I believe wedding packages abroad offer excellent value for money and can make the organisation of your wedding easy and stress free.
Below I’ve put together an overview of what’s typically included in destination wedding packages and outlined what I perceive to be the benefits and disadvantages of organising your wedding this way.
Traditionally wedding packages were mainly offered by larger Tour Operators who had a specialist division within their company dedicated to organising weddings. Although this is still very much the case today, many independent travel companies who are solely focused on planning weddings have also joined the market – which I believe, is great news!
Whilst Tour Operators (…think Virgin Holidays, First Choice, Sandals etc.) only offer packages sold by their own company, independent travel companies (…such as The Honeymoon Fixer, Five Star Travel & Holidays, Travel Councillors etc.) promote packages available from many different companies. This puts them in a great position of being able to offer a wide range of overseas wedding locations and being able to find you a package that most closely suits your needs.
Unlike Wedding Planners, who you deal with through the entire planning process and on the day itself, if you choose to organise your wedding through a travel company you will have two different points of contact. The first will be with a booking agent in your home country – they will help you choose your wedding location and type of package and your second point of contact will be with the on-site wedding co-ordinator at the location your wedding. Generally you will not have any contact with the wedding co-ordinator until you get to your wedding destination.
Most wedding packages have a set formula and only offer small variations for personalisation. However due to the large numbers of weddings organised each year, you should be guaranteed to receive a very professional service and a tried and tested package.
If you book a wedding package abroad your wedding ceremony and reception will usually take place in a hotel or resort. Most travel companies have an affiliation with a number of hotels in each area and you can choose the package at a hotel that best suits your requirements.
If you book through a Tour Operator many companies often provide attractive extras and discounts such as room upgrades and free accommodation.
Most wedding packages abroad include the following:
- An on-site wedding co-ordinator
- Administration to obtain your marriage licence
- Celebrant to conduct wedding ceremony
- Ceremony set up (chairs, flowers etc)
- Wedding cake
- Bouquet of flowers
- Buttonhole for groom
- Dinner for 2
Many Tour Operators also offer packages which include additional items, such as music, videography and larger wedding receptions.
The more comprehensive the wedding package abroad the more it will cost.
A wedding package may be the best choice if…
- You are having a smaller wedding
- You would like to keep your costs low
- You want to limit the amount of planning you need to do
- You would like to have your wedding in The Caribbean or Indian Ocean
The benefits of destination wedding packages:
- It is the most cost effective way of having your wedding abroad
- Value for money
- You will be using a company experienced in planning weddings
- You will not spend a lot of your time worrying about the ‘little details’
- The legalities and paperwork will be taken care of ensuring your wedding is legal
- You can choose from a large number of wedding destinations
The downsides of wedding packages abroad:
- There is not a lot of scope for personalisation – most Tour Operators use a set formula
- Your wedding may not be the only one at the hotel on the day you get married
- Whilst wedding packages relieve you of the burden of organising your wedding they also reduce the control you have over the wedding proceedings
If you decide to use a wedding package abroad
- Find out exactly what is included in the wedding package
- Understand what is not included and how much extras will cost
- Determine if there will be a wedding co-ordinator on site on the day of your wedding
- Determine how flexible the wedding package is. Can it be changed or personalised to meet your individual requirements?
- Determine how far in advance the Tour Operator can confirm your exact wedding date. Some Tour Operators will give you two days either side of one another and not confirm the actual date until closer to your wedding.
- Understand what is involved in the ceremony. Will you be able to personalise it in anyway?
- Find out how many weddings take place at the hotel each day. Some companies restrict this to one wedding but others have a number on the same day.
- Ensure the Tour Operator takes care of the paperwork and legalities for getting married abroad
- Determine if there is a contingency plan if the wedding is to take place outdoors and it rains
Recommended Travel Company
If you would like to use a Tour Operator to organise your wedding abroad I strongly suggest you contact UK independent Travel Consultants, The Honeymoon Fixer. They are friendly and experienced company with an excellent reputation for planning destination weddings and honeymoons abroad.
What I love about them is that you receive impartial advice on the best wedding and honeymoon destinations as they are not owned by a Tour Operator. They can provide you with independent advice and ideas for your wedding abroad and help you find the best wedding holiday packages for your honeymoon.
We didn’t want the stress of organising things ourselves so were pleased with our decision to use a Tour Operator although it was very difficult knowing nothing about what would happen until we actually arrived in Sri Lanka. The only part taken care of in England was copies of the documents that they required. The wedding was good value for money if you consider what we would have spent getting married in England with all our massive families present! It was a lot cheaper than we thought it was going to be and it was the most perfect day so we can’t complain at all!
I think in hindsight we probably could have organised the wedding ourselves if we dealt with the hotel direct but we really wanted a no hassle wedding, which by booking through a Tour Operator was exactly what we got, all we really had to do was turn up on the day!
I would recommend a Tour Operator if people, like us, want a stress-free wedding but if you want to be directly involved and want to know the progress of the arrangements every step of the way then it would be best to book it yourself or find a local Wedding Planner who can keep in more constant contact with you.