Shelli Nornes started Romance Travel Group after planning her own destination wedding in 1998. We had the opportunity to sit with Shelli and talk about travel and destination weddings and listened as she shared some very valuable advice.
Please give a brief description of yourself and your business for the readers to know about you and what your agency has to offer.
Travel is my passion!! I am president and CEO of Romance Travel Group, an award-winning travel company offering expert travel and destination wedding planning services to brides, grooms and guests. Our clients have the distinct advantage of our hands-on expertise. We're out there experiencing the resorts we recommend several times each year. We're travel agents... we travel! Planning weddings never feels like “work” to us. Several of our agents were also destination brides, so we understand all aspects of the planning process from start to finish.
What type of destination weddings do you specialize in?
We specialize in Mexico and Caribbean destination weddings. Over the years we’ve learned that the all-inclusive resorts offer the best value to our clients. Whether a couples’ destination wedding dream is sweet and simplistic or stylish and sophisticated, there is a resort out there that is just perfect for them, and our goal is to find it. We’ve planned weddings for 2, and weddings for 200. Every wedding, no matter the size of the guest list, deserves special attention.
Why do you think having a destination wedding in Mexico or the Caribbean is the best decision to make for couples planning their wedding?
These days, loved ones are often scattered throughout the country, staying connected by technology. Chances are, when you announce your wedding plans and begin making your guest list, you will notice a great number of family and friends who are going to have to travel for your wedding already. Why not have your guests come together at a fabulous resort where meals and drinks are all included, where you will be catered to, and your time can be spent with those you love. We hear over and over again, “Thank you! The time our loved ones spent together at our destination wedding is something we will cherish forever!”
Destination weddings are
Are most couples happy they chose to have a destination wedding once they have experienced it?
We have never had anyone say “I wish we wouldn’t have done that.” In fact, we hear the opposite from guests who have done a traditional wedding of their own. They tell us “if we could do it all over again….THIS is what we’d do!” The experience couples share with guests and the memories that are made last a lifetime. Many destination wedding groups begin traveling together year after year because they had such a great first experience. They want to go back again and again. That says a lot! One bride recently wrote to us and said “This whole experience was so great! A lot of my friends are considering having destination weddings now and have thanked me for opening up the doors to this idea.”
What is one important tip for couples planning a destination wedding?
The most important decision couples will make about their destination wedding is which travel agent to hire. Anyone can book a trip. Anyone can get you a deal. But this isn’t just a spring break trip you’re planning. You need to partner with a destination wedding travel specialist who can share her experience and expertise with you from the beginning. A destination wedding travel specialist is someone who has worked with more than a dozen couples already, who travels to the destinations she recommends, who personally knows the wedding team and management at the resorts, who understands the residency laws of each country and can guide you on locations, dates and budget logistics. A typical travel agent’s attention gets watered down by clients booking cruises, safaris, Disney, and escorted tours to Europe. A destination wedding travel specialist gives her full attention to weddings. It is a very focused specialty that you must have on your side. Your destination wedding travel specialist will be your best friend during the planning process.
Why should couples go through you to plan their destination wedding?
We have a team of true destination wedding travel specialists. We are industry recognized leaders in the art of destination wedding travel planning. After 20 years of wedding travel planning, we have dozens of awards and accolades on our shelf, and thousands of very happy brides, grooms and guests who have put their trust in us. Our team has a true passion for this industry. Seeing our couples and guests having the time of their lives is extremely rewarding.
Anything else you want to say to brides?
It’s ok to call us and say “I have no idea where to start!” If you are dreaming of a destination wedding, but have no idea how to get is started, let’s talk it through. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it can all come together and how smoothly everything can be planned. Don’t let the details scare you away. If you’re entire guest list can’t make it, that’s ok, too. Your wedding day is for YOU. It should be exactly how you want to start the rest of your lives together.