Are you choosing a Destination Wedding Resort?
Where does a Bride & Groom start?
The first step would be to find a Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialist (like me – hopefully) about 9 months – 12 months ahead of the wedding date. Then, with your DW Specialist/travel agent, look at the resorts in your destination that you will want to consider. It is a good idea to create a list of “can’t do without” options and other features for this process. Then, go through this list, keeping an active list of resorts that meet the criteria.
- Resort pricing for the Bride & Groom and for the wedding guests
- Adults-Only or Family-Inclusive
- All-Inclusive options
- Beach location (some are better than others)
- Facilities, activities, entertainment – that everyone will enjoy
- Special offers at resorts
- Wedding package options available
Probably the most important first step. Can wedding guests afford to stay at the resort chosen? For Mexico (and I’ll use that example throughout because of the best pricing options), a 4 night stay, depending on the time of year, can range between $2000 – $3000 for 2 adults. Children under 2 can travel and stay for the tax only – approximately $17.50, as long as the child does not require a separate seat (and sits on a parent’s lap). Children ages 2 – 12 pay airfare and a reduced rate at resorts, and a 13 year old is considered an adult (for cost purposes).
Adults-Only or Family-Inclusive should be the next consideration. If the wedding guests do not include children, this is a no-brainer. Otherwise, a family-inclusive resort would be the only option. Family resorts are actually slightly less expensive, so this works in most Bride & Groom’s favor. The facilities, activities, and entertainment vary by resort, so don’t leave this out. For example, rock climbing walls, BB courts, volleyball, archery, and even a wave rider are unique & offered at some resorts. Who would be interested in these activities? Eight year olds to Teenagers? Paddle boarding, paddle boats, and beach activities are found at most resort locations. Additionally, movies and bonfires on the beach are uniquely offered at some locations.
All-Inclusive options can be very different but seem the same? Destination Weddings at All-Inclusive Resorts give wedding guests so much to choose from. It’s important to look at these options in detail. For example, yes liquor is included, but is premium alcohol offered and served? How many restaurants does the resort have? Are reservations required for dinner? Is there 24 hour room service? Do any guests have special dietary needs, i.e. gluten free, etc., and can the resort accommodate those guests?
How important is the Beach location to your Destination Wedding? Not all Beaches are created equal! If the type & look of the Beach is important, make this a part of the initial search while pricing. With the ease of working with the internet today, there are so many photos available just by doing a simple search “picture of beach at ____”. As a travel agent, I try to visit and complete site inspections of resorts on a regular basis. This enables me to give first hand information, details, and pictures of the resort properties for a better “picture” of your stay.
A really BIG consideration should be given to the special offerings that a resort makes to wedding groups. If a resort/brand offers book 5 rooms, get the 6th room free, wouldn’t that be important in making a decision? If a resort offers credits for guests to use for spa & excursions, wouldn’t that be important? As a travel agent, I can quickly pinpoint the resorts that make these offers and make sure that you get the most value for your’s, and your wedding guest’s dollars.
The Wedding packages that resorts offer vary greatly in what is offered and pricing. RIU Palace (shown) offers 4 options. Generally, there are 3 to 4 different packages, with the first complimentary one as the first (value $500 – $999) with the purchase of a certain room category or number of rooms booked for guests. This package is always limited to 10 attendees, but additional guests can be added for a set cost. It also has only a few inclusions, such as a Bridal bouquet, groom boutonniere, cake, and wedding toast. Other packages, increasing in price and value, offer the wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner reception, music, floral, and photo & videography. Each wedding can be uniquely created by adding more color, sound, menu choices, & locations. These wedding packages usually include 20 – 25 guests. The costs vary for adding additional guests, but typically one can expect $75 – $100 per guest.
Choosing a Destination Wedding Resort can be a very lengthy process. But with the guidance of a seasoned professional travel agent, Brides & Grooms can find this to be a fun, easy, and exciting!