Part 2: Planning a Destination Wedding in Jamaica

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

Part 2: 8 Things You Absolutely Must Do Before You Contact Any Wedding Vendor About Planning a Destination Wedding in Jamaica

Now that you know that your initial contact with a wedding planner should not begin with the “How much will it cost” question, let’s look at where or how to start planning a destination wedding in Jamaica. In case you missed the blog post, here is the link.

Here are 8 key items you must address upfront to have a better understanding of what you want for your wedding and how much you have to spend.

Going through this exercise will set you up to be taken more seriously by wedding planners and vendors, as well as help you to not waste your time or theirs.

1. Clarify your vision for your celebration.

You have to have some idea of what you want for your wedding before anyone can help you in any meaningful way. Your vision will help you to know if your budget will suffice, and vice versa.

Do you want a simple and elegant wedding or do you want something over the top that is the talk of the town and the envy of all those who couldn’t come? What does that look like to you? What do you want to experience? What do you want your guests to experience?

Develop at least some basic ideas of what you want for your wedding so that, together with your future spouse and your wedding planning team, you can decide, based on your budget, how that vision will come to life.

For help, read the blog post, “How to Solidify Your Vision for Your Destination Wedding in Jamaica”.

2. Have a meeting of the minds.

As soon as possible, have a frank discussion with your partner and any other key decision makers about expectations and finances. Everyone who has a say in the planning of the event needs to be on the same page.

In particular, to prevent confusion and or hurt feelings later on, decide who will be paying for or contributing to the wedding expenses early on in the process.

3. Determine your budget for your destination wedding.

Create a budget early in the planning process. Ultimately, your budget will be the main determinant for where to go, when to go, how many people to invite, and what type of wedding you will have.

Destination weddings may cost less than traditional weddings in your hometown; but, that does not mean that they are cheap. The main reason destination weddings may cost less is that, typically, the guest list is smaller. Fewer people often equals less cost.

Couples get excellent value with destination weddings. Don’t forget that the total investment for a destination wedding includes much more than a 4-5 hour wedding ceremony and reception. There is a wonderful honeymoon for the couple and a memorable vacation experience for their guests!

Be realistic about your budget for the wedding. Remember two things … There is no such thing as free. You get what you pay for.

Don’t forget that there will be some expenses prior to the actual wedding such as:

  • wedding attire for the couple
  • wedding rings
  • stationery such as invitations, save the date cards, thank you notes, and announcements
  • Travel expenses such as airfare, visas if necessary
  • Travel and wedding insurance

Items to consider for your Jamaica destination wedding budget include:

  • Accommodation on the island whether villa vacation rental or hotel
  • Meals outside of the wedding meal
  • Gratuities for your lodging and wedding service providers
  • Ground transportation for airport transfers, getting round or to run errands on your behalf
  • Activities or excursions to make sure you and your guests get to have a wonderful vacation experience as well
  • On-island wedding expenses: marriage license and officiant’s fees, wedding location (venue) fee, wedding planning services, cake, catering for food and beverages, floral arrangements for the wedding party, decor for the ceremony and reception including setup and tear-down, photographer, videographer, welcome bags, wedding favors, wedding music and other entertainment, hair, makeup and spa services plus any other services or rentals that will personalize your wedding.
  • Additional pre- and post-wedding events that you might host for your guests such as welcome reception, rehearsal dinner, and or farewell brunch

To get some idea of the costs associated with planning a Jamaica destination wedding, read our blog post, “How much will your destination wedding cost you?”

4. Select the date!

Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, most destination weddings are planned 6-12 months in advance, maybe 18 months tops for hard to come by wedding venues.

Try to decide on the date as soon as you can. Consider not only your schedule but also your guests, if you expect them to come. They may need to arrange time off from work and or to save up money to come.

Also, remember that the Caribbean has a high season (December 15- April 15) and a low season which can affect costs for both you and your guests.

5. Select your destination.

You’ve made a good choice in getting married in Jamaica.

Jamaica is consistently voted one of the top countries in the world for destination weddings – and with good reason. It is easily accessible rom most of the USA, with many major hubs offering direct flights to Montego Bay. English is spoken there. The wedding industry is well established. The marriage requirements are very simple.

Jamaica as a wedding destination is a no brainer. The harder question might be where to stay in Jamaica.

If you are wrestling with the question of where to stay in Jamaica, check out our blog post about the different tourist areas in Jamaica, then decide – How the Heck am I to Decide Where to Stay in Jamaica

Here is the link to download our FREE Discovery Bay, Jamaica Vacation Insider Guide.

While you are at it, check out these other blog posts about Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Located between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, this little haven is a well-kept secret.

Read these blog posts:

Why Stay in Discovery Bay?

Is Discovery Bay Right for You?

6. Decide on your guest list.

Think carefully about your invitation list. The number of guests will directly affect, not only your budget, but your choice of lodging and wedding venue.

Don’t invite anyone you don’t want to come or who you don’t think will come. They might surprise you! Many people will jump at the excuse to go to Jamaica.

By the same token, don’t be disappointed if some people won’t come. Some people are still skittish about traveling due to fears concerning COVID-19. Some places may restrict the size of weddings and events.

7. Decide if you want a villa or hotel wedding.

Get information on different options for your destination wedding. Do you want a villa wedding or hotel wedding?

There are pros and cons to consider with each option which may directly be affected by your vision and budget. The most obvious criteria is your guest list. Villa weddings tend to be smaller and more personalized affairs than hotel weddings.

If you are renting a villa, as opposed to a hotel, remember that the cost of the villa rental is typically separate from the cost of the wedding. See our blog post about how to plan a Jamaica Villa Wedding for more details.

Hot tip:  Don’t be scared off by the total cost of renting a villa. Divide the total cost of the villa rental by the number of people staying at the villa to get the per person cost. This will give you a more realistic picture of the value to be had with staying at a villa as opposed to renting multiple hotel rooms.

Read this blog post: Planning a Destination Wedding in Jamaica – Is a villa wedding right for you?

8. Be willing to commit.

Be ready to start making decisions when you reach out to planners and other wedding vendors.

Expect to have to commit financially (an upfront fee) to a wedding planner before he or she will start planning your wedding. If you are not willing to do that, it is a clear sign to the planner that you are either not yet serious or you have reservations of some kind or other.

So, address these 8 points and you will be ahead of the game!

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 Jamaica destination wedding planning experience.

Can you think of any tips that we left out? Leave a comment. We will consider adding it when we next update the article.

Stay safe and Make it Jamaica soon!

‘Til next time.

Think and dream Jamaica!

Sherry, Darrell, and Darrian

Considering a visit to Jamaica with a group? Contact us today for more information about, Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, our boutique 8-BR ocean view Jamaica villa rental experience in beautiful Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Perfect for multi-generational families and groups, retreats, and intimate destination weddings and vow renewals.

Visit our website:

Give us a call: 833-MAISOUI (624.7684) toll-free or 914.709.0457

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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!