Did you know that according to theKnot, the average cost of a wedding in the United States of America was $33,391 in 2017? In fact, generally speaking, the average cost of a wedding has been increasing each year. This figure also does not include the honeymoon which, let’s be honest, might just be the best part of the wedding experience! So, what’s a couple to do in order to have their dream wedding without going into massive debt (or having their families take out a second mortgage on their house)? The solution to the problem may just be a destination wedding!
A destination wedding is defined as a wedding that takes place 100 miles or more from your hometown. Personally, when I imagine a destination wedding, I envision a beautiful ceremony on the beach with the most spectacular sunset in the background on a beautiful island such as Turks and Caicos at an all-inclusive resort. A destination wedding does not necessarily need to take place at an all-inclusive resort though! There are actually a few different options for your destination wedding.
Planning a wedding on a cruise line has some great pros and cons. Did you know that there are a number of different options that exist that encompass cruising? Well, there are! In the event that you have some guests that you want to be able to attend your wedding, but would not be able to if the wedding was at an all-inclusive resort in another country, one of these options is just for you! These particular packages are examples for Norwegian Cruise Line, however, most cruise lines offer something similar.
- Wedding at Sea – A legally recognized ceremony performed onboard by the captain
- Symbolic Ceremony at Sea – A ceremony performed onboard by the captain
- Harborside Ceremony – This is a great option if you have guests, such as great-grandparents, that you would like to witness you getting married but may not be able to travel long distances. This is a ceremony that takes place on the ship prior to embarkment. (It is sometimes referred to as an Embarkment Ceremony.) The beauty with this ceremony is that not all of your guests have to sail. The downside is that usually only a certain percentage or number of guests are allowed to be non-sailing guests. A few important things to note with this ceremony type is that the number of guests allowed varies based on the boat/port AND that the amount of time allotted for the ceremony/reception can sometimes be minimal. This is one thing that you would definitely want to work with your Key to the World Travel Planner to determine if this option will be a good fit for you!
- Destination Ceremony – Because what is more fun to embark on a cruise to an island with your closest friends and family and get married at one of the destination ports!
There are so many different options that exist in this category that you really need to narrow them down before you start looking at them! The following are items that should be discussed with your Key to the World Travel® Planner:
Will Kids Be Invited to the Wedding?
If kids will be in attendance than you will need a resort that is kid-friendly, such as Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana, Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa or any of the Beaches Resorts. If there will only be adults in attendance than you can look at any one of the adults-only all-inclusive resorts such as Sandals.
It is also very helpful to come up with a guest list at this point to make sure that the number of people you are inviting can be accommodated.
Now that you know who you will be inviting, you will need to determine the location of your destination wedding. So many options exist from Cancun, Mexico to any of the islands in the Caribbean. Do you want to get married at a beautiful over-the-water chapel such as the one that is located at Sandals South Coast? Your Key to the World Travel® Planner will be able to help determine the perfect location for your big day!
Date and Time of Ceremony
Do you have a specific date and time for your ceremony in mind? Perhaps you would love to have a sunset ceremony. Your Key to the World Travel® Planner can check to see if your requested date and time are available and get that reserved for you. If your requested date and time are not available we can come up with alternative options.
Cost of the Wedding Ceremony
Some wedding ceremonies are free, and others are free with a certain number of rooms booked into your wedding group block. Most all-inclusive resorts offer perks based on the number of rooms or room-nights that are booked in your wedding block such as a free reception. I also just want to state that a lot of the destination weddings are not so ‘cookie cutter’ anymore. If you desire something to give your ceremony some flair to reflect your personal style, chances are this can be accommodated since there are so many different options from which to choose! Your Key to the World Travel® Planner can assist you in going through your options and aid you in making a choice. Once you decide on a location, a deposit usually needs to be put down to reserve your wedding date. I would not do this however until you check the availability and cost of the Wedding Group Block (see Number 5).
Cost of Wedding Group Block
This is one of the most important aspects of planning a destination wedding. Once you settle on a resort (or narrow your list down to a handful of resorts), your Key to the World Travel® Planner can work with you to get pricing and availability for rooms for your guests. There are two different options that you can book the group under – contracted rates and a promo code. Each has its own pros and cons that can be discussed on an individual basis.
Personally, I advise my clients to decide based on the cost of the wedding ceremony and the cost (and availability) of the wedding block rooms for their guests. The beauty of using a Key to the World Travel® Planner is that we take care of all the research and legwork for our clients – just like planning a wedding, planning a destination wedding takes much research in the beginning. For instance, depending on the location of where you get married, you may be required to get a blood test or spend a certain number of days in the location prior to your ceremony. This is all information that your Key to the World Travel® Planner can advise you on.
Some of the services that a Key to the World Travel® Planner can provide for their clients include:
- Aid in providing a cost estimate of the wedding ceremony/ reception. I personally make spreadsheets for my clients so they can easily compare their options. It is important to note that these are just estimates and the actual cost may change. There may also be some unknowns but at least this gives you a better idea of the total cost than looking at everything in the wedding brochure.
- Aid as contact between wedding coordinator and engaged couple, if desired.
- Obtain group contract info and responsible for booking your wedding guests in your wedding group block.
- Update the engaged couple on the reservations made by their wedding guests.
- Work with the engaged couple to come up with a timeline that their wedding guests should make payments on their packages if a group contract was obtained for the wedding block.
- Answer some simple wedding questions such as when to send out invites. Some of us have connections with area wedding planners that would be open to coming onboard to help plan your destination wedding as a consultant to answer questions regarding color palettes, wedding etiquette, etc that are outside the scope of a travel planner.
- Contact person to take care of the details in the event that someone misses a flight, etc.
- Advocate for our clients as needed
As you can see, when booking your destination wedding with the assistance of a Key to the World Travel® Planner, you get the equivalent of a wedding planner AND there is no additional cost to use our services. Just like planning a wedding, a destination wedding has a lot of moving parts that need to be considered and your Key to the World Travel® Planner is just the person to help you!
One of the best things about a destination wedding is that the party lasts for days instead of just a few hours. Besides the cost being more economical than an average wedding, you also get the added bonus of the memories you will make in paradise with your closest friends and family! If you were not originally considering a destination wedding, I highly encourage you to consider it. I also urge everyone to contact their Key to the World Travel® Planner to learn more about the amazing options that await you.
All Key to the World Travel® planners are experts and offer the highest level of exemplary customer service. Contact your travel planner to book your vacation, or click here to request a quote today!
Contact Nicole today, using the links below!