Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Destination Wedding: Where would you go?

If we had not found Irvine, I was fairly ready to chuck it all, call up some all-inclusive resort on some island, and tell them to plan a wedding for October of 2010 for me. I would show up with a dress and a man. Done and done.
I did seriously toy with the idea of a destination wedding. Ultimately, Mark's family (plus some of mine) and the economy stopped me. How could we possibly ask his family to fly not just to New Jersey or Baltimore, but to somewhere even further? How could we ask people in this economy like our friends who can barely afford their rent to pay at least $500 to come party with us in the Caribbean? And how could my friends, who would just be graduating from law school, who would just be starting, or not even starting to accrue vacation, to make a 4-7 hour trip for a weekend? But I toyed with the idea.
Where was my first choice?
We are SCUBA divers. I've been certified since I was 12; both my parents are certified, my sister is certified. As far as Caribbean diving goes, Bonaire is the top and there isn't a lot else. (Okay, so the Caymans was okay. But really.) The shore diving is probably the best in the world.
Unfortunately, the island has 15,000 people on it and nothing to do but diving and some windsurfing. My family would have a great time at our wedding. Also its a long flight - two flights, usually with a layover in Jamaica or San Juan. (Advantage - its pretty far south of the hurricane zone, and we are talking October.)
We have stayed in the past at the Plaza Resort Bonaire, which for about $1070 offers a wedding package for a wedding on the beach. It includes cake for ten. Ten would probably be the total number of people we could drag to Bonaire as well (four parents, two siblings, two sibling-in-laws, bride, groom). Okay, so our friend Tom would come. Maybe Andy. But really, that's pretty much it. We'd need to get extra cake.
My family just planned a trip here for the holidays, and I'm pretty excited. So I find myself turning again to the idea of getting married at the beach. Just Mark and I, and our immediate families, small, simple, a simple dress that won't overheat, him in shorts and a polo, both of us barefoot, some giant tropical flower in my hair. Then we could celebrate with a night dive and a barbecue on the beach. It would be awesome.
Then Mark and I could head off to Aruba, Jamaica, or South America for the honeymoon. Our family could stay on Bonaire and hang out - actually, they would have to - flights only go in and out on Saturdays....
This is probably the most selfish or simple way to do our wedding. It would deprive our family and friends of seeing us get married. And the people we invited would feel obligated to spend a lot of money or would feel guilty that they couldn't come to the wedding or they would feel angry that we expected them to spend a lot on plane tickets and lodging. They would feel bored when they got there and relieved to go home.
If we were having a small wedding, with just our parents and siblings, we could do it here, of course. We could do it in our backyard, at city hall, wherever. But if it was Bonaire or city hall, I think I would pick this, and I think we would all be pretty happy with the outcome. We could just turn it into a fun-filled family vacation, which included some vows and lifelong commitments.
Where would your destination wedding be? Are you having a destination wedding?


  1. Yeah, if you two had gotten married in Bonaire, I would have come... and attended the ceremony in swim trunks. and flip flops. and nothing else.

  2. Trust me, the only person who would be required to wear a shirt would be the father of the bride, because he goes from pasty white to lobster red in .2 seconds. I might make Mark wear a shirt so his chest hair doesn't scare our kids someday when they look at our wedding album.
    I totally won't fault you if you want to come to our wedding in swim trunks and nothing else. I think there is a pond somewhere at the center....