What To Expect For Your Destination Wedding – Real Bride Interview – Caribbean Wedding

What To Expect For Your Destination Wedding – Real Bride Interview – Caribbean Wedding

Caribbean Destination Wedding

I recently had the opportunity to interview one of my past destination wedding brides. We talked about their wedding planning experience and what all of that was like.

Lisa shares her heart behind her wedding choices and gives some great advice for other brides and couples planning their own destination weddings. Let’s get started!!!

Please tell us a little bit about your wedding.


My wedding was in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and we had a destination wedding on a Royal Caribbean cruise and did sunrise bride & groom photos in Haiti.

Caribbean Destination Wedding

What did you envision for your wedding day?


The most important thing for us was that it was just about us.  Not to sound like a snob, but we had just been to a bunch of weddings before and had noticed that a lot of details go into them. And we’ve also been in weddings before, so we’ve seen the stress of the day, all the planning that led up to it, and then you get there and it kind of goes by really fast. So what we wanted to focus on was just the love and commitment with each other.

I didn’t really want anything extra. I didn’t do a bouquet toss. We didn’t do father, daughter, mother, son dances. I just didn’t want to feel the stress of ‘are centerpiece’s okay’, ‘how does the food taste?,’  are we staying on schedule?’ So for us, what was important was just keeping it small, keeping it intimate, and just remembering what the day was truly about. 

Caribbean Destination Wedding

What was important to you for your values, priorities, that type of thing. I know you kind of answered that a little bit, if you Elaborate.


Yeah, just going into that more was just we just wanted to focus the values and the priorities to be focused on the start of our lives together. We just didn’t want to start off feeling stressed or weighed down because it’s supposed to be happy and not that other people’s weddings aren’t, to each their own.  But it just wasn’t for us, that’s not something that we wanted to deal with. Also, we wanted the most important people to be there with us.

If you’re one of those people that wants the big wedding and wants a 100-300 person guest list, and you want those guests to join and be a part of our day,  like I said, to each their own. But for me, I narrowed it down to ‘if I wouldn’t invite you out to coffee by yourself or out to lunch by yourself, I didn’t really want to pay a hundred dollars to have you sit at my wedding and eat dinner.’ And it really helped narrow that out, and to not feel bad if I don’t invite someone. And for us, since we were asking such a big feat of our guests, we didn’t feel bad not inviting certain people.

What do you wish you knew beforehand and is there anything that you would’ve changed?


So I actually thought about this one a lot just because I am kind of a research person and really like to know what I’m doing and what to expect, and I’m a planner and there really wasn’t much that I wish I had known beforehand. I utilized and paid for services that Royal Caribbean had set up.  I think specifically for destination weddings where if you’re deciding that you want to go to a beach or do something like I did, I think the most important thing is your marriage license, which isn’t really something that you think about when you think about a wedding, but I had paid Royal Caribbean to go to Miami for me to set up my marriage license, and I didn’t have to be there for that.

So I think that that’s something that destination brides should know beforehand is that if you don’t have somebody that’s going to do that for you, you’re likely going to have to travel to that country, that state, wherever to get your wedding license beforehand.  You might want to take into consideration that you will have two trips rather than one. Other than that, I really wouldn’t change a thing about my wedding.

How did your wedding turn out vs how you envisioned it?


So I mean,  as far as I just like to plan and know everything in advance, I’m really not a detailed person and those things don’t really matter. So I didn’t really have any expectations for my wedding day except for just to get married and to be happy and be blessed to be surrounded by my small, intimate group of people.

That being said, that doesn’t mean that certain things didn’t go the way that I had wanted them to. You might remember when we were getting ready, I had a corset dress and one of the corset ripped, and my sister was kind of fussing with it and she said, “I just need a sewing kit.” And I was just like, I don’t have time for a sewing kit. I should already be getting married. So that happened and then just, I had to put my songs down on a CD and they couldn’t play the cd.

So there were just little things like right before I was getting ready to walk down the aisle that had happened that obviously I didn’t envision and didn’t anticipate for, but we definitely rolled with the punches and I just really tried to stay focused with what is this day about? It’s not about my dress being perfect, I’m not about to let this ruin my day as long as I’m not going to flash everybody down the aisle, it’s fine. So yeah, that’s pretty much it. I mean, I think every bride envisions her wedding just going on without a hitch, but I think you should just expect that stuff to happen.


