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Are you the perfect FIT for a destination wedding!

Having spent 20 years planning destination weddings/elopements, I have found that there are 4 types of couples that are the perfect fit for a destination wedding vs. a traditional wedding at home.

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If you fit into these parameters, maybe a destination wedding is the right choice for you.

1st – The bride and groom (but really folks, the bride) has always dreamed of getting married to the love of her life with the tropical breeze gently blowing and walking barefoot in the sand. She won’t settle for a church wedding as she has planned this scenario for years. Her family has often heard her talk of her big day and seen her “inspiration boards” on Pinterest! The groom wants to make her happy and is totally on board for a stress free non-formal event and, in fact, he thinks this is the best plan yet!

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2nd – This is the second marriage for either or both the bride/groom. They know what a huge wedding feels like and would rather have something more relaxed, more intimate and with some of their closest friends and family. Their loved ones (those that travel often or wouldn’t miss it for anything) are thrilled to travel with this couple and are planning their yearly vacation to coincide with the couple’s dates and location. The bride/groom are happy for those that can make it, but aren’t crushed for those that are struggling to fit it into their budget or vacation time off.

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3rd – The bride and groom just can’t afford a big blowout at home. If they have a wedding locally, they are almost committed to invite 200+ guests and simply can’t afford to do so. Having a destination wedding would easily cut their guest list by 3/4 and they can enjoy a honeymoon and their wedding rather than having to sacrifice a honeymoon all together. They are more interested in saving for a home, or a car, or just paying down bills than spending over $15,000 on a 4 hour event back home. However, they are worried, not all will be able to make it and might have to help some of their loved ones make the journey. This couple has a harder road ahead of them as they hadn’t really thought about a destination wedding as a DREAM event in their life and could feel conflicted about not doing the traditional thing.

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4th-The bride and groom are both living in cities that are far from their individual home towns. Both grew up in different states, maybe went to a college in another state and finally, they are living in a state that is not where their families live. No matter what they do for their wedding, everyone will have to travel so having a destination wedding is the best way to allow guests to also vacation while incurring travel fees to see them wed.

Do you fit into any of these scenarios? Are you a destination wedding bride/groom and have another background you want to share? Please leave me a comment and start the discussion!

To view some swoon-worthy beach ideas found on Pinterest, click here to see the list!

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Travel Insurance… Are You Covered?

Don’t you hate being offered that extended warranty after you spent so much time deliberating on which high tech gadget you were going to purchase?  The cost of the insurance often dwarfs repair costs and as you see the value in your recent acquisition, many feel an immense amount of pressure to protect their gizmo with an extended warranty insurance.  Isn’t it then reasonable to assume that spending 5x’s as much on a honeymoon, destination wedding, or vacation would result in many travelers opting to purchase travel insurance?  However, seldom do travelers even inquire about the coverages and many simply ask what are the penalties for cancelling.

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The truth is that often when you don’t have insurance; is when you truly need it and when you do have insurance, it usually goes unused.  So ask yourself, when was the last time you pulled out that extended warranty and actually needed to use it?

Incidentally, the most asked question about travel insurance always seems to revolve around coverage for weather related events.  Sadly, the best insurances which protect you when you have medical emergencies, or need to cancel because of illness, do not cover any acts of nature.  Those high priced “cancel for any reason” policies have clauses which require you to cancel up to 3 days prior (weather changes all the time so how is 3 days truly advantageous?) And these very same policies have the worst coverage provisions for medical, emergency evacuation, or baggage loss.  Like the pushy sales person offering you that extended warranty, cancel for any reason policies are hoping you will take the bait and buy a very pricey policy because you are worried about hurricanes or snowstorms.

