Planning a destination wedding is surely a very exciting and memorable experience. But as thoughts of organizing travel for 50 guests, planning from hundreds (or thousands!) of miles away and potential language barriers creep in, it can quickly become very overwhelming. Don’t be discouraged! We’ve broken down the initial planning process into these 3 steps to help ensure that your destination wedding goes smoothly and is everything you've dreamed of and more. Keep reading to see how easy it can be!
We know, the thought of planning a destination wedding can definitely be a daunting task, but by breaking the initial planning down into these 3 steps and working with the right travel agent (we can’t stress this enough!) you can have a stress-free and unforgettable event. Just see what we can do!
We’d love to be the agency to help you through this process. We’ve been planning destination weddings since 1998, and it is all we do. No cruises, no Disney, no family vacations to distract us from focusing on your wedding day. And since our services to you are FREE (yep, you heard that right!) why not give us some time to show you how we can help. You don’t need to do this alone.
Wondering what the difference is between these experts, and who you really need and why? You’re not alone. Keep reading to learn who you need on your side as you plan your destination wedding in Mexico and the Caribbean.
A wedding coordinator is a resort employee responsible for creating and managing all aspects of the wedding events taking place at the resort. Your wedding coordinator will help you schedule venues, entertainment and vendors. There is no cost for the services provided by wedding coordinators.
A wedding planner is an independent professional hired to organize your wedding, create the aesthetics and atmosphere for your day, and manage all vendors. A planner usually works with the resort wedding coordinator on your behalf. They are a liaison between the couple and the resort. Wedding planners can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the size and complexity of your wedding.
Destination Wedding Travel Agent
Let’s face it. For many, images of the old school travel agency of My Big Fat Greek Wedding come to mind when the words “travel agent” are tossed around. For years, agents have tried to break away from this dated title and instead use labels such as travel advisor, architect, engineer and designer. But at the end of the day, all are true. With today’s online technology, just about anyone can book a trip. But planning a destination wedding thousands of miles from home in a foreign country for 20-200 guests is way, WAY more complicated than just booking a trip. An experienced destination wedding travel agent is worth her weight in gold when it comes to keeping you organized, guests informed and everything moving seamlessly and smoothly. Your agent should:
Finding and hiring a destination wedding travel agent should be the first step in your planning process. Before diving into resort options, choosing a wedding date or even picking a destination, do yourself a huge favor and spend some time talking to a few potential destination wedding travel agents. As with any professional, you may need to pay a deposit or a retainer to secure their services. You may even be asked to pay for their advice and expertise. Would you expect anything less from an expert?
So what about the wedding coordinator and planner?
You definitely will want the assistance of the resort’s wedding coordinator. She knows the ins and outs of the resort itself and is able to bring your wedding vision into reality. We suggest finding several inspiration photos (Pinterest is great for this!) to share with her, along with your budget. She will help you create the vibe you’re going for and offer suggestions and tips along the way.
For most destination weddings, a wedding planner is not necessary. Your travel expert and wedding coordinator should be able to handle everything for you. However, if you are planning a very large or lavish wedding with a lot of details and events to manage, a wedding planner is a good investment. As the saying goes, it sometimes takes a village!
The expert wedding travel agents at Romance Travel Group do one thing and we do it well… we plan destination weddings! After nearly 25 years, our expertise, connections, processes and experience are unrivalled. We are consistently named “best” and “top” agency in the wedding and travel industry. One peek at the hundreds of 5-star reviews is proof of the attention and care that goes into each wedding we take on. We know it is a big step, but we promise that your nerves will turn to excitement after just one 30-minute call with our team. What are you waiting for? Sign up to talk to one of our wedding experts today.
How did you select the resort? What were the deciding factors?
We selected our resort in particular because it was a newer build and we had stayed at a different location of the Dreams resort chain in the past. We never actually saw our venue until we got there for the wedding weekend, so it was somewhat of a gamble, but we trusted that the service and food would be great just like we had seen at the other Dreams location. Lastly, we found that the prices they were offering for our guests’ nightly stays were reasonable for all that was included, and the resort threw in some extras for things like rehearsal dinner and additional rooms when a certain amount of people booked.
