Do you know how much the average Australian wedding costs now? It’s $36,000 and that’s big chunk of change to drop on a single day’s activity when you can get married and have a honeymoon for less overseas.
But where do you go for a destination wedding? Well we’ve got some great ideas for you but don’t forget these are a starting point; you’ll need to talk to us to develop the perfect destination wedding. You’re unique and you want the best start to married life; don’t get fooled into taking a package wedding – it won’t save you money but it might cost you a lot in happiness.
Fiji – The Island ParadiseFiji loves to host weddings for couples from overseas and Aussies love to get married in Fiji. In fact, nearly half of all destination weddings in the country are for Aussies now. That’s because it’s close to Australia, it’s easy to get to and it’s downright beautiful.
You can get that perfect beach wedding in Fiji and your guests will usually be only too happy to come too because it’s not that far from home.
Bali – Indonesia’s Happy PlaceSure, there are parts of Bali which are over developed and not ideal for weddings but there are other parts of the island which are still a snippet of paradise. The airport is excellent and it’s cheap to get flights from Australia in and out of Bali direct. It is still a little complex to organise a legal wedding but it can be done. There are some restrictions though! Some couples may opt to go for a ceremonial wedding in Bali and a formal registration at home.
The island’s Hindi culture won’t interfere with having a few drinks to celebrate the happy day either.
Thailand – The Land Of SmilesThailand used to be a bit awkward to get married in but today it’s becoming a really popular place to go. It’s a low cost destination but one with a long history of serving guests from overseas in just the right way.
They call Thailand the “Land of Smiles” and it shows in the care and hospitality that you’ll receive if you get married there.
The Cook Islands – South Pacific HeavenThe Cook Islands is becoming a really popular destination for weddings for Australians. That’s because it shares political links with New Zealand and offers endless beautiful beaches and snorkeling spots. It’s a little remote but that’s half the beauty of it – it means that your wedding is the subject of everyone’s attention.
Tahiti – Polynesian PleasureIt’s a more classic destination wedding venue but for a good reason; Tahiti has been showing Aussies hospitality for a very long time now. It’s hard to imagine a more romantic spot than standing on a Tahitian beach with the waves lapping at your toes, with the sun breaking over you as you say your vows. Legal weddings require some advance paperwork and a visit to the town hall, but it is easy to do a symbolic ceremony if you don’t have the time for this.
Italy And EuropeItaly is a sunny and romantic destination and while Europe might seem a long way from Australia; there’s plenty of shared culture and amazing destinations. Marriage in Europe is pretty straightforward too and recognition back home is never a problem.
Don’t Go Online And Book – Plan Your Wedding With A Travel AgentIf you want your wedding to be truly unique and special; you need to call me to discuss the way that a destination can work for you and your love. I’ve spent thirty years working with destinations to deliver dream weddings. Contact me today and let’s get working on yours.
Booking your destination wedding shouldn’t be a rush job conducted online at the last minute for some package of dubious value in wherever isn’t booked solid. It should be a leisurely, planned affair where you work with a travel agent to create the wedding of your dreams. You’re only going to get married once and you ought to make it the most awesome experience that you can. With that in mind – here are 5 questions you should ask your travel agent before you book a destination wedding:
Where Have Other Couples Been And Loved? Unless you have the destination already firmly picked out in your head; it’s a good idea to get some ideas about where you might want to hold the wedding. Talk to your travel agent about other couples in similar circumstances, where did they do? What did they want from their wedding? What was their feedback?
This will also help you get a feel for whether the agent has a real passion for this work or it’s just another service in a long line of travel services. Wedding specialists are likely to shine when they answer this question.
What Does It Take To Get There? You don’t ask this question just for yourselves, you also ask it for your guests. Will people need passports? Will they need visas? What are the pros and cons of travel at that time of year? What are the flight costs likely to be (this will be approximate)?
These are the questions your guests are going to be asking of you; so it’s best to be prepared to answer them.
What Currency Do They Use At The Destination? You may also want to check if there are other acceptable currencies. The Aussie dollar isn’t widely accepted outside of Australia but the US Dollar often is and it can be easier to source than some relatively obscure currency and the rates are often better.
