Guest blog:new bride Charlene Simms shares destination wedding stories

I’m honoured today to have my client, Charlene Simms, share her experiences about her destination wedding. As you can see from the photos, Charlene and her new husband, Rob Fanning, had an awesome wedding in Punta Cana late last year.

I asked Charlene if she’d be so kind to share some tips with me so I could pass on to newly engaged couples who are considering a destination wedding – asking her to focus on the things that surprised her, and that she wished she’d known about in advance.  Charlene shared the following.

Sit back, savour the beautiful photos of their Punta Cana wedding, and heed her words of advice – particularly the mantra.

Thank you kindly, Charlene and Rob, for being so willing to share your experiences with others! I really appreciate it.


On November 17, 2010 Rob & I shared our wedding vows at Dreams Resort & Spa in Punta Cana, DR. Our families and friends were thrilled that we decided to do a destination wedding .

Our families would  have had to travel by air anyways and travelling somewhere warmer than Ottawa seemed a better option.

When we were researching our destination wedding travel package, we had several criteria. The price of travel package for our guests and us, wedding itself and the resort amenities. Also, we had to decide that no matter what, we were going to go through with  the destination wedding idea.

For example, some people dear to us were unable to attend because we chose this option. It was disappointing, nonetheless we decided that since our immediate families were on board we would be okay.

Then the real work began. Sheila helped us plow through the endless books. It was harder for us since we had 3 departure airports to consider when choosing a destination. 

Once that was done, it got easier. Now, the fun begins.

Looking through the resort’s website and deciding which wedding package to choose. We chose the most expensive because we wanted everything. Plus, if we had to pay for all these items in Canada we would have paid dearly. It was the best decision for us, since we wanted a wedding to remember. The only troubling thing was the resort didn’t explain that the $500 deposit would not be charged to our credit card…it was for holding of the wedding day.

Finally we saw the resort in real life. It was beautiful! Everyone immediately said we made a great choice! That made us feel better and less nervous!

Our bridal consultation with Jennifer had a few surprises. She had sent us pictures of the beach ceremonial area and cake pictures. Our package did not include exactly as in pictures. They were considered upgrades from packages. She accomodated us when she realized I was disappointed. What she offered was not exactly as was shown in pictues but I  accepted it. I realized that I was not in Canada so things are run differently here. I had go with the flow. I realized quickly this had to be our mantra.

The wedding day had a few glitches, (what wedding doesn’t) but it all worked out in the end . Our goal was to make  this wedding a wonderful memorable experience for all our guests. The day was perfect in weather, in flowers (they were the most beautiful flower arrangements I had ever seen-I wanted to bring them home) and reception.  Everyone said we met this goal! 

Would I suggest a destination wedding! Yes, but make sure you and your fiancée discuss who is on the required guest list, budget and have a “go with the flow” mantra!