Whether you're planning your dream honeymoon for two or a destination wedding to reunite your nearest and dearest somewhere beautiful, Tamara Jacobs of Destinations by Tamara has the scoop you need. She chatted with Atlanta Wedding Extravaganza this month to share what’s popular, how to decide where to go, and what you can expect from wedding travel in the near future.
The New Family Reunions: Destination Weddings
Many couples are getting excited about the opportunities that destination weddings offer: the chance to go somewhere beautiful and get married, PLUS plenty of relaxed time with guests, PLUS the ability to combine wedding and honeymoon in one trip!
Tamara noted that based on bookings and inquiries through Destinations by Tamara, currently Jamaica is the most popular choice for destination weddings, with all-inclusive resorts like Sandals topping bride and groom wish lists. “All-inclusive offers so much convenience for our couples and their guests,” she noted. “The Caribbean resorts do a beautiful job of wedding arrangements and of course, provide some of the most gorgeous backdrops for wedding portraits!”
With a destination wedding, guest lists are more intimate – you’re not going to invite acquaintances and work colleagues to chill on the beach with your cousins, and they likely wouldn’t come even if you did – so the vibe of the group is typically very connected. “The people you invite to a destination are your very closest of friends and family,” Tamara explained. “These are the people you would travel with even if it’s not your wedding.”
Other destinations growing in popularity for weddings are Florida and Mexico, along with other Caribbean islands like Aruba. The generally warm climate and access to water is very appealing for many, especially relatives living in landlocked or in less temperate areas.
Guests view this kind of invitation as the chance to attend your wedding and take a vacation at the same time. The rates negotiated through your wedding package are less costly than if they traveled there on their own.
Hawaii and Aruba are at the top of couples’ wish lists this year, said Tamara, because they have such a wide range of activities and beautiful resorts. Both are the perfect mix for an active adventure honeymoon mixed with relaxing beach time. Aruba has grown rapidly in popularity for destination weddings and honeymoons because of its natural beauty and world class resorts, like The Ritz-Carlton Aruba.
“Honeymooners at The Ritz-Carlton Aruba can enjoy a variety of exclusive experiences, from beachfront cabana time and intimate dining experiences steps from the water to more active pursuits like snorkeling, sailing, and kayaking in the Caribbean Sea,” said Gilliany Oduber, Catering Sales Manager for The Ritz-Carlton Aruba. ”You can also say ‘I do’ in paradise with many options to create a memorable ceremony. Our white-sand beaches, stunning sunsets, captivating venues and incomparable service make for a magical and memorable Caribbean honeymoon or wedding.”
For those looking instead for that romantic European experience, Tamara recommends Greece and Croatia, where outdoor activities abound. Indoor activities will likely still have restrictions for quite a while, so countries that offer more museums and historic structures may be less accessible.
How to Choose Where to Go
For either destination weddings or honeymoons, it’s important to be on the same page with your partner about preferences and expectations.
Tamara guides couples through a series of questions to find the travel experience that most lines up with their style and personalities. Some of the topics covered include likes and dislikes of past trips, bucket list places, and level of activity desired. But one of the most important factors in selecting a destination is how much time you’ll have for the trip. “If you only have a week or less, you won’t want to spend a full day or more traveling,” she said. Budget plays into the selection as well, she said, so couples should have an amount in mind that they can spend on the wedding or honeymoon trip.
What a Travel Pro Can Do
In a nutshell, travel planners create a seamless travel experience and add value to your itinerary! While many couples try to save money by using budget travel sites or pop-up discounts, the packages they get are rarely comparable to what a professional can secure. “Often you get what you pay for,” said Tamara. “For my clients, I get as much added value as possible. I focus on delighting couples. I’m going to get them a great room, extra perks, special experiences – whatever I can do to make it as memorable as possible.”
It’s also essential to have a professional in your corner when unexpected issues arise, and especially now, when travel requirements, restrictions, and safety advisories are changing rapidly. Your travel planner will be up to date and can help you navigate any changes that may impact a trip, and let you know what to expect when you arrive at your destination.
Don’t forget to join us for the Atlanta Wedding Extravaganza on Sunday, August 8, where you’ll have the chance to WIN a honeymoon at The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba!
Get expert tips on all the little details you don’t want to forget. Read the recap of our Ring to Reception expert advice session from Atlanta Wedding Extravaganza January 2021.