The questions I like to ask my clients are; would you happen to have any medical issues that could flare up that could force you to cancel or become a problem in the destination you are traveling to?  Do you have any immediate family members that are currently ill which could result in you having to cut short your vacation or cancel at the last minute?  If either of the questions are answered affirmatively, then insurance is a wise choice.  But it is even more important to then check the policies and find the one that best covers exactly what you need and ensure you purchase the plan within their coverage time requirements.  The costs for travel insurance range based on the price of the trip and your age.  Many insurances also have options to add additional coverage for higher valued luggage, or insuring a car rental.  It is best to read carefully the limitations and provisions of each insurance plan.

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Travel insurance is not an extended warranty, but it can provide peace of mind.  When thinking about insurance, make sure you ask for the coverages and check with a travel professional that is licensed to sell travel insurance so you are not wasting your money on a policy that doesn’t offer the provisions you require.

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– See more at: http://www.vacationsbyvip.com/travel-insurance-are-you-covered/#sthash.bTfoizsC.dpuf

Trend Alert: DIY Ideas For Beach Weddings

Thank you Lindsey from George Street Photo and Video in Chicago, IL for being a guest writer on this blog!

White sand, a warm breeze, the sweet sound of waves crashing on the shore — sound like paradise? The answer is ‘yes’! From the idyllic setting to the laid back atmosphere, there’s truly nothing better than a beach wedding! But, the best part about a beautiful seaside celebration? Armed with DIY-friendly tips and tricks, it’s easy to create an ambiance that’s not only adorable, but affordable, as well!Blog Trend Alert

Here are a few beach-ready wedding ideas that won’t burn a hole in your pocketbook!

Sweet (and Simple) Centerpieces: Who knew that sea shells and starfish could double as stylish centerpiece decor?! Gather a few of these natural elements and head over to your local craft store to pick up clear vases or columns. Consider filling them with colored sand, water or candles, and add starfish and seashell accents to achieve that straight-off-the-beach effect. Add polished driftwood for a more rustic touch, or incorporate floral elements if you’d like to add a dose of elegance to each arrangement.

Destination Wedding Blog Trend Alert: DIY Ideas For Beach Weddings

Cute Cake Adornments: The wedding cake presents a perfect opportunity for you to tie the entire theme of your beach affair together! So, why not get creative with the cake topper and toppings? Graham cracker crumble is a dead ringer for sand, while adirondack chair cake toppers add a unique (and utterly adorable) touch!

Delightful Details: Even the smallest details can often be expensive additions to a wedding budget. But if you’re hosting a beach affair, crafting those details is possible with minimal extra cost! For instance, mini conch shells adorned with table numbers make perfect place cards and also double as cute take-home gifts for guests! And since everyone will likely be outdoors for the majority of the festivities, consider giving them something unique to remember your day — pinwheels or streamers are fun additions to any party and can also be used in your grand exit!

Destination Wedding Blog Trend Alert: DIY Ideas For Beach Weddings

Whimsical Wedding Altar: Let’s be honest — there’s no backdrop quite like the ocean, with the sun shining just over the horizon! Still, no beach wedding is complete without an altar to frame the natural setting, and believe or not, it’s easy to craft one on your own! Long, airy drapes look absolutely stunning when caught by the summer breeze and can be attached to the framework of the altar. Consider adding floral arrangements for a pop of color or paper lanterns if your wedding takes place at dusk.

Creative Signage: To achieve that rustic, beachy look, make hand-painted signs directing your guests to the day’s events! Score an added bonus if you collect beach wood and craft it into signs for a truly authentic effect! You can also have fun with the signage for your reception chairs — wooden placards attached to rope are effortlessly beachy and inexpensive!

Once your sweet beach soirée has come together, you’ll definitely want to reflect on all the hard work you put into making each detail come to life! That’s where your photographer can help plan out shots that showcase the decor and details to help tell the entire story of your day, from the ceremony to the grand exit! Now, mix yourself a tropical cocktail and get planning!

For more information on gorgeous wedding photography, engagement sessions, and wedding videography visit George Street Photo & Video.

