Our agency has proudly and enthusiastically helped many dozens of couples get married at vacation destinations over the last 14 years. Here is a very small sampling of their weddings at our website. ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) recently published tips for planning a honeymoon, which is summarized nicely on the MAST Travel Network blog. Many of these tips are worth reading as they also apply to destination weddings.
The focus of this blog article though is destination weddings and how you can get help. First off, what exactly is a destination wedding? If you do a Google search, you’ll find over 13 million results for “destination wedding”. Wow that is a lot to look at! Basically a destination wedding is a wedding that occurs at some type of vacation or resort destination. That certainly seems simple enough, however the challenges are really in the details. Where to go? How to get married there? What if this is a second (or third, or …) marriage? How do I make all the arrangements? What are the legal requirements for a destination? Who do I invite? Do we need passports? What if grandma has an artificial hip – can she get through the airport screening to fly to my wedding? Who can help me with all of these questions? Well you are starting to get the idea that there are lots of things to consider, and lots of potential for questions.
Let’s focus on the last one – “Who can help me with all of these questions?”. Destination wedding organizers are really in the travel business. You need to travel somewhere to have a destination wedding, so who better to check with than some type of travel consultant? You can work directly with a resort, but the problem is the only options you get will be ones that work best for that specific resort, and you will not know if that really is the best option for you. If you want to check on multiple locations, you need to make multiple contacts. That is where a travel agent (or as we prefer, consultant) comes in. They will do all the work for you. Now there are many great travel agents out there, but just as in other businesses, they do not all specialize in everything available. Be sure to find someone who will consult on your travel AND knows destination weddings. Get recommendations from friends if possible or ask the travel agency for references of destination wedding clients they’ve worked with. The thing you are most looking for is an agent or agency that you can have a relationship with, where they are most interested in getting to know you and discovering what your needs are. Do not be drawn in by flashy web sites, or sales gimmicks. This is your wedding and it needs to be focused on who you are and what you want to do. Discovering what you want for your wedding and honeymoon is a very personal thing – a web site cannot do this, only a real live destination wedding travel consultant can.
So let’s take a brief look at tips and some basic items you should consider:
Tip #1: Work with a great travel consultant who has destination wedding experience and many satisfied clients. This person will help you discover what you want in your wedding, how to get it done, where to make it happen, and provide all travel arrangements to make your dreams a reality. They are an agent – which means they work for you, representing your needs.
Tip #2: Go back to Tip #1 again and again. While we can certainly come up with a catchy top 10 list of tips, really tip #1 is the most important thing to focus on. A great consultant will know all the right questions to ask of you, and will help come up with all of the right answers that meet your needs. The process takes time so you need to develop a relationship with your consultant. There is no magic formula that works for all couples.
Tip #3: Ok this is not really a tip at all, but just a common question that comes up – How much does it cost to use a travel consultant? In some cases, it may be free. Not all travel agencies charge for consulting, as they figure they will make all their money back when they book your travel. But think for a moment, if it is free – how much is it really worth? How invested are they in really working hard to meet my wedding needs? Most professional consultants in many professions charge you for a consultation, so why is that? They are professionals and they have a lot of time, training and effort invested in becoming professionals, so therefore when they consult it is really quite valuable and worth charging for.
Our agency is GetAway Travel Service and Sue (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) is the best destination wedding travel consultant that I know. OK I admit I’m just a bit biased as I happen to be married to her. Oh wait, I haven’t mentioned it yet, but our wedding was also a destination wedding, 14 wonderful years ago. You can check out Sue’s latest blog posts at http://getawaytravelservice.wordpress.com/
Also very important to note: The pictures you see here are all from our clients and their destination weddings – which of course we helped arrange.