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Things You Need To Know When Planning a Destination Wedding

Congratulations! You’re getting married and you always dreamed of having a wedding far away from home, perhaps on a remote island or at an adventure park. Wherever you dreamed of saying your ‘I Do’s, there are things you should know when planning for your big day.

 

  1. Start early: Some popular destinations can book up in advance. Plus, you should spare some time to visit the destination of your choice.
  2. It’s not as expensive as you think: According to The Knot magazine, most couples spend an average of $30,000 on a local’ wedding. A destination wedding with a small circle of your closest friends and family can cost a fraction of that total.
  3. Think about your budget: While it can cost less than a traditional local wedding, you still need to have the funds without depleting your bank account. Decide what’s most important to you as a couple.
  4. Keep your guests in mind: Are you having children attend? Then pick a kid-friendly destination. Want your elderly Aunt Lola to attend, but she struggles with walking? Make sure that your destination is accessible for her.
  5. Location, location, location: Your destination wedding really comes down to the location that you picked. Do not pick a destination because Aunt Lola will be happy or because she told you that she always saw you getting married there. Pick a destination that you both want and that means something to you, whether it’s romantic Tuscany, the beautiful Hawaiian islands or the cold Swiss Alps.
  6. Visit your destination: Don’t take someone else’s word for the destination you want. Go visit it yourself, even if you’ve been there before. You should meet with the vendors, including the photographer, and you’ll want to see the venue at least one more time. Make sure you try the food while you are there too.
  7. Check the paperwork: Depending on your location, you may need special permits for your wedding. Some may take time to get, so give yourself plenty of time to get everything you need.
  8. Use a travel agent: A travel agent can help you plan your wedding from far away. They are more familiar with destinations and local customs and can make sure that your big day is just perfect. They can talk to your vendors, help you to book your reservations and make your day less stressful.
  9. Plan the honeymoon: Planning a wedding is great, but make sure you spend just as much time planning the honeymoon.
  10. Relax: It takes a lot to plan a wedding, especially one that is hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. Make sure you spend time relaxing before the festivities and be sure you’re enjoying what you’re doing.

Travel Specialist Group

Best Destination Wedding Locations and Why


The best location to get married is the one that means the most to you and your loved one. Maybe it’s an island where you first said ‘I love you’. Maybe it’s in a country that’s part of your heritage. Or, maybe it’s just a destination that you always dreamed about because it just seems so romantic. Whatever it is, the destination you choose should be the one where you want to say your vows enjoy your big day. Need a few recommendations?

Portugal: With its crystal clear waters, beautiful landmarks and high-towering cliffs, Portugal is one of the most beautiful places in the world and makes an ideal wedding destination. Its city of Algarve is known for its many beaches and Sintra became the first center of European Romantic architecture in Portugal. Portugal is known for its castles including Castle of the Moors, a hilltop medieval castle where you can say your I Do’s.

Italy: Any part of Italy makes a great destination wedding because marrying in Italy is considered one of the most romantic ways to get married. Singer John Legend tied the knot with his wife Chrissy Teigen in Lake Como, known for its deep-blue waters and rugged, forested foothills of the Alps. Of course, there are the rolling hills of Tuscany where you can get married in Florence or Siena or at any one of the hilltop castles, such as the Sala Rossa of Florence, the Palazzo Pubblico of Siena.

Ireland: Speaking of castles, Ireland also makes a great wedding destination site with its more than 30,000 castles across the country, including the 400-acre Dromoland, where you can take a romantic boat ride before you exchange your vows. St. Patrick’s Cathedral located in Dublin is a holy site is created in 1191. The Botanic Gardens, established in 1828, makes a beautiful backdrop to say your vows and, of course, there’s the romantic famous Blarney Castle and sharing an upside down kiss on the Blarney Stone.

