Part I: Jamaica Destination Wedding – Read before you start planning

Planning a Jamaica Destination Wedding – A 4-part series to help you navigate planning your Jamaica wedding from afar

Part 1: How to Make Sure Your Jamaica Destination Wedding Vendors Take You Seriously

So you’re thinking about planning a Jamaica destination wedding … but what does that entail?

You know you would just love to say your I do’s in Jamaica but how do you pull it off to make sure you don’t end up with a ho-hum wedding that doesn’t quite hit the mark?

If you’ve been reading our posts, you will know that we are all about creating customized experiences that exceed expectations, and that is different for each person.

Planning a destination wedding should be no different. There’s no reason to be bride #12 in a conveyor-belt style wedding, waiting to be the next couple in line for a wedding gazebo. On the contrary, with careful planning, you can have a personal and memorable wedding designed to suit your dreams.

As you may have discovered, the traditional wedding planning advice listed in every bridal magazine seems inappropriate for destination weddings. Even if you want your celebration to be just the two of you on a deserted beach with a minister or a sit-down dinner for your closest friends and family at a fab villa, you have to know what you want to be able to achieve it in the most stress-free manner possible.

The key is in the planning.

One big mistake we see among couples planning Jamaica destination weddings is that, in their excitement to start planning their big day, they contact properties trying to plan their wedding with no idea of what they want and no idea of their budget.

As a result, both parties end up frustrated with couples feeling like they are not being taken seriously and vendors feeling like their time is being wasted.

Here is the big secret… If you have even a basic idea of what you want as well as a realistic budget, you will be steps ahead of most couples planning a Jamaica destination wedding, or even a regular wedding for that matter!

Planning a Jamaica Destination Wedding Tip #1: The Question You Should Never Ever Ask a Wedding Service Provider

We get so many emails or phone calls from couples who ask the dreaded question, “How much does a wedding at the villa cost?” or “How much does a destination wedding in Jamaica cost?”

Those are the worst questions to try to answer.


Because the only possible answer to this general, non-specific question is, “It depends on what you want to have for your wedding.”

The budget often depends on how formal or informal you want your Jamaica destination wedding

It’s sort of like asking, “How much does a car cost?” Well, do you want a Ford, BMW, or a Rolls Royce? Do you want leather seats and headrest covers? Black interiors or tan?

The cost of items or services depends on what you ultimately select for your big day.

So, in the initial stages, before you have contracted with a wedding planner or with specific vendors, the most you can hope for is ball-park pricing of the more common items that most couples would want. Even with that information in hand, you have to anticipate that the final price you pay might vary from the initial ball-park guesstimate you received.

Planning a Jamaica Destination Wedding Tip #2: Two Statements No Wedding Vendor Wants to Hear

There are two statements that wedding planners never want to hear because either statement means they are about to enter the Land of the Tire Kickers, populated by well-meaning couples who are still dreaming and not yet serious about nailing down plans for their wedding.

Dreaded Statement # 1: “I don’t know what my budget is” or “I don’t have a budget.”

No wedding planner will know what services to offer you if you have no idea of your budget.

Face it. If you are like most people, you don’t have an unlimited budget. There is an upper limit that you do not wish to exceed.

Knowing this figure ahead of time, whatever it is, will help your wedding planner to point you to the service providers who can deliver on your wedding vision within a price range that fits your budget.

There are vendors in various price ranges. You could get a photographer for $500 or one for $5000 or more depending on how many hours of photography you want, how many photos you want to be delivered to you, as well as the skill and reputation of the photographer. Your floral arrangements can cost $400 to $3000 or more depending on what type of flowers you choose, how many arrangements you have, and so forth.

A wedding planner cannot tell you how much to spend for your wedding. You need to know your budget to see what kind of wedding event you can create for the financial resources you have allotted. It goes without saying, that the budget must be realistic.

Dreaded Statement # 2: “My destination wedding in Jamaica is in 3 years.” Or worse, “My wedding is in 4 years.”

Figuring out a good time frame to plan a Jamaica destination wedding depends on how popular the venue is, how many people you are inviting, who you are inviting, how much notice you think you will need to give your guests, and how involved your wedding will be.

There are exceptions but, unlike hotels, most villas, won’t book too far in advance.

With the exception of Christmas and New Year’s, most properties don’t book more than a year in advance, 18 months tops. In two years, prices will likely have changed, companies and or vendors could have come and gone, styles and trends will have changed, and even your own tastes and needs may change.

With the COVID pandemic, we have seen many cancellations or postponements, smaller guest lists than before, and weddings planned in less than 6 months.

Eighteen months or less is typical for reserving a wedding venue in Jamaica. Most destination weddings in Jamaica are planned 6-12 months in advance, especially the smaller ones if they involve only a few vendors.

If your wedding is more than two years away, your best bet is to keep an eye out for destination wedding ideas that you like by looking at wedding magazines or websites so that when you are 6-18 months from the wedding, you will be ready to start planning. You might even want to start a Pinterest page to collect these ideas to share with your wedding planner.

So, remember, asking how much a wedding in Jamaica costs is too general a question to ask to get meaningful help. Without some idea of your budget, no one will know if your vision is achievable given what you want to spend. If your wedding is more than two years ago, most vendors will be hesitant to give you prices.

Like what you have read so far, read the rest of the series along with our other wedding planning articles, all of which are MUST-READS for a stress-free destination wedding planning experience.

Part 2:  8 Things You Absolutely Must Do Before You Contact Any Wedding Service Provider About Planning Your Jamaica Destination Wedding (coming soon)

Part 3:  What does your wedding look like? 15 Questions to Help You Nail Your Vision for Your Dream Jamaica Destination Wedding (coming soon)

Part 4:  How Much Will Your Jamaica Destination Wedding Cost?

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About the Author Sherry

Sherry & Darrell, owners of Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, consider themselves unofficial ambassadors for Jamaica. They look forward to using their insider knowledge to help guests create priceless vacation memories. Feel free to say hi!

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About the Author Sherry

Sherry & Darrell, owners of Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, consider themselves unofficial ambassadors for Jamaica. They look forward to using their insider knowledge to help guests create priceless vacation memories. Feel free to say hi!