Describe what it was like working with the wedding coordinator at the resort? What went well? Any challenges?
Our wedding coordinator at the resort, Jennyfer, is a miracle worker!!! She was so polished, kind, and amazing at putting together our dream wedding. We were truly blown away. She cranks out weddings with her team almost nightly, sleeps very little because of that, and you would barely be able to tell. She is so attentive to detail and passionate about making everything look and feel great, including the bride on the big day.
Describe the booking process for your guests. Did they find that to be easy to navigate?
The booking process was online and very easy for our guests to navigate. From what I’ve been told, when any of our friends and families had a specific question they wanted Shelli or Heather’s help with, they were always quick to respond and offer their assistance.
What were some of your biggest fears or things you worried about as your wedding date drew near? How did you get through this?
Most of my big fears were Covid related - specifically that the resort would have to shut down, there would be border closures, or that we would have to last minute postpone and throw everything off. I was also worried about forgetting important items at home. I eased my worries, though, by realizing that nothing productive really ever comes from anxiety and by creating an extensive and detailed packing list that I stuck to while we prepared the week before leaving.
Describe the meeting you had with the onsite wedding team when you arrived at the resort.
The wedding we had with the Dreams Team once we arrived was very extensive - probably lasting about an hour and a half long! While it was tiring to go through it all and I was bummed we were missing time with our guests, I knew it was necessary and I really appreciated their willingness to work out and confirm all of the little details with us!
Were your guests wowed by the resort and the all-inclusive concept? What was their reaction upon arrival?
Our guests seemed to love the all-inclusivity and general charm of the resort. We kept getting comments during and after the weekend about how much fun everyone had just being able to relax and not worry about the cost once they got out there.
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?
We had a traditional wedding ceremony with cocktail hour, then a plated meal, speeches and dancing. I loved the set-up of that and I would say a difference between what we were able to do and what we would have had at home was that we had a long cocktail hour where people were told they could even go up to their rooms and freshen up if they needed to, and that at the end of the night, everyone could just go right up to their suites and not worry about Uber’s/driving. There was also no driving to different venues for the ceremony versus reception as everything was just a short walk apart.
What was the best part of having a destination wedding?
The best part of having a destination wedding was how close all of our friends and family members were able to get because of time spent together just hanging out before the big day. Everyone seemed to just make a vacation out of it, which is exactly what we wanted. It’s also so nice as the bride and groom to be able to mingle with guests over the course of a few days and not have to worry about fitting it in all in one evening during a reception!
What is your most favorite memory of your wedding experience?
My most favorite memory of the wedding is hard to choose, but I would have to say it was either walking down the aisle towards my best friend or the end of the reception where after what was supposed to be our “last song” (New York, New York by Sinatra), our friends started singing (screaming, really) the words to Mr. Brightside until the DJ finally caved and just turned the song on. Next thing we knew, my new husband and I were hoisted onto shoulders in the air, and it was so much fun. I know it was after our reception’s time was “up,” but I could never thank the resort enough for allowing that moment to happen.
In what ways did Romance Travel Group make the planning less stressful for you?
Shelli and Heather made the planning so much less stressful for me by handling just about all the logistics of our guests flying in and out plus their lodging at the resort. I’m sure it is a HUGE undertaking to have to handle the flight schedules, airline issues, billing with the resort, etc. so it was amazing to have that off of our shoulders and to have a resource that we could point our guests to when they asked us questions.
Brides, we get it! Planning a wedding can be stressful! Especially when you’re not sure where to start. Well, fear not. We’re going to walk you through the most common wedding woes our brides experience, PLUS share how to overcome them.
Between the guest list, the dress, the menu, the decorations, the travel arrangements – there’s just so much that goes into planning a wedding! In fact, it’s quite common for brides to feel the pressure throughout the entire planning process because there’s just THAT much going on. Fortunately, when you work with a destination wedding specialist, everything... from the destination and resort selection to the travel insurance and airport shuttles... is taken care of. We’ll also hook you up with your resort’s onsite wedding coordinator to help you with all the little details, too!
Another concern we hear often about is the cost of the wedding itself. And we totally get it! Weddings can easily break the bank. However, what most brides don’t realize is that destination weddings actually cost about a quarter of what a traditional domestic wedding can cost. Yep, you heard that right! So, for less than $10,000, we can plan you the wedding of your dreams without sacrificing any of the frills or fun.
The Guest Experience
Finally, brides worry about how their guests will be taken care of during the planning process. Questions we hear often are, “do I need to collect RSVPs?” or, “do I need to book their rooms?” or, “will I have to coordinate group excursions?” etc., etc. The quick answer? No. Your destination wedding specialist coordinates your guest arrangements for you. You can now breathe and enjoy. Trust us, you’ll be in good hands.
Ready for us to take the weight of wedding planning off your shoulders? Then, click here to start your journey with us, today!
Thinking about a destination wedding? Be sure to ask yourself these questions before getting started:
What is my budget?
While a traditional wedding can typically be around $32,000, we can help you plan the destination wedding of your dreams for nearly a quarter of the cost. With that said, there are typically three factors that play into your costs: the resort, the airfare, and the wedding package. These things all fluctuate depending on the time of year you book and where you’re traveling. These are some things to keep in mind when determining your budget! Flexibility is key!
Where do I want to get married?
We recommend choosing a destination that is easy to get to, so your guests don’t spend an entire vacation day or two traveling. Places like Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are fairly easy to get to and only require a 4-5 hour flight. Locations that are more exotic require multiple connecting flights and transfers, making it an exhausting day for your guests to endure.
When do I want to get married?
Your wedding costs will rely heavily on the date you choose. Peak seasons are usually from mid-January through Easter and will reflect the highest rates. Your mid-season ranges from Easter through August, and even early January, and will have fairly reasonable rates. For a better bargain, try September through early November or early December.
How many guests should I invite?
Generally, we find that about 40% of those you invite will be able to attend your destination wedding. However, don’t let that discourage you! Not everyone can afford to take the time off or travel. We suggest having a reception back at home to celebrate with those who were unable to attend.
What kind of resort do I want?
Have you been dreaming of something small and intimate, or active and lively? Adult-only or family-friendly? We highly recommend all-inclusive resorts because they include meals and drinks, making it a lot easier on your guests and their budgets. Additionally, many all-inclusive resorts offer couples a semi-private reception, resort credits, upgrades, and more!
What kind of ceremony should I have?
Envisioning yourself tying the knot on the beach? Or perhaps, you’ve thought about saying “I do” under a beautifully decorated gazebo? Oftentimes, your resort will offer many options for you to choose from based on your preferences and guest count. You’ll even have a Plan B lined up in case it rains, so no need to worry about that!
Do I want a symbolic or legal ceremony?
A legal ceremony is when you receive a marriage certificate from the destination you’re married in, and is recognized legally back home. These ceremonies typically require more paperwork, has additional fees, and occasional blood tests. A symbolic ceremony has no legal binding, and makes up approximately 80% or more of all destination weddings. Typically, the bride and groom will go to their local clergy or courthouse and become legally married before they leave. It is just easier that way.
We hope these questions and answers are enough to get you started. Once you’re ready, be sure to connect with a destination wedding expert to start planning!
It is easy to lose yourself in wedding planning, isn’t it? One thing turns into another and pretty soon, your simple beach wedding has gotten a little outta control. Let’s help you wrangle your wedding back into place. Here are 6 mistakes you can avoid to ensure your destination wedding runs as smoothly as possible
No Plan B
Chances are, if you’re having a destination wedding, you’re probably having it outdoors, on the beach or in a garden. With tropical climates, sporadic rain showers are to be expected. Be sure to discuss back up locations with your wedding coordinator. Most resorts have a Plan B ready for you just in case. Of course, no one ever hopes for rain on their wedding day (hey, it’s supposed to be good luck, right?), but at least you have an option in case mother nature decides to strike.
What we love most about a beach wedding is the simplicity of it all. The tall swaying palms, the clear blue water and sugar white sand provide the best décor of all! Don’t spend too much time focusing on if you have enough seashell décor on the tables or if the colors of your napkin rings are just right. Keep things simple, elegant and beautiful. Your guests will be focused on much more important things… like you getting married!