Before you plan your wedding keep in mind that, just like in the United States, you need to complete certain paperwork in each country in order to say your ‘I Do’s’ to be considered legal. Check the country’s embassy website or search “getting married in ‘fill-in-the-country’” to find out exactly what you need to do.

Travel Specialist Group

Planning a Destination Wedding With Children

travel-specialist-group

Having a destination wedding comes with its own unique set of challenges, but children can add even more challenges to that list. Whether they are in your wedding party, children of the guests or both, you need to think about their needs while you are planning your wedding. Here are five tips to help make your day easier, so you can worry about what’s really important — saying your I Do’s:

    1. Pick a family-friendly destination: There are many resorts around the world that cater to families, with accommodations, dining and activities for all ages. This takes the pressure off of you to keep the kids entertained and provide proper amenities for them. The staff is also familiar with taking care of families.
    2. Have children-friendly activities: Provide activities that are just for adults, some that are just for the kiddies, some that are just for the teens and tweens and some that are for everyone. It takes some planning, but make sure you keep everyone entertained. During the wedding reception, while the adults (and some kids) are dancing the night away, others can be playing with puzzles, coloring or building with Legos at the table.
    3. Children’s menu: Not all children enjoy fancy, schmancy h’or derves, or chicken cordon bleu or roast beef for dinner, so make sure that you have some children’s menu options available. Macaroni, macaroni and cheese, and chicken nuggets are some perennial kids’ favorites. Remember them for the dessert too. Kids love cake, so the wedding cake might not be a problem, but have some cookies and milk on hand as well.
    4. Peace and quiet: Some kids get overexcited and overtired at big events and need a place to chill out for a little while. If you have any new moms who need a place to breastfeed, they may want a place that’s private and quiet. Even some adults just need to get away from all the noise and celebration for awhile, so make sure you have a spot that’s just meant for quiet time.
    5. Teens: The older kids like to be treated like the adults and do what the adults do, so let them participate in the festivities. They can dance, enjoy the grown-up appetizers and menu options, but if there are several teens on hand, consider letting them have their own table, so they can chat with guests their own age.
    6. Time it right: If you have a lot of children attending your wedding or in your wedding party, consider holding some of the events earlier in the day.

Travel Specialist Group

Planning Tips For Your Destination Wedding

travel-specialist-groupCongratulations on your wedding! If you want to leave your hometown and have a wedding at a destination far away from home, here are some tips to make your big day just perfect:

Location, location, location: Having a successful destination wedding first depends on picking the right destination. Pick a destination that you want to have your wedding at, not because your mom or your aunt always wanted to get married there. Most couples pick a destination that means something to them. For example, perhaps you were proposed to in Hawaii and want to return there to tie the knot, or you met in Aruba and an island wedding would mean so much. Some couples choose a destination that honors a passion they have in their life. For example, maybe you are both wine aficionados and want a wedding at a wine region in Tuscany or you are both adventure junkies and want to exchange vows on the White Cliffs of Dover. It’s your day, so pick the right destination for you.

Details, details: You have the right destination for you, but will you be able to pull off the wedding of your dreams? Logistically, can you have a wedding there? Is there enough room for your guests? Can your guests come to your wedding without spending a fortune? It may be out of reach financially for some guests, so you need to be okay with that. What time of the year do you want the wedding? Is it available or do you need to wait for a year or two? Will the wedding be off-season where there are fewer crowds, or during the busy season when the destination may be more expensive? Think about all of your details and if this destination is a fit.

Show me the money: What is your budget? Do you have champagne wishes and caviar dreams, but are on a beer and burger budget? Think about what you can really afford before booking anything. Your wedding should fit into your budget, not bust it. However, The Knot magazine does say that traditional at-home weddings cost couples an average of $30,000, but a destination wedding can be done for a fraction of the cost.

Work with a planner: If you’re definitely set on the destination then work with a destination wedding planner who can help you with all of these fine details. They know the area, so while you are home planning, they can be your eyes and ears at the venue, while working with your budget. They can also work with all of the vendors.

