If you are starting to plan your destination wedding – congratulations! This is a very exciting time for you and your partner. You’ll find there is a huge amount to think about and do, with many decisions to be made as you begin your wedding planning journey. In this article we discuss 5 mistakes that people often make when planning their destination wedding. You don’t want to be one of those people.
When planning your destination wedding we strongly recommend that you find a travel professional to help you with the process. This is someone who has the right experience, and someone who has likely visited many of the resorts you’re considering hosting your celebration at.
We understand the temptation to call the resort directly, but this can lead to confusion. It can be challenging to know exactly what the right questions to ask each resort are, and as a result, you may be given misleading information. A travel professional, on the other hand, will likely have previously dealt with the resort and will understand the packages/amenities available to you and how they can be tailored for your needs.
A travel planner will work closely with you to help you select the right hotel for your dream destination wedding. They will work directly with the resort on your behalf to make sure you are getting the best service and the most accurate information. Once you’ve picked the resort you want to get married at, your travel planner will help you and all of your guests book their reservations. They’ll also answer any questions your guests have about the resort, so you don’t have to.
Working with a travel planner will make picking your dream destination wedding location a fun process and take the stress out of the planning phase.
One of the biggest issues we see in destination wedding planning is waiting until the last minute. To plan the best destination wedding possible, you should start to select the resort at least a year to 18 months in advance. This way, hotels will be less likely to be sold out, and you’ll have many more options to choose from for your big day.
The most popular days to host weddings at resorts are from Thursday to Sunday, so those days are often entirely fully booked a year in advance. And with some resorts hosting 8 or even 10 weddings A DAY, it’s also important to get planning early on so that you can secure the exact venue (e.g. beachfront, poolside gazebo, elegant ballroom, etc.) you’ve always dreamt of!
Let’s face it, budgeting is probably the least fun part of the wedding planning process, but one of the most important. It’s crucial to be realistic from the start. And with a destination wedding, it’s important to think about two separate budgets… Here we give you some tips to think about for both key areas.
The first budget to keep in mind is how much money your guests will spend to stay in your dream destination. The average wedding guest will typically spend $1,000 to stay 4 nights at your destination wedding. Please note, this does not include their flights. It’s a lot of money, so you will need to think about making the experience as amazing as possible for them.
The second budget to keep in mind is, of course, the budget for your wedding event(s). Planning a beautiful destination wedding in the Caribbean, for example, will likely be less expensive than hosting your wedding festivities at home in the States, but it’s important to remember that things do add up.
Beware of offers from certain resorts that seem too affordable. These can sometimes come from lower-end resorts and be very misleading. Always be sure to read the fine print to fully understand exactly what is and what is not included in wedding packages. Your travel professional will also help you avoid any misleading offers, and help ensure you understand the fine print.
When planning your budget, it’s also important to think about the time of year that you want to get married. January and February dates are usually the most expensive times to host a destination wedding, while summer dates are usually the least expensive. Typically, the colder the temperatures are on the East Coast in the US, the higher the prices are at popular beach destinations. Key holiday dates throughout the year such as Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving, are also more expensive times to host a destination wedding. But rest assured, planning in advance will help you get the best price.
This may sound obvious, but hear us out! It’s crucial that you pick the right resort for you as a couple, and of course for all your guests.
But how do you know if it’s the wrong resort? Go back to our first point… don’t DIY your destination wedding! Work with a travel agent or wedding planner who actually knows the resort. They will be able to guide you not only on the basics of the resort, but also help with details such as the guest experience, the quality of the food, the bars… basically everything that you might not think of.
We often find that resorts offering the least expensive wedding packages have the least experienced wedding planning team – these are the folks at the resort who will set up your wedding events (think: chairs, tables, linens, place settings, flowers, lighting, and more). We don’t want you to end up at a lower quality resort with a wedding team that only works within rigid packages, and who are constantly telling you no. When choosing a resort to host your destination wedding, it’s important to ensure you’ll have access to a highly skilled and experienced wedding planning team so that your day-of logistics go off without any issues.
Some couples choose to have their destination weddings at a resort that they have stayed at for a vacation. Be careful of this – just because you had a great vacation somewhere does not mean that they will be able to offer you the perfect wedding event that matches your needs.
Ask for help, this is your once in a lifetime event so please don’t cut corners – you won’t regret it!
Securing a room contract will guarantee one rate for you and all your guests. For instance, you could secure a nightly room rate right now for a summer 2024 destination wedding and that price will not change! This is really important – after all, you want your Aunt Viv to get the exact same price for their room as your bridesmaids. This can help to avoid any awkward conversations between your guests.
Another key benefit of having a room contract is that you are guaranteed to have access to a predetermined number of rooms for your event date. This is important when hotels are selling out and will help ensure that all of your guests can stay at the resort you’ve selected. Imagine not all your guests being able to stay at your selected resort – having this contract in place will take away this stress for you. You’ll likely be asked to submit a refundable deposit per room, typically about $100. This is totally normal and you will get this money back.
Lastly, having a room contract with your selected resort means that you will get the access to the best possible perks and upgrades, so it’s a no-brainer to get one!
We’ve seen couples make all kinds of decisions in planning their destination weddings, but these are probably the most common five mistakes that can be totally avoided when working with the right travel professional. We are passionate about providing our clients the best possible wedding experience.
With decades of experience planning hundreds of weddings, our team understands what couples are looking for and how to navigate working with the resorts.
Our dedicated team will work with all your friends and family so you can focus on planning your dream wedding.
Ready to start planning your big day?