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Are you the perfect FIT for a destination wedding!

Having spent 20 years planning destination weddings/elopements, I have found that there are 4 types of couples that are the perfect fit for a destination wedding vs. a traditional wedding at home.


If you fit into these parameters, maybe a destination wedding is the right choice for you.

1st – The bride and groom (but really folks, the bride) has always dreamed of getting married to the love of her life with the tropical breeze gently blowing and walking barefoot in the sand. She won’t settle for a church wedding as she has planned this scenario for years. Her family has often heard her talk of her big day and seen her “inspiration boards” on Pinterest! The groom wants to make her happy and is totally on board for a stress free non-formal event and, in fact, he thinks this is the best plan yet!


2nd – This is the second marriage for either or both the bride/groom. They know what a huge wedding feels like and would rather have something more relaxed, more intimate and with some of their closest friends and family. Their loved ones (those that travel often or wouldn’t miss it for anything) are thrilled to travel with this couple and are planning their yearly vacation to coincide with the couple’s dates and location. The bride/groom are happy for those that can make it, but aren’t crushed for those that are struggling to fit it into their budget or vacation time off.


3rd – The bride and groom just can’t afford a big blowout at home. If they have a wedding locally, they are almost committed to invite 200+ guests and simply can’t afford to do so. Having a destination wedding would easily cut their guest list by 3/4 and they can enjoy a honeymoon and their wedding rather than having to sacrifice a honeymoon all together. They are more interested in saving for a home, or a car, or just paying down bills than spending over $15,000 on a 4 hour event back home. However, they are worried, not all will be able to make it and might have to help some of their loved ones make the journey. This couple has a harder road ahead of them as they hadn’t really thought about a destination wedding as a DREAM event in their life and could feel conflicted about not doing the traditional thing.


4th-The bride and groom are both living in cities that are far from their individual home towns. Both grew up in different states, maybe went to a college in another state and finally, they are living in a state that is not where their families live. No matter what they do for their wedding, everyone will have to travel so having a destination wedding is the best way to allow guests to also vacation while incurring travel fees to see them wed.

Do you fit into any of these scenarios? Are you a destination wedding bride/groom and have another background you want to share? Please leave me a comment and start the discussion!

To view some swoon-worthy beach ideas found on Pinterest, click here to see the list!


Over the Water Bungalows NOT in the South Pacific!

Over the Water Bungalows NOT in the South Pacific!

Planning a destination wedding but still want to go on a honeymoon after?  Many destination wedding couples love the location they have selected for their wedding but yearn for a more exotic experience for their honeymoon.  The number 1 request is for unique!

Most honeymooners dream of those exotic over the water bungalows with crystal clear waters below.  Sadly, those sought after luxury accommodations in bucket-list destinations come with a hefty price tag and a very long flight.  Bora Bora, in French Polynesia, is one of those destinations where the photographs depicting these unique over water suites are often repinned, shared, liked and favorited all over social media, as the quintessential romantic spots for honeymooners.  The truth is that only those with a $10,000+ honeymoon budget can this once in a lifetime dream become a reality. If you do have that budget, also keep in mind that to get to paradise, you will need to fly on 12+ hour flights.  Thankfully, there are other alternatives if you want to experience an over the water bungalow and they are not only less expensive but also a little closer to home.

Here are 5 unique Over-the-Water Bungalows not in the South Pacific!

1-Cayo Esperanto- Belize

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2- Hotel Desconocido, Mexico (south of Puerto Vallarta)

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3- Eclypse de Mar Aqualodge – Panama

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or Coral Lodge, San Blas Islands, Panama

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4-  CoCo View Resort – Roatan, Honduras

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5- Mayakoba, Mexico

Blog Over the Water Bungalow

The best news is that this popular type of accommodation will soon be at the best resorts for honeymooners!!  Opening in 2015 at Sandals Royal Caribbean in Jamaica will be 16 over the water suites. These long awaited couples only suites will feature all inclusive amenities which makes it perfect for honeymooners.

