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.
Ready to start planning your own destination wedding?
The Big Three: Why These Destinations are Considered the Top 3 For Tropical Weddings
Mexico, Jamaica, The Dominican – it really can’t get much dreamier! Keep reading to see why these romantic spots are considered the best places to have a destination wedding
But first – what are the big three?
These gorgeous destinations are hands-down our favorite places to tie the knot! And here’s why:
Mexico: Affordable, accessible, and SO. MANY. RESORTS. Mexico is our most popular place to send couples for many reasons, but the value-added luxury is at the top of the list. Think gourmet dining experiences, authentic details, incredible hospitality and lavish suites.
Jamaica: If you’re looking for that laid-back, no worries vibe, Jamaica is where its at. Couples say “I do” here for the world-renowned beaches, adventurous excursions, and exotic property settings.
The Dominican Republic: The island's charming historical quality and friendly people will lure you in for a wedding in the Dominican Republic! Couples will need to have their legal documents translated into Spanish here, but that doesn’t stop anyone!
There’s more to love!
In addition to each of these destinations’ unique characteristics, all of them offer the same great perks! Here’s a few examples:
Easy flights: All of these destinations are easily accessible from major U.S. airport hubs, and have international airports that are close to the resorts.
All-inclusive: There are plenty of fantastic all-inclusive options at all of these destinations, making your wedding budget that much more manageable for you and your guests!
Value: Mexico isn’t the only destination with value! In fact, the DR and Jamaica have a wide-variety of luxurious hotel options at a price you can handle.
Do you see yourself tying the knot at one of the big 3’s? If so, fill out this form to let us know and we’ll send you more info!
Looking for a laid-back and exotic wedding experience in the “coolest” part of the Caribbean? Then, you’re going to love these affordable Jamaica resorts
Riu Palace Tropical Bay
Situated on one of Jamaica’s most stunning beaches, Riu Palace Tropical Bay provides breathtaking destination weddings in a completely renovated facility. Here, couples can take advantage of the hotel’s free wedding package, which covers everything from a variety of décor, ceremony music, and semi-private dinner, to a wedding cake, surprise gift for the couple, and a romantic and exotic setup for your ceremony. You’ll also work closely with the resort’s expert wedding coordinators to ensure everything runs smoothly on your big day.
Royalton Blue Waters Montego Bay
Royalton Blue Waters will bring your destination wedding experience to life with numerous complimentary activities, spectacular island entertainment and a charismatic staff that can’t wait to celebrate with you. So, whether you’re hoping for a small and intimate affair or something grand and elaborate, this is where you go to make those big wedding dreams a reality. The best part? There’s a complimentary wedding package out there calling your name…
Moon Palace Jamaica Grande
This affordable destination wedding property is a family-favorite for its generous resort credits, exciting tours and excursions, golf outings, and laid-back Jamaican style. And not only that, but Moon Palace Jamaica Grande has a great reputation for its customizable wedding packages and enhancements, which include everything from a beautiful tropical venue, flowers and décor, complimentary group benefits, and so much more. It also encourages weddings of all faiths and cultures, making it the perfect option for just about anyone. What about your guests with children? Not to worry… this destination wedding spot is great for kids!
Secrets Wild Orchid
Looking to wed in a chill and lively beachfront setting? Then, say "I do" at Secrets Wild Orchid. Here, you and your sweetie can tie the knot under an intimate wedding gazebo or on a private beach with your closest friends and family. This affordable adult-only retreat is filled with all the benefits of unlimited luxury, with abundant options to personalize and create a wedding package to call your own. And don’t fret about the little details, the resort’s full-service wedding coordinators and designers take care of all of that.
Sound like Jamaica is the perfect place to say, “I do”? Connect with one of our wedding experts today!
Offering travelers the VIP treatment from the moment after stepping off the plane, Club Mobay is an absolute must the next time you visit Jamaica!
So what is Club MoBay?
Located at Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport, Club MoBay is a VIP arrival and departure lounge that offers travelers a wide-range of comforts, conveniences, and personalized services. Here’s why you’ll love it:
Skip Long Lines
The last thing you want to do after a long flight is wait in an immigration line for over an hour in a crowded airport. When you book Club MoBay, you’ll be greeted by your very own personal escort who will guide you through the airport and straight to the lounge. Talk about easy!
The Fabulous Service
Aside from your personal escort, Club MoBay’s staff welcomes you with open arms the minute you walk through its doors. Known for their “no problem” mentality and carefree personalities, the people in Jamaica are sure to make you relaxed the moment you arrive.
The Food & Drink
Hungry after your long flight? Club MoBay’s got you covered! Offering a wide variety of snacks and beverages, guests can order everything from fresh fruits and pastries, to sandwiches, sushi, and Jamaican patties. You’ll even receive complimentary refreshments, from soft drinks and coffee, to specialty alcoholic beverages.
Kid-Friendly & Adult Only Spaces
Club MoBay is great for families! In fact, the kiddos can hang out in a sound-controlled kids’ playroom, where cartoons and toys are always in abundance. Looking for some quiet time with just the adults? Then, check out the adult-only lounge, where you’ll find a set of three rooms to relax and unwind in peace.
Need to freshen up after traveling all day? You’ll be happy to hear about the Club’s shower facilities or spacious restrooms – some of the cleanest you’ll find in any airport! Club MoBay is also air-conditioned, something you’ll be thankful for when you touch down in Jamaica.
Yep, you read that right. Club MoBay has an onsite spa in the departure lounge where you can get a chair massage or manicure and pedicure. This allows you to savor the final hours of vacation while reducing any tension or anxiety you have prior to traveling.
Heading to Jamaica? Then, be sure to ask us how to book your Club MoBay slot today! For recommendations on where to stay in Jamaica, click here to get in touch.
Looking to say “I do” in the most laid-back and tropical setting around? Then, look no further than Jamaica for your special day!
Moon Palace Jamaica Grande
The generous resort credits to the spa, exciting tours and excursions, golf outings, and its laid-back style make this Jamaica property a family-favorite! Known for its customizations, enhancements, and abundance of options, a wedding at Moon Palace Jamaica is perfect for those couples looking for a fun, yet intimate wedding. And don’t worry about your guests with families. With all the activities offered, this destination wedding spot is great for kids!
Awaken your senses, because Royalton Negril brings the liveliness and vibrancy of Jamaica to life! Here, wedding guests will enjoy spectacular beachfront views, endless complimentary activities, and the ultimate island elegance you’ve been waiting for. So, whether you’re hosting an intimate family affair, or something grand and extravagant, this place is guaranteed to make your special day…well, special.
Riu Palace Tropical Bay
Having just completely a multi-million dollar renovation, Riu Palace Tropical Bay’s brand new look will surely catch your attention. Situated ideally in the middle of the bay, the sunsets from the beaches here are nothing short of spectacular. Wedding guests will appreciate the “no reservations” dining, swim up bars and fresh new looks throughout this 5 star Jamaican resort.
Couples Swept Away
There’s so much to love about Couples Swept Away, which is perfectly situated on 7 Mile Beach… one of the most gorgeous beaches in the world! So big that its sands stretch across 2 territories, this “Capital of Cool” offers the lively reggae vibe to guests that Jamaica is best known for. Additionally, its friendly, not to mention casual atmosphere, make this resort a favorite amongst all couples. It’s in their name, after all!
Secrets Wild Orchid
Say "I do" under a gorgeously decorated wedding gazebo, or on your very own private section of the beach! At Secrets Wild Orchid, take time to focus on each other, while we work with the full-service wedding coordinators and designers to take care of the rest. Experience the chill and lively vibes of Jamaica at this noteworthy resort!
If you and your fiancé are into a carefree atmosphere with reggae vibes around every corner, then a Jamaica destination wedding is perfect for you! To start planning your wedding today, click here to receive a free quote!
Meet The Authors
We are passionate about destination weddings and love helping couples make their wedding dreams a reality. We are the destination wedding experts.