Have you been in the travel industry for years? Are you just starting out? Would you like to venture into the wonderful world of destination weddings? The wedding industry is estimated to be over $298 billion globally, so it could be a very lucrative career move.
A Weddingbells magazine survey from January 2014 estimated that 162,056 Canadian marriages and 15% of all Canadian couples will be planning a destination wedding, with the Caribbean being the most popular destination.
Within the Caribbean, Bahamas was named the top destination wedding of choice for Canadian couples by Today’s & Weddingbells magazine in 2013.
Bahamas is unique because it is comprised of 700 islands sprinkled over 100,000 square miles, just off the coast of Florida. The archipelago is an ecological oasis featuring 2,000 breathtaking islands and cays and boasts the clearest water on the planet—with a visibility of over 200 feet.
I sat down with Vinincia Strachan Manage of Bahamas Romantic Travel to get the Top 15 Tips for planning a destination wedding in the Bahamas:
1. First, identify the island on which your client would like to get married because there are more than 700 islands to choose from in the Bahamas. Would they prefer a private island, or to be closer to the nightlife in Nassau?
2. Identify a resort to host the event from the many different options, ranging from budget to luxury. However, if you are planning a private wedding and reception, partner with a local planner from The Bahamas Bridal Association (BBA) who will assist you choosing a venue and coordinating the event on the island.
3. While The Bahamas residency requirement for couples prior to the wedding is 24 hours, make sure your clients arrive in the Bahamas one to two days before the wedding day to meet the local wedding planner, view the venue and discuss wedding details.
4. Never pay for the entire event up front, unless you’ve see proof that work has been done on your behalf.
5. Make sure that the independent Wedding Consultant you have identified to assist you works well with your personality and working style. Check the local independent planner’s qualifications by contacting the BBA for references.
6. Advise the couple of Bahamas independence Day which falls on July 10th, 2014. All of the local business are closed on that day except for hotels.
7. Ask clients to apply for a marriage licence on the first business day of their arrival. Most resorts require that the couple apply for their marriage license 48 hours in advance. However, the Bahamas’ requirement is 24 hours.
8. Since the Bahamian Dollar is on par with the American Dollar, use a US credit card for payment and carry a minimal amount of US cash. If you need more funds, the Royal Bank of Canada and Scotiabank have branches throughout The Bahamas.
9. Advise the resort that your clients are getting married and ask if they do anything special such as room upgrades, wine & cheese or rose petals around the bath tub.
10. If you’re planning for a wedding group, try to book one optional tour or dinner to bring everyone together. Perhaps the Exuma Powerboat Adventure, Seahorse Dinner Cruise or swim with the dolphins.
11. Your clients may like to consider weaving at least one element of Bahamian culture into their special event like Bahamian food, a local band or Bahamian gifts for the wedding party.
12. Make sure that the florist is able to secure the bride-to-be her flowers of choice on her special day.
13. Suggest to the couple that they take their wedding outfits with them on board the aircraft, so they do not get wrinkled, and if their luggage goes missing, they still have their outfits.
14. If the bride is not having someone from her bridal party fix her hair and put on her makeup, ask to book a local professionals early. Most makeup brands can be found in the Bahamas, but if your bride-to-be is fussy, make sure they bring their own cosmetics.
15. The local Bahamian Wedding Planners are very willing to partner with Canadian Wedding Consultants. In fact, a few of the independent planners are willing to offer a commission to travel agents as well.
These 15 tips will help travel agents successfully coordinate a destination event, or plan a beautiful destination wedding.
Consider these planning tips and consider The Bahamas because as the slogan goes, It’s Better In The Bahamas.
Contact your Bahamas Tourist Office, located at 2150 Islington Avenue in Toronