|Ceremonies at Karisma Hotels & Resorts locales are a popular option when booking with Weddings by Funjet.|
For more than 40 years, Funjet Vacations has been helping agents send their clients all over the world — including some of the most romantic honeymoon spots in the Caribbean and Mexico. A little over a year ago they saw a need — and an opportunity — to take the next logical step and establish Weddings by Funjet.
“After working with several brides, we realized they needed an advocate. Someone that could walk them through how planning a destination wedding works, can help with language barriers and can help negotiating with the resorts,” says Product Manager Ashley Morgan. “We started this company to ease the planning process for both consumers and travel agents.” With Funjet handling most of the communication with the bride, “the travel agent has time to foster relationships with the guests,” she says.
“Once a travel agent has a destination wedding customer, we can help them narrow down the best resort for the customer’s desired type of wedding,” says Morgan. After the group has decided on a hotel, the Weddings by Funjet team takes over planning.
Agents who book with Weddings by Funjet, Morgan says, earn their regular Funjet commissions on all airfare and rooms. Also, there are no additional fees for using Weddings by Funjet at this time.
Acting as the “thread between all of the moving elements of a destination wedding from save-the-date to ‘I Do,’” Weddings by Funjet provides assistance negotiating rates with resorts and on charter airfare and procures quotes and purchases essential items from third-party vendors. The company has dedicated staff at key resorts as well as other in-destination resources.
Customizable packages start at under $5,000, and many hotels offer complimentary packages with qualified group bookings. January through April and June through August are the prime wedding seasons, according to the company’s website, while more affordable options may be available in October, November and early December. Small weddings can be planned in as little as two months, but even large events can easily be planned in nine months.
The overwhelming majority of destination weddings held outside the United States take place in the Caribbean and Mexico, according to TheKnot.com, and Weddings by Funjet is right in step.
“Fifty-five percent of our weddings occur in Cancun or Riviera Maya. There are plenty of beautiful options [there] that you can get to with one quick and well-priced non-stop flight,” Morgan says, adding that Cozumel, the Bahamas, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta are also popular. Participating hotels in Riviera Maya include Azul Hotels by Karisma, Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort, El Dorado Royale and El Dorado Maroma, while Le Blanc Spa Resort and Riu Palace Peninsula are popular choices in Cancun.
“If you are looking for something a little different in the Caribbean, a wedding with lots of charm, try Jamaica,” she says. The island hosts nearly one in five (18 percent) of her company’s nuptial celebrations, slightly more than Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (14 percent), which she calls “a great destination wedding location for a couple looking for local flavor. The service in Dominican Republic is outstanding and the people are fantastic.”
According to the latest The Knot/Wedding Channel survey:
* 51% of destination wedding couples use a wedding coordinator
* 105,000 destination weddings are held annually
* Top Three Destinations:
Caribbean - 40,000
Mexico – 25,200
Hawaii – 21,000