Getting value for money from your destination wedding is important and so is getting the right money.
What Elements Of The Destination Wedding Can Be Customized? You’re not leaving things up to chance and that means, you want to know what lays within your control and what’s being dealt with by the destination team.
This can help ease your mind that you’re making the right decision on the destination and allow you to tailor your day to your needs and your guests’ needs too.
Is There Anything Else Important We Should Know About The Destination? It’s also a good idea to take a high level overview of the destination as a whole. Sure, you’re getting married but you’re also likely to be spending some time there after and before the wedding; why not make sure that it’s the right place for being together at those times too?
Talk To Your Travel Agent You want to talk to your travel agent about your destination wedding. The more you drill down into the details; the more you can be sure that you’re getting exactly what you need. You can’t get that from a website. You can only get it from a wedding travel specialist, like me. So call me today and let’s put your dream wedding into motion[M1] .
[M1]Insert contact us link
Thinking about getting married overseas? Want the dream location to go with your perfect day? That’s awesome but here are the things that you need to know before you start planning that once in a lifetime trip.
You Can Save Money I’ve found that you can save money on a destination wedding. The reason being, other than the high prices of doing things in Australia, that you reduce your guest list substantially. Where maybe 140 people turn up to an Australian wedding bash, around 50 will join you at a destination. However, don’t forget that you’ll probably end up entertaining people for a bit longer at a destination than you would back home too – so don’t expect ridiculous cost savings. You only get those if you cut corners on quality and you don’t want that.
You May Find That Some Guests Moan About It You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs and you can’t plan a destination wedding without somebody moaning about the costs of flights and hotel. It’s important to remind people that they aren’t required to come that it’s a voluntary process. In my experience, everyone who does go to a destination wedding will have a good time; it’s a vacation as much as it is as chance to join your happiest day and people tend to enjoy the time off.
You May Need To Try Something New It’s good to have an idea of what your wedding should be like but please try to remember that going abroad means that some things are different from Australia. Talk to your travel agent and work out what’s really important early (so you can ensure your destination caters to your priorities) but don’t be afraid to try something new for less important items. That’s half the fun of going overseas.
You Should Think About Your Most Important Guests At The Planning Stage A wedding at Everest Base Camp might be awesome if all your guests are rugged, fit 20-somethings but if you want your 85 year-old grandmother to share your special day; you might want to think about a slightly different option. That doesn’t mean you have to abandon your key themes but you’ll want to talk to your destination wedding travel agent and make sure that you can find a place that balances your dreams and the basic needs of your guests.
You Want A Travel Expert and Not A Travel Package Yes, that’s me. Your wedding day is too important to leave to chance and it shouldn’t be a cookie cutter experience that anybody else can have. That’s fine for a quick vacation (in fact, it’s often perfect) but you want your wedding day to be special and most importantly, you want it to go smoothly. Getting married overseas can be an amazing experience but only if all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. Don’t leave it up to chance. I’ve been doing this for 30 years, you’ll be in good hands, so call me when you’re ready to talk about your plans.
Nobody wants to spend their wedding day in a beautiful destination sobbing on the phone to someone back home because everything that could go wrong with their hotel and wedding has gone wrong, do they?
Yet, it’s rather more common that you’d believe. I recently had one such bride crying on the phone to me – she and her beau had reached their dream destination to find that their wedding was going to be a nightmare. The resort wasn’t set up to handle the details and it showed. The most special day of their life will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Packages Are For Quick Breaks Not For Weddings
The packaged wedding industry is a thing. They get a nice brochure of a hotel in Fiji and tell you that this is where your dreams will come true. The trouble is that they’re not really interested in you; they’re interested in a production line of weddings passing through. You’re not a name, you’re a number.
Some of the time, this works out OK too. You get there and everything is acceptable and everything goes without incident. Some of the time, it’s not. The usual wedding organizer is on a month’s leave but the package company didn’t know and booked you in anyway. It’s the middle of the typhoon season, they package company did know but hey, you should have read the small print, right?
There’s a time for pre-packaged breaks and those are for the quick getaways in the working year. If you’re going to pop over to Bali for a week of a few beers on the beach; the little things don’t matter so much. A little leak in the hotel roof onto your jeans is no big deal but if it was your wedding dress…
Bespoke Services Make For Dream Weddings
Your wedding day is supposed to be the most special day of your life. You don’t want it organized like a production line in a factory. You want someone to take an interest in you, your partner and the people coming to celebrate your wedding with you. When you go overseas for a wedding; you need more than a wedding planner – you need a travel agent that knows how weddings work in your destination.
A travel agent can tailor the perfect package for your wedding needs. You can focus on being in love, having an awesome time and creating the right memories to last a life time. Your travel agent will know what’s what and make sure that nothing interferes with your start to married life.
Isn’t That Expensive?
Let me share an industry secret with you. It’s no more expensive to book your destination wedding through a travel agent like me, with 30 years of experience in creating wedding experiences, than it is to book a package online.
Sure, I may sometimes recommend a slightly more expensive hotel than the package or a different approach to something on the day but that’s because I want your day to go without a hitch. But if you were to book that hotel or difference online – it would still cost the same as booking through me.
Don’t Cry On Your Wedding Day, Call Me Today
So what are you waiting for? Don’t call me in floods of tears because things have gone wrong on the day; I can’t do anything about that then. Do call me today and see how we can make your dream wedding a reality in the destination of your choice.
Travel makes you happier and not just because you don’t have to go to work and you can have a Margarita for breakfast – it’s the anticipation!
For some, it’s the adrenalin , for others, it’s an escape from techno world – the opportunity to face time with nature.
Check out Mandi on the radio! Interviewed by Mike Bennett of 101fm about bucket list travel
Article published today in YMag - a good read!
OK so it isn't the cover of Vogue or even one of the women's mags, but we still had an article published!!
It was in Travel Bulletin which is an industry publication, (and it was under our old name of Worldwide Weddings) but we thought you would like to see it as it has some useful info - so here is the transcript:
Keep Calm: Call a Wedding Destination Specialist
By Bonnie Tai
It’s common knowledge that wedding planning and stress go hand in hand. Add in a foreign country plus the juggling and transportation of tens of guests, and your special day could turn into a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, it’s a task that you don’t have to take on alone.
Mandi-Forrester Jones of World Wide Weddings has been in the business of delivering destination weddings since 2009. She believes there is a common misconception among people that it’s easier and cheaper to just book their flights, venues and accommodation on their own — when in fact the opposite is true.
“There’s no extra cost to do it with someone like myself,” she tells travelBulletin. “When people decide to book with a specialist they’re basically getting our knowledge and expertise for nothing.”
Having a destination wedding is a choice made by many Australians every year, but very few people truly understand the amount of work it takes to coordinate such gatherings, she explained, and this in turn can lead to trouble when certain details are overlooked.
Forrester-Jones gave the example of a recent bride who had to be “rescued” after she decided to go it alone without consulting a specialist.
“A bride who was taking a large group to Fiji decided to book her flights online,” recalled Forrester-Jones, “and while she was on the island, the airline changed the return flight time”.
The carrier then sent the bride an automated email, which unfortunately she didn’t receive.
“And when she contacted the transfer company to reconfirm the departure time, they advised her the flight had changed, so she had to spend the last two days of her honeymoon reorganising everyone’s transfers, booking extra nights’ accommodation and changing flights.”
Natural disasters and other acts of God are also commonly overlooked by the DIY planner, mused Forrester Jones, who has had to move entire wedding parties during cyclones and storms on many occasions.
“The last cyclone in Fiji was a bad one and a few resorts had to close for long periods for renovation…we negotiated with airlines to change flights, we found alternative resorts for weddings, we changed everyone’s bookings…imagine doing that on your own!” she exclaimed.
Forrester-Jones also highlighted the fact that the average consumer would not have the same kind of negotiating power as a destination specialist, meaning if things did go wrong, couples would most likely have to foot the bill at full price — and that doesn’t come cheap.
“I’ve negotiated special offers based on volume for the guests, then had other people who did not book with me complain that they didn’t get the offer,” she explained.
Another wedding specialist who has been left to pick up the pieces after disaster struck during an overseas nuptial is Personal Travel Manager Deahann Urqueza.
Urqueza, who is a travel agent that specialises in Fiji weddings, explained to travelBulletin that a lot could go wrong when civilians attempted to do a specialist’s job.
“I’ve had clients try to book all their guests’ rooms online before all the prices changed due to instant purchase and they weren’t able to get all the accommodation confirmed,” she said.
“People don’t realise that specialists like us actually have the ability to secure fixed room prices.”
Other problems that are commonly encountered by those who choose to book their ceremonies online involve people failing to fill in the right paperwork to ensure their weddings are legally sound, as well as having guests scattered all over the place as they were unable to secure a single resort or hotel to accommodate the entire guest list.
“It’s not uncommon for a couples’ guests and family to be spread across parts of Fiji and not at the designated resort, which can create a logistical nightmare for them on the day of the wedding,” she said.
Urqueza explained that while the allure of a six-star location without the six-star price tag was a major draw card for those looking to host an overseas wedding, it was still important to consult an expert before planning such a huge occasion.
“We do weddings every day. We know the suppliers and we have all the contacts — it just makes sense to choose to work with an expert,” she said.
Top Tips to Planning an Overseas Nuptial
1. Choose the right venue
Make sure the venue you choose is suited to the kind of ceremony you want to have. Consider the people attending (such as elderly, disabled or children) and ensure logistics are planned to suit the entire guest list.
2. Research, research, research
Read as much as you can about the destination to ensure that you have fulfilled the legal conditions for marriage in the country you choose.
For example, Thailand requires that your marriage documents are translated into Thai before they are submitted for certification by authorities.
3. Create a budget
Although it’s widely known that holding a destination wedding can be a cheaper option than holding it at home, it is important that you factor in every cost as it can all add up.
It is a good idea to try and pay for as much of the event as you can from home to ensure that any nasty surprises are avoided upon check-out.
In the wake of the latest cyclone to disrupt our beautiful South Pacific, we have good news from Vanuatu!
Following the passage of Cyclone Cook this weekend over the Vanuatu islands, Vanuatu Tourism Office is pleased to advise that it is business as usual in the islands and that hotels and resorts are open as normal.
While a full assessment is still underway VTO is pleased to report that there has been little damage and the tourism businesses in Efate (Port Vila), Espiritu Santo, and Tanna are operational as normal and there have been no reports of damage to infrastructure.
Airports in Port Vila, Espiritu Santo, and Tanna are open and receiving flights. International and domestic flights are operational.
We have been very fortunate and look forward to showing visitors a great time in Vanuatu over the Easter break
Good on you Vanuatu!!!
Must be hungry in the Viva office as it's all about the food today!
Love pizza! NOW this is customer service.
Delta Air Lines took matters into its own hands this week after hundreds of flights were cancelled or delayed due to severe thunderstorms in the South of the US.
As passengers fumed, the carrier sought to ease tensions with bulk orders for more than 700 boxes of pizza.
Photos posted on Twitter show flight attendants handing out slices by the plane load!
So now we have your attention - check this out!
Go back to reading a book on a flight!
OK so for those who suffer withdrawal symptoms when they are without their trusty laptop or IPad - flying to certain places is going to be a bit of an issue!!
Britain and the US have banned laptops and tablet computers from the passenger compartment of flights from several Middle East and North African nations. A French civil aviation agency spokesman said France was considering whether to impose similar measures.
Britain said it would be banning “phones, laptops or tablets larger than a normal-sized mobile or smartphone” The United States said its ban applied to all electronic devices larger than an average-sized mobile phone, including game consoles.
How does it affect Australian passengers?
It is likely travellers boarding flights from an Australian airport to the US or UK which connect via the Middle East will have to pack electronic devices in their checked bags from Australia as there is no possibility to retrieve baggage while in transit.
Back to good old fashioned books to keep you occupied!