Curious how much to budget for your destination wedding? Well, here it is! A quick budget breakdown that might surprise you.
One question we hear all to often is, “how much does a destination wedding cost?” While a traditional wedding can typically be around $32,000, we can plan you the destination wedding of your dreams for nearly a quarter of the cost. How? Simple. Here’s a breakdown of what most couples spend:
The Resort – For 7-nights at an all-inclusive resort, expect to spend approximately $3,000 for the both of you. Now, most resorts charge between $150-$250 per person, per night, but that includes your room, your meals, your drinks, airport shuttles and taxes. Of course, you’ll probably want to bring a little extra cash for spending and gratuities at your discretion. Also keep in mind, prices may vary depending on the time of year you book, as well as the resort you select.
The Flights – For 2 round-trip flights, you’re looking at a total cost of around $1,000. This will also be dependent upon the airline you’re using, the time of year, and of course, your destination of choice.
The Wedding Package – Most resort wedding packages can range between $0 and $5,000. You heard that! And although some properties offer some really great free wedding packages, most couples spend about $2,500 for additional customization, upgrades, etc. Packages typically include the ceremony location, bride’s bouquet, groom’s boutonniere, officiant, cake, chairs, and semi-private dinner for around 40 guests.
So, for a grand-whoppin’ total of about $6,500, you and your fiancé can enjoy a week-long tropical wedding celebration for about a quarter of the cost! Now, that’s something we can get on board with!
For more information, check out this exclusive interview with our favorite romance travel expert, or click here to start planning your wedding today. We look forward to chatting with you!
We recently sat down with one of Romance Travel Group's top agents, Lisa Ruchti, to talk travel. With years of experience, a warm and welcoming personality and a tremendous understanding of customer service, Lisa's value and passion easily shine through. Here's what she had to say:
How did you get into the travel industry?
I went to travel school right out of High School as I loved geography and I wanted to travel and see the world. I was very fortunate to get a job right out of school at a small “Mom and “Pop” agency. It was an incredible learning experience and the start to my career in the travel industry, which I enjoy very much!
What type of travel do you most love to plan?
As a young adult, the beauty of the sea and the sand ignited my passion for traveling to Mexico and the Caribbean! Frequently traveling over the past 30 years to the resort areas of Mexico and to many of the Caribbean Islands has given me knowledge and expertise of these popular vacation destinations. I decided to share my knowledge, expertise and passion by specializing in tropical All-Inclusive resort vacations. I love helping my clients plan amazing destination weddings and honeymoons along with fun and fabulous vacations for families, couples and groups.
What sets you apart from all the other agents and websites?
I very much enjoy speaking with my clients and developing a personal relationship with them. I take pride in the service I provide with attention to detail, excellent communication and prompt response times to ensure the best client experience and vacation possible. I treat each trip or vacation as if it were my own and therefore have very happy and satisfied clients!
Can you describe something “over & above” that you’ve done for a client?
When I have clients traveling, I make it a point to check emails and voicemails frequently. I do my best to offer assistance and guidance as I am able if a client has questions, concerns or situations that arise while traveling.
What does a referral mean to you?
A referral from a client is a huge compliment as it means that they were very happy with their destination wedding, honeymoon or vacation that I planned and were satisfied with the services that I provided. A referral is a sign of trust that I will take care of their family and friends as well. I welcome all referrals and appreciate them very much!
What does your ideal client look like?
An ideal client is someone who takes the time to communicate their “wish list” to me for their destination wedding, honeymoon or vacation. They trust in my expertise to recommend destinations and/or resorts that best fit their budget guidelines and provide them with the vacation experience that they are looking for.
What is one thing you wish travelers would know or understand?
When traveling, especially out of the country, travelers should keep an open mind as most likely things are not going to be the same as they are at home. Try to embrace the differences of the destination you are visiting and immerse yourself in the culture. Get to know the people, try to learn a few words of their language and enjoy the local cuisine! There may be hiccups along the way as you travel but try to understand this does come with traveling and if you go with the flow and try not to let things upset you, you will have a much more enjoyable experience! Walk along the beach, play in the ocean, enjoy that sunset and make memories to last a lifetime!
What’s on your travel bucket list?
These are the destinations at the top of my very long bucket list!
Tahiti and Bora Bora
Italy and Greece
Banff and Lake Louise, British Columbia Canada
Lisa can be reached at Lisa@RomanceTravelGroup.com or 320-656-0152. Have you had the pleasure of working with Lisa on a vacation? Please let her a fabulous review!
