With a multitude of direct charters from Saskatchewan and Manitoba to hot southern destinations, it’s no wonder that brides and grooms to be, jet set to tie the knot. The industry continues to evolve as destinations compete to provide exceptional experiences for couples and their guests.
Though there are some more out of the way destinations competing in this market such as luxurious hot spot, Saint Lucia, the primary go to destinations for travelers, specifically in Saskatchewan, continue to be places which are more easily accessible and budget friendly.
The trend for 2016 includes these five hot spot destinations, according to destination wedding expert, Tamara Graae of Ixtapa Travel.
- Jamaica for diversity.
With three major areas to the island all catering to different tastes (Montenegro, Negril and Ocho Rios), there is something for everyone - not to mention the tasty Jamaican food and notoriously friendly (English speaking) people. Another bonus beyond its Caribbean setting are the minimal requirements for legal weddings.
- Riviera Maya for its beautiful backdrop.
If you close your eyes and dream about white sand beaches set against some of the bluest blues found in the Caribbean, choosing the Riviera Maya’s backdrop doesn’t disappoint. Hundreds of incredible resorts with a range of offerings provide a lot of choice, too. Offsite, take in the Mayan Ruins and nearby Playa del Carmen.
- Puerto Vallarta for its budget friendliness.
A destination wedding staple and favourite Canadian vacation spot many years over, there are several reasons to consider Puerto Vallarta. Discover excellent value, beautiful locations and a wide variety of off-resort activities. Offering the most flights (along with Cancun) makes finding cheaper flights easy – which can significantly bring down costs. With an array of tours, the noteworthy Malecon and combination of culture, shopping and art, it’s a hard destination to beat for overall packaging.
- Huatulco for the road a little less traveled.
Less commercialized than other destinations on this list (it just got its first Starbucks!), Huatulco is becoming a favourite for those looking not only to host a wedding in a less touristy and more intimate spot, but one where guests (including the wedding couple) maybe haven’t yet visited. With its consistent warm weather, you can count on a truly ‘hot’ wedding.
- Costa Rica for its newest offerings.
If you are willing to fly a little longer, the lush offerings of Costa Rica offer something out of the ordinary with it’s rich eco tourism and adventure offerings. A slew of new resorts including names we already love for weddings such as Secrets, Dreams and RIU, are making this destination a desirable place to get hitched.
Factors to contemplate when choosing a destination wedding include: budget – for you and your guests; aesthetic – what the backdrop will look like; activities - what else there is to do on and off resort, and of course, resort packaging – what is and isn’t included.
Of course within each destination there are numerous resorts offering a smorgasbord of different options, packaging and wedding styles. How does one sort through it all? Graae shares with us her top tips for figuring out all of the who, what, where and how questions that go along with planning a destination wedding.
Tips for on planning a carefree destination wedding
- Know your budget. And consider the cost for your guests. A stress free way to get the best value for everyone’s dollar is to consult an expert rather than try to do it all yourself.
- Time of year. Consider off-season travel during November and early December to save money.
- Consult travel experts. Not only do they help you to stay within budget, they will walk you through from start to finish helping you achieve your vision by matching you with the best destination and resort. They can also handle all the travel arrangements for guests.
- Reputation matters. Choose a resort with a good reputation for weddings. Don’t forget to research and vet reputable tour operators for holiday packages.
- Prep ahead of time. Ensure guests have appropriate documentation and travel protection, including cancellation insurance as early as possible. Save everyone from the headache of dealing with the unexpected that often comes along with travel. Advise potential wedding guests early in the process so they too, can plan and budget.
- Don’t forget. Try to find a resort and choose activities that have offerings for multi-generational guests.