Written by Kerry O.
In February 2021, my fiance and I officially canceled our destination wedding in Ireland. After postponing from August 2020 (Wedding 1) to August 2021 (Wedding 2), we followed the news of COVID-19 spikes and drops, vaccine development, international travel, and watched Irish news to see how Ireland was handling the pandemic. We had hoped with vaccine availability that international travel would come back to normal by summer 2021. We learned, in January 2021, that even with vaccines the CDC could not determine if vaccinated individuals could still transmit the virus. It brought so much uncertainty as the current guidelines require USA travelers to quarantine in Ireland for 2 weeks before being allowed to travel throughout the country. Even after the 2-week hotel quarantine, weddings are limited to 25 guests with even fewer guests allowed at receptions, with no music and dancing.
With the knowledge that our dream wedding truly wasn’t happening as we had planned, Matt and I decided in February 2021 that it was time to cancel our wedding in Ireland. We were now two years post-proposal with a blank slate and I felt that we had two main options to consider - elope or start over with a new wedding. It broke my heart at the thought of not being able to celebrate our love and new beginning as husband and wife with the friends and family who have supported our relationship over the years. I wanted to celebrate our wedding day with the people who made Matt and I who we are today, the friends we made in college, the friends who kindly nudged Matt and I to go out on a date in the first place, and the friends who have been by our sides when our family members honestly haven’t. Without these important people in our lives, the wedding wouldn’t be possible and I want to honor that.
After making this decision to move forward with a third and final wedding plan, Matt and I started researching where we could have a wedding. We live in Los Angeles, California which has had tough restrictions on weddings. State guidelines have limited guest counts to 3-4 households with a ceremony only occasion. Matt and I wanted a celebration...a party...a reception, so for us, we didn’t want to make arrangements in California, paying more deposits with the hope that restrictions would ease up. So, we decided to look elsewhere.
Matt is a great researcher and has actually been a very involved groom in the wedding planning process (sometimes more involved than I would like🤪). But while we were dealing with canceling our wedding in Ireland, Matt suggested Cabo, Mexico as a new wedding destination. I wasn’t quite sure about Cabo since I had never been before. Plus, I wasn’t sure our family and friends would be enthused about another destination wedding. However, after doing some research, we found that it is a super popular wedding destination particularly for California residents. It is less than a 2 hour flight from LAX, some venue fees can be less expensive than the venues in Southern California, and you don’t have to meet high food and beverage minimums. Overall, Cabo fit our budget and would allow us to spend 3-4 days with our friends and family to make the most out of the wedding experience.
Here’s a quick rundown of what we are doing differently now:
Original Plan → New Plan
- August 2020 → January 2022
- Ireland → Mexico
- Mailed Save the Dates and Invitations → Digital Save The Dates, Invitations, RSVPs
- 120+ Guest List → 60-70 Guest List
- 8-10 Hour Event → 5-6 Hour Event
- No Wedding Planner → Hired Wedding Planner
- No First Look → First Look & All Portraits, Bridal Party, Family Photos Captured Before Ceremony
- Black Tie Attire → Cocktail Attire
- Plated Food Menu → Family Style Menu
- Beer & Wine Only → Open Bar Package (Hard Alcohol, Wine, Beer, Signature Cocktail)
- 6-piece Wedding Band → DJ
- After Party (11pm-2am) → No Official After Party
- No Day 2 / Farewell Brunch Set Up → Day After Hang By The Pool
- Guests Spread Out At Different Hotels → 1 Hotel Resort With Rooms For All Guests
Overall, we lost a couple thousand dollars when we cancelled our wedding in Ireland. It was a sad time because I hated to lose part of our wedding budget. Because of that loss, we have had to make changes to our new wedding plan, mainly by downsizing our guest list which I really really didn’t want to have to do.
We are still figuring out this revised guest list and I will be channeling my own advice I wrote in the blog How To Cope With Guest List Stress. For brides going through a similar experience, be sure to leave your tips in the comments! You’ll be helping myself and our readers out!
Image via Junebug Weddings