Wedding Date: February 6, 2023 ~ Resort: Riu Palace Jamaica ~ Photographer: Andrea Dobbs Photography ~ Bridal Salon: David's Bridal ~ Tux Salon: Men's Warehouse
Why did you choose Romance Travel Group?
We chose Romance Travel Group because we had friends (Luke included in that group) use them previously for a destination wedding and had nothing but great things to say about their experience!
What led you to choose a destination wedding?
When things started to get serious in our relationship we would have conversations about how a destination wedding was what we wanted, it was the only option ever discussed. Neither of us are people that really love being in the spotlight so we knew that a destination wedding would offer a more intimate setting and allow us actual one on one time to spend with our guests that could make the trip.
How did you select the resort? What were the deciding factors?
Shelli really helped us with this one because we came to her with NO idea where to start. She asked us where we would want to go on vacation and she sent us a ton of resort options, from there we narrowed it down to Jamaica, a place Luke knew he enjoyed and wanted to return to and a place Kari had never been. Then based off of price per person and ease of travel from the airport, we found our resort.
Were there any objections from your wedding guests about your decision to have a destination wedding? If so, how did you handle overcome those?
There were no real objections, at least none that we heard about directly. But due to the price per person for the resort and the insanely high flight prices at the time, even with us giving approximately 1 year to plan, a lot of our guests who had originally said yes to coming, told us they were unable to make the trip. We knew a lot of our loved ones wouldn’t be able to come so we made sure they were aware that they would be missed but we would be having a stateside reception and we would love for them to join the celebration at that point.
What were some of your biggest fears about having a destination wedding?
Our biggest fears were that we were spending a lot of money to stay at and host a wedding at a resort that we had never been to previously. We weren’t 100% sure of what to expect when we arrived or what exactly we were getting for our money because at that point, everything was selected out of a pamphlet essentially.
How did you come to decide on your wedding date? Is there meaning behind it?
There wasn’t anything too sentimental about the specific date we picked but it was close to the anniversary of our first date 5 years ago. Also, the time of year would be ideal for our guests to get out of the Minnesota/Wisconsin winter but not too close to peak spring break travel time/prices.
Describe what it was like working with the wedding coordinator at the resort? What went well? Any challenges?
The biggest challenge was waiting until a couple months out from travel/wedding date to really get down into the planning. Also, not knowing truly what anything would look like until the day of was difficult. The wedding coordinator at the resort was very direct and didn’t initially offer a lot of additional information surrounding questions I had asked. However, I figured out her response style and was able to write lists of questions and she gave answers to the questions which worked out well enough us. It all turned out beautifully.
Tell us about your wedding dress – How did you find it? Who went shopping with you? How do you feel wearing your dress?
I am not the type of girl that was looking forward to dress shopping honestly, I set appointments at 2 bridal shops for a Saturday, invited my Matron of Honor, Mother and Future Mother in Law to join me and within an hour of the 1st appointment, I found the dress! I was pretty easy going about it, willing to try on anything and everything and even had them pull dresses they thought we would like. I loved wearing the dress, it was the style I imaged I would get, it was flowy, comfortable, not super flashy and the selling point was it had pockets!
What were some of your biggest fears or things you worried about as your wedding date drew near? How did you get through this?
Our biggest fear was what the day of would look like, would the weather cooperate for us? Will our guests enjoy themselves and the resort? Will we get what we paid for when it comes to day of decorations/food/entertainment. Once we arrived and started having fun with our guests as they arrived we realized that whatever happened, we were getting married and the day would be whatever we made of it! Everything fell into place perfectly.
Tell us about how you chose your bridal party and asked them to stand up with you.
We chose our bridal party based off of our closest friends and siblings. While Luke took the approach of straight forward asking his friends, brothers and my brother to be a part of our day, I made a little gift bag of lotions, face masks and mini champagne with a card asking if they would stand by my side.
Describe the meeting you had with the onsite wedding team when you arrived at the resort.
We met with Christina the day after we arrived and prior to all of our guests arriving to finalize the details. Her and I had majority of the decisions made prior to that so it was as easy as confirming those decisions, picking out bouquet flowers and handing over the DJ music for the special dances and reception music.
Were your guests wowed by the resort and the all-inclusive concept? What was their reaction upon arrival?
Our guests truly enjoyed the resort. Some of them had never left the country let alone experienced an all inclusive resort so they were pleasantly surprised about the look of the resort, the rooms, the food and entertainment
How easy/difficult was it to travel with your wedding dress? Did you carry-it on, where did you store it? Did you get a lot of comments at the airport?
Traveling with my dress was so simple. I purchased a trifold garment bag prior to departure that fit my dress, a couple other dresses, Luke’s wedding attire and shoes. The morning before leaving we decided to put the garment bag in a carry on suit case for extra safe keeping and ease of travel. We stored it in the overhead bin on the plane and had zero issues with anyone saying anything to us about it.
Tell us about your wedding – did you have a traditional wedding with a cocktail hour, dinner reception and dance? What was different about a destination wedding compared to a wedding at home?
We did a traditional ceremony on the beach, that lasted approximately 8 minutes! That was followed by a group photo of everyone while we had them in one place and then a cocktail hour for the guests with a saxophone player that was included in the wedding package we picked. He was phenomenal! After the cocktail hour we moved to a different area of the beach for dinner and reception/dance. We had a buffet set up on the beach with a menu we were able to personally pick and everyone raved about how it was the best food they had so far. I think the difference in the destination wedding compared to a wedding at home was how intimate it was. We actually got to enjoy the festivities with our guests, drink, laugh and dance without feeling like we had to walk around and greet everyone individually since we had all been together the days before and would be the days after.
What was the best part of having a destination wedding?
The best part was being on vacation at the beach with the people we love. How often do people get 45 of their nearest and dearest friends and family at a single location at the same time?
What is your most favorite memory of your wedding experience?
Aside from finally being married, spending time with everyone and then hearing people talk about how awesome their trip was, how they wish they didn’t have to leave. Also, watching everyone share their pictures from the trip, it has been so much fun reliving those memories.
In what ways did Romance Travel Group make the planning less stressful for you?
From helping us pick a location to taking on all of the questions our guests had was the biggest help! It was so nice to not have to worry about setting up transportation in an unfamiliar place too was so wonderful. Having a meeting with Shelli a few days before departure put a lot of my anxieties at ease as well, her telling me to make sure we stop and take a moment to look around and enjoy it all brought tears to my eyes because, holy cow our year long count down was up!
What would you do differently? What advice would you give to couples just starting the planning process?
I am not sure I would do anything different. In our eyes, everything exceeded our expectations. My advice would be, throughout all of this planning surrounding a single special day, remember that it is about you two as a couple. Things very likely will not go exactly as planned and important people will not be able to come and it is so sad but this is about celebrating your love. It does not mean you can’t be disappointed but the people that are there…whether its 5 or 100, they are there to celebrate your love so make sure to enjoy and appreciate that as much as possible.
Would you recommend Romance Travel Group to other couples who are considering a destination wedding?
I would 100% recommend Romance Travel Group to anyone looking to have a destination wedding.
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