If you are interested in being a guest contributor for our blog, please contact Jennifer Doncsecz at VIP Vacations jennifer@vacationsbyvip.com

Do’s and Don’ts For Your Honeymoon!

First comes the wedding and then it’s time for the honeymoon. Even if you are having a destination wedding, there is still a good probability that you will honeymoon too!  Here are my do’s and don’ts for honeymooners:

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5 Do’s-

1. Formulate a budget.

2. Plan early.

3. Use a travel agent that can work with your budget and time-line.

4.  Create a honeymoon registry for those splurge items you hope for but haven’t budgeted for.

5.  Communicate with your fiancé about what you both envision for your honeymoon (it is your first experience as husband/wife where memories can be created that only the two of you will share).

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5 Don’ts-

1.  Do not wait until the last minute in hope of finding a deal. Normally you will not find one and then you will end up with something that is far less than the dream honeymoon that you had hoped for.

2.  Do not just pick a destination because you heard from friends that it was a good spot.  Every person has a different style and taste so only when you work with a travel professional can you examine what location fits your wants/needs.

3.  Don’t surprise your fiancé.  (This should be a joint decision and if there is any surprise, it should based on what the other had always hoped for)

4.  Don’t hope for HONEYMOON perks and upgrades.  Gone are the days when honeymooners are automatically upgraded to first class or oceanview.  It is best to reserve what you would be happy with rather than being disappointed in unfulfilled expectations.

5.  Don’t buy insurance to protect you from bad weather.  Often times, insurance doesn’t cover “acts of nature” and cancel for any reason insurance relies on you canceling up to 3 days prior —we all know that weather is unpredictable and a 3 day notice for a pricey insurance rarely makes the costs worthwhile.

VIP Vacations, Destination Wedding Blog, Do's and Dont's of Honeymoons

 

5 TIPS to Make Planning Your Destination Wedding Easier

1-Give yourself time! 

Nothing is more stressful than doing things last minute.  VIP Vacations suggests that 12-18months in advance is best to begin the process of finding the perfect destination and getting prices.

Save the dates can be sent once everything is set and this also allows your guests to save money.  VIP sends our wedding couples a detailed calendar that has “to do” lists and time frames of what should be taken care of at a specific time prior to the wedding.  Many resorts book up early and the most coveted times/dates are often snatched up a year in advance.  I find that the happiest wedding couples got the date they wanted early, received an early saver group rate on their hotel rooms and gave their guests plenty of notice so many of them could attend.

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2-Enlist the help of a destination wedding travel agent

One of the key reasons VIP has such rave reviews from our wedding clients is because we are truly here to help relieve stress and guide you through the whole process.  Having been a destination wedding bride, I can relate to what my couples are going through and give them REAL expectations so their hopes do not turn into disappointments.  For the past 15 years, I have been planning and assisting couples in planning destination weddings and though some things have changed, the basic questions are still the same.  I also think that finding an agent who is enthusiastic about weddings is key!  I am very passionate about weddings that passion continually drives me to look at the new trends, visit the new resorts and keep up to date on everything wedding related!   If you are currently looking for an experienced destination wedding agent, make sure you look at their qualifications, reviews and testimonials from other wedding couples.

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 3-Prepare a back-up plan for bad weather

Getting married in paradise doesn’t always mean that mother nature will be on your side.  Having a backup plan just in case bad weather strolls in, simply makes the planning easier.  Sudden surprises and rush decisions are never a good thing where weddings are concerned! Before you commit to a specific resort or even destination, check the weather forecasts for the predicted amount of rainfall during the month you are traveling and ask the resort if there is a backup location.  Resorts often photographs of their inside location that they can send you so you can prepare a plan B!   I also love the website weathertrends360.com which is a techie version of the Father’s Almanac.

4-Know the legalities and deadlines for paperwork

It is easy to get wrapped up in the wedding planning and forget the deadlines for completing the wedding paperwork.  Many destinations have fees if you turn these  papers in late and sadly some destinations do not allow paperwork after a certain time prior to arrival.  If you are planning a legal wedding, it   is best to start getting all of your legal paperwork and documents together so you are not rushing around or spending more money to get documentation expedited.

