1) Destination Weddings usually cost less than traditional weddings. Formerly the exclusive domain of celebrities and the ultra-rich, Destination Weddings have in recent years become accessible to more and more couples looking to add an "exotic twist" to their special ceremony. Properly planned, a destination wedding can not only save you upwards of $20,000 off the cost of a traditional wedding, it can also turn your wedding day into an unforgettable "mini-vacation" for you and your guests.
2) You need to purchase air & hotel as a "package" - or you could be in for an expensive surprise. Although it is sometimes possible to negotiate with the hotel and airlines separately, you will generally be able to save more money by negotiating the two as a package. Unfortunately, we've talked with quite a few brides over the years who have negotiated a seemingly good rate directly with the hotel - only to find out they were unable to find affordable airfare.
3) Destination Weddings can be a fun and relaxing experience for you AND your guests - but only if you plan together. For most of the couples we've worked with over the years, making sure their guests are properly taken care of - and are able to find suitable accommodations, has been just as important as taking care of their own plans. Unfortunately, when guests are left to "fend for themselves" it is difficult to make sure guests get plans that are convenient, affordable, and close to "where the action is."
Even worse, without the expertise of a travel professional with an appropriate level of buying power on their side, couples and their guests are often talked into accepting "group rates" when the individual rates would have been better, or stuck with individual rates when group rates may have been available.
4) "Negotiate" directly with hotels at your own risk.
Although hotels will often give some form of discount for groups of 10 or more if you book directly, it is important to keep in mind that hotels, by necessity, are in the business of maximizing the amount of revenue they bring in on the rooms they book. By working with an experienced travel coordinator with appropriate negotiating power, you will not only generally receive a better deal for you and your guests - you will also avoid the costly mistake mentioned in #2 above.
5) You can do it all yourself - but is it really worth the risk?
Planned right, a destination wedding is truly the most unique way to commemorate your special union. Unfortunately, we've heard quite a few horror stories over the years from brides and grooms who chose to plan their wedding entirely on their own. Missed flights with no emergency number for support. Hidden clauses in hotel contracts leaving couples with an enormous financial liability on their hands. Reservations being dropped by the hotel - forcing couples and their guests into a "2 star hotel in paradise". You name it - and sadly - we've heard it.
Article courtesy of Paradise Cruises & Travel. Photo courtesy of Sandals Resorts.
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