Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Destination Weddings – travel agent, wedding planner where to we begin?

Written By: Jaime Valdes-Riench, owner of Travel & Events with Style

You sat down as a couple, made the decision and know you want a destination wedding, now where do you turn? Ads and billboards are everywhere and suddenly everyone is a destination professional. Every family member and friend is more than whiling to share their experiences and opinions. This can be an over whelming to a couple, and the true essence of a destination wedding is to have their wedding away, leaving the stresses (and possibly winter) behind.
As a couple, take some time to find out what you both are hoping for while you are away. Are you looking for adventure, relaxation, culture, luxury or all of the above? Often the first thing every couple says is, “We imaged something different than everyone else’s wedding we have seen”. The hardest challenge is: What do you define as “different”? What would make your day truly distinctive? Write a list of the most important items you would hope for and get ready to explore your options.

A lot of couples desire “off the beaten path” destinations. When exploring these options, it is important to make note of a few key points:

  • If it is not a regular vacation spot for your gateway (i.e. Winnipeg), there is a chance their may not be direct flights. Are direct flight very important to you? Are you whiling to over night for a connection in order to get to your destination?

  • The more the location is “off the beaten path” the more costly it may be. It may be so because of lack of volume for airlines and vacation companies to bring people from your gateway to that location. Are you whiling to pay a little more? Are your guests whiling to pay a little more?

  • Depending on the location, the area may not be as prepared for weddings or costs may be much higher because weddings that are held there are simply more exclusive. A lot of the Caribbean islands can have a higher prices tag vs. the more typical spots we are used to seeing.

Once your research has been completed and priced by a travel professional, you may come to a cross road. Simply, the options may not be to your liking or budget. Costs may be high or travel too long when you consider your guests. Don’t allow this to be a road block, but rather a stepping stone. A suggestion is to go back to why you chose the area and what drew you to it in the beginning.

The next suggestion is to sit with your destination wedding professional and map out your best options so you can find the most viable locations and resorts to fit your criteria. Hiring a professional who is both a licensed travel agent and wedding planner is simply invaluable. A seasoned travel agent would have the experience to direct you towards alternative travel options so you may choose a different destination that can fit your budget and offer better flight plans. A destination wedding planner would be able to guide you as a couple to what you can do in order to make your wedding distinctive and unforgettable on budget. An experienced destination wedding planner has accumulated the knowledge of different wedding packages abroad, how to change them to fit you specifically, and your desired look. They also can suggest which resorts to choose so they can offer you the best options that would suit your wedding vision. Both areas of knowledge are necessary when choosing the best location for your special day. Compromising one of these services may not be a corner you wish to cut in order to receive the guidance you desire.

A destination wedding requires more than simply travel arrangements, and a wedding deserves attention and dedication. Having professionals helping you in every area will ensure your wedding will be nothing less than what you always hoped for.