All-inclusive resorts come in all shapes and sizes. It can be difficult to determine which size resort is the best choice for your destination wedding.
I’ve stayed at resorts as small as 90 rooms and as large as 1,775 rooms (and everything in between). So I’m here to guide you through this decision with some hot tips from a travel pro that’s visited nearly 200 resorts.
First things first…how many people are you expecting to attend your destination wedding? You’ll need to choose a resort that can not only accommodate all of your guests, but that also has the venue capacity for your expected guest list. A boutique resort with 80 rooms isn’t going to work if you’re expecting 150 guests (unless you want to do a buyout of the entire resort). Conversely, if you plan on having an intimate affair with 20 guests, you probably don’t want a resort with over 1000 rooms….you’d never be able to find anyone!
So step 1 is merely getting a ballpark estimate on your guest count. Then you’ll be able to cross some resorts off your list.
We usually consider resorts either boutique, small, medium or large. So what does that really mean?
Boutique = Less than 100 rooms
Small = 100-300 rooms
Medium = 300-600 rooms
Large = 600+ rooms
Of course, the room count is just one element of resort size. There are still lots of other things to consider.
Typically the larger the resort, the more spread out it will be. Large resorts often have golf cart services to deliver guests from one end of the resort to the other. I recently stayed at a large resort and even by utilizing these golf carts I still walked over 10,000 steps each day. I mean…that’s great on a normal day, but not really something I want to do in a hot destination while on vacation. Just imagine walking 15 minutes to get to the beach and then realizing you forgot something important in your room.
This should definitely be a consideration when choosing your wedding resort. It’s easy to be wowed by a resort having 11 pools, 17 restaurants and 20 bars…but just remember that means it’s going to be a long walk to get to a lot of those amenities. Isn’t the whole point of having a destination wedding to spend quality time with your friends & family? That may be more difficult to do at a sprawling resort. How will you find each other? And will someone really want to walk 20 minutes in the blaring sun to come to the pool where you’re hanging out when they have another pool right outside their room?
NUMBER OF RESTAURANTS
This one always seems to be a point of contention. There are some really amazing resorts that only have 4 restaurants. We often have couples cross these off the list without even considering them just because they don’t have a ton of restaurants. I’m here to tell you that’s a mistake.
First of all, the majority of wedding guests only stay 3-4 nights. One of the nights will be your wedding reception, and they won’t need a resort restaurant that night. So they don’t need 11 different eateries to choose from. Four is plenty.
Even if you’re staying longer, there are always going to be multiple dishes you want to try on each menu, so a repeat visit is often welcomed.
Oftentimes one restaurant will have several concepts; most notably the Asian restaurant. You can usually go to the same restaurant 3 times and have 3 completely different experiences via the sushi bar, Teppanyaki table and regular restaurant.
More choices isn’t necessarily better. Having 10+ restaurants means a resort’s executive chef and their food and beverage manager is stretched thin. Quality tends to slide.
NUMBER OF POOLS
I already addressed this a bit in the acreage section. Some of the smaller resorts may only have 1-2 pools. Don’t think of these like a backyard pool. One pool can be very large and meander throughout the property. Don’t cross a resort off your list just because you don’t think they have enough pools. Most resorts are well-designed and have enough pool space for all of their guests.
If you’re having a family-friendly wedding, then you will want to consider if the resort has a kid pool or splash pad, or if they offer adults-only pools.
VIBE OF YOUR TRIBE
You know your friends and family. Some groups are going to be most comfortable at a quiet, boutique resort with a focus on wellness. Some groups are going to be most comfortable at a resort that’s designed with families in mind and offer lots of family amenities. Some groups are going to turn the sports bar into the hottest club in town. You’ll want to match your group with a resort whose size reflects your vibe.
NUMBER OF GUESTS (AGAIN)
OK, now that you may be looking at the resort amenities a bit differently, let’s revisit your guest list and the different resort size options.
The average wedding group can choose a resort with 300-500 rooms and have everything they need.
Larger wedding groups (100+ guests) may want to consider the bigger resorts. Not only will these resorts have more room availability, but they’re also equipped to accommodate large private events. These resorts also often design wedding packages built for large groups, which helps keep your wedding budget in check.
I hope you found this blog helpful. If you’d like to hear more about my experience with all-inclusive resorts and how I can help you plan the destination wedding of your dreams, schedule your free one-hour consultation and let’s chat!
Need more help narrowing down your destination or resort options? Check out my free workbook to choosing YOUR perfect wedding spot.
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