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I Do – Planning a Destination Wedding


Part of my job as CEO of Elite Travel is to help couples plan their dream destination weddings. It’s what I do and what I love. In a lot of ways destination weddings are easier than their at home counterparts, but there is a whole new world of things to consider when booking a wedding abroad. Here is a cheat-sheet for when to start looking, booking and insuring your wedding day in paradise.

Is a Destination Wedding right for you?

Destination weddings aren’t for everyone. If you want to have control over the details of your wedding, if there are beloved guests who cannot travel, or if you dream of having a large wedding with all your friends and family in attendance -pick a local venue. But, for those who want an intimate wedding that is relatively stress-free, destination weddings are perfect. Travel agents who specialize in destination weddings, like me, will handle the details for you and let you know what to do step by step. And it’s our job to make the process fun. How many brides actually have fun planning their weddings?

How to Choose Where to Go

Make a list of your interests as a couple. If one of you wants relaxation and the other has adventure in mind, tell your travel agent who can then find a trip that accommodates both. Also, let your agent know what you don’t like: noisy kids, no televisions in rooms, big buffets, etc. Budget is a big factor also, but a good travel planner can help you calculate your daily expenses down to the dime. Destination weddings are often less expensive than at-home weddings since the guest list is smaller and many hotels offer deals and group discounts. In fact, you can throw an entire destination wedding for as little as $5000, including the price of your stay for six nights at an all-inclusive resort. Some resorts even offer free wedding packages – you and your guests pay for the rooms, they throw in a wedding.


As soon as that ring and finger meet, start talking with your travel agent to get ideas and a sense of rates for your destination wedding. Remember, your guests will need plenty of warning so they can plan their budgets and vacation times to come with you. A year or more in advance, book your hotel and wedding venue. Put down your deposit on the hotel and venue six months before your trip, or you can have an agent do this for you. Four to six months in advance start tracking plane ticket rates to find the lowest prices. Ask your travel agent what the average price is for tickets to your destination for the time of year you are flying. Then, when the price dips below that average, buy.

Travel Insurance

If anything goes wrong – you’re suddenly too sick to travel, a tropical storm hits, you break a leg jumping off a waterfall – you will need travel insurance. I recommend a comprehensive trip insurance policy that covers cancellation costs for any reason, lost baggage, missed connections, and health, including medical air evacuation.


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