Ignoring Guests’ Comfort
It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the things that go into planning a wedding. But don’t let your guests’ comfort fall short! Consider things like temperature and time in between the ceremony and reception to make the process more enjoyable for them. Some ideas we’ve seen include leaving paper fans on each guest’s seat so they can keep cool, or providing refreshments and snacks when you’re taking photos.
Footwear & Attire
Don’t make the mistake of purchasing a heavy ball gown and 6-inch heels for your beach wedding. The material will not only weigh you down, but be incredibly hot for the environment you’re in. You’ll also want to make sure your resort provides some sort of flooring if you’re heart is set on stilettos. Otherwise, your best bet is a pretty sandal as you make your way down the sandy aisle. Likewise, really consider some unique alternatives to the traditional groomsman tux rental. Choose wedding day fashions that complement your ceremony location.
The location of your destination wedding is imperative. Too exotic = too expensive. The ideal location allows guests to comfortably travel for 4 days. Do you need to accommodate guests with small children? Then, you’ll want a great family resort. Do you want a luxurious and sophisticated affair without the noisy kiddos? Then, think adult-only. Are customizable wedding packages a must? Well…we can think of a few ideas! Whatever it is, be sure to work with a destination wedding expert, as they’ve personally visited all of the most popular locations. We promise, using a pro will make things so much easier, and save you time and money.
Is it possible to have a DIY destination wedding? Sure. But the bigger question is... why would you want to??? Your wedding is the perfect time to NOT do it all by yourself. The person who will help you the most, who will assist all your guests, who will oversee the details and make sure you have everything perfectly in place and will be your sole go-to person while you are in the destination, is your wedding travel agent! Trust us, this is the one day you do not want to DIY anything.
We hope you consider these common mistakes as you begin your destination wedding planning journey! Need a push in the right direction? We can help! To get in touch with a destination wedding expert today, click here to get started!
We understand wedding costs can add up, but don’t skimp on the things that matter. Here are some things you’ll be glad you invested in for your big day
The resort you select can truly make or break a destination wedding. It essentially sets the tone for your special day and impacts not only your experience, but your guests’ experience, as well. Be sure to work carefully with your destination wedding specialist to ensure you’re accommodating everyone in your party, so your wedding day turns out as perfect as you imagined. Here are some of our favorite adult-only and family-friendly destination wedding properties to help get you started.
There’s nothing we dislike more than a rowdy 2-hour transfer to the resort after a full day of traveling. We work with several transfer companies that cater to wedding groups all the time, so you and your wedding party can relax and unwind together in peace. This will give your group some down time before the wedding festivities begin!
What’s so unique and special about a destination wedding is that the celebration goes on for a few days or more, if you’re lucky! This gives you and your loved ones plenty of opportunities to spend some quality time together in paradise. The best part? Most resorts have special activities already lined up for the wedding group, so you can bond over new experiences that will create the best memories. Be sure to set aside extra time for this one!
Photography & Videography
If there’s one thing not to skimp on for your wedding, it’s your photos and video. We always recommend our brides and grooms invest in a good, quality photographer and videographer to ensure all your memories throughout the day are captured. This is the best day of your life, after all! We have plenty of recommendations for some pretty incredible destination wedding photo and video professionals, here.
Ah, the honeymoon. Can’t forget about that! Some couples think because they are going away for their destination wedding, that it counts as their honeymoon…but we beg to differ! After all the hustle and bustle of planning a wedding (and hanging with the family), nothing beats breaking away from it all to get some alone time with your sweetie. We have dozens of honeymoon ideas for you, not to mention numerous honeymoon offers that come as an added perk when you book your wedding with a particular property. Be sure to take advantage of all the wedding festivities, you deserve it, girl!
We hope you’ll consider some of these tips when you start to plan your destination wedding –trust us, you won’t regret it! For more information from the experts, be sure to shoot us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Meet The Authors
We are passionate about destination weddings and love helping couples make their wedding dreams a reality. We are the destination wedding experts.