Take a Trip: Even if you have been there before, it’s important to take at least one trip during your wedding planning just to check everything out. You’ll want to see the venue again, talk to the caterers and the photographer and make sure the site is what you remember.

Travel Specialist Group, Inc

When Children Should Start Traveling

travel-specialist-groupYou want to share your love of traveling with your children, but when is the right time to take them on the road or to another country?

Infant to toddler: One benefit to traveling with children at a much younger age is that they will already be more comfortable with flying, being on the road for long stretches of time, or taking cruises. Older children might feel nervous if they haven’t traveled before and it’s their first time. However, it’s important to realize that they might not remember a lot at such a young age, but whatever memories they do keep, they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Child to tween: This time period in a child’s life is also a good time to start traveling with them. It’s likely that they will actually remember the trip. It’s also a nice age where a child can keep themselves entertained on a flight — depending on the child – or in a car. It’s also a good age where you can teach them about their destinations and make the trip a learning experience. This is a nice time to just enjoy a family trip together.

Tween to teenager/young adult: Perhaps a lack of money or time has forced you to wait until your kids become teenagers to travel. That’s okay. This can actually have a lot of benefits since, at this age, teenagers are prepared to handle more responsibility. They can help you to plan the trip and to also pick out things to see or do that are specific to their interests, which will make them even more excited for the trip. If they have their driver’s license and some experience behind the wheel, they also might be able to help lighten the load on the road and take over some of the driving.

If your child is more in the “tween” age, this can still be a great opportunity to teach him  how to manage various parts of trips, such as itineraries, reservations, plane tickets, money for souvenirs and food, etc. Learning from you and their firsthand experiences can help them down the line when it comes time to they plan their own trips.

When should children start traveling? Honestly, any time is the right time. It’s all a matter of planning, picking out kid friendly destinations, making it a fun, learning experience and expecting the unexpected. Because, after all, they are kids.

Travel Specialist Group

Pros and Cons of a Destination Wedding

travel specialist groupSome couples want a wedding close to home, while others want to have their special day on an island or a farm far away. These locales might hold a special meaning to the happy couple or they want to take their closest family or friends somewhere unique to celebrate their wedding day. Maybe it’s just a money thing, and with good cause. Earlier this year, The Knot released their findings about the cost of traditional, close-to-home weddings, which was averaging about $30,000. A beautiful destination wedding can cost much less than the $30K price tag.

But should you or shouldn’t you? There are pros and cons of a destination wedding. Let’s break them down so you can make the right decision for you.

Ca-ching! Having a destination wedding can significantly cut the cost of your wedding. How? Well, in most cases, your chosen resort destination will create a combined package of a wedding and honeymoon. Your guests will pay their own way to the location and for their accommodations. Many resorts provide discounts for a wedding party because of the extended stay or because of the amount of rooms you have booked.

Ahhh: Most of the time, destination weddings are an all-in-one inclusive wedding and honeymoon package. The resort offers photographers, music and other components of a wedding. Everything is pretty much taken care of for you, which releases so much of the stress that a traditional wedding can typically cause. The resort destination will also work with your travel agent to take all the details out of your hands and put them into theirs so you can relax and enjoy the day.

Unfortunately there are a few downsides to a destination wedding.

Awww: Not everyone can attend the wedding. They may not be able to afford the travel costs or take off from work to be able to travel. Destinations make for great intimate weddings with several of your closest family and friends, but keep in mind that some friends and family who really wanted to be there might be upset if they cannot attend. This may cause unnecessary friction.

Legalities: Let’s say that you want to get married in Italy. You need specific paperwork that has to be filled out before you get married. Other countries may have other legal requirements that might prevent you from getting married in that country. You may also need to bring specific documents with you, such as a passport or birth certificate. Research your destination ahead of time or ask your travel agent.

The happy couple will be even happier if you work with a travel agent who has experience handling destination weddings.

Travel Specialist Group