We have been back for a week, but it was a challenge to jump right back into real life. I found out that I got accepted into my nursing program and I will start this January, so I have been trying to get things in order for that with all of the paperwork and what not.
Here it goes!
~Have a destination wedding. It was so great to be able to go on vacation and get married during the middle of it all. Most of DH's (I keep calling him FI here and there!!) has been out of the country...at least everyone that came to the wedding. My parents and brother, and one of the BMs has never been out of the country, so I was glad their first experience was a positive one. My brother told me this was something he always saw in movies, but never thought he would be able to be at a place like we were. They are already talking about their next vacation to an AI!
~Go to an All-Inclusive. DH and I have only been to AI resorts out of the country, and we both felt like we always ate and drank our money's worth. Our guests were already spending so much to come, especially those that were in the wedding who purchased their attire on top of it all. There was plenty of food and drinks to go around, and you could try different things all for free.
~Arrive a few days before the guests. Granted we were still getting some things together for the wedding, like the welcome bags and music, but it was still nice to enjoy a few days without everyone there. When everyone arrived, I was so worried about making sure they were ok up until the wedding, I feel like I was overwhelmed and not able to enjoy myself as much.
~Wear flip flops. The night before, I slipped in the room and hurt my foot. There was no way I was going to try the heels and I am glad I didn't. I was on my feet almost the whole day, and even with the flip flops they hurt (they were platform flip flops I got from VS for the reception). My toes were numb for days, and still a little numb at the tips haha.
~Make the arrangements for everyone. DH's husband said she knew someone else who was going to a DW, but there were no group discounts or anything. Even though it was a bit of a headache, I am glad that I had all the details, and didn't have to hunt people down to make sure they took care of things. Once I developed my spreadsheet the way I liked it, the only thing was getting money from people, which they were generally good about.
~Not stress. The days before were full of DIY projects, but once we left, that was it for the most part (other than assembling a few things that would have messed up during transport if they were assembled). Once we were there, there was nothing more we could do, and I liked that.
~Welcome Bags. I bought bags at a huge discount from Target, that most people carried their pool things around during the week. I put a welcome letter in their, some starfish soaps I made, and a "Survival Kit" with aleve, pepto bismol, hand sanitizer, antacids, chapstick, gum, and mints. A lot of people were happy to get these.
~Not let the weather bother you! I checked the weather a few times before we left, and every day said rain. I didn't let it effect me too much because I knew this was typical for the Caribbean as it will rain for 10 minutes then stop. The day of, I opened the blinds and saw a huge dark cloud. It kind of freaked me out, but I thought it would pass. We did get some rain, and though it did impact the reception a bit, we still had a great time. My parents were even surprised at how well I reacted about it all!
~Hunt down bargains. The resort was going to charge $8 per chair for chair sashes, and I found them online for about $.80 each.
~Have a separate reception: Though we could have just all went to a restaurant to eat afterward (for free), I am glad we opted for a separate reception. It really made it feel like a wedding. The dinner, bouquet toss, garter toss, cake cutting, dances, etc. were all memorable!
~Be afraid to ask for help. The only real help I got with different projects was from SIL with the flowers, and that was because she offered. She also printed some things for me from her job. My mom helped assemble the invitations as well. Other than that I didn't ask for help, especially when I was over my head. I generally do not like to ask for help, especially when I knew that people had full time jobs, school, personal/family problems, kids, husbands, etc. I think I did pretty well overall though!
~Check in my wedding dress! We misjudged the size of the luggage we had and could not carry it on.