Destination Weddings Discussions

New DW bride - no decisions yet

Hi everyone! I am new to the DW board as FI and I decided just this past weekend that we wanted a DW. I've been obsessed with researching different islands and locations since, and I would really love some input. Here is our deal: We live in Philly, plan to get married sometime during the first 2 weeks of May 2011, estimate about 40 guests including at least 4 children ages 2-8, and envision something tropical on the beach or closeby. Our budgetis about $12k, which wasn't enough for the wedding we would want to have in Philly + our dream tropical honeymoon, hence we are going with a smaller DW. On the trip/honeymoon, FI and I would like to do snorkeling, jetskiing, other watersports and have a nice luxurious experience in terms of treatment, dining, etc (to the extent our budget will allow).

We've heard fabulous things about Aruba, and I'm also interested in the Bahamas (went to the Abacos when I was younger and loved it), USVI (to make travel more simple), Barbados, and will consider the Fl Keys or Naples area for simplicity and conveniece for guests though I feel like it would be lacking the whole exotic island aspect. If you can't tell, I'm trying to make it as accessible as possible to the guests, most importantly my 4 siblings and their families, some of whom are dealing with the financial limitations of unemployment, new babies, and full-time grad school. I also want to make it accessible for our parents and close friends who have felt the effects of the recession (like everyone, I'm sure!). I know it will be an sizable expenditure regardless, but I want everyone to get bang for their buck and have a nice trip and be able to make their own family vacation out of it. I've heard varying accounts of how expensive/inexpensive the different locations are, so I'd love your input as well.

Ok, thanks for reading my lengthy post, and I look forward to everyone's feedback!!! Cool

Re: New DW bride - no decisions yet

  • Maybe I should also cut to the chase and mention that I've been attracted to both Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort in Aruba, as it seems to have a decent wedding package as well as one of the top rated places on, as well as the Divi Resorts/Village/etc (not sure which specific one) in Aruba as my parents and good friends have been in the past year and they loved it. If anyone has experience with these, please chime in as well!!!! Thanks so much!
  • Welcome to the board!  I am no help with Aruba but Happy Planning!
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  • Welcome to the board! I'm not help on Aruba but good luck planning!
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  • Welcome!  We've been engaged since March 09 and seriously looked at every island as a possibilty.  We couldn't make up our mind but we finally just decided on Key West and will be heading down in a few weeks to check out some venus and make our decision.  Everyone keeps telling me this is the hardest part and I really hope their right because I just want to get started on the fun stuff!!
  • I'm a Mexico bride, but welcome to the board!
  • I hear you.  It takes a while to figure out where to have the event especially when you can't just pop by and check it out. 

    After much thought and weighing the options of an all inclusive vs. a traditional hotel vs. a private villa we decided to head to the Dominican Republic.....there are a lot of beautiful villas in the north that you can rent for a few days that will allow you to have an ultra private venue, dictate all meals and have every desire met....seriously!  We just did a site visit last weekend in the DR and the area we chose is enchanting and we are avid travellers.

    We are getting married here:

    Good Luck!

  • welcome! i can help you if you pick jamaica but i can't give too much advice on aruba!
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  • Welcome! Picking a location is the hardest part. We're getting married in KW because it was reasonably easy for most of our family members to get there.
  • My FI and I were almost dead set on Barbados, but then we also had our closest relatives to consider, especially during the lousy economy--not to mention a couple of our older and much loved relatives aren't physically able to travel very far.  We decided on the Tampa, FL, area because there is a major airport there, the hotels are cheap, and it's still got a TON of beautiful beaches.  Key West was also an option, but we wanted to be REALLY accessible.

    I hate to be a Negative Nancy, but Aruba is reaaaaally far.  It's like the farthest island, which means there are limited flights, which also means it will dictate when and from where people can fly there.  And there is also an additional cost your guests will have to incur: passports for everyone, even the little kiddies.  Trust me, no one will judge you for changing to a stateside location.  They will be just as happy for you.
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  • Hey ladies, thanks for the welcome and for your input. My grandparents and stepmother live in FL, so Fl. Keys was their vote. Thinking it would be much cheaper for travel, I checked out the air rates on kayak but found that the airfare to Key West airport is not that much cheaper than airfare to Aruba (maybe $50-$80 less). Most people have passports already, but that would be a factor for some. How are accomodations rates in Florida or Fl Keys? I did hear the beaches are not that nice, which is a big con for me, and that the beaches in mainland FL are much nicer. I've thought about marrying in the Naples area, as my stepmother lives there. I'm actually going to visit for the first time in April which was planned before the whole DW idea took root, but I wonder if that would be too late to finalize things if I wanted to look around there? How early in advance do you book for a DW?
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