Blog Over the Water Bungalow

Finally, El Dorado Resorts, located in the Riviera Maya, will also be opening over water suites this year on the famous Maroma beach at the El dorado Maroma. Known for gourmet inclusive restaurants and their adults only atmosphere, Karisma resorts has become one of the hottest resort brands in Mexico.  These new over water suites will feature infinity pools and glass bottom floors.

Trend Alert: DIY Ideas For Beach Weddings

Thank you Lindsey from George Street Photo and Video in Chicago, IL for being a guest writer on this blog!

White sand, a warm breeze, the sweet sound of waves crashing on the shore — sound like paradise? The answer is ‘yes’! From the idyllic setting to the laid back atmosphere, there’s truly nothing better than a beach wedding! But, the best part about a beautiful seaside celebration? Armed with DIY-friendly tips and tricks, it’s easy to create an ambiance that’s not only adorable, but affordable, as well!Blog Trend Alert

Here are a few beach-ready wedding ideas that won’t burn a hole in your pocketbook!

Sweet (and Simple) Centerpieces: Who knew that sea shells and starfish could double as stylish centerpiece decor?! Gather a few of these natural elements and head over to your local craft store to pick up clear vases or columns. Consider filling them with colored sand, water or candles, and add starfish and seashell accents to achieve that straight-off-the-beach effect. Add polished driftwood for a more rustic touch, or incorporate floral elements if you’d like to add a dose of elegance to each arrangement.

Destination Wedding Blog Trend Alert: DIY Ideas For Beach Weddings

Cute Cake Adornments: The wedding cake presents a perfect opportunity for you to tie the entire theme of your beach affair together! So, why not get creative with the cake topper and toppings? Graham cracker crumble is a dead ringer for sand, while adirondack chair cake toppers add a unique (and utterly adorable) touch!

Delightful Details: Even the smallest details can often be expensive additions to a wedding budget. But if you’re hosting a beach affair, crafting those details is possible with minimal extra cost! For instance, mini conch shells adorned with table numbers make perfect place cards and also double as cute take-home gifts for guests! And since everyone will likely be outdoors for the majority of the festivities, consider giving them something unique to remember your day — pinwheels or streamers are fun additions to any party and can also be used in your grand exit!

Destination Wedding Blog Trend Alert: DIY Ideas For Beach Weddings

Whimsical Wedding Altar: Let’s be honest — there’s no backdrop quite like the ocean, with the sun shining just over the horizon! Still, no beach wedding is complete without an altar to frame the natural setting, and believe or not, it’s easy to craft one on your own! Long, airy drapes look absolutely stunning when caught by the summer breeze and can be attached to the framework of the altar. Consider adding floral arrangements for a pop of color or paper lanterns if your wedding takes place at dusk.

Creative Signage: To achieve that rustic, beachy look, make hand-painted signs directing your guests to the day’s events! Score an added bonus if you collect beach wood and craft it into signs for a truly authentic effect! You can also have fun with the signage for your reception chairs — wooden placards attached to rope are effortlessly beachy and inexpensive!

Once your sweet beach soirée has come together, you’ll definitely want to reflect on all the hard work you put into making each detail come to life! That’s where your photographer can help plan out shots that showcase the decor and details to help tell the entire story of your day, from the ceremony to the grand exit! Now, mix yourself a tropical cocktail and get planning!

For more information on gorgeous wedding photography, engagement sessions, and wedding videography visit George Street Photo & Video.

If you are interested in being a guest contributor for our blog, please contact Jennifer Doncsecz at VIP Vacations

5 TIPS to Make Planning Your Destination Wedding Easier

1-Give yourself time! 

Nothing is more stressful than doing things last minute.  VIP Vacations suggests that 12-18months in advance is best to begin the process of finding the perfect destination and getting prices.