One of the things I tell all my brides is that there’s always going to be something that doesn’t always go right, whether it’s like your dress or your music or something with maybe it was too windy and then the tall centerpieces that you had now have to be laid sideways, but at the end of the day, you’re marrying your best friend and that’s the main thing. So as long as you keep the main thing, the main thing, everything else is just the icing on the wedding cake. So that was a very good perspective that you had! Last question to wrap it up is:

Caribbean Destination Wedding

What advice would you give to future couples?


This is specifically advice for destination weddings, since that’s what I had. And I recommend if you’re doing a destination wedding, that you do the pictures a couple days after. Sarah came out two days after our wedding and we woke up early and went out on the beach and took pictures, just me and my husband, and I recommend that, not just because they’re my favorite pictures, but also I look at the pictures of the day of, and it’s not that we don’t look happy. I noticed that I have that forced smile because you’ve kind of been smiling all day and you can see that I’m just kind of thinking in the pictures. And when we stepped out a couple days after we were already on vacation, we were relaxed.

We didn’t have anything to worry about. We didn’t have to worry about being on schedule. And I think that you could really tell that in the pictures two days later versus the day of. So if you’re doing a destination, I do recommend that you either maybe do a first look the day before, I don’t know, dress rehearsal, take pictures, just or do it the day after, just when you don’t have anywhere to be and there’s nobody, there’s just no pressure. So I’d recommend that specifically for a destination wedding, be prepared for your family not to be happy about your decision to do a destination wedding.

We had a lot of people who had opinions about our wedding and what we were doing. And with me and my husband from early on, we knew it was going to be about us. And if you couldn’t make it, we were sorry that you couldn’t be there, but it wasn’t going to change our plans because it was the start of our lives, not the start of our lives and the rest of our family.

That being said, also expect them to not show up. So we didn’t really have any cousins, aunts or uncles there. I had one aunt and uncle come and some of our siblings didn’t make it, and that’s okay. I know they wanted to be there. Some of them voiced displeasure about how we got married on the other side of the country and why would we do that when we all live in California?

And just if you’re that kind of person and you’re going to want your family there, I don’t recommend a destination wedding, but if you’re like, this is about us and who’s going to be there is going to be there and they’re going to enjoy it no matter what, then I do recommend a destination wedding. So don’t allow other people’s opinions to sway what you want to do. Also, we paid for our wedding ourselves, so we really didn’t have any pressure from parents or anybody telling us ‘your grandma should be there.’  We’re paying for this. This is coming out of our pocket. So you know, they really don’t have an opinion on this because you don’t have a penny in it.

And then again, only invite the people that you want to invite. Don’t feel like you have to invite friends of friends or friends of your mom that your mom has known forever. Don’t be afraid to narrow it down. And then at the end of the day, just remember what it’s truly about. Remember why you’re there. Remember that it’s about the love that you and your spouse or your best friend share, and that’s all that matters. You. You’re going to start out your life and it should just be about you two. It shouldn’t be about what everybody else thinks.


That’s really good! Especially what you said about the family members. I actually was just talking to another bride earlier this week and she was really struggling with the whole trying to make everybody happy and do all the things for everyone else thing. And at the end of the day, it is about the two of you.

I think it’s really great that you guys were able to stay on that path because a lot of people do have that pressure.  And they feel like they don’t have the ability to say, no, this is about us. Those are great ideas, but like you said, you wanted to make it about the two of you guys. And I think that’s really important. I think back to my wedding, I remember I went by so fast.  Aside from my family and my best friend, the other people who were there, maybe 200 people, aren’t even in my life anymore.

Just realizing that it’s a special day and it goes by so fast!  You don’t want to not spend time with your new husband because you were trying to make everyone else happy.  So I definitely think that’s really great advice. So thank you so much for sharing that. I know this will be helpful for future brides who are just needing a little boost of confidence in their plans and decision making!

Thanks again to my past destination bride Lisa for taking the time to chat all things wedding planning and destination weddings with me!

If you need help with planning your engagement session or are wanting more information from a Sacramento, California, and Destination wedding photographer and want info on my photography services, click here.

Here are some other posts you might enjoy:

“Remember that it’s about the love that you and your spouse/best friend share, and that’s all that matters. You. You’re going to start out your life and it should just be about you two.”











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Hi!  I’m Sarah!  Destination wedding photographer and Disney lover.  Follow along for more tips about wedding photography and getting the photos you’ve always dreamed of.   And click here to get my Free Engagement Session Guide to get the most out of your Engagement Session.

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