Your honeymoon gives you the alone time you’ve been needing after all the hustle and bustle of planning a wedding. Looking for some ideas? Here’s 6 Hawaii honeymoons we think you should consider:
1. Oahu Honeymoon
Known as the “Heart of ,” Oahu is home to the capital of Honolulu and legendary surf towns, like Haleiwa. Curious what you’ll do? We like to recommend a couple’s surfing lesson on Waikiki Beach, or a drive along Pali Highway for spectacular views of the Windward Coast. A visit to the Valley of the Temples, or the Honolulu Museum of Art is also a popular option.
2. Maui Honeymoon
From its famous exotic beaches, to the peak of Haleakala, Maui uncovers a wealth of experiences for honeymooners. Watch the sunrise at the top of Haleakala Crater, or patrol the gorgeous Kihei Coastline. Interested in exploring some more natural beauty? Then you’ll want add a hike to one of East Maui’s waterfalls to your list.
3. Big Island Honeymoon
At the Big Island, couples rarely run out of fun things to do! Fill your days with volcanos, coffee farms, and views of marvelous landscapes with the one you love. You might even want to check out Flumin’ Kohala –a hand-drilled channel, where kayaking is quite popular.
4. Kauai Honeymoon
This “Garden Isle” is home to some of the most dramatic views of the South Pacific. Most honeymooners enjoy taking a walk to Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park, while others enjoy savoring over intimate dinners at Kauai’s most romantic restaurants. There’s also a number of island spas that are suitable for just about anyone.
5. Molokai Honeymoon
Molokai stays true to its island roots and is filled with rustic charm and undeniable beauty. We love to suggest a romantic bed and breakfast experience to honeymooners on the island’s West end, as well as shopping in the quaint villages of
6. Lanai Honeymoon
Lanai offers the perfect combination of peace and luxury and rugged terrain. Many of the island’s visitors make their way over to Hulopoe Bay’s marine sanctuary to check out the tropical fish, or hike to Sweetheart Rock –and nothing says romance quite like a sunset at
It’s never too early to start planning your Hawaii Honeymoon! Have additional questions, or curious where to start? Click here to get in touch with our Hawaii Expert!
SITTING IN THE HEART OF THE SUGARY SANDS OF ONE OF WORLD'S TOP 10 BEACHES, EL DORADO MAROMA EXUDES ROMANCE AND INTIMACY.
The moment you arrive, you quickly realize this is no ordinary resort. Voted number 4 Best Resort in the World by Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, El Dorado Maroma is in a league of its own when it comes to adults-only getaways. Sitting in the heart of the sugary sands of one of the Top 10 Beaches in the World, El Dorado Maroma exudes romance and intimacy. And that’s just one part of all the magic that awaits you.
YOUR KARISMA GOURMET INCLUSIVE EXPERIENCE
At El Dorado Maroma, there's no limit to how far we'll go to make your visit an experience you'll never forget.
From a champagne toast upon arrival to your final farewell, we’re committed to making your visit an experience you’ll always treasure. That’s why you’ll find chefs who go out of their way to accommodate any food preferences and allergies, and bartenders who remember your favorite cocktail. It’s why there are butlers on the beach. And a vast array of concierge services. If there’s anything we can possibly do to make your vacation exceptional, please don’t hesitate to ask.
EL DORADO MAROMA GOURMET INCLUSIVE DINING
No matter what type of dining experience you’re craving, you’re never far from something truly exceptional at El Dorado Maroma. As part of the Karisma Gourmet Inclusive® Experience, no two restaurants are alike, but each is extraordinary in its very own way.
EL DORADO MAROMA ACTIVITIES
Some people come to sit on a beach and soak up the sun. Others want to squeeze the most out of every minute. El Dorado Maroma, by Karisma is the perfect place for both. You'll find watersports. Yoga and dance classes. Interactive cooking lessons and tequila tastings. Volleyball. And a world of available excursions right next door at Marina Maroma, including swimming with dolphins, horseback riding, ATVs, deep sea fishing and more.
Head down to the beach for a friendly game of beach volleyball. Perfect your serve in the soft sand while working up a sweat. Then take a plunge in the ocean to cool off.
Join a world-class international chef and wine expert as they explain various preparation methods and culinary techniques, and walk away with exclusive recipes and pairings to amaze and impress your friends back home.
Discover a world of excursions right next door at Marina Maroma. Hop on a jet ski or try parasailing and enjoy unparalleled views from the sky. Discover the beauty of Mayan nature on a camel safari tour or on a thrilling ATV tour. There’s ocean safari tours, wave runner tours, scuba diving tours, and much more.
