I know I always say something about how I’m excited to share a particular blog post, but this one really is extra awesome because it’s a real destination wedding and mini-moon in the Philippines! My husband and I are hoping to recreate a similar itinerary there this winter, so I’m grateful that Monique and Josiah have shared so many helpful insights (and beautiful photos) below. Enjoy!
When and where was your destination wedding?
Our wedding was on February 1st at the Shangri-La Resort and Spa in Boracay, Philippines.
How did you decide on doing a destination wedding?
Josiah and I had originally thrown around the idea of a destination wedding, since we have lived abroad a few times and travel so often, but decided against it since we knew so many of our friends and family would not be able to join us. However, after a year and a half of searching all over the bay area and not really finding anything that we fell in love with (that we could also afford), we revisited the idea of a destination wedding.
This time the Philippines and the Shangri La came up and we both knew immediately this was right! We had spent New Years there three years ago and Josiah’s dad’s family lives in Manila, so it felt special and we really wanted to share this place with our friends and family.
The best part about our destination wedding was…
Having a full week with the people we love most on a beautiful island! We were able to plan lots of events and really sit back and watch all of our friends and family talk, laugh, explore, and enjoy every moment together. I had no idea how incredibly special it would be to see our worlds come together and get people away to a place that had a lot of meaning for us.
What was the hardest part about planning a destination wedding?
I think had it been anywhere else [aside from the Shangri La on Boracay] it would have been more challenging. We had the most amazing planner who was on top of everything. I emailed her almost daily with questions and ideas, and she responded right away and was just as excited as I was. I have a high attention to detail, so I will admit I can be a bit much for some, but we were extremely fortunate!
In general the people in the Philippines were so incredibly accommodating and wonderful that it made for an easy and stress free process. Of course not being able to see things in person makes it tougher, but fortunately we had been once before. I think the time difference, currency conversions, and lack of some internet sites or functionality made it a bit more challenging, but nothing we couldn’t work with.
What are your tips for other couples who are considering planning a destination wedding?
I think its important to pick somewhere that is meaningful. This can be because the couple has traveled there before, they have family from there, or have dreamed about going together. It makes it that much more special to share it with friends and family. I would also get as much information up front [from the venues] to ensure you know about what is included, what isn’t, different ways/traditions of having a wedding there etc. I think this is also a great way to find out if the person you will be working with is responsive and helpful before you book anything. I can’t imagine planning a wedding from across the world without someone really great on the other end.
When and where did you go on your mini-moon?
Because we were already out for a week with the wedding, we decided to do a mini-moon and push back our honeymoon until the following summer when we could take off more time from work. We decided to go to El Nido, in Palawan, since it was close by and we had actually wanted to go the last time we were out there but weren’t able to. We went for 4 days and I am so glad we had some time alone together after the wedding, I couldn’t believe how tired we were, and it was so nice to relax for a few days. The island was absolutely stunning!
The best part about our mini-moon was…
We set up a private dinner on a remote uninhabited island. It was amazing, two people took us in a private boat, set up a table, chairs and candles in the sand, cooked us dinner and we watched the sunset together, drank wine and reminisced about the wedding and week with everyone. The island hopping and scuba diving were pretty spectacular as well!
If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…
I wish I had not worried so much about other people on my wedding day. I spent a lot of time, and some worry, making sure everyone else was having a good time and I should have just enjoyed myself and relaxed. I know that I set everything up ahead in order to ensure everyone had a good time and I didn’t need to worry, but did so anyway :)
Everyone had a blast though! When you put so much pressure and planning into it, its hard not to get caught up, but the day of the wedding is the time when you should just let everything go! Things can and will inevitable go wrong, but most often only you would know it and if anyone else did they don’t care, they are having a blast at a wedding with friends!
Are you planning on going on a longer honeymoon? If so, where do you want to go?
Yes! Our plan is to go to France and Greece this August/September and we can’t wait!
Below are some more awesome Boracay recommendations from Monique:
- Cork Wine Bar – Great wine bar and ambiance. The owners have a really wonderful selection of international wines at great prices.
- Mayas Restaurant – We had our rehearsal dinner here and the food was really good. You can sit in the sand right on the water and enjoy a special night.
- Boracay Beach Club Hotel – This was the hotel we all stayed at and they took such great care of our guests. They have a pool, masseuse, and restaurant on the beach where you can sit on the sand and enjoy good food and drinks. I can’t recommend it enough!
- Shangri-La Resort and Spa – There are no words to say how incredibly beautiful and luxurious this hotel is. It has a private beach, lots of amenities and a warm staff.
- Ariels Point – This was easily the favorite activity of all our guests. It is a day-trip to an island to cliff dive, snorkel, kayak, have lunch, and an open bar. Lots of fun!