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How to Make Your Dream Destination Wedding a Reality

Here are six things you need to consider when booking a wedding away from home

A man in a white button up shirt and black pants with a bow tie is holding hands with a woman in a long, flowing white dress with a veil. They are both looking at each other, as they stand on a dock. To the right side of them are seven small boats of various sizes docked in the water. Beyond that are homes with orange roofs.

Congratulations on your engagement! If your dream of tying the knot includes having your family and closest friends witness you saying “I do” on a Caribbean beach or at an Italian vineyard, here are six things you need to know before sending out save-the-dates.

Establish a budget

Setting a clear budget is the first step in figuring out where you can go. You might dream of exchanging vows overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, but it may be too expensive. Your travel consultant can help narrow your search for the perfect location that fits both your wishlist and price range.

You’ll also want to account for added expenses related to Covid-19 testing, such as the cost of a PCR test for travel-related purposes. Canada requires pre-entry testing and proof of vaccination through ArriveCAN. Those arriving by air will need to register in advance for arrival testing, too.

Consider the season

“Be careful of weather,” says Rita Chen, a CAA Travel Consultant at its Markham location. August is the start of the rainy season in the Caribbean for example. In September, a lot of island resorts shut down after a month of bad weather for maintenance.

January to March is the peak tourist season at tropical destinations, which means it will cost more. If your sights are set on Europe, April to June is ideal for both weather and prices.

Many resorts have lower occupancy as well, offering a more secluded visitor experience. And for destinations like Europe, fewer people around is optimal for social distancing.

Make a guest list

Are there only adults in your group or will there be young kids, too? Are you expecting 30 guests or 80? These details are important for your travel consultant to know, and can help with hotel recommendations and to secure the best group rates.

Most resorts also require a minimum number of guests in a group—usually about 30 people—before they’ll offer any discounts. Currently with the ongoing pandemic, venues may also be subject to capacity limits and other restrictions too, so check with the resort for specific requirements.

Booking earlier is better

“Clients should book at least a year in advance,” Chen recommends. Booking early allows couples time to connect with the on-site wedding coordinator to go over any special requests or ideas they may have to save money.

Be prepared for the unexpected

Couples should fly to their wedding destination before the big day to view the property and provide specific directions. But if going early isn’t an option, arrange a virtual meeting with the on-site wedding coordinator.

Keep in mind that some countries have a waiting period to issue a marriage license. Check the region’s local wedding laws prior to departure. As well, be sure to bring the required documents like identification.

Protect your trip

Chen recommends purchasing travel insurance to prepare for unexpected circumstances or expenses. If you have to cancel your trip at the last minute because of the weather or if you become ill before the trip, travel insurance can help you recoup part or all of the cost of your trip. They can also help you find out what to do if you, or one of your guests, become sick while away.

Book your dream wedding

Before planning your destination wedding, speak with an experienced CAA Travel Consultant by visiting CAA Travel. They can also advise you on travel insurance to cover unexpected medical expenses or recoup costs if you need to cancel.

Image credit: Nadtochiy/iStock

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