When I first started planning destination weddings in the Caribbean in 2007, I never expected to be as busy as we are in the summertime in the tropics. I quickly learned that there is no "off season" for destination wedding planning.
I wondered where the tradition of "June brides" came from so I did a little research and was fascinated to learn the tradition dates back to Roman times when they celebrated the festival of the deity Juno and his wife Jupiter, who was the goddess of marriage and childbirth, on the first day of June. In Victorian times, the tradition is thought to have continued because there were flowers available for wedding décor, and the scent of the flowers masked body odor. Romantic, eh?
Now you can get flowers year-round and almost everybody wears deodorant, so why is summer still so popular for weddings in general? It's the easiest time of year for most brides and grooms to take extended leave from work. Many occupations are significantly more flexible between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Heck, in Europe, whole cities shut down in August for vacation. And if there are kids involved in the wedding, coordinating school schedules any other time of year is a complete nightmare.
For destination weddings, summertime is off-season in most tropical and many mountainous locations, hence better rates on wedding venues because the hotels aren't packed like they are the rest of the year. Hurricane season is technically June through November, but anyone who does their research will see that most of the Caribbean is worry-free except for late August through early October. It's the Florida coasts (both of them) that are more likely to get whomped by storms in the summer.
I got married on Labor Day weekend in 2004, in between Hurricanes Ivan and Jack. We didn't even have a drop of rain in Puerto Rico during my wedding weekend, but the storms up north screwed up flights for some of my guests who were supposed to change planes in Miami and other places in Florida. If I had it to do over again, I would have gotten married two weeks earlier before the weather got nasty. But I have no regrets about a summer wedding in the Caribbean.
There are definitely some tricks to planning a summertime destination wedding, and I'm going to share a five of them here with you:
- Avoid holiday weekends. Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day all dramatically increase airfare for your guests. The rest of the summer, flights to the Caribbean are ridiculously reasonable.
- Off-season rates at hotel and villa accommodations mean that more of your guests will be able to attend, and even stay longer to turn your wedding weekend into their own vacation.
- It's easier for people with children to travel to a wedding when school is out, whether or not they're bringing the little ones along. Finding a friend or family member to babysit is a lot easier when they don't have to deal with the carpool.
- It doesn't matter how hot it gets during the daytime as long as you choose and suggest AIR-CONDITIONED accommodations to all of your guests. You're going to be on the beach and out doing fun things in the sunshine during the day so if it gets a little sticky, nobody really cares. As long as they have a nice cool room to sleep in at night. Summer is NOT the time to choose an eco-hotel without windows if you want your guests to speak to you afterwards.
- Don't ask your guests to wear formal attire. Try not to make them wear jackets and ties if you're someplace where "island cocktail attire" is sufficiently dressy. You can dress your wedding party however you like (and torture them if you must), but you don't have to do that to all of your guests. They make some beautiful guayabera shirts that look great with linen pants at tropical weddings.
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Sandy Malone Weddings & Events!