VIP Vacations, Blog, 5 tips to make planning a destination wedding easier, save the dates

5-Remember your guests

The best destination weddings usually result in happy people sharing fabulous memories.  If you keep your guests in mind and plan meeting times, excursions, and group activities, then you not only share memories together but you are also considered a gracious hostess!  Welcome bags, welcome letters and being aware of food allergies is another way you can make your guests feel special.

– See more at: http://www.vacationsbyvip.com/5-tips-to-make-planning-your-destination-wedding-easier/#sthash.OlF3ZieF.dpuf

Years later… what do VIP Destination Wedding brides say.

On a recent Facebook status, I posted this photo:

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I asked my clients to “share” or like.
Before I blinked, comments began to roll in. Here is what REAL VIP destination wedding brides posted. Years later….what do VIP Destination Wedding brides say (photos and comments from the string)

MrsTroy Vereen Absolutely!!! Thank You so much for being at the Bridal Expo at The Radisson in Trevose or I would have never have had such an amazing wedding.

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Kelly Maurer Best decision I ever made!!!

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AnnMarie Petitto-Thomas Best. Day. Ever!

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Kimberly Mead-Briggs Best time of our lives!! With the help from VIP it was amazing & stress free!!!

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Jessica Emanuel LOVED it!!!

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Dana Pietrzak Petrucci I couldn’t imagine a more perfect day !!!

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Shanna Rozelle Baynton It was pure bliss, a true dream of a day, including the rainbow.

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Jubettsy Velez-Brown It was the best decision ever! Worry free and beautiful! Thanks Jen and your crew for all the help.

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MrsTroy Vereen I love this thread!

Ana Feliciano Hayes Perfect day!

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Shannon Yeagley Simply gorgeous!

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Erica Laplante Ouellette It was the most beautiful day! Thank you Jenn for all that you did for us, you are truly amazing!!!! Photo courtesy of Photography By Fallan

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Jennifer Maylath Best decision EVER to get married in Turks and Caicos!!!

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Rukiya Campbell I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Especially making the decision to go with VIP. You and your team had a huge hand in making everything go off without a hitch.

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It’s clear, planning a destination wedding isn’t always easy, but VIP is here to help guide you and our goal is for you to look back years from now, feeling the same way those brides above feel!!!

– See more at: http://www.vacationsbyvip.com/years-later-what-do-vip-destination-wedding-brides-say/#sthash.8jppOJsU.dpuf

Honoring Your Traditions!

Having a destination wedding doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your family traditions or religious beliefs. Gone are the days where a destination wedding was only officiated by a nondenominational minister or judge. More and more resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico are creating wedding packages that cater to specific religions and allow you to customize the ceremony to fit your personal faith. Several resorts have also built chapels right on their grounds so that guests do not have to leave the grounds to attend a mass or service.

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Recently I discovered that Palace Resorts offers a wedding package specifically for Indian weddings. Hindi and Sikh weddings require a lot of attention to detail and often require several days of festivities. Palace Resorts has put a package together that focuses on these traditions and dietary requirements. Their wedding package specifically includes Mehendi/Henna Artists, Mandap, and stage décor too.

The Karisma Resorts have uniquely created wedding options that appeal to a Filipino couple. At the El Dorado Royale and El Dorado Maroma, a traditional Filipino wedding can take place right in the Chapel located at these resorts. The packages can also provide candles for the customary candle ritual and the couple can also have their veiling ritual as the resort can provide a yugal. Additionally, the El Dorado’s can also provide doves for the reception.
As more and more couples feel it is a priority to follow their religious and cultural beliefs, it is very refreshing to see resorts adapt and modify their wedding packages. The destination wedding experts at VIP make it a priority to ensure that your religious requests are honored and specialize in Asian weddings!