Paddle out past the sandbar and float along with current as you look back at the stunning landscape. Explore every inch of the coastline. From the reef to the deeper, dark turquoise waters.
With a quick learning curve, just about anyone can enjoy a relaxing, full body workout on the water in no time. It's the most fun you can have standing up.
Find your nirvana, as an accredited Yogi helps to bring you to balance. This stretching-yoga combination class starts your day in the perfect state of Om.
Are you getting married in Mexico or the Caribbean? One thing you’ll have to consider is what kind of wedding ceremony are you interested in. Not all destination are equal here. Be sure to choose what is right for you. Read on to learn more.
What’s the difference?
First thing’s first. What exactly is the difference between a legal wedding ceremony and a symbolic wedding ceremony?
A legal ceremony is when you follow the laws of the destination and receive a marriage license from them. A legal ceremony is recognized in the US as a legal marriage. A legal ceremony typically requires more paperwork, a judge, additional fees, and occasional blood tests. You will need to present your legal paperwork to your license bureau when you get home so they can file the marriage license for you.
A symbolic ceremony has no legal bearing and makes up approximately 80% of destination weddings. Typically, the bride and groom will go to their local clergy or courthouse, file the license and legally marry before they leave on their wedding trip. They are already legally married when they travel, making for a smooth and easy destination wedding. The best part about this is guests will never know the difference! The legal and symbolic ceremony is the same, just minus the license.
What are my destination’s ceremony requirements?
Mexico – A legal ceremony must be performed by a judge. A blood test is required. The blood test is for STD’s and if the test is positive, a marriage license will not be granted. A symbolic ceremony has no legal bearing and is performed by a non-denominational minister, wedding coordinator, family friend or relative. The bride and groom will receive a symbolic marriage certificate without a legal license.
Dominican Republic – If you decide to wed here, go for a symbolic ceremony. For a legal wedding, all paperwork must be notarized and translated into Spanish, which will typically add an additional $500-1000 to your wedding costs. Only the judge can legally marry you, so you’re at the mercy of his schedule. Symbolic is definitely the way to go in the Dominican Republic.
Jamaica – Ceremonies performed by a minister are legally recognized in Jamaica. Jamaica is one of the easiest countries to be legally married in.
Bahamas – Same as Jamaica, ceremonies performed by a minister hold legal meaning in the Bahamas. If the ceremony is civil, the minister will make no mention of God. Symbolic weddings are also a popular option here.
Aruba – The civil ceremony performed by a judge at City Hall are the only legally recognized wedding ceremonies in Aruba. If a religious ceremony is requested, it will be performed by a non-denominational minister, with no legal binding.
Costa Rica – Same as Aruba, Costa Rica offers legal ceremonies if they are performed by a judge. Religious ceremonies or vow renewals will hold no legal bearing, as they are considered symbolic.
Is your ceremony destination not on our list? Then feel free to contact the destination wedding specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and guidance!
With over 25% of weddings now taking place away from home, destination weddings have evolved into a cost-effective, meaningful and unique way for couples to share their wedding experience with their guests. Planning a wedding from a thousand miles away can still feel a bit daunting at first, but it is impossible to ignore the gorgeous beach wedding photos on Pinterest and Instagram, right? If you feel the little spark of hope in your heart as you scroll through destination wedding ideas, don’t ignore it! Don’t be afraid of it! Planning a destination wedding has come a long way and is now actually easier to plan than a wedding at home. Here are a few questions you may be asking yourself:
1. How will I ever decide on a location and resort?
This is often the most difficult part of planning a destination wedding. Our best advice here is to find a travel agent that specializes in planning destination weddings. Anyone can book a trip. Planning a destination wedding for 20, 40 or 100 guests takes a completely different set of skills. Need a recommendation? Reach out to one of the award-winning agents at Romance Travel Group. Destination weddings are our passion!
2. What will my guests think?
Most of your guests will be thrilled at the idea of a vacation with you! Some will be concerned about cost or safety. Your agent will communicate with your guests, answering all their questions and making sure they know everything they need for their trip. Trust us… your guests will RAVE about your wedding. Many destination wedding groups start traveling together every year because they had such a great time at the wedding. They will have a great time!
3. How much will all this cost?
Legit question! We often say that the couple can expect to pay under $10,000 for the trip, ceremony and reception. This can vary, of course, but it is a good estimate. Your guests can expect to pay about $1100 for a 3 night/4 day all-inclusive experience.
