That was (and continues to be) the very first question people asked.
Although there are multiple reasons an engaged couple chooses to have a Destination Wedding versus a Traditional At Home Wedding, here are some of the reasons why WE chose to have one:
- Brian's family and very close friends all live in Minnesota;
- 95% of my family live in Hawaii and the rest along with 99% of my close friends live here in California;
- Brian and I have both been married before and we wanted to do something 'different';
- Since early on in our relationship, Brian had coined the phrase: "Barefoot on the Beach with a Flower in your Hair";
- We didn't want to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on this event; (which by the way we're doing anyway)
- If our family and friends were going to travel anywhere, we wanted them to have the best 'mini-vacation' for their money;
With that in mind, deciding on the location was at first a very, very easy one for us. We immediately chose Hawaii! My family lives there and Hawaii has tons of beaches! We picked a date...found a location... and then went from there. Problem solved correct?!? Wrong..... after doing all of the research and working with a fabulous Travel Agent from Beach Bum Vacations we found out that all of Brian's family and close friends who were part of the bridal party would have to pay over $18oo alone just for travel and accommodations. That's NOT INCLUDING meals or souvenirs. We couldn't ask our family and friends to fork out that kind of money, nor could we afford to pay it for them ourselves.
Back to the drawing board for us. I did a lot of research on other locations, and the one thing that I kept going to was a Cruise. I've cruised in the past and had a very great time. Brian has cruised in the past as well and agreed that it may be a fun thing. So I did more research and made a ton of phone calls.
We ended up having to switch our dates (only by a week though) and I locked into an AWESOME deal with Carnival Cruise lines for a Monday thru Friday cruise!
Our cruise leaves on a Monday, we are at sea for the entire day on Tuesday, Port in Catalina Island on Wednesday, Ensenada Mexico on Thursday and return to San Diego on Friday. I was able to lock in at a rate of $199 per person double occupancy, plus taxes and fees. AWESOME! Plus, since I booked an entire group and blocked a certain amount of cabins, we received several amenities which included a 1 category upgrade on cabins, a $50 on board ship credit for all guests, and a 1 hour shared cocktail party for our entire group. SWEET!
We absolutely couldn't pass up that deal at all! It isn't too expensive for our guests, and since we booked this group rate just about 10 months in advance, it gave everyone enough time to request time off of work as well as save $$. After paying a $150 deposit per person, they had the rest of the time to make small monthly payments as low as $14 per person or save up and pay it off prior to Feb. 16th, 2010. So, either way it was a win win situation for everyone involved!
Even Brian's family members and close friends who are traveling from Minnesota, they had enough time to book their airplane reservations without having to pay an outrageous amount! PLUS, the cruise provides breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as offers a 24 hour all you can eat buffet. So paying $199 per person is AWESOME. I figured it breaks down to $40 per day which really isn't bad.
We really wanted to have the people that mean the most to us, with us, as we enter a new chapter in our lives and are extremely grateful that they're going to be there. For everyone else, it would definitely be a bonus to have them there as well, however we know that not everyone can be there. What we believed to be maybe 10 to 15 people at the most cruising with us, we are so very happy and excited that we have close to 40 people!! It's going to be truly an amazing time!
For those of us who couldn't cruise with us, we are going to have TWO, yes, not one, but TWO At Home Receptions (AHR). One local here in California and one in Minnesota. I'm very excited and am very grateful that we're surrounded by a circle of friends and family who are supporting us 100% of the way!
We're blessed to have such a wonderful friendship with our friends, Kristen and Adam.
They've generously offered to have the California reception in their back yard. So in May, we're going to have the biggest, most fantabulous AHR ever! Um.... yes, I still have yet to rent the tables and chairs...figure out the menu... and all of that other fun stuff!!
Again, we're blessed to have awesome friends. For our Minnesota AHR, we're fortunate enough to have the owners of a local Bar/Grille/Lounge allow us to use their venue for the event ~ as a gift. SWEET!!!
We're going to utilize the back patio of Boomers for the most part. AND.... it gets better:
- Brian's best friend of over 35 years caters, so he'll be catering the entire event as our wedding gift!;
- Boomer's will be having a live band in the lounge area, so we'll have our 'DJ' taken care of;
- Boomer's will provide all of the paper products for the event (ie. paper plates, napkins, utensils, etc.)
The one issue that I had with the fact that Boomer's is a public venue and we're not able to "close it down" for the night just for our event, there will be other patrons of the establishment coming and going out on the patio, which I'm totally fine with. The problem lies in the fact that we're going to have a keg or two available for OUR GUESTS. How can I make it so that OUR guests are getting the free flowing beer and not just some other person who is at Boomers for a night out?!? Do I have those cheesy paper wrist bracelets that the Boomer's management has suggested? Do I have our guests show a 'beer pass' to the person at the keg? Do I just say screw it and let everyone drink our keg? Decisions, decisions, decisions......
So, all in all, our choice for a Destination Wedding is by far the most AWESOMEST decision we've made! I don't think I would change my mind ever.ever.ever. I can't wait to be able to spend an entire week with our family and friends while we're cruising, and again during any of our AHR's. :)