Digging up the Details
If you visit the Web site of any destination wedding resort, you're going to find glowing testimonials about how professional its staff is and how beautiful and unique its weddings are. Here's an obvious piece of information that's far too easy to overlook when you really, really
Seeing Is Believing
The very best way to check out any destination wedding spot is in person. It's just too difficult to objectively evaluate a spot you've never been to. Many couples choose a place where they've vacationed in the past. Even if the brochures and pictures on the Internet are nothing short of stunning, you have to realize that a good photographer can do wonders with even the worst surroundings.
If a visit is out of the question, another relatively safe way to choose a spot is to rely on the word of a friend who has been there. One caveat here: Make sure this friend is someone with whom you share common viewpoints. If you're ultra-traditional, in other words, don't base your choice of a ceremony spot on the advice of your wild, non-conventional pal. Although she may mean well, she may not be able to put the place into the context that you're looking for. She also may forget to tell you about the clothing-optional part of the ceremony, which might not be something
Taking a Chance
Only the bride with nerves of steel chooses a spot sight-unseen. This isn't to say, though, that doing this is at all unusual. Again, because destination wedding spots are run by professional wedding planners, most brides wind up having a happy experience. Nevertheless, when you're considering a site that you've never actually been to, it's essential that you do some in-depth research on the place. Here are some steps to follow to ensure that you're getting all the information you need:
Play the part of the skeptic. Be on the lookout for things that sound or seem amiss. Although brides often don't want to look at life this way (they're happy, happy, happy!), it's the best way to protect yourself when you're entering into a business transaction. Check out the Web site. Does this place offer the basics of what you're looking for? You may not be able to have it all, but are the major elements in place? Do an Internet search. Type the name and location of the site and the words “destination wedding” into your search bar, using a search engine like Google. Then try various skeptical qualifiers to find out whether there are numerous negative comments about the place. For example, type in “Happy Hotel Miami Fla. destination wedding terrible” or “Happy Hotel Miami Fla. destination wedding bad experience.” Get creative with those qualifiers and see what pops up.
Another way to check out any business
Take your time doing your research! Read any consumer complaints posted either on the BBB's site or elsewhere on the Internet, look for a pattern of similar complaints, and judge for yourself whether you feel comfortable with a particular resort. If you've read one complaint too many along the lines of “The food was horrible and the minister was drunk,” it's time to start looking elsewhere.
If there are bad reviews of destination wedding sites out there, you will find them on the Internet. The Internet has become a sounding board for consumers of all types, and brides are the last group of consumers that would remain silent after a horrible experience. In some cases, you can even contact the reviewers to get more information.