Destination Maven - Your Guide to Your Destination Wedding2As I sit down to write my first “Destination Wedding” blog, I think of my inspiration towards the planning of my own destination wedding… and that was attending my husband’s best friend’s Cuban wedding of 2007.  Sure, it was seven years ago, but so much had changed in the Destination Wedding industry since then – and of course… it’s blown up ever since and is becoming a preferred option for many Brides and Grooms!

Photo Credit: Michael Steingard Photography

I remember what I loved most about that first Destination Wedding. For one, they lived in Ontario while my husband and I lived in British Columbia. It was already going to be such a treat to see them, but to meet them in a tropical place really sealed the deal for us – I mean, who wouldn’t want a vacation and a wedding in one… for an entire week??

Fast forward a few years later, it was our turn to start planning our own wedding.  Having lived on the West Coast for 10 years, my husband and I turned to the destination wedding as the ultimateDestination Maven - Your Guide to Your Destination Wedding3 choice in order to accommodate both our west coast friends and our east coast friends and family.  We joked about “meeting in the middle” – quite literally – which would have landed us in a field of wheat in the Prairies  (and while I now see how it could have been a very pretty venue, I don’t think many of our family or friends would have been very excited for a flight out to Saskatchewan in the middle of November!)
Next up was where…   Cuba? Dominican? Barbados? Bahamas? Maldives?  We wanted something unique, beautiful, fun and memorable. Being extremely budget-wise, we decided Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic was our best bet.  Various reasons included short flights for our families, lots of great new resorts at fantastic prices and an option for our American friends that wouldn’t have been able to travel to Cuba.

And then came the homework: a ‘preview trip’.  That’s right –  a grueling week-long trip to Punta Cana to meet up with various wedding coordinators, check out the various resort amenities, wedding venues and even have a taste of the food.  Yup. It was tough! <*sarcasm*>

Destination Maven - Your Guide to Your Destination Wedding4And while I joke about it being hard work, it really was the best decision we made in terms of our wedding planning and alleviated any burning questions on what star level a resort really was. Seeing a resort in person vs scrutinizing a touched up professional photograph of a resort was astoundingly eye-opening!  I have recommended to many engaged couples contemplating a Destination Wedding; if you have a block of vacation days saved up from work as well as the money in the budget for a vacation a year before planning your destination wedding – do it!  It will be money well spent!  Plus, it quelled my inner Bridezilla!

With the perfect resort selected, we had an entire year to plan out everything; guest list, selecting the travel coordinator, planning the wedding with the resort wedding coordinator, flight selection from various cities across Canada, venues, backup venues due to inclement weather… the list goes on!   But before I overwhelm and Brides and Grooms-to-be……  yes, it was all worth it, and the entire process was a lot of fun and very rewarding.  The best part? Seven days of sunshine, family, friends and not having to cook, clean or even make my bed… oh yes… and even marry the Love of my Life!Destination Maven - Your Guide to Your Destination Wedding5



Denise Pang