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!!!