Why Planning a Destination Wedding is Different Than Planning a Vacation

February 8, 2021

Some of my favorite resorts to book for my clients’ vacations are actually terrible choices for destination weddings. Say what?? Yeah, I know. I sound crazy. Hear me out!

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I'm kathryn potter!

I'm an ocean-obsessed Midwesterner with a travel agency specializing in all-inclusive resort vacations & destination weddings.

My signature accessory is dog hair. My love language is witty sarcasm. I could eat Chipotle every day. I listen to Guns n Roses while decorating the Christmas tree because Welcome to the Jungle works in any situation. Try as I might, I just can’t quit the Real Housewives.

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Raise your hand if you’ve planned your own awesome vacation before. Chances are, you have. You used your ninja Googling skills and found the perfect resort and the best deal.

So when you start planning your destination wedding at a resort in Mexico or the Caribbean, why wouldn’t you just use those same ninja Google skills again?

I’m here to tell you why. Ye ole internets are a wealth of knowledge, but there’s still a lot of things Google, TripAdvisor and the Facebook Groups don’t know.

Take it from a travel advisor that does this every day…planning a vacation and planning a destination wedding are two TOTALLY different animals. 

Some of my favorite resorts to book for my clients’ vacations are actually terrible choices for destination weddings. Say what?? Yeah, I know. I sound crazy. Hear me out!

Some resorts offer an amazing vacation experience, but their wedding departments leave a lot to be desired. Planning a wedding is stressful enough, but throw in planning a wedding from thousands of miles away and a resort with a less-than-stellar wedding department and that’s a bunch of added stress you don’t need.

So what kind of things am I talking about?

Resort Wedding Department Problems

  • Poor communication – Can you imagine a resort taking 6 months to confirm your wedding date? Sounds impossible, right? Nope…I know of a resort that’s kinda famous for this. If they’re this unresponsive in the beginning, can you just imagine trying to work with them to plan all of the little details? Hard pass.
  • Wedding department is understaffed – This is another big issue that creates unnecessary stress. Some resorts only have one wedding coordinator for 3 different resorts. With one person to handle several weddings a day, there’s no way you’ll get the attention you deserve.
  • Cookie-cutter wedding packages – While we love the simplicity of the resort wedding packages, we also appreciate the resorts that allow changes and creativity. Everyone wants something a little unique and innovative, but not every resort can accommodate.
  • Wedding packages are not budget-friendly – Not everyone has a budget for their wedding package, but most people do. And if you don’t understand the wedding packages then you may have severe sticker shock! Most wedding packages are written for about 25 guests, so make sure you understand the extra costs associated with more guests.
  • The resort double-booked your venue – You’ve been envisioning your gorgeous wedding ceremony at the gazebo overlooking the beach for months. Then you arrive at the resort only to find out they double-booked it and the other couple is paying more, so you’re out. Yes, this happens.

So let’s just say you got lucky & the resort you chose actually does have a good wedding department. What other things are different?

Booking a Group vs Booking an Individual Reservation

Pretty much anyone can figure out how to go to the resort website and book a room for their vacation. But what if you’re bringing a group of 50 people to the resort? How do you guarantee there are enough available rooms for your group? How will the resort know you’re all traveling together? What if some people can only stay 3 nights and others want to stay a whole week?

When booking your destination wedding at an all-inclusive resort you’ll want to look into a group contract for a room block. This is how you lock in enough rooms for your group. It also will likely earn you some amazing discounts and comps. Hello, thousands of extra dollars to help pay for your wedding. Score!

Group contracts can be very intimidating. There are some scary cancellation terms. You have to put up a big deposit to hold the space. There’s soooo much legalese.

Don’t let the group contract freak you out. A travel advisor that specializes in groups and destination weddings deals with these contracts every day and will help you understand all the terms and also show you why you’re making a big mistake by not having the group contract.

Estimating Your Guest List Size

Before you choose your resort and venue, one of the most important things you need to do is figure out how many people will actually attend your destination wedding.

Why? Because the number of guests will determine the best wedding package that meets your needs, the venue that can accommodate everyone, and the number of rooms you need to have in your room block.

If you book a particular resort just because you’re in love with their rooftop venue, but then you find out the capacity is only 25 people and you’re expecting 75…you’re in trouble.

Or what if the resort you booked charges hefty fees per guest once you have over 20 people? And you’re very popular and have 80 guests that want to celebrate your big day in paradise with you. Welp….you just added about $9000 to your wedding costs. If you’d taken into account your large guest list before selecting your resort, those 80 guests may have actually earned you a free reception and welcome party….and not cost you one extra dime!

Not sure how to estimate how many people will actually attend your destination wedding? No worries, I’ve used my many years of experience to come up with a pretty great way to figure this out. Just one of the things I chat about during my free consultation call.

So as you can see, there is much to consider when choosing an all-inclusive resort for your destination wedding in paradise. It’s not as simple as booking a vacation!

But don’t fret, all you need is a great travel agent that specializes in destination weddings. You don’t have to stress about making the wrong decision when you’ve got an amazing travel advisor in your corner!

So go ahead & schedule your complimentary destination wedding consultation with me. During this call I dedicate one hour to you and your fiancé so you can learn more about how I can make your destination wedding planning stress-free and F-U-N (just like it should be)! I can’t wait to chat with you!

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I'm Kathryn, travel advisor & owner of KP Travel Group 

I’m your boots-on-the-ground, been-there-seen-that resort expert. In an age where the right angle and Instagram filter can turn a pigsty into a palace, I'll help you plan a vacation that really delivers on that picture-perfect promise.

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