Are you the type of couple who would say "I do" in a tropical setting? If so, then today's post is for you! Nashville area destination wedding travel agent Linda Dancer of Honeymoons Inc. is here to share how she can help you plan a tropical destination wedding! It's crucial to have a travel agent on board who has visited and planned destination weddings at resorts in tropical settings to help you through this process. Even though you may be opting for the "easier" way to get married, there's a lot to consider that you may not have thought about before... But the good news is that Linda can take care of it all for you! Keep reading to see how you can jet set your way to a tropical elopement!
As a couple living in Nashville, where would you recommend planning an elopement?
Linda: It really depends upon the time of year. Certain locations are better during different times of the year, for instance, many couples try to plan to miss rainy season. Also, some destinations are easier to have a legal ceremony because they do not require a blood test or translation of documents to Spanish or other languages. This is required in certain countries and will cost the bride and groom extra money. It also depends upon the length of time the bride and groom can be away due to to travel time and the residency requirement of the destination. This takes some planning as to how far in advance the couple must be in destination before the wedding. Since Hawaii is within the United States, it is a great option for an elopement.
What type of couple looks to elope in a tropical destination?
Linda: Couples who are getting married for the second time and feel this is a fun way to blend families. Also, couples who are extremely busy in their lives and do not have the time to plan a large wedding. Couples who have family issues that would prevent them from having a happy wedding at home because of family drama fare well with destination weddings. And also, couples who do not want to have the expense of a wedding at home because they are saving to buy a home. Plus, many of the popular all-inclusive resorts include the wedding in their package for free.
Tell us more about your favorite locations for a tropical wedding!
Linda: Jamaica is very popular. They do not require a blood test and only 48 hours residency required (for instance, you can arrive on Thursday and get married on Saturday at some resorts). St. Lucia and Antigua are also very popular locations. Sandals and Beaches Resorts by far do the best weddings and are the most popular with my clients. Beaches Turks & Caicos is very popular, but more expensive than some other destinations. It has an amazing white sand beach and blue water and the many resort amenities make it very attractive to lots couples. Hawaii is very popular as well , but given the travel time from the east coast and the fact that the wedding is in addition to the resort stay makes it hard for some couples to pull off.
Is there a limit to the amount of guests couples can invite to their tropical wedding?
Linda: Yes and no. Some venues are capacity controlled such as the new over-water chapels at Sandals in Jamaica and St Lucia. So if a bride has her heart set on that for her ceremony, she has to keep her guest count low. But if she is having a beach wedding, then there would not be a guest cap. Some resorts have pre-planned packages for a guest count. If couples go over that included guest count, then there would be a fee per extra guest. This is part of the conversation I have with couples before I start my research for them.
What is the process for planning a tropical wedding? Does the couple need to travel out to plan it all before the actual wedding?
Linda: Most couples reach out to me with basic information on what they are looking for in their destination wedding. I ask lots of questions that allow me to start doing research for them based upon their criteria. I narrow the choices down for them based upon their criteria, then I confirm the wedding date and time slot. If they are inviting guests, I take care of making the lodging arrangements for all guests and any other arrangements such as flights that the bride and groom or wedding guests might need assistance with. If the bride and groom have the time and budget, most resorts do offer a preview package that I can arrange for my couples as well.
How can you help a couple planning a tropical wedding?
Linda: I take all the stress away for the bride and groom. As a platinum wedding specialist for many resorts, I know the wedding team on-site at the resorts so I can answer any questions the bride has directly with the resort. I take over any questions from the wedding guests so they do not bother the bride and groom every five minutes. Most wedding groups are comprised of different levels of travel experience. For many, this is their first time traveling outside of the USA, so I start at the very beginning to help them get their passports and address any other questions or concerns they might have.
Is there anything else you can share about planning a tropical wedding?
Linda: The bride and groom really need to think about their guest list before they choose their destination. Consider the airfare from where many guest will be traveling. Some airfare can cost more than $1000 and when added to hotel costs, it could be too expensive for many guests. Plan in advance when inviting guests to allow them time to budget and request time off of work if possible. Most of my brides plan a year to 18 months in advance. Avoid major holidays that would cause your wedding guests conflicts like higher airfare and resort costs. If you are having a large group, if it's possible, have your travel agent go with the group to take care of any situations that might arise.
Ready to plan your tropical destination wedding now? I bet you are! Thanks so much for sharing all of your incredible insight with us today, Linda! You can find out more about Linda Dancer of Honeymoons Inc.here and also be sure to follow all of her tropical adventures and weddings over on Instagram!