COVID-19 put a wrench in many a plan, especially when it comes to weddings and events. Some even had to cancel destination weddings this past spring. But, we are also seeing other couples wanting to do the reverse. If they have to limit the number of people attending their wedding, they are considering planning for a later date and making it a destination wedding. For part two of a series on travel, we spoke with Romance Travel Specialist Ketti Menne, of Paradise Weddings & Travel. She touches on how you can pivot from a local wedding to a destination celebration.
FIRST STEPS IN PLANNING
Menne suggests you do your homework, “We believe the first steps include doing some preliminary research. A lot of our couples usually join destination wedding Facebook groups. Or have started the process by looking into a favorite resort and what they have to offer. To help make the final decision in moving forward with a destination wedding, finding a travel advisor to help navigate options for destinations, packages and price point will help. Although it tends to be an overall, less stressful process to plan a destination wedding, there are still stressors. And our job is to help limit these stress levels.”
THINGS TO CONSIDER
There are many things to consider when it comes to planning a destination wedding. This includes guest restrictions among other facets. “Some things to consider include guest comfortability in travel, willingness to plan from afar, overall wedding and travel budget. This is still a huge decision to make for an entire wedding group,” reminds Menne.
She says these are just some of the reasons why a travel agent can guide you. “Many couples choose a destination wedding because they don’t want to have to worry about every little detail and worry about all the decisions they have to make. However, it can still be stressful for some to make decisions on menus and décor from thousands of miles away. Couples still face the stress of family dynamics and disappointment when guests can’t travel. It is a wedding, there will always be various levels of stress, no matter how easy it may seem.”
As a travel specialist, Menne knows what questions to ask a couple to make sure a destination is the right choice for them. “I always ask the couple if their immediate family is on board with a destination wedding. And I also ask if they are going to be okay with some of their closest friends not being able to travel. It can be very frustrating for couples who want to travel and the parents are not happy with the wedding being in another country. Not everyone will be able to travel, even if the date is set 8-18 months out from travel. If either or both of the questions are answered with a hard no, I don’t recommend having a destination wedding. But, maybe having a destination honeymoon where traveling with close friends and family will include celebrating the marriage in paradise!”
We asked Menne what destinations lend themselves to this pivot (that can help couples create the wedding they want) the most easily. “For our couples out of Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas, our most popular destination is Mexico with the Dominican Republic and Jamaica next. Most of year, there are nonstop flights from Minnesota to numerous destinations in Mexico and easily found for the winter months in the Dominican and Jamaica.”
You’re not on your own once you have a travel agent and have narrowed down a locale. “Most resorts have a wedding planner on staff that will assist with all the wedding details. Some resorts have a separate wedding team that assists with the initial planning. Then, they hand it over to an onsite planner,” Menne says. So you don’t need to hire a separate planner in these instances.
Take a look at some of our destination real weddings so you can see firsthand how beautiful these events can be.
Photos courtesy of Nikki Orth with Nicole Marie Photography