What’s it like to plan and have a destination wedding? Well before planning my own, I thought I knew all of the answers to that question – as a weddings and honeymoon specialist, I’d been helping others plan their destination weddings for years. Always the travel agent, never the bride.
Until this year.
I’d never been the girl who dreamed of her wedding day. I had no preconceived notations of what my own wedding would look like – in fact, I had sincere doubts that I would ever get married. No previous relationships had given me any reason to commit a lifetime to a man – truthfully, the most recent of those had left me equating love with ownership. The idea of a ball and chain and lifetime commitment was terrifying.
Until I fell in love with Jeremy.
In a matter of weeks, I knew the answers to everything I’d ever doubted. And suddenly I became the girl dreaming of her wedding day. More than that, on July 28, 2017 (several months before we were engaged), Jeremy began fueling those dreams. On the first evening of our first trip together, we sat watching a wedding couple dance under the palm trees at Excellence El Carmen in the Dominican Republic. We talked about what a dream a destination wedding would be.
We were still in that hypothetical stage, where you can’t really admit to each other that you’re talking about your own future. This was also the stage where Jeremy would say things like, “If I’m lucky enough to have a wife one day,” and I would want to wave my hands and scream at him: “THAT’S GOING TO BE ME, YOU REALIZE THAT RIGHT?!”
Total elephant in the room when you know that you’re going to spend forever together but no one has asked yet.
Until he asked.
The very next day after he asked, we had our Epperly Travel Christmas lunch, co-sponsored by the Park Hyatt St. Kitts. We’d been engaged for approximately 17 hours when Rachel of the Park Hyatt turned to me and said: “You know, if you’re interested in a destination wedding, we’d love to put together a proposal for you.”
Thanks to that hypothetical conversation in the DR, I knew we were interested, but that was as far as I’d gotten. A few days later, Jeremy and I sat down to brainstorm just what that wedding would look like: we’re both sun chasers, so definitely somewhere tropical. A beach, but in the background – no toes in the sand during the ceremony. Something else in the background more than just the ocean: a mountain? Yes. A mountain.
We spitballed spots that could fit: St. Lucia. Hawaii. Cabo. For several weeks, we ventured down the rabbit holes of each of those destinations, but nothing ever clicked. I finally decided to open the proposal that Rachel sent me after our Christmas lunch, and the first photo I saw was something like this:
At the same time, we both proclaimed: “THAT’S IT!” That night, we booked flights leaving in two weeks to go check out the property and sign on the dotted line. While visiting, we fell even more in love with St. Kitts and the surrounding spots of Christophe Harbour, like while we watched the sun set on the dock at Salt Plage, the coolest beach bar on the planet.
We’d been lucky enough to visit the Park Hyatt while Meg, our super fun sales rep who had been passionately proclaiming how awesome the property was long before it was open, happened to be down there. Unfortunately for her and her husband Spencer, it also meant that we crashed their vacation, but she graciously adopted us as our fairy-godmother-wedding-
That was the question we discussed while munching on conch fritters and toasting Caribs that night at Salt Plage. Our answer? We want our guests to walk away saying that was the best vacation ever.
We looked around at the beach bar as the sun was setting and knew that this was where we could achieve that. The next step was a matter of actually making it happen – which I’m happy to answer in our next post!