Having your wedding in a exotic location can be exhilarating and romantic, however it requires logistics and more planning than just purchasing a vacation packages on-line. Our top-seasoned-expert will provide you with important things to keep in mind when planning your wedding destination far away.
When planning a wedding abroad, you’ll need to consider a travel agency operator with liability to respond to in the USA. There are travel details, hotel reservations, and hotels and events to coordinate and finalize. Choosing an insured US based operator is a must, thus securing your wedding day and travel investments for you and your guests. Ask your potential operators if they are members of ASTA, NTA, and check their standing with the Better Business Bureau.
After choosing an operator it’s important to select the ideal destination for your wedding. Don’t choose just anything that looks great, after all you’ll find stunning pictures of many locations on-line and magazines. Many times you’ll want to consider where your guest’s will be traveling from, how accessible the destination will be, and what local variables need to be considered such as trying to minimize chances of troublesome weather during your travel and wedding day. Selecting an operator with at minimum 10+ years in business will have the experience to advice you what location will be best for your wedding after careful consideration where you and your guest will be traveling from. Teresa Stauring, President and owner of Weddings by Vacations For Less, Inc. starts by asking her clients where do they and wedding guests live, and how many stopovers are they willing to make if any. Most travelers today are looking for direct flights- this or best-lay-over flight options with perfect time in-between flights is what Teresa tries to accomplish with all in the wedding group.
For resort beach wedding options, choose a resort package or a trusted planner. Going at it alone far away would be mission impossible! finding all the local vendors, services, and event locations take not only talent but a great deal of experience. This is why a resort package is perhaps the best option- most resorts offer 3-9 destination wedding packages, while they can be a bit “cookie-cutter” you can select one and add some finishing touches to customize it and make a resort wedding option your very own. Besides this nearly all resorts will have an on-site wedding planner that will help with weddings in property. Working with an independent wedding planner locally is also an option you can work with. Your group travel operator might be able to provide a referral, and this is a question you should ask prior to making final decision when considering a destination wedding outside of a resort property.
One thing to consider when selecting a resort for your wedding venue is what other groups, activities, or if there are other weddings happening during your trip. While most resorts have standards and maximums on how many events they have at any given time, you’ll want to speak to the resort event’s coordinator to make sure your own venues and events will be taken care of as well as not scheduled during other events which could infringe on your special day. Therefore it’s important to ask, “How many other weddings or event’s you have going on that day.”
Speak with your wedding tour operator about incentives, group rates, and additional benefits which you can earn when booking substantial number of rooms – if your booking a large or small group the key is receiving great value for your buck! Communicating with your operator is key to getting what you want. Here you’ll want to discuss the best time to travel; high season or low season- each have their benefits. Minimum number of rooms needed, any financial responsibilities, deposits required by you as well as deposits needed by each of your guests to reserve their travel. Make sure you are not penalized if your guests cancel. Resorts sometimes have minimum number of rooms. This is why it’s important to be realistic from the beginning as to how many guest will be attending your destination wedding.
Plan your destination travel wedding event for 4-7 days- not just one short weekend. Most destination wedding guests want to combine attending your wedding day vacationing a few days- however most guest’s will want to have activities during their stay with the wedding group. This is why it’s important for couples to plan at least a few events during the trip. Most destination weddings include a rehearsal dinner, the wedding on Saturday, and brunch the morning after. While there are no obligations most couples also like to provide a welcome party, time for optional tours and activities at the hotel, a night out of celebration usually in a popular tourist area. This creates socializing on a personal level, and provides for a great ambiance and celebration during your wedding day.
A destination wedding requires planning for your guests, therefore it’s smart to start talking about your wedding as early as possible. This way they’ll begin to consider the idea of traveling to an exotic location for your wedding. Most guests however will not book their reservations until the official invite is received therefore it’s important to mail your invitations early. This gives time for your guests to plan, ask for vacation days needed, and budget a trip accordingly. Giving sufficient time for your guests to travel could also provide you with a bigger wedding group, which can intern give you additional earned benefits with some resorts, since many provide incentives for booking more rooms in a group, these incentives at times have added up to free stays for the wedding couple. Because of this it’s important to ask for RSVP’s early- 6-12 months in advance if possible.
Create a Facebook page or group dedicated to your destination wedding. Today nearly all your guests are Facebook members, and this gives you a simple communicating tool where you can keep your guest informed with dates, events, as well as how and where to book all travel needs for the wedding group. Besides Facebook you’ll want to create a Pinterest board to share the vision of your wedding day. This will not only motivate some of your guests but also provide an idea of what’s in your mind for your wedding to your outside vendors if you have any.
Your destination wedding travel operator will work with you to nail down the best contract for your wedding party. Don’t go at it alone, these contracts can be anywhere from 25-50 pages and it’s important you have a reliable and experience travel operator working the best possible deal for your group. Make sure to read the contract, understand all terms and conditions and if you have any questions ask! You’ll want to work out all big things, like the location, type of ceremony, how dinner will be served, and leave all other smaller item issues after signing your contract. These smaller things can be worked out communicating later with your designated coordinator at resort.
Decide on who to invite to your wedding. “You’ll want to consider the benefits and down side of the number of guests” say’s the wedding coordinator at Dreams Los Cabos. While increasing your rooming list can bring additional added values and resort credits which could be used for your wedding, this will also increase your costs. Most destination weddings range from 15-50 guests, however many resorts easily accommodate destination wedding events with as many as 200 and more in the wedding party. Common practice is for each guests to pay for their accommodations and travel. Because of this it’s important to provide options. Many couples provide two hotel options, specially if a wedding will be at a luxury venue where room rates can be high. A nearby hotel with affordable rates can be a great idea for guest on a budget. You’ll work with your tour operator to arrange transportation from the two hotels for your wedding events if this is something you decide to do.
It’s important to consider weather. While most destinations in Mexico and Caribbean have wonderful weather, “there are more chances of rain specially from August to October” says destination wedding specialist Deanna Delgado from Vacations For Less, Inc. Despite rain most properties are very good at moving to back-up locations in no time. Talk to your travel operator and ask questions, while the weather can be unpredictable you’ll want to be properly informed as to expected weather and hurricane season at your destination and plan accordingly.
There are some brides and couples whom are able to do a pre-familiarization trip to hotel venue. Doing this gives them an opportunity to meet with the weddings department- nearly all hotels have one, to arrange all small details; cake, napkins, plates, flowers, and more. If you’re not able to travel good communication and e-mail is usually sufficient to make all necessary arrangements for your wedding. It’s recommended to not spend too much on flowers, specially outside beach venues with stunning views. For some, putting anything in front of an ocean view is simply getting in the way.
The wedding coordinator at Dreams Riviera Maya suggest to not mail wedding items to the venues. “Sending it FedEx will cost an arm-and-a-leg besides import fees.” It’s best to just pay the extra $25 baggage fee to the airlines, even if you have 5-10 extra bags, you’ll also have a easy of mind that the items are coming along with you. Last think about the attire. Most all-inclusive beach destination wedding locations are tropical. For a beach wedding, choose light fabrics and colors that won't show sweat. Besides this if you are wearing thicker fabrics have a sunset wedding which offers cooler temperatures, with perhaps even more amazing settings and contrast colors in the sky.