by WEX Travel
Destination weddings are hotter than ever, setting new standards that are not restricted by budget. Times change and so do wedding trends, suppliers are taking note and stepping up to meet changing demands. They’re moving away from “cookie-cutter” wedding package options and closer to what couples are envisioning for their most romantic occasions. Let’s take a look at specific trends suppliers are accommodating.
One of the most noteworthy trends is the amount that couples are willing to spend.
Kira Solomon, who runs My Paradise Planner from Spring Hill, Fla., told Travel Market Report, “Years ago couples would come to me and say $3,500 was pushing their max budget, but I’d be able to find them something within that budget. Now their max budget is double, sometimes even triple that. As the cost of resorts and flights continues to rise, clients’ budgets are rising too, and most have found that they’d rather have luxury and comfort than stick to a restrictive budget,” she said. “On average, with flights and all-inclusive resort, most of my clients spend from $5,000 to $8,000 on a honeymoon or destination wedding at an all-inclusive resort.”
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The Party Extends to the Guest List
What’s more, VIP treatment now extends beyond the bride and groom or even bridal party, but also to the guests attending. There are more activities organized for groups.
Clients, Solomon said, are more willing to “spend extra on things the whole group can enjoy together, like a group excursion, rather than spending extra money on things like upgraded wedding flowers or decor.”
A Reason to Get Away
Destination weddings, defined by destinationweddingmag.com as a wedding at least 100 miles from where the bride currently lives, provide the couple with unforgettable memories, but also give guests a justified reason to use their too often wasted vacation time. Most working Americans with paid vacation days won’t use them, a report from Bankrate.com found. In fact, the average employee is letting seven vacation days go to waste. “That is so dumb. You need vacation,” the article stated. Destination weddings offer the perfect opportunity to take a vacation—and spend money along the way.
According to Priceline.com’s Bridal Season Travel Survey, the average wedding guest spends $600 for the pleasure of watching someone get married. This includes airfare, accommodations and gifts. When a guest is looking at spending $600 for a wedding hosted down the block, why not put that amount toward a getaway that offers more personal reward?
Destination Wedding Trends to Watch
\Adventurous to-be-weds are seeking to personalize their weddings, creating a truly unique experience for them to remember and events to enjoy. According to Special Events, one of the best ways for couples to do this is to schedule group excursions to take in all the sights and sounds of the region.
The more popular these excursions get, the more the trends in this area evolve. Special Events noted some of the hottest trends:
Popular Choices: From ATVs to Zip Lines: Some of the most popular choices are snorkeling, walking tours of ancient ruins, catamaran cruises, swimming with dolphins, zip lining, and ATV rides. These popular activities range in intensity and required activity level, providing a suitable option for the entire group.
The More, the Merrier: Rather than limit an outing to just the wedding party, couples are opting to invite guests. They’re turning to activity-based outings such as museum tours, winery visits and sunset cruises, verses couple-centric romantic excursions.
Kid-friendly Fun: Resorts are increasingly offering more options for children and teens such as playrooms and lounges with age-appropriate entertainment, as well on-site sports activities and snorkeling and scuba lessons, to name a few. These provide more options for families to make the trip. See also It’s a Family Affair: Multigenerational Travel.
Capturing the Moment: Couples and their guests are traveling the country and even the globe for the adventure of a lifetime. These moments don’t come very often and couples are more frequently hiring a professional photographer to document every moment of their journey. Having a professional photographer there to capture the magic helps the wedding party and guests to disconnect and truly soak in the moment.
The Tech Savvy Traveler: Not every couple opts to hire a photographer – this is especially challenging for the more daring off-the-beaten-path travelers who are keen on snorkeling, bungee-jumping and the like. GoPros are popular among adventurous couples and guests for an array reasons ranging from underwater escapades to first-hand ceremony documentation.