How to plan a stress-free destination wedding.

This week’s “guest bloggers”, Sara and Andria from Infinite Events, do a great job of explaining how a travel consultant and a wedding planner (in cooperation with the wedding specialist at a specific resort) can work together to create destination wedding magic!

When planning a destination wedding, there are some things you need to know….

First, WHAT EXACTLY IS A DESTINATION WEDDING?
Not to be confused with an elopement, a destination wedding is one in which a wedding is hosted, often in a vacation-like setting, at a location to which most of the invited guests must travel and often stay for several days. This could be a beach ceremony in the tropics, a lavish event in a metropolitan resort, or a simple ceremony at the home of a geographically distant friend or relative. During the recession of 2009, destination weddings continued to see growth compared to traditional weddings, as the typically smaller size results in lower costs.
{Thanks for that awesome description, Wikipedia!}

IS A DESTINATION WEDDING REALLY MORE AFFORDABLE THAN A TRADITIONAL WEDDING? It certainly can be! When having a destination wedding, your guest list tends to be a lot shorter: fewer guests = less $75+ meals. Brides save an average of $20,000 by choosing a destination wedding; here are some big ways you can save on your wedding:

  1. Combine your wedding and honeymoon spot. This is a huge way to save! Two round trip tickets are all you need – which you were planning on purchasing anyway, right?
  2. Look for all inclusive resorts. Many all inclusive resorts and other honeymoon focused areas offer a wedding ceremony as a basic add on to any stay. Some will even throw one in for free if you book a higher room category or stay a certain number of nights at their resort.
  3. Look for group discounts. A lot of resorts & cruise ships offer discounts if your group fills up enough of their rooms. This is something that your travel consultant will know and encourage, so don’t be afraid to ask where you can get the best deal!

IS A DESTINATION WEDDING RIGHT FOR YOU?

Many brides who are considering a destination wedding might be concerned with several different aspects of this untraditional approach, for example:

A small guest list – Some brides take comfort in the idea that “The people who care enough about us will make the trip” and desire a small & intimate event – this is definitely a great choice for those who don’t like a lot of attention {but will love showing pictures of their dream wedding.} However brides must also realize that everyone they WANT to be there might not be able to make the trip – If your grandmother is afraid to fly, you have to ask yourself if it is worth it, if someone so crucial in your life cannot attend.

Skimping out on style – A concern you need not to worry about! First of all, the small guest list will allow expand your budget on the lavish details you desire. Second, there are several resorts that offer very affordable designer wedding packages, for example, Martha Stewart Weddings is contracted with Sandals Resorts & offer an array of different packages. Third, you are choosing to have your wedding in an exotic, beautiful location – you cannot go wrong with style, just remember to choose the location that is right for you and your fiancé.

Lack of Control – Not having your wedding location within driving distance can make some brides uncomfortable; others equate less control with less stress. You are forced to put a lot of trust in your travel agent and wedding planner, it is important to remember that these people are professionals and will bend over backwards to make sure everything is perfect for your day! So do your research and work with those who have good reputations.

YOUR DESTINATION WEDDING TEAM: Travel consultant, wedding planner, and the resort’s wedding consultant. Depending on where your destination wedding takes place, the level of personalization you would like to include, and peace of mind you would like to maintain; a combination of these vendors are necessary…

The travel consultant is there to help you with logistics, legal arrangements, and advice on the different destinations you are considering, as well providing knowledge on which resort/venue is right for your vision while guiding you in the most affordable direction for you and your guests.

The resort’s wedding consultant not only knows their own resort inside and out, but also knows valuable things like weather patterns & sun set times, local vendors, and details on the packages they offer. They help you decide which spot on the resort your ceremony and reception will take place, finalize the details with the resort, and help with staff direction and day of logistics.

The wedding planner’s role in your destination wedding is also very important. They are there to ease the stresses and frustrations of planning your wedding from beginning to end – anywhere you decide to have it; whether it’s a far away destination, or a location only a few hours away. Their role in the destination wedding consists of communicating between the travel agent and the onsite wedding consultant, negotiating prices with outside vendors, creating personalized decor and details outside the realm of your “wedding package”, finding local vendors and/or your destination’s vendors that can best service you, manage guest questions and special requests, etc.

There you have it, we hope this post helped clear up some questions you had about destination weddings or raised some more detailed ones we can help you with.

As always, happy planning!
– Post by Infinite Events (Sara J. Conrad & Andria Medeiros)

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You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)