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Last Sail Before the Veil
Last Winter I had a family friend contact me for advice on having a destination wedding. She was struggling with the decision since our hometown is very traditional and destination weddings are not the norm. I ended up texting with her for 2 hours about our decision making process.
This conversation is what inspired me to write my first blog post “10 Reasons to Have a Destination Wedding” which you can read here. Since publishing that post I’ve had several destination brides send me messages saying thank you for the post. A lot of people struggle with the decision to do something different from the traditional standards.
Our family friend, Whitney, did decide to have a destination wedding this month (September 2017). I wanted to interview her after the nuptials to get her feedback and advice from planning and having a destination wedding.
She decided to cruise on Carnival to her destination wedding location with 15-20 of her closest friends and family. The lovely couple wed on a beautiful beach in the Bahamas. The Bride’s MIL is an awesome travel planner and conveniently booked the cruise, flights and the honeymoon for the couple and guest. Which is exactly what she did for our destination wedding as well. You can contact her at email@example.com. Continue reading to find out all the details from the destination bride.
Interview with the Destination Bride
Why did you decide to have a destination wedding?
I’m a very indecisive person it took a little while to decide what I actually wanted to do. Jonathan, my husband, wanted to go away from the beginning. However, I was very hesitant about it since all of my family couldn’t be there. I finally decided to do a destination wedding because I do not handle stress well, and I get easily flustered. I also wanted something different, and most importantly, I wanted it to be about us and not everyone else.
What was your favorite part of the cruise leading up to the wedding day?
The entire cruise was awesome. Once people found out we were getting married on the ship, we received so many congratulations. If I had to chose one part that was my favorite, it would be the bachelorette party the second night of the cruise. Although it wasn’t a normal bachelorette party where we were separated from the guys the whole time because let’s face it there’s not many places on the ship we can go without running into each other. It was so memorable and hilarious.
What was your favorite part of the wedding day?
The wedding day was perfect from the time I got up until the time I went to bed. Throughout the cruise we had to meet with the wedding planner from Carnival several times to make sure everything was set. I just loved the whole wedding on the beach. It was very unique in it’s on little way. Once we got on the boat after the wedding, we had chocolate covered strawberries with champagne waiting on us. That was a nice touch and the perfect ending.
What was the most stressful part of planning a destination wedding?
The most stressful part was dealing with Mother Nature. Hurricane Irma hit Florida less than a week before our wedding. We were flying into Fort Lauderdale and then cruising from the Port in Fort Lauderdale. Let’s just say I was definitely in panic mode. Several cruises were being rerouted, and some were even cancelled. I could have cried several times, but my husband, Jonathan, kept reassuring me that it was all going to work out. So other than that booking a cruise wedding was not stressful at all. All you have to do is pick your wedding package and Carnival and their vendors handle the rest.
Is there anything you regret not doing?
Everything was perfect as it was even though it wasn’t a traditional wedding, We didn’t do a reception since everyone was already at the same dinner. However, I do wish that we could have had a first dance on the beach.
How did you transport your dress, decorations, etc?
Most of us flew to Florida, but my parents left a little sooner and drove down from South Carolina to Florida. They were able to bring flowers, wedding dress and sand ceremony bottles with them. The day we boarded the boat everyone pitched in and carried everything on board. Once we got on the boat our rooms were already ready, so we were able to drop everything off.
Who did your hair and makeup?
A friend of mine that is a hair dresser went on the cruise with us, so she was able to do my hair. My sister-in-law who is a makeup artist was able to do my makeup. Both of them did a fantastic job. We opted out of the reception part of the package for budget purposes.
How were guests transported from the ship to the venue on the beach?
Carnival’s vendors transported all of the guests to the wedding location on the beach. They all left 15 minutes before me and then my parents and I were transported behind them.
What details did you do to make your destination wedding special?
I had shirt made for the girls that said “Last Sail Before the Veil,” and all the boys wore “Last Cruise Before I Do’s.” My sister-in-law made me a veil with palm leaves on it that matched our tropical wedding theme. Since we chose the island wedding package, we were able to do a sand ceremony which included our daughter, Alivia. I thought the sand ceremony was a unique unity idea that fit our beach wedding them perfectly.
What advice would you give to future brides who are debating having a destination wedding?
It is definitely a lot less stressful having a destination wedding. If you have a budget, it may be the best option to make your money go a long way. It’s also more focused on the couple and not on the guests. A destination wedding is so unique and special. I highly recommend it to anyone that’s debating having one.
What are the top 3 things that brides must have at their destination wedding?
- I highly recommend having a photographer/videographer because those memories last a lifetime especially since everyone can’t be there.
- Plan to have your hair and makeup done by someone else to make the morning less stressful.
- I also decided to bring my own flowers with me. I chose silk flowers to be more budget friendly, and they were easy to transport. The colors went perfect with our wedding theme.
What would you avoid if you could do it all over again?
Honestly it was the perfect weekend, perfect weather and stress free. But, I would probably avoid planning a caribbean wedding during hurricane season to avoid stress leading up to the wedding.
You guys decided to take a honeymoon right after. Do you recommend this to other destination brides?
Absolutely, I think everyone should go on a honeymoon after the wedding. We wanted the cruise/wedding to be separate from our honeymoon.
What was your favorite part of the honeymoon?
We flew to Secrets Wild Orchid in Montego Bay Jamaica for our honeymoon after we got off the boat. My favorite part of the honeymoon was our time together. It was so relaxing, and the beach was beautiful. We were able to do some adventurous things as well. We hiked the Dunns River Falls which was such an adventure.
What did you love about Secrets?
We love that Secrets is all-inclusive. We loved how the staff treated us. They took great care of us, and went out of their way to make sure you’re enjoying yourself. We loved how the Secrets in Montego Bay actually had two Secrets resorts right beside each other, so we were able to venture around both resorts. It was our very first time to a place like that and it is safe to say we will be returning.
Must-Haves for a Destination Wedding
(This post may contain affiliate links; See my disclosure policy for details)