As the summer travel season approaches and couples are planning destination weddings, ASTA has some tips to get the planning started. ASTA’s consumer website, TravelSense.org can prepare couples for what a destination wedding includes and how to find a local travel agent to make their wedding dreams come true, ASTA says. Its advisory targets consumers as part of ASTA’s consumer awareness program is to encourage use of a travel agent.
“Your wedding day is the happiest day of your life and a life-long memory that will stay with you forever,” said ASTA president and chairman Chris Russo. “With a love of travel and reliable relationships with suppliers around the globe, travel agents specialize in providing personalized suggestions to suit both your wedding dreams and your budget. Selecting the right travel agent might be one of the most important wedding decisions you make.”
If a couple decides to have a destination wedding, it should be an enjoyable, non-stressful experience. ASTA recommends the following tips to couples planning their destination wedding.
Use a travel agent: Let an expert travel professional assist in planning your destination wedding and take the pressure off. Think about these tips before you pick an agent:
Check Credentials: Many agents have been trained in business management, travel and tourism or geography. Others have supplemented their agency experience with extensive education and training courses. Some travel agents are Destination Wedding Specialists, Certified Travel Counselors (CTC) through the Travel Institute or Master Cruise Counselors (MCC) through the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
Go with the Pros: Look for the ASTA label. Through its continuing education and training programs, ASTA prepares its members to operate high-caliber, competitive businesses.
Ask Around: Tap friends, neighbors and relatives who use an agent they trust. You may want to visit or call several agencies to find the one that best suits your needs. Consider everything from the appearance of the office to the agent's willingness to listen and answer questions.
Give yourself a budget: Plan ahead by setting a budget and deciding what you would like to splurge on, and what you should save on. Couples planning a destination wedding often save money because it is a more intimate affair.
Inform your guests: With a destination wedding, advance warning and save-the-date cards are crucial. Send them off as early as possible, preferably at least eight months in advance because your guests will need to work the trip into their budget and work schedules.
Get your documents in order: Women should make sure the names used on all travel documents match each other. If you decide to get married overseas, it is best to work with a travel professional who specializes in destination weddings so that they can handle all the marriage license details.
Look for packaged deals: Tourism organizations, resorts and cruise lines offer wedding packages to keep a destination wedding stress-free and simple.