Planning a destination wedding? Chances are, you have questions! Here to answer them is Monica Velasco, award-winning travel consultant of AzulBlue Journeys, a travel company specialized in giving you the dream destination wedding.
Can I be legally married away from home?
Where destination weddings are concerned, there are two types of ceremonies; legal and symbolic. The legal ceremony involves a judge, making you legally married in whatever country you’re in, and sometimes has complicated steps. It all depends on where you want to go, but most people go to the courthouse at home and get married in Texas and then have a symbolic ceremony at the destination of their choice.
Should I bring vendors with me or find them locally?
Most resorts provide a list of their own vendors and will give you plenty of options to choose from. That being said, it’s popular for couples to bring a photographer with them. In these cases, the resorts will charge an outside vendor fee and require the photographer to stay at the resort for the minimum stay period.
Do destination weddings have a lower guest turn out than regular weddings?
You would be surprised! The majority of guests look at destination weddings as vacations. Per hotel policy, the minimum stay for wedding guests is 3 nights, but often guests stay longer because they are able to utilize the group rates. Guests go to your wedding and then out on their own little holidays.
Is there a way for budget brides to enjoy a destination wedding?
Absolutely! What many people don’t realize is that you will pay either the same or less to have a wedding at home with catering, reception, and everything else as you pay to have a wedding at a resort with everything included! Your guests will be there. You will have a beautiful backdrop. And it’s not half as stressful as having a wedding at home. The hotels are always willing to work with you on new ideas! You can go as big or small as you want. It is definitely very affordable.
What are the dangers of planning a destination wedding without professional help?
Everything in the book! The most common problem – couples pick the wrong place. They find a place that looks fabulous online and when they get there it’s a dump. Another problem couples often encounter when on their own is that they don’t realize they will be penalized for not using the whole space they book. For example, if they book 30 rooms and only use 16, the empty rooms need to be returned by a specific date or they will need to be paid for.
You don’t pay anything additional for using a travel agent. The fee I charge goes back to the couple once they travel; it’s just a retainer to formalize our working relationship. I help them pick the resort based on my experience and contacts, I ensure they get group rates, and I keep everything in check.
What do most travelers overlook en route to destination weddings?
Passports would be at the top of my list! You need a passport to be valid for at least 6 months beyond your return trip for international travel and the airlines won’t tell you until you go to check in for your flight. And lots of people forget their travel documents at home – again, this is where an agent can help! Couples can call me if they’ve forgotten something and I’ll tell them what to do.
What are the advantages of booking with a travel agent?
Having a destination wedding is a big project to take on by yourself. What I always tell my brides is that you get to have the fun and let someone else worry about the details! And another piece of good advice is that lots of properties will let you come visit for a discounted rate so you can see the property and assess.
What’s your favorite destination spot?
For a wedding – Mexico! Especially for Texans. It’s so easy to get to and travel time is really short, airfare quite good, and there are so many beautiful locations.
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