|Destination weddings repurpose honeymoon locations for groups|
|Written by Maureen Jones|
|Wednesday, 09 April 2008|
Today’s bride is older, better educated and more career-oriented than ever before. With an average age of 27, she is more business savvy and more likely to ask questions than her predecessors. Very often, the expenses for the wedding are paid for by the bride or shared with the groom.
There is also an increasing trend toward the renewal of vows. Whether it is an older couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary or a younger couple celebrating their l0th, the idea is to celebrate continuing love. Seventy percent of couples renewing their vows do so because they didn’t have the wedding or celebration they wanted when they first got married, due to financial or time constraints.
Every bride dreams of a perfect wedding. Often couples come to us with the unrealistic expectation that they can afford everything they want. They have grandiose ideas but no clue as to the price tag involved. It is the honeymoon specialist’s job to help a bride recover from sticker shock by using creative and professional expertise to assist with her dreams but keep within the budget.
Many brides, while computer literate, have no idea how complicated a process it is to plan a wedding, particularly a destination wedding, and how many decisions she will have to make.
The job of honeymoon specialists is to ease the planning options. We know to check important details – for instance, researching legal marriage requirements in foreign countries is a very important process.
We work with preferred Signature Travel Network suppliers to set up air, car and hotel packages, then put the bride in touch with the resort or third-party wedding planner at the destination. Many of our suppliers have a wedding desk to handle everything on site.
Disney World in Florida is the No. l domestic destination for weddings, followed by Las Vegas. Looking farther afield, from the West Coast, the majority of people prefer a South Pacific location, such as Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii or Australia, depending on the budget. Other exotic destinations for 2008-2009 include Thailand, Asia and Africa.
The growing trend is for a destination wedding, called the “weddingmoon,” that combines the wedding ceremony, the reception and the honeymoon in one location. With all the details and challenges planning a perfect wedding and the price tag that accompanies it, more couples are opting to reduce the hassle of separate trips and focus on something truly unique. A destination wedding typically includes fewer than 100 people and involves a few days of activities for everyone. It allows the wedding guests to vacation and spend more quality time with the wedding couple.
Club Med, an all-inclusive resort in Ixtapa, Mexico, underwent a $65 million renovation and now offers different features, including suites and liquor as part of the package. The resort will do the wedding planning. The demand for true “all-inclusive” luxury rooms, high-quality food, many amenities and fantastic service makes it an ideal multigenerational site for honeymoon couples and their guests.
The cruise industry is seeing a tremendous growth in weddings either on a ship or at a port of call. Guests are delighted to be part of a ceremony and have their vacation at the same time. Some lines require you provide your own clergy, because being married by the ship’s captain is not considered a legal ceremony.
Coordinating the bridal registry with the destination wedding is a growing trend, as guests often prefer to buy the bride and groom a harbor dinner cruise, a round of golf or a helicopter ride instead of a set of towels.
Maureen Jones is president of All Horizons Travel, 160 Main St., Los Altos.
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