If love is in the details, then you will certainly want to take extra care when making even the smallest of your wedding plans. Scheduling a destination wedding is no easy task, but with a bit of hard work and careful organization, you can successfully bring your Belizean nuptial fantasies to life.
What is the biggest secret to achieving a great wedding in Belize? The key is to begin your planning process as quickly as possible. A good system of time management should be developed because it allows you to save time when researching choices, making reservations, and coping with any complications that may arise. Beginning early also gives you time to take advantage of any possible deals that could become available.
Many couples who are planning a wedding in Belize find that the most significant obstacle is making the arrangements from afar. This is why so many couples hire a wedding or event planner to do what they do best - make the planning of your wedding as stress free and simple as possible. You can hire someone local to you, someone in Belize, or choose to buy a resort wedding package.
If you choose to hire a wedding planner local to you, make sure he or she has previous experience planning a destination wedding and references available. Connections in the area and knowledge of the local language and customs will help guarantee that your experience is exactly what you want and expect. Remember, if you want your wedding planner to be on site the day of your wedding, be prepared to to pay for her airfare and hotel stay.
You may discover that choosing an event planner in Belize is a great option if you're looking for someone on the island to be your eyes and ears. This person will be able to handle every detail of your wedding, and most importantly analyze venues and vendors in person.
Wedding packages offered by local resorts are most common and often the most reliable. Accommodations, venue, officiant, catering, adornments, and more are usually included in one flat rate. Read our guide to Belize Wedding Locations and Venues for more information on resort weddings.
Preparing a Belize wedding may seem stressful but many find it a fun challenge and have successfully achieved their dream event. Come prepared, make lists, and keep notes of every phone call and transaction you make.
Developing a sensible budget is essential to any successful Caribbean wedding. On average, couples in the United States spend between $20,000 and $30,000 on their big day, while a destination wedding in Belize can cost you as little as $2,000. Numerous major resorts and hotels have wedding planning services that can prepare your big event down to the very last detail, and charge a single set fee for the entire package. If you decide to arrange the entire wedding yourself, consider the expenses you may encounter.
|Officiant||$50 to $250(USD)|
|Photography||$500 to $3000(USD)|
|Flowers||$300 to $1500(USD)|
|Decorations||$300 to $1500(USD)|
|Venue||$0 to $1000(USD)|
|Food||$25 to $50(USD) per person|
|Lodging||$100+(USD) per night|
The chart above merely addresses wedding basics, and estimates are based upon average costs of the individual items. Consider other fundamentals such as the bride's gown, the groom's tuxedo, and the wedding rings. Overall, wedding costs will change drastically depending on which items you decide are the most important. You need to stay within a reasonable budget that is based upon your financial situation. List items commonly associated with a wedding from maximum value to lowest value and allocate a price estimate to each item. Items ranked in order of importance will allow you to see exactly where you may be willing to trim back and where you aren't willing to compromise.
By this point you will have determined what style of wedding you would like to host, and the type of venue you would like to have it in. These selections will quickly trim down your list of potential vendors. Options include outdoor ceremonies, traditional weddings in a church, dining hall, or historic landmark, and weddings at sea. Keep in mind that if you desire a ceremony at an archaeological reserve, you will have to write to the Commissioner of Archeology requesting permission to do so. Consult our guide to Belize Wedding Locations and Venues for for more information about the types of weddings available.
Every location, vendor, resort, decoration, and method of transportation should be evaluated. Contact companies for price estimates, inform them that you are arranging your nuptials from abroad, and that they should expect mainly long distance phone calls and e-mail communications. When you contract with vendors sight unseen, ask for references from those who have previously used their services.
Also give consideration to the time of year in which you wish to get married, and the type of events that may occur during that time. If you want you and your guests to vacation in a party environment, getting married in Belize during Carnival, for example, may be just the ticket. However, if you would rather host an intimate, discreet event, you should make other arrangements. Additionally, the weather can have a significant impact on your wedding experience, especially if you are looking to host an outdoor celebration.
While you're doing your research, you may want to look into the wedding traditions of Belize residents. You may find a tradition that you want to incorporate into your own wedding, or decide that you want to honor Belize by including a symbol of the country in your plans. Some options include serving local foods at your reception, such as freshly caught seafood, bamboo chicken (iguana), various bits of creole cuisine, and locally distilled rum; or incorporating the national flower into your bouquet. Belize's national flower is the black orchid, a deep purple, almost black bloom that will certainly add interest to your bouquet or boutonnière.
The vendors you select will essentially make or break your wedding event. When you make your final decisions and book your vendors, explain precisely what you are looking for, and the dates you have chosen. Get all of your price quotes in writing (have them send you a quote through the post office, by e-mail, or by fax). Keep duplicates of everything including invoices of all items that are included in the price. Some businesses require a deposit. Do not send anyone payments until you have received a paper statement. Protect yourself from any possible misunderstandings.
Many couples wish to bring a bit of personal flair to their Belize wedding event. If you are creating or purchasing any of your wedding decorations at home, there is no better time than now to start working on these projects. This may also be the time to purchase the wedding dress and/or make arrangements to rent a tuxedo. There are very few bridal shops in Belize, so this is definitely something you will want to take care of before embarking on your trip. Make a list of everything you plan on taking care of at home, and the estimated time it will take you to accomplish it.
Now is also the time to begin gathering the documents you will need to bring with you to Belize in order to obtain your marriage license. Birth certificates, paperwork reflecting any previous name changes, and copies of your photo identification must all be presented when you go to the General Registry three days before your wedding to apply for your license. To learn more about this process, read our guide to Belize Wedding Requirements and Traditions.
Although you may think your arrangements are finalized, it is still important to talk to your vendors periodically to review their progress, or to discuss any changes that need to be made. Don't worry about calling too often. They are working for you, and you are paying them to provide these services.
Listed below are a few additional tips that will assist you in planning your Belize wedding.
With your budget established, your options researched and your vendors booked, you're almost ready for your wedding day in Belize. As your big event draws closer, you will have the peace of mind knowing that you're nuptials are entirely taken care of. A wedding in Belize promises to be the most memorable day of your life.
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