Parting is such sweet sorrow…

Photography courtesy Stacey Clarke.

Wow, I really can’t believe that our six-month blogging journey has come to an end!  It has been so much fun sharing my wedding planning experience with all of you, and Karlo and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone again for reading along!  We truly appreciate each and every one of you…

Now, since the wedding ceremony in Jamaica has passed, and our Vancouver reception just took place last weekend, I feel the best way to wrap this up is to give you my Top 10 “If I could do this all over again” list.  Here goes:

If I could go back and do this all over again, I would:

1. DEFINITELY still get married in Jamaica! Our wedding ceremony, in fact our whole trip, was absolutely perfect in every way and was even more than we’d ever dreamed of. For those of you considering a destination wedding, I would recommend Jamaica (specifically, the Riu Palace Tropical Bay in Negril) wholeheartedly.

2. Definitely still write our own vows. I can’t imagine what our ceremony would have been like if we hadn’t had the chance to say our vows in our own words. If you have the opportunity to write yours from scratch, I’d highly recommend it.

3. Make sure to hire a travel agent who has extensive knowledge and experience with booking group travel arrangements, specifically wedding trips.  Sadly, our experience with our travel agent was not a good one, and this was pretty much the only stressful part of our planning experience.

4. Hire a local photographer based on peer recommendations. Since we were hiring a photographer from so far away, we didn’t have the luxury of meeting her ahead of time. All we had to go on was her online portfolio and the reviews of her work that I found on the Best Destination Wedding Forum. In the end, we couldn’t have been happier with our decision—our photographer Stacey Clarke did a magnificent job and she was so incredibly wonderful to work with throughout the whole process.

5. DIY as much as possible! Towards the end, I ran out of time and had to let go of some of the DIY projects I had planned. So if I could go back, I would definitely have planned my time better and gotten a few more DIY’s in there.

6. Go for real touch flowers! I love having my bouquet in our living room, looking as lovely as it did the day we got married. Plus, all of the bouquets travelled quite well—even though they got squished in our suitcases, they bounced back to shape right away as soon as we unpacked them!

7. Have the bridesmaid dresses custom made. That’s what we did, and they turned out amazing! I guess it depends where you live and who you have make them, but our gal did a fantastic job and we couldn’t be happier with how they turned out.

8. RELAX! The night before the wedding, Karlo and I were relaxing and chilling out with our friends in our room at the resort. At one point, someone said, “You would never guess that tomorrow these two are getting married” because we were so at ease and relaxed. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

9. Wear flats for the ceremony and the reception. I decided to wear flats because I know myself, and there’s no way I would have made it through the whole night (or even part of the night, for that matter) in heels.

10. Savour every moment of the planning period. Our entire engagement, from that snowy day in 2008, right up until the night before the wedding, was nothing short of a fairytale. I loved being an engaged, and I’m glad Karlo and I got to enjoy the whole wedding planning process together the way we did. Karlo was definitely not a “hands off, show up at the altar and that’s it” type of groom; in fact, Karlo did as much, if not more, of the planning than I did.  From designing our boarding pass invitations, to creating our bright, fun wedding website and even being in charge of the seating chart, Karlo was truly amazing.  I am the happiest, proudest wife in the world, and I am still pinching myself that I get to call him my husband.

So that’s it. That’s my list. I wish I had more time and space to keep telling you all about the wedding, but alas I do not. I’d like to say thank you again to all of you for reading along, and to all of my fellow contestants, I wish you nothing but love, laughter and happiness with your fiancé/husbands for the rest of your lives. Cheers, everyone!

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