4. How can I be sure my wedding will be what I want?
Most resorts have wedding departments with a team of coordinators on-site that will execute your vision. You can send them photos, Pinterest boards, spreadsheets, etc, and they will recreate the wedding of your dreams. Just about anything you see at local weddings can also be done in destination.
5. Who is going to help with all the travel plans?
Remember that destination wedding travel expert we mentioned? She will work with each guest to create the trip that works best for them. Some guests will make a week-long vacation out of their trip, while others will only be able to sneak away from 3 nights. No problem! Your agent will handle all the details so you don’t have to.
6. How will I know what needs to be done?
Your travel expert and the wedding coordinator will ensure everything has been considered and your big day is executed perfectly. Together, they’ll help you through all the steps and decisions that need to happen. You’ll be amazed at how seamlessly everything comes together.
Did we answer some of the questions you no-doubt have about planning a destination wedding? We hope so! We know how overwhelming it can seem at first, but we are here to help you through it all. The first step is filling out our destination wedding questionnaire. This gives us a little peak into your wedding dreams. We’ll schedule a 20-30 minute phone call so we can meet and get to know each other. Then, we’ll get to work on hand-selecting a few resorts we think would be absolutely perfect for your destination wedding, based on everything you’ve shared with us. After that, we’ll help you select the resort, book the date and soon, you’ll be inviting guests! Ready to start planning? We sure are! We can’t wait to hear from you!
The happiest day of our lives! Our wedding was a dream, and we are so grateful for our parents, friends and family for celebrating with us!
Venue: Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort & Spa
Destination Wedding Travel Agent: Romance Travel Group
Photo: Pink Palm Photo
Hair and Makeup: Loscabosmakeup
Floral and Rentals: The MAIN Event CABO
DJ: Encore Event Technologies
Dress: Bridal Boutique - Maggie Sottero
Paper goods: Minted
Why did you choose Romance Travel Group?
We had read great reviews about Romance Travel Group and had two couple friends that had used them for their own destination weddings. After talking with Shelli on the phone, we were confident that she knew what she was doing!
What led you to choose a destination wedding?
We wanted a wedding and vacation all in one. We wanted it to be smaller and intimate with only our close family and friends. We created memories that we will never forget!
How did you select the resort? What were the deciding factors?
We wanted an affordable, all-inclusive resort in Cabo. Shelli helped us narrow it down to Dreams Los Cabos. We have nothing but wonderful things to say about Dreams! It exceeded our expectations! The property was beautiful, the restaurants were nice, all of the employees were friendly. Our couples’ massage at the spa was incredible. The club on property had a fun karaoke night we all went to on Thursday night. It was everything we wanted for our wedding weekend.
Describe what it was like working with the wedding coordinator at the resort? What went well? Any challenges?
Minerva at Dreams Los Cabos Resort was an absolute dream to work with! She was prompt, always made me feel at ease, and very detail oriented. I highly recommend working with Minerva at Dreams. She made our experience great!
Tell us about your wedding dress – How did you find it? Who went shopping with you? How do you feel wearing your dress?
I went shopping at Bridal Boutique Lewisville for my wedding dress. I tried on many styles and types, but finally said YES to my dream dress with my mom! It was a Maggie Sottero design. It was a romantic sheath wedding dress, covered in lace and beaded spaghetti straps, a sheer bodice and illusion plunging neckline and sheer back with buttons all the way down the back. I had my fairytale moment; it was absolutely my dream dress!
Tell us about how you chose your bridal party and asked them to stand up with you.
I took all of my bridesmaids to brunch in Uptown Dallas and gave them mini bottles of champagne with “Will you be my bridesmaid.” We had a fun morning as we laughed and sipped mimosas!
Were your guests wowed by the resort and the all-inclusive concept? What was their reaction upon arrival?
The guests LOVED the resort, it was clean and beautiful! The views were incredible.
Tell us about your wedding – did you have a traditional wedding with a cocktail hour, dinner reception and dance? What was different about a destination wedding compared to a wedding at home?
Our wedding weekend was incredible! For our rehearsal dinner, we had a Bonfire on the Beach. The resort put up tiki torches, lounge furniture, an open bar and hor doerves. It was so much fun! On Saturday, we had a beach ceremony at sunset. Then all of the guests went to cocktail hour on the terrace overlooking the resort infinity pool and the ocean. Our reception was outside on the terrace. It was all whites and greenery, simple, clean and romantic, with hanging lit lanterns and a customized dance floor. We had white roses, eucalyptus, and greenery with lit candles. To find their tables, all guests had to go to a table with mini tequila shots with lime wedges to find their table numbers, “Take a Shot, Take a Seat”. When we entered the reception, everyone shook his or her maracas to welcome us! It was an amazing night!
