Demystifying Destination Weddings

In Destination wedding, Honeymoon by Noël Zanvettor

For several years, I have been affiliated with The Travel Connection and have had the pleasure of working with Debbie Stubbs and Sue Rezendes.  They have been a great team to work with as I started my own travel agency. Their guidance and great advice have helped my business to grow. They are destination wedding gurus and have taught me all I know about how to plan one fabulous wedding in some exotic locations. Here’s what you need to know: DestinationWeddingResort-2

Your destination wedding could be free! – Did you know that some resorts offer a FREE (or for a small fee) wedding package to the happy couple? The package usually includes the services of a minister or  justice of the peace as well as the resort’s wedding planner and other wedding amenities. There are certain requirements that you may have to meet such as a minimum length of stay or number of rooms booked.

Your destination wedding will be less expensive! – Destination weddings are a lot LESS EXPENSIVE than traditional weddings. The average destination wedding costs $6,000  – $10,000. Compare that to the cost of the average traditional wedding in the least expensive state of Mississippi which is $13,000 and the most expensive place, Manhattan, which is an average price of $88,000!

Wedding planner vs. travel agent – There is a difference between having a wedding planner helping with your destination wedding and a travel agent. When you book a destination wedding through a travel agent, the services they provide are the travel related services which include airfare, hotel accommodations, and transfers. Additionally, they can book tours or excursions for you and your guests, because they have these connections. A great travel agent will then guide you to the resort’s wedding departments. It is much easier to use them since they will know that property as well as the local customs and laws. If the resort you choose does not have a wedding department, then you should hire an experienced wedding planner. They will save you a lot of time and angst while planning your wedding. Don’t try to do it on your own! If you would like advice about hiring  a wedding planner, check out wedding planner Lisa Antonecchia’s article on why you should. DestinationWeddingResort-1

Legal vs. symbolic wedding – Going a little further into why you shouldn’t plan your destination wedding on your own is simply because you are going to a different country. Laws and customs are different. You should definitely have professional advice for that reason. For instance, did you know there is a difference between a LEGAL vs. SYMBOLIC wedding? The laws vary from country to country but if you are married in a foreign country it is a good idea to know whether your marriage will be considered legal in the U.S. That’s when it is a time to hire a travel agent who is well-versed in this information. If the destination you choose is not legally recognized by the country in which you reside, you could get married before a Justice of the Peace prior to arrival and then have a symbolic wedding at the destination.

It is in your best interest to work with someone, whether it is a travel agent and the wedding department at the resort, or a wedding planner and travel agent, when planning your destination wedding. These professionals will help you and guide you through one of your most significant life events. Planning a wedding can be stressful so why do it on your own? Hire professionals that can get the job done, minimizing stress and aggravation.