Save the dates can be sent once everything is set and this also allows your guests to save money.  VIP sends our wedding couples a detailed calendar that has “to do” lists and time frames of what should be taken care of at a specific time prior to the wedding.  Many resorts book up early and the most coveted times/dates are often snatched up a year in advance.  I find that the happiest wedding couples got the date they wanted early, received an early saver group rate on their hotel rooms and gave their guests plenty of notice so many of them could attend.

VIP Vacations, Blog, 5 tips to make planning a destination wedding easier, save the dates

2-Enlist the help of a destination wedding travel agent

One of the key reasons VIP has such rave reviews from our wedding clients is because we are truly here to help relieve stress and guide you through the whole process.  Having been a destination wedding bride, I can relate to what my couples are going through and give them REAL expectations so their hopes do not turn into disappointments.  For the past 15 years, I have been planning and assisting couples in planning destination weddings and though some things have changed, the basic questions are still the same.  I also think that finding an agent who is enthusiastic about weddings is key!  I am very passionate about weddings that passion continually drives me to look at the new trends, visit the new resorts and keep up to date on everything wedding related!   If you are currently looking for an experienced destination wedding agent, make sure you look at their qualifications, reviews and testimonials from other wedding couples.

VIP Vacations, Blog, 5 tips to make planning a destination wedding easier, save the dates

 3-Prepare a back-up plan for bad weather

Getting married in paradise doesn’t always mean that mother nature will be on your side.  Having a backup plan just in case bad weather strolls in, simply makes the planning easier.  Sudden surprises and rush decisions are never a good thing where weddings are concerned! Before you commit to a specific resort or even destination, check the weather forecasts for the predicted amount of rainfall during the month you are traveling and ask the resort if there is a backup location.  Resorts often photographs of their inside location that they can send you so you can prepare a plan B!   I also love the website which is a techie version of the Father’s Almanac.

4-Know the legalities and deadlines for paperwork

It is easy to get wrapped up in the wedding planning and forget the deadlines for completing the wedding paperwork.  Many destinations have fees if you turn these  papers in late and sadly some destinations do not allow paperwork after a certain time prior to arrival.  If you are planning a legal wedding, it   is best to start getting all of your legal paperwork and documents together so you are not rushing around or spending more money to get documentation expedited.

VIP Vacations, Blog, 5 tips to make planning a destination wedding easier, save the dates

5-Remember your guests

The best destination weddings usually result in happy people sharing fabulous memories.  If you keep your guests in mind and plan meeting times, excursions, and group activities, then you not only share memories together but you are also considered a gracious hostess!  Welcome bags, welcome letters and being aware of food allergies is another way you can make your guests feel special.

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Years later… what do VIP Destination Wedding brides say.

On a recent Facebook status, I posted this photo:

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I asked my clients to “share” or like.
Before I blinked, comments began to roll in. Here is what REAL VIP destination wedding brides posted. Years later….what do VIP Destination Wedding brides say (photos and comments from the string)

MrsTroy Vereen Absolutely!!! Thank You so much for being at the Bridal Expo at The Radisson in Trevose or I would have never have had such an amazing wedding.

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Kelly Maurer Best decision I ever made!!!

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AnnMarie Petitto-Thomas Best. Day. Ever!

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Kimberly Mead-Briggs Best time of our lives!! With the help from VIP it was amazing & stress free!!!

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Jessica Emanuel LOVED it!!!

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Dana Pietrzak Petrucci I couldn’t imagine a more perfect day !!!

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Shanna Rozelle Baynton It was pure bliss, a true dream of a day, including the rainbow.

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Jubettsy Velez-Brown It was the best decision ever! Worry free and beautiful! Thanks Jen and your crew for all the help.

VIP Vacations, Blog, Destination Wedding, Reviews, Testimonials

MrsTroy Vereen I love this thread!

Ana Feliciano Hayes Perfect day!

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Shannon Yeagley Simply gorgeous!

