Congratulations on your engagement and choosing to have a unique and unforgettable destination wedding. So you may ask, what's next?
The Alamo Travel Group is committed on enhancing your big day and making it as smooth as possible. Below are some things to keep in mind, upcoming steps and how The Alamo Travel Group's personalized coordination will be here to assist you.
Location: Deciding where and when to have your wedding will be the first step in the process. We certainly have an array of destinations we can show you to help you decide.
Legal or Symbolic? If you are looking to get married legally in the destination you are having your wedding, this will be a big factor on where you choose as a destination. Marriage requirements and legalities vary from country to country and will determine when you are needed to arrive to your destination. If you choose to get legally married in your local state and then have a symbolic ceremony at your destination, will still require to ask the resort how many days in advance they require the couple to arrive. Each resort has their own policies for wedding couples to arrive and go over details and final approvals.
Once you have found a few resorts that you are interested in, we will be able to find airfare, hotel rates and wedding packages and see which work best with your budget. Finding the best destination and resort/venue for your wedding is the step that takes the most research and planning. We strongly recommend to couples to have an idea of where they would like to get married before their first free consultation to make the most of their time during their appointment.
There are many resort options, but do keep in mind that not all focus on weddings. A destination wedding agent is familiar with the products that have great wedding programs and offer the best value to couples.
Travel - once a resort or venue have confirmed the wedding date, our Destination Wedding specialist can start finalizing your travel itinerary and present you a quote for your travel package. Keep in mind that there are 2 packages that you will be booking. One is the wedding package and the other is your travel package. Your Destination Wedding Specialist will assist you with both but keep in mind they are two packages that you will be planning. While some resorts offer upgrades in some of their wedding packages, upgrades are not guaranteed and are offered based on availability. We certainly encourage our couple to book a room category that you are happy with and if an upgrade is available from that room, then it will be an added bonus.
How a couple books their travel package for their wedding is also dependent on how they would like to coordinate guest travel, which leads us to another big step in the planning process…
Guests - we encourage our clients to think about the important people they need to be at their wedding and from the beginning of the planning process be frank and ask them if they are willing and able to travel to their wedding. If they can be present then the next step is to decide how you would like to handle your guests' travel arrangements. Planning your wedding date far in advance not only allows you plenty of time to plan and prepare, it also gives your guests time to budget and prepare as well. Depending on how you decide to book your wedding party, payment plans are an option with deposits and final payments due up to 60 days prior to departure.
Main factors to consider about your guests' travel is deciding, what is the best option for your group. The options available are room blocks, flexible group plans or individual reservations. The pros and cons of these options is something the bride and groom need to discuss and decide what will be the best option for them. This will also determine how we book your travel package. Opting for a group contract with a resort can assure the number of rooms will be available for your wedding party even if the resort sells out and each guest will pay the same rate. The drawback on a group contract for a wedding is that it typically requires guests to start and end their stay on the same dates, need a breakdown of room categories and require a substantial deposit to block rooms which means the couple must place the initial deposit for all their guests' rooms.
The flexible group option, depending on resort and vendor, offers couples some perks and amenities per guest booking and also the flexibility of guest choosing the number of nights and room category without the couple placing a deposit or being responsible of a contract. The drawbacks are some vendors that offer flexible groups only work with certain air carriers and those flight schedules don't work well with all guests and also there is no room block reserved if resort sells out. Having guests book early definitely can help in many ways.
Lastly, having individual reservations gives guests the most flexibility of picking air carriers, room categories, number of nights and rates. The drawback here is again no room block is reserved if resort sells out, couple will not receive extra amenities for each guest booking and hotel does not see individual reservations as part of your group. This highlights an important reason why your guest should book with your travel agent. Your travel agent can alleviate a lot of hassle in keeping track of your wedding party for you and the resort.
The process for the hotel and the couple runs smoother if guests book through us as we will have access to their flights, reservations and transfer information. We can have a detailed list of guest for the hotel and couple for arrivals, departures, special activities, room requests, included in communication and coordination with hotel management and the convenience of having access to a person who knows you and your wedding well enough to answer any questions, handle changes or adjustments before and during travel.
Once you have decided on your destination, resort/venue and how you will be booking you and your guests' travel, we will wrap up your whole wedding with wedding package information and travel information for you and your guests. We will print out cards to include on your save the dates so guest can contact us to start booking their reservations and handle their travel arrangements. We will be in close contact with the on-site wedding coordinator to assist you with details for your actual wedding. We will send you updates on guests bookings, handle payments, deadlines and any questions that will arise throughout the whole process.
Planning a destination wedding can seem overwhelming for you but the help and expertise of our Destination Wedding Specialists means the process can run seamless and smoother. Working with the Alamo Travel Group is working with a team that will be here every step of the way for you and your guests.