Congratulations! You’re getting married.
If you’ve always dreamed of having a wedding far away from home, perhaps on a remote island, working with a travel professional can help.
“Let's face it, destination weddings are really awesome but also totally for the bride and groom, not the family or the guests,” said Corey S. Determan, Good Travels Advisor & Certified Cruise Counsellor in Jacksonville, Florida.
“My wife and I had a destination wedding precisely because we wanted it to be all about us, much to our families' disapproval.”
However, working with a travel professional can help create a memorable, accessible experience for all involved:
A Specialized Travel Professional
“There is a lot of noise online about destination weddings, and it can be tough to cut through it enough to know which destination or resort is your best match, who gives the most perks and who includes the most in their version of a free wedding,” said Sara Locke of Book Better Travel.
“As an agency, we’ve planned hundreds of destination weddings. So, not only can we give you the down low on what it’s like to work with different resort families, but we have also worked with so many personality types that we’re great at playing matchmaker based on your personal wants and needs.”
Do Your Research
“This is perhaps the most important stage of the process,” said Megan Velez, Destination Weddings Travel Group.
“You’ll want to choose a destination that suits both of your personalities, as well as the time of year you want to tie the knot—especially if you are on a budget. Consider your guests as well, in terms of their proximity to the destination and their ease of access and travel budgets.”
Analyze Your Guest List
“Keep in mind that approximately 30 to 50 percent of those on the guest list actually attend,” said Carl Howard of Expert Honeymoons.
“Look carefully at your guest profile—ages, families with children, elderly guests, etc. The property selected must match the average of the guest list profile and be “accessible” at a reasonable cost for guests.”
For example, Howard notes that St Lucia, Tahiti, the Greek Islands etc., are romantic, but if you want guests to attend, they must be able to get there with reasonable travel time and expense.
Think Carefully About the Date and Destination
“Ninety percent of brides want a ceremony on a Saturday afternoon, on the beach, around sunset,” said Howard.
“There are only 52 Saturdays per year, so many hotels now offer groups extra amenities for ceremonies held midweek. Holidays are not the best times for weddings. Many guests have long-standing family traditions/commitments or don’t want to travel during such a busy time period.”
“Travel agents know the top resorts that will give their clients the best experience, but that means you will be competing for those resorts with many other wedding couples,” said Debra Kasen of Romance Globe Travel.
“Plan to put down your wedding deposit 12 to 18 months ahead of time.”
Understand the Costs
“When looking at the overall costs for events—ceremony, reception, welcome cocktail, etc. make sure you understand what is included and what the extras are,” said Howard.
Know the Laws
“A legal wedding is when you actually get married in the destination, following the laws of that country,” said Lou Santini, Owner, Marketing Manager, of Paradise Getaways.
“A symbolic wedding is when you get married at the Justice of the Peace at home and then get married symbolically in the destination. If you decide on a legal wedding, make sure you know the laws for getting married in the destination you choose. Every country has different requirements and length of stays required to get married.”
Book Group Travel
“Make sure that the bride and the guests understand the importance of booking travel within the group to ensure that bookings count towards any benefits the bride and groom receive for their wedding, whether it is cocktail party booking, free seats and rooms, free wedding, etc.,” said Renee Tsang.
“Guests that book their own travel outside the wedding block do not count towards the bride and groom's wedding.”
Determan said that if you’re serious about a destination wedding, plan on it being small: “Also, explain the cost and any other important details about your destination to your invitees before they start looking into travel arrangements.
"More often than not we find ourselves dealing with a lot of disgruntled family and friends who don't want to pay thousands of dollars to stay at the hotel/resort you selected or who don't understand that you cannot get a rollaway or double room at a couples-only resort.”
Avoid Spring Break
“You and your guests will be competing for airfare with thousands of other travelers during spring break,” Kasen said. “And no one wants to hunker down during a hurricane. I love May and the first two weeks of December; Those are the sweet spots.”
Don't Wait Until the Last Minute
“Give guests time to make deposits and save up for (or make payments on) their reservation,” said Determan.
“Similarly, some of the more remote or exotic destination may have limited flights to/from your guests' preferred airport. When these book up, as they inevitably will, your guests will be frustrated at the multiple-leg redeye flight they are forced to purchase at the last minute.”
Don’t Base Your Decision on Price
“The experience and quality you and your guests receive is reflective of the price paid,” said Santini.
“Work[ing] with a resort directly for group rates and for your guests to reserve will often cost them more money in conversion fees as well as be unsettling for your guests to send a copy of the front and back of their credit card via email.”Read more at:royal blue prom dresses