To help you narrow down all of the destination and resort options, start by asking yourself these 5 questions:
Try to keep travel times within reason. For example, you won't want to plan a Hawaii wedding if guests need to fly for 9 hours and can only stay for 3 nights. Likewise, the more exotic islands can often require multiple airline connections to get there. Assume all guests will need a passport. The top destinations are Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, but really, the possibilities are endless.
There are two types of ceremonies for destination weddings; legal and symbolic. Some locations are better than others for legal ceremonies. For a legal ceremony, you’ll need to follow all of the laws of the country you are traveling to. If you absolutely must have a legal ceremony, we recommend avoiding the Dominican Republic and Aruba. To have a symbolic ceremony, you would be legally married at home by your clergy or courthouse before you travel. At your destination wedding, you will celebrate your union as if it were your actual wedding with flowers, music, vows and other ceremony details. Your guests will not know the difference between a legal and symbolic ceremony. Approximately 80% of all destination weddings are symbolic. It is so much easier!
Do you envision something small and intimate, or something loaded with activities and energy? We highly recommend all-inclusive resorts that include meals and drinks. This makes it so much easier for your guests to budget for their trip. And, many all-inclusive resorts include a semi-private reception with their wedding packages, which saves you money. Perhaps money that could be spent on a nice upgrade to the honeymoon suite! Are you beach people, or pool people? Are you foodies? Are you super casual, or more refined?
Adults Only, or Family Friendly
If all of your guests are 18+, do adults only! The adult only resorts offer an elevated atmosphere and experience for your wedding day. Some resorts have an adults only “section” while the rest of the resort is family friendly. These often make a great compromise for wedding groups.
Consider how much you're comfortable having your guests pay for a 3-night vacation. Typically, budgets start at approximately $1000 per person for a 3 night, all-inclusive vacation including air, hotel, transfers, meals, drinks, tips and taxes. Remember though, you get what you pay for.
Of course, the absolute best way to find the perfect destination wedding resort is to enlist the professional guidance of a destination wedding travel specialist like the ones at Romance Travel Group. The RTG specialist will listen to your wants and needs and provide you with a list of hand-chosen resorts that fit your style. Because our specialists travel to the destinations several times a year, they know the ins and outs of each resort better than anyone else, and can accurately compare the pros and cons of each with you. Why not give us a try? You'll be so happy you did! Call us at 507-267-4857 or email us at email@example.com. If you're ready to dive in, fill out our questionnaire and we'll be in touch right away. Hope to hear from you!
December 14, 2018
Romance Travel Group Wins Big With Karisma Hotels at the 11th Annual GIVC Awards
Launched in 2008, the Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant Program (GIVC) is limited to an elite group of travel agents who are obligated to meet specific standards and requirements in order to exceed extremely high expectations with regard to customer service and support. Each year, the event honors the industry’s top performing travel professionals during four days of celebrations, ceremonies and meetings at El Dorado Royale Spa Resort, by Karisma, in Mexico’s Riviera Maya.
On Friday December 8th Karisma Hotels & Resorts unveiled the award winners on the final evening of the company’s Eleventh Annual GIVC Awards and Sales & Marketing Forum, which drew over 600 agents. The 11th annual gala dinner awards were presided over by Armando Chomat, Executive VP for Sales and Marketing Worldwide for Karisma Hotels.
“This evening, with deep appreciation to Sr. Martínez and Sra. Dolores, we could not be more excited to provide our revered Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultants with the recognition they have earned.” Romance Travel Group’s Shelli Nornes was named #1 Top Selling Agent (home based) in the United States, top 10 wedding agent and top sales agent for El Dorado, Azul and Generations resorts. The final and most esteemed award of the night, The Hall of Fame Award, was given to Ms. Nornes for making a significant impact on business and partnership. “What a night!” says Nornes. “Karisma has been a wonderful partner for many years and we love sharing these favorite resorts with our clients. Receiving the Hall of Fame award means the world to us. It is such an honor to be recognized like this.”
Romance Travel Group is known for their expert destination wedding, honeymoon and vacation planning. Having just celebrated 20 years in business this past June, Romance Travel Group is a long-time industry leader. For more information on Romance Travel Group, visit www.romancetravelgroup.com.