Planning a destination wedding?

Planning a destination wedding? Here’s what you need to know

More and more couples Especially young couples – continue to trade in the traditional home-based wedding ceremony for destination “I dos.”

In fact, wedding expert Danielle Andrews estimates that as many as one-in-five Canadian couples (of all ages) are choosing to have their nuptials abroad. Narrowing it down further, however, that number climbs as high as 40 per cent for millennial couples.

“[Destination weddings] are pretty popular right now, especially with millennials,” Andrews, president of the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada Inc., says. “I think millennials are looking for more interesting locations and something that’s more unique to them for their weddings… And it’s more about having experiences for them – not about adding bling to their lives, but adding more experience to their lives, so they’re taking that to their weddings as well.”

But while destination weddings may seem like an attractive alternative for many young couples, planning one can be a different story. Where do you start? When is the best time to book it? What kind of money will you be spending?

Global News spoke with Andrews who helps answer some of those tough questions.

The lowdown

Typically, a destination wedding isn’t a one-day affair, but rather a days-long celebration.

While the wedding itself is only a one-day event, Andrews says couples should account for the days their guests arrive, leave and relax in between.

According to the Destination Weddings Travel Group 2016 Trend Report, the average number of nights guests tend to book are four, while the couple often stays an average seven.

“There has to be some sort of a welcome event on the first day when everyone arrives,” Andrews says. “You might have the wedding on another day, but then you should have some sort of closing event. But if you have plan it to be longer than four days, then you should plan some sort of excursion in there as well with your guests. So really there are four events happening for your wedding and not just the one.”
Destination weddings also tend to be more intimate affairs.

The average number of guests attending destination weddings tends to be around 28, the report states.

This, Andrews says, makes it easier for the couple to really enjoy the company of all their guests as opposed to big at-home weddings which tend to occupy the bride and groom.

Timing is everything

According to Andrews, the peak time for destination weddings is between the months of November and May – with peak time being in May – which avoids the hurricane season and usually means couples will have the best weather.

But booking the wedding should be done at least a year in advance – so now is the time book if you plan on having a destination by early next year.

This doesn’t only allow you the time you need to plan and secure a location, but it’s also a courtesy to your guests.

“Depending on where you decide to go, guests might have to secure visas to attend the wedding,” Andrews explains. “It’s also giving your guests enough notice so they can book time off work and save the money they’ll need to attend the wedding.”

Making the wedding happen

Planning your wedding when you’re hundreds – if not, thousands of kilometres away is no easy task. However, there are a few ways couples can go about planning.

First, they can book through a resort.

Some resorts offer packages – some being more generous than others in terms of what they offer.

It can be a one-stop shop, if you find a place you like and hit the jackpot.

Another option is to go through a home-based wedding coordinator, which Andrews says can help take the pressure off of planning from so far away.

“The difference of having a wedding coordinator near you and resorts is that wedding coordinators are handling everything for you that has to do with the wedding (like travel planning as well, for example) whereas if you’re working with someone through a resort they’re only handling what’ll be happening on the resort,” she says. “What you want to make sure is that your wedding planner is experienced in destination weddings. Often, experienced coordinators will have someone on the ground who is a local planner at the destination as well working in conjunction.”
Whatever avenue you decide to go, it’s important that the couple actually visit the destination they have in mind before booking because “pictures on the internet can be deceiving,” Andrews warns.

Andrews also suggests scouting out locations that aren’t resorts or typical wedding venues. Is there a waterfall that takes your breath away? A cave with beautiful features? What about atop a hill or cliff looking out over the ocean? Don’t be afraid to get creative, Andrews says.

The money you’ll spend

According to the wedding destinations report, the average cost of an at-home wedding has increased more than US$5,500. over the past five years. Overall, couples in 2015 spent an average of $32,000 on their weddings – which is also on par with what the annual Newlywed Report says.

The average spending for destination weddings on the other hand has remained under $10,000 for over 10 years.

The average cost of accommodations is around $2,000 with flight costs averaging just over $1,127. The wedding packages themselves hover around the $1,600 mark, the 2016 Destinations Wedding report says.

“Destination weddings can definitely be cheaper,” Andrews says. “Everything is usually less expensive in these destinations – the food, the alcohol, etc. And because you’re more likely to have less people attending.”
But be careful when booking hotel rooms, Andrew cautions.

Often times couples will book a block of rooms for their guests and think it’s the rate they’ve been quoted online. However, those rates usually only apply only a handful of rooms, so couples and their guests are sometimes surprised by the price they’re charged at the end.

To avoid this, it’s best to talk with the hotel itself before booking. That way you are quoted a more accurate price and – who knows – they may have other deals.

Trending destinations

Tropical destinations still reign supreme for weddings abroad.

So where are couples choosing to say “I do?” Here are the top six locations according to the 2016 destinations wedding report:

Mexico – May being the most popular
Dominican Republic – June being the most popular
Jamaica – June being the most popular
Costa Rica – January being the most popular
Aruba – September and November being the most popular months
St. Lucia – May being the most popular month
And with Andrews’ experience, the Bahamas is another location marrying couples flock to.

The report also predicts that Canada, Italy and Iceland are increasing in popularity.

However, when a couple is deciding on a location, they should choose one that reflects their style, Andrews says.

“Some couples really want the remote location and a bit adventurous, then there are other couples who want the beach scene and resort style,” Andrews says. “So there isn’t a place I wouldn’t recommend because it’s all based on the couple and what they want.”


The Ceremony

What Type of Wedding Ceremony Is Right For You?

In this new age of wedding ceremonies, anything goes!

Unless a couple chooses to be married in a religious ceremony that will follow a time-honored religious protocol, they can be as creative as they like. The range of options is vast.

Finding your personal style is a matter of deciding the type of ceremony most suited to you and getting a sense of which rituals, blessings, prayers, readings, and cultural or religious aspects are personally meaningful.

As an interfaith and non-denominational wedding officiant, I find it is all about blending. The first task is to assess the general type of ceremony that is right for each couple. The second is to seek ways to blend in the traditions they do like, with creativity, romance and personal touches.

These personal touches can be anything from aspects of their religions or cultures, to honoring and involving family, to including a humorous story about how they met or a poignant poem that captures their feelings. Or all of the above!

As a reference point, there are several types of weddings to choose from.

Traditional. These are typically faith-based and culled from the tradition the bride and groom were born into.

Non-denominational. A spiritual ceremony that includes reference to God, but does not adhere to any particular religious protocol.

Non-religious. Usually includes no reference to faith and typically does not mention God. (Some people call it a civil ceremony, but in fact a civil ceremony often mentions God).

Interfaith. This is a blending of two or more faiths, by including aspect of religion or religious rituals or readings that are symbolic of each faith.

Intercultural. This is a blending of cultures — such as a Filipino veil ceremony with a Chinese red string ritual — and yet can certainly also blend religious aspects.

Pop culture theme. This is usually a ceremony adapted from something that is part of popular culture and close to the hearts of the bride and groom. It may be a full ceremony dress as a knight and lady of the court, to including lines from Star Wars or Disney, to creating a ceremony based on a favorite romance novel or movie.

That said, from my perspective, you can do all of the above in one specially tailored ceremony. The biggest issue is deciding if you want to reference God at all — some couples clearly do, but would rather not have religion, or clearly don’t, and want to have something that is more about their love and relationship.

Here are some questions to consider about creating a personalized wedding:

1. Where does religion fit in — or does it? Would you like to include an aspect of the faiths you were born into without the dogma? Do you want to include mention of God — or would you prefer blessing upon your union without mention of Divine presence?

2. What kind of ceremony would be most suited to the two of you? Would you like something personal yet that includes aspects of your traditions? Would something romantic and offbeat be more your style?

3. What are your special needs? Think about the requirements you each may have. If you are of the same faith, is one of you more religious than the other? Since you hail from different cultures, how much do you want to honor your heritage and the traditions of your parents and family, etc?

4. What do you two truly want? Most importantly, be completely honest with one another (and then, your officiant). Make sure you are creating this ceremony for the two of you — not just to please others.

Whichever path you follow, here’s a mantra to help you create a ceremony that is all you own: “We will create our wedding ceremony our way!”



Credits: The Huntington Post

Event Promotion

What is Event Promotion?

Event promotion encompasses all the efforts made to successfully market an event. The aim of event promotion is to widen the number of people that are aware of the event and consequently to increase attendance in terms of the number of registrations or ticket sales.

How To Promote an Event Successfully

Promoting your event is big business and the good news is that it doesn’t have to cost the earth. There are a lot of tools and software to help you to boost event attendance. Many of these tools offer free plans and freemium pricing which can grow with the size and requirements of your events. At the end of the day, if used correctly these platforms can pay for themselves several times over by increasing event attendance levels.

What Are the Most Effective Event Promotion Tools?

We asked 2,000 event professionals to rank the most effective event marketing tools. Here they are ranked for you:

Social media
Email marketing
Registration site
Printed media
Influencer marketing
Experiential marketing
Press releases
Social media is the clear winner followed closely by email marketing - an often times neglected tool for event marketers.

Credit: Event Manager Blog

Paper Vs Electronic Invitations

Paper Vs Electronic/Digital Invitations

Traditional Paper Invitations


Paper invites are more formal, cost money and require time and effort to set up which although can be a con in itself, it means they are taken more seriously by guests and as a result means your RSVP rate is naturally higher than with digital invitations. It is also a constant reminder to those invited, unlike emails which are easily buried and forgotten.
Traditional invitations are tangible, which can mean they are more memorable and create a sense of exclusivity. It isn’t something that is received “every day” and is therefore quite a novelty.
As they are addressed to someone specifically, it is clear who is invited and sets better boundaries surrounding the event rather than an email that could be forwarded on or extended to a wider circle of people.
It is guaranteed to get there, especially if you pay for tracked postage so there is no mistake about people not getting the invite.
In this world of social media, ironically sending traditional invitations probably means many guests will share the invitation with their social networks to ‘brag’.


With design, printing and postage this is the most expensive option. Bespoke designs using special paper, embossing, unusual sizes and paper cut outs can all increase the cost greatly.
Unlike with emails, an attendee cannot simply recall the invite if they lose it which means they lose all the information and details as well and means they have no back-up option other than to call the organizers and get a new copy or details sent out.

Electronic Invitations


Emails and digital invites are usually free to send if you send via email or one of the free email marketing platforms. A lot of event registration sites enable you to send evites directly from the system to keep everything consistent.
Some tools allow you to create a professional design in line with your event branding, without any design experience. Alternatively you can still pay a designer to create something impactful which will be uploaded and sent out electronically.
Digital invitations are great for public events where there are no limits to the attendees and you are trying to encourage sign up from a large amount of people. It makes it easy for people to forward details to their networks if it is an open invitation to a public event.
Unnecessary printing is frowned upon and evites are definitely the most eco-friendly option for sustainability conscious guests.
You can include a lot more information in an evite than an actual invitation, as well as adding more sponsorship and advertising spots, which can be tracked.
You can create interesting effects and have moving graphics on screen that aren’t possible with paper invitations (yet).

Some guests may not have or check their email regularly and depending on your demographics you may find not everyone is email accessible. Spam filters can often block emails, particularly with graphics or if sent out to a mass email list, and this can cause a lot of perceived non-attendance, when they actually just didn’t get the invite.
If you need guests to take their invitation along to the event or to pre-print their badge, make it clear whether it is fine to show the invitation on mobile. Printing can be difficult and requires attendees to remember to do it and bring it along and some may not have the facilities.
May not be suitable for formal, high profile or significant events, unless they are just serving as a reminder, because it can come across as cheap. At high class fundraisers in particular, you can’t expect people to raise a lot of money if you send out cheap invites.
Evites can easily be missed in the swarm of emails that people get on a day to day basis and are easily pushed down the inbox and forgotten, especially when sending to business email addresses.
An attendee may see the email and then go to respond to it at a later date and ‘lose it’ in their inbox meaning they can’t actually respond if they don’t know what to search for.
As they are perceived as less formal and in some cases carry less of an impact you get a much lower RSVP rate, even if that is the action you are requesting.

An invitation

An invitation

What To Include
An invitation, particularly for a social occasion, will often include this key information:

Attendee invited
Name of hosts – personal as well as company or organisation overseeing the event
The event type – fundraiser, ball etc
Day, date and time of the event
Name of the location and the address. The zip code is not usually necessary in the US but postcodes are recommended in the UK.
Dress code
RSVP or response guidelines
Additional information: e.g. parking arrangements, children allowed, plus one, special requests/dietary, dining options, end times

Credit: Event Manager Blog