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Erica Laplante Ouellette It was the most beautiful day! Thank you Jenn for all that you did for us, you are truly amazing!!!! Photo courtesy of Photography By Fallan

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Jennifer Maylath Best decision EVER to get married in Turks and Caicos!!!

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Rukiya Campbell I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Especially making the decision to go with VIP. You and your team had a huge hand in making everything go off without a hitch.

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It’s clear, planning a destination wedding isn’t always easy, but VIP is here to help guide you and our goal is for you to look back years from now, feeling the same way those brides above feel!!!

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Honoring Your Traditions!

Having a destination wedding doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your family traditions or religious beliefs. Gone are the days where a destination wedding was only officiated by a nondenominational minister or judge. More and more resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico are creating wedding packages that cater to specific religions and allow you to customize the ceremony to fit your personal faith. Several resorts have also built chapels right on their grounds so that guests do not have to leave the grounds to attend a mass or service.


Recently I discovered that Palace Resorts offers a wedding package specifically for Indian weddings. Hindi and Sikh weddings require a lot of attention to detail and often require several days of festivities. Palace Resorts has put a package together that focuses on these traditions and dietary requirements. Their wedding package specifically includes Mehendi/Henna Artists, Mandap, and stage décor too.

The Karisma Resorts have uniquely created wedding options that appeal to a Filipino couple. At the El Dorado Royale and El Dorado Maroma, a traditional Filipino wedding can take place right in the Chapel located at these resorts. The packages can also provide candles for the customary candle ritual and the couple can also have their veiling ritual as the resort can provide a yugal. Additionally, the El Dorado’s can also provide doves for the reception.
As more and more couples feel it is a priority to follow their religious and cultural beliefs, it is very refreshing to see resorts adapt and modify their wedding packages. The destination wedding experts at VIP make it a priority to ensure that your religious requests are honored and specialize in Asian weddings!

Destination Wedding PLUS honeymoon?

Years ago, having a destination wedding incorporated the travel for the wedding and the honeymoon together and the wedding couple often opted to stay at the same resort for their honeymoon as where they got married.  Today, most couples feel that staying at the same resort isn’t special or private enough and now choose to leave that resort and do a separate honeymoon for just the two of them.  Other destination wedding couples return home from their wedding and plan a separate honeymoon at a later date.  Wikipedia describes a honeymoon as the traditional holiday taken by newlyweds to celebrate their marriage in intimacy and seclusion.  There is a very romantic aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked when a couple is on their honeymoon and it’s very hard to replicate if a couple ops to stay at the resort where family/friends are staying for the wedding.


dinner for two

When I got married, I knew that the stress of planning the destination wedding would be a little overwhelming so we decided to go on our honeymoon 2 months after the wedding.  It was one of the best decisions for several reasons.  We had the time to decompress from the wedding travel and we also had something to look forward to as there is often a “low” felt by brides when they return from their wedding.  If due to financial reasons and limited vacation time pushes the wedding couple to take their honeymoon immediately after their wedding and stay in the same area, we often suggest that the couple leaves the resort where the wedding took place and goes to a more secluded resort.  If possible, we also encourage the couple to go to a different area in the destination so that they can experience another aspect of the destination.  This idea works well in destinations like the Riviera Maya, Jamaica and Puerto Vallarta.  Some of VIP’s favorite resorts that we suggest in those destinations are the El Dorado resorts in the Riviera Maya as well as Excellence Playa Mujeres in the Yucatan and in Jamaica we often recommend Sandals Whitehouse and Sandals Royal Plantation.  If the wedding is in Puerto Vallarta, the brand new Secrets Resort is a fabulous choice for couples and highlights romance right in the heart of the “romantic district”.


Destination Weddings can be consuming for a bride to plan which means that the honeymoon can take a back seat.  At VIP, we are here to provide you with options and encourage you to begin your “happy ever after” by capturing the romance of a honeymoon!