Around the world, destination weddings are continuing to make their mark, with new offerings and unique ideas consistently emerging in order to satisfy a growing and ever more diverse market. Wedding professionals with an eye on capitalizing on this market will find that it is imperative to stay up-to-date on the intricacies and opportunities available in destination weddings.
Beach escapes will always be popular. Puerto Rico, St. Lucia and Grenada have emerged at the top of the list this year. More adventurous couples, though, are seeking out venues off the beaten path, and scenic countries such as South Africa, Iceland and the South of France are claiming their rightful place among the world's hot wedding spots. Politics will factor into both opportunities and challenges worldwide. A change in the diplomatic wind in Cuba, for example, could make it a prime spot for weddings in the very near future.
Each couple has a story to tell of their journey into love and down the aisle. This journey is an important part of their narrative, and is the motivation behind personalization. Gone are the days of pre-planned, formulaic destination wedding packages, built for convenience over individuality. Today’s couples are exercising their influence over ceremony spots, rituals, menus, favors, attire and entertainment. A mariachi band on a snowy mountaintop may be the perfect combination of a pair’s cultures and backgrounds--destination weddings are increasingly pliable backdrops for anything that lovers desire.
Preserving the planet is no longer a trend, but a mandate to many, and millennials are accustomed to exercising their influence over their environment. Opportunities to conserve and preserve are substantial, particularly so in destination weddings. Green resorts, eco-friendly wedding packages and digital innovations--such as purchasing a carbon offset when a better “green” practice can’t be found--offer a host of options.
Couples are turning to "save the date" e-cards as well as recycled paper for their stationery needs, while eco-friendly wedding attire options continue to be more readily available. Organic, local menus and tree-planting ceremonies all appeal to couples wanting to tie the knot away from home while still honoring their commitment to a sustainable lifestyle.
With growing recognition of marriage equality, same-sex weddings are more prevalent across the U.S. and around the world. Wedding professionals must research local laws, religious standards, and the general atmosphere of a destination to ensure the safety and comfort of their clientele. This year, Curacao is the place to be when seeking social acceptance, with other spots such as Capetown, Barcelona, Cancun, Riviera Maya and Puerto Vallarta on the rise as well.
Couples love to include traditions and customs from their heritage on their special day, and there’s no reason to think this can’t be done at a destination. With an understanding of this need, select destination wedding resorts offer cultural wedding packages. From kosher cuisine for Jewish weddings and long celebrated experiences for Hindu weddings to seaside Catholic wedding chapels, an increasing number of venues seek to tailor their packages to meet every couple’s needs.
Attending a destination wedding can sometimes be a burden—extra costs, taking days off of work, arranging sitters—which is why couples are being extra attentive to the needs of their guests. Couples want to make the trip worthwhile, and what better way to include some quality time with friends and family? Whether it’s a sightseeing tour or a boating adventure, arranging excursions for the group is a fun way to include everyone in the festivities. Group activities also pave the way for an amazing collection of images, as destination wedding photographers continue to offer more extensive coverage in an effort to capture the entire trip.
Successful promotion of destination weddings becomes easier as the market expands to meet diverse needs. Invest time and effort in learning about the latest offerings, trends, and advances, and make a plan now to increase your appeal to this specialty market. A world of opportunities awaits the dedicated and creative destination wedding professional!
Rebecca Hochreiter is the vice president of marketing and customer engagement at DestinationWeddings.com, a leading destination wedding and romantic travel planning company. DestinationWeddings.com has worked with more than 20,000 couples and half a million guests to plan dream destination weddings.
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