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Weddings at Karisma Hotels

April 16, 2007 By: Mark Rogers Travel Agent

Karisma's new director of nuptials services discusses the lastest trends

Karisma Hotels and Resorts recently announced the appointment of Faith Wishnie to the position of director of wedding services. Wishnie has coordinated more than 1,500 weddings at Karisma since her hiring in 2004. El Dorado Seaside Suites

"At Karisma, we really understand today's wedding
couple," says Wishnie. "Traditionally, the wedding couple was very
young and the wedding was planned by their parents. Today's couple is older and
deeply involved in the planning of their own wedding."

Wishnie notes that the modern bride and groom are service
oriented—they've researched the wedding in detail on the Internet and they know
what they want. "We often see people combining their honeymoon with their
wedding." says Wishnie. "We also see the groom becoming involved in
the planning of the wedding—in one instance, I never communicated with the
bride at all; just the groom."

According to Wishnie, the growth in the number of weddings
hasn't been that great. "Instead, we've seen real growth in the size of
the wedding and the quality of the experience," she says. "Unlike
years ago, where it was the just the couple getting married, we now have
destination weddings of a hundred people or more." El
Dorado Royale's "Free Sweet Wedding Package"

In her new role, Wishnie will create promotional and
marketing opportunities for all five of Karisma's all-inclusive properties:
Azul Blue Hotel + Spa; Azul Beach Hotel; El Dorado Royale, A Spa Resort; El
Dorado Seaside Suites and Hidden Beach Resort. Karisma refers to their product
as "gourmet-inclusive" in a bid to set their product apart from
mainstream all-inclusive resorts.

"We don't do buffets—all of our restaurants offer à la
carte dining," observes Wishnie. She points to Karisma's luxe touches,
such as beach and pool butlers, and romantic dinners on the beach, and notes
that Karisma has a 1.8 ratio of employees to guests.

"We don't want to be a wedding factory," says
Wishnie. "At our Azul Blue and Azul, which are boutique resorts, we only
do one wedding a day; at El Dorado Seaside Suites we do one, maybe two; and at
El Dorado Royale we do up to four weddings a day—the property is large

Wishnie draws attention to a potential problem that should
be on agents' radars. "There's a shortage of judges in the Riviera
Maya," she notes. "We've managed to solve this by hiring our own
judges, so our guests won't encounter that problem."

Wishnie has advice for travel agents: "If you haven't
worked with a hotel group before, get references and check them in advance.
Wishnie spent two years fine-tuning the operational aspects of Karisma's
wedding product. "We've created a turnkey operation for travel
agents," she says.

For weddings at Azul Hotels e-mail [email protected];
for El Dorado Resorts, it's [email protected].

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