So, you love planning your own vacations and are super great at organizing and want to know if you should hire a travel agent to assist with your destination wedding. Of course you can do most anything yourself - we are smart, capable and can do anything if we put our minds, time and effort into it! The question comes down to, do you want to be on the hook for your wedding, guests or self if anything goes wrong?
Let us explore a few things to think about as you prepare for the exciting adventure of getting married in paradise!
Think about how you will handle having to reschedule everyone to a new resort if a hurricane caused your resort to close for destruction, or if COVID-19 returns and forces cancellation at your resort, or even when a snow storm shuts down the airport where half of your guests are now stuck? Did you make your reservations through an online website – will someone be there to assist if an unexpected situation occurs? These situations are just a few events I have personally dealt with as a destination wedding travel specialist. While everyone dreams of the most perfect wedding day, sometimes things just don’t work out as planned and it might be valuable to you and your guests to have someone on their side for such an important event.
Planning a wedding can become quite involved. Remember, you are planning an entire wedding in another country thousands of miles away, plus a new life together, and not to mention your daily routine with work and life in general. There will be a hundred things to do outside of the travel arrangements, especially as society moves forward in our new normal after COVID-19 and the new requirements for travel. If you have any guests that are not well-traveled or ever been out of the country, they tend to want to know the tiniest details to feel more comfortable, so you will want to decide if you have the time or want to even take that on.
While you can certainly join a destination wedding Facebook group to ask questions and help you find the destination, resort and plan the wedding, but you’d be surprised by how inundated you will be with all the responses and personal opinions. Keep in mind that what destination or resort was perfect for one couple (or your Aunt Sally), may not be up to the same level of standards that will be a good fit for you or your guests.
Reviews, opinions and suggestions are based on a person's own style, budget, experiences and expectations, so while photos may look appealing, or the fact that the hotel website states they are a “luxury, 5-star” property, that can just be smoke and mirrors with good marketing and not always factual. There is a variety of 5-star resorts out there, but the service level, quality of food, inclusions, room amenities and comforts can vary greatly between the vast resort brands. What was amazing to someone else, may be unacceptable to you.
On top of trying to understand the brands and the different quality and service levels you get; you will also need to consider your time and how quickly you need to make your decision. Do you have the extra hours it can take to filter through all the wedding forums and websites to research the destinations, resorts and if there are any seasonal environmental factors that could affect your day (turtle nesting season, sargassum seaweed locations, seasonal temperatures of ocean, etc)? Don’t forget you will need to check where the resort is located and how it's facing to ensure the sun sets on that side of the island if you have always dreamed of a sunset wedding. Do you have any requirements you need to be aware of such as, if the local government bans fire pits on the beach that you wanted to set-up for your welcome party? The list goes on.
Finally, you will also be in charge of tracking your guests’ flight arrival/departure for the transfer arrangements to/from resort, the reservation numbers and every guest name booked in each room to provide the wedding coordinator for room location and wedding planning. Who will take care of your parents if they get delayed in Dallas on the way over or your cousin gets denied boarding for not knowing the proper documentation needed to enter the country PRIOR to flying?
It is a lot of work to track and provide all the requirements needed to know for travel. Even if you love planning your own vacations - there is much more to it when organizing a group wedding. Especially if you plan to have a group of 5 or more rooms – which may get you additional benefits for the wedding or complimentary nights to stay – but then that requires you to track all the contracted dates related to signing-up, releasing unused inventory so you aren’t penalized, and also ensuring all guests have made their final payment so you aren’t on the hook or their room gets cancelled for non-payment.
Don’t worry! Your passion for planning will still be put to use with the fun details of the actual wedding and events, but when you use a travel professional instead of taking this on your own, you don’t have to worry about the minuscule details and logistics with the travel. You will even still have control of the resort and destination you pick, but by partnering with an expert that you trust, who can listen to your vision and match you to the most ideal options to fit what YOU want, not what others like, you can ensure you are making the best decision for your wedding.
To avoid disappointment upon arrival, if you are taking a recommendation from a forum or family acquaintance, it’s highly recommended to take a few days and head down to the destination to check out some resorts before committing. I find it beneficial to schedule a meeting with the onsite wedding coordinator to give you a good starting relationship and be able to walk through the locations (and back-up options), as well as, taste the food. Doing this first will help you be prepared when making decisions once the planning begins. You will also set your mind at ease and it will be less stressful when you have seen and tasted your options beforehand.
You can read more about how to select the best destination for your beach wedding to continue your research as you move forward.
I hope you found some valuable insight. If you feel overwhelmed or would like assistance to narrow down the perfect destination or resort, we are here for you! This is what we do every day!
We spend most of our vacation time touring resorts, meeting with the wedding coordinators and training for destination weddings, so we can make it very simple for you. We save you time by filtering out all the bad advice and countless options for you. Let us take the guesswork out and match-make you to the destination and resorts that fit your style, vision and budget the best.
Together we will find your most perfect wedding resort and we take care of the logistics after that. All you have to do is the fun wedding planning and creating an unforgettable event your friend and family will remember for a lifetime! Schedule your free consultation to see how we can assist and learn more about our services!
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