offers both a wonderful location for beach weddings but now also offers incredible hotels to private villas or intimate affairs at a sea side restaurant. An easy to travel location, where for US citizen’s the marriage legal process, is a piece of cake.
#5 Hawaii, the ultimate island experience, greet guests with orchid lays and treat them to a Hawaiian luau. A place revered for its natural beauty and full of culture. Couples have a wide selection from having an intimate dinner to the most lavish affairs.
#6 Paris, the city of love would only be a very natural place for couples to become one. Known often for destination wedding elopements, couples can have the ultimate romantic wedding. You can stroll the city in your wedding attire with pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower followed by a romantic dinner on the Seine River.Or cozy up at one of the many renowned culinary restaurants this beautifully city has to offer.
#7 Italy, a destination known for its delectable food and family style dinners along with the beautiful scenery makes for a very exclusive location. Couples can rent out villas where a week-long vacation is offered for guests with a wedding under star light and an incredible dining experience.
#8 Dominican Republic, a very budget friendly choice that gives you white sandy beaches, pool side receptions at resorts that can take care of it all for your special day. For those looking to have a relaxing vacation combined with their destination wedding, this is an ideal choice.
#9 Canada, has become an increasingly popular destination giving couples with a rustic outdoor taste the oasis of their dreams. From cabins, to ceremonies by lakes, row boats and s’mores and of course sunset ceremonies with spectacular views makes Canada a dream destination wedding location.
#10 Las Vegas, a place where you can have a dreamy destination wedding at some of the world’s best hotels and offer the best in entertainment for guests. Today you can see couples having black tie affairs or very intimate celebrations at celebrity famous restaurants. This is a destination where fun can be had by all.
Are there any up and coming locations for destination weddings?
Spain has been seeing quite a lift in destination weddings this past year. It offers both its beautiful beach side towns in Costa del Sol to amazing hotels and Cathedrals in Barcelona. Very affordable flights are now available along with both affordable accommodating boutique hotels and private mansions available for rental. Many couples not only have a week of celebrating but many stay after for their honeymoon. Offer guests a nightof typical Spanish tapas, sangria for a welcome drink, some flamenco dancing and it’s no wonder this is fast becoming an up and coming destination.
When planning a destination wedding, what are the 3 most important points to consider?
Time – make sure to not only give yourself but also guest’s ample time to save up. Time will also allow for you to lock down great rates and the opportunity to keep everyone informed.
Budget – Don’t only consider a budget for you but also consider a budget for your guests. If you are looking for an intimate experience and are ok with only a few guests being there or you want a wedding with 200 guests the budget and expense of your stay are important factors.
Wedding Planner – I can’t say it enough, don’t cut the corners and believe you can do it all yourself. Wedding planners should be first and foremost included in your budget. They are familiar with the location as well as work with the best and most reliable vendors in the area. If you decide to go with a resort that includes a wedding coordinator I still suggest hiring a wedding planner to coordinate other important events off the resort such as a rehearsal dinner, welcome night, day after brunch, catamaran excursions and all those additional details that make a destination wedding so amazing.
We have heard that destination proposals are becoming more popular. What locations are trending for proposals?
This has become something huge and I just love it. Destination proposals often have a lot of thought and coordination put into them. The end result makes not only for the most amazing proposal but something truly unique and unforgettable. I have been seeing more and more photographers there to capture the proposal. It’s wonderful to share that moment with family and friends. Top locations right now are, Paris, Italy, Florida, Mexico, California and our very own New York City.
As you were a destination bride, any tips for travelling with your gown?
Well for me it was easy because I had the best of the best taking care of my gown, The White Dress By The Shore. Josie from Beneath The Gown perfectly steamed and double packed my gown so I could carry it on the plane. Now ladies don’t assume your flight has a closet where they will allow you to hang your gown. Call your airline beforehand to make sure. If you have a fuller gown with tulle and more material the best way is to bring it in a carry on and have it packed up for you by the wonderful ladies at The White Dress. Beth herself will tell you she transported a full tulle gown to Costa Rica this way. When it arrived it was like it had never been off the hanger. Today I love that I am seeing fuller gowns with feathers, tulle, and ruffles for destination wedding brides. The transportation of these exquisite gowns is an essential piece to your destination wedding piece of mind.
Lastly like any wedding enjoy every moment. Destination weddings are all about spending time with family and friends. Having had one myself even with 95 guests it was actually the most intimate affair. You have the chance of spending time with the ones you love for more than just two nights. The time together is something very special and unforgettable. Below are ten of my favorite images from destination weddings I have featured. They evoke that emotion that lets you know, this is what having a destination wedding is all about.
Elegant Images ~ Raw Photo Design ~ Hello Studios ~ Justin & Mary ~ Stephanie Williams ~
Jonathan Thrasher ~ Janis Ratnieks ~ Jose Villa ~ Elizabeth Medina ~ Sybrand Cillie