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When to Cancel or Go On With a Destination Wedding Post Hurricane

Between May and November every year, the Caribbean, East Coast and Central America are affected by hurricane season. While season activity and affected areas varies from year to year, the possibility of a hurricane should always be taken into consideration when planning a destination wedding in one of these places.

If a hurricane does strike, however, the effects could impact your wedding months after the season is over. The 2017 hurricane season was an active one with multiple named storms causing damage in the same locations. This left us all wondering whether to cancel or go on with planned Caribbean destination weddings months after the storms had passed.

When forced to make this decision, here are the things you need to consider first.

#1 - Did your venue suffer any damage? The first thing you need to consider is if your venue suffered any damage. The best thing to do is contact them directly if phone service has been restored and ask about any damage done to the facility. If you’re staying at a resort, you can also contact the parent company (ex: Hilton) to see about the status.

#2 - Are basic utilities back on? Restoring utilities like power and purifying the water supply are the two everyday essentials that take the longest to return to full working order after a big storm. Depending on the severity of the damage, it can take months for boil water warnings to stop and downed power lines to be reconnected.

#3 - Have normal flight schedules resumed? Assuming the airport hasn’t suffered significant damage, flights to and from the area generally return quickly. However, depending on how remote your destination is, airlines can limit commercial flights to accommodate for supplies to arrive to aide in the recovery process.

#4 - Is fresh food readily available? If fresh foods are readily available to all people in your destination, it’s a good sign that things are looking up and life is returning to normal for residents. It also means your caterer will be able to provide something besides shelf stable goods to your guests.

#5 - Are local tourism boards inviting people back? If tourism boards are encouraging travel to the area then you’re good to go. Visit your destinations tourism website and see if any other major events - like national celebrations or conferences - are going on as planned around the time of your wedding.

#6 - What is travel specific media saying? National media outlets tend to focus news stories on the devastation and recovery process. You’re getting just a small glimpse of everything that is going on in that area. Look to travel specific media to get information on whether it’s a good idea to continue on with your planned trip.

Photo by Finn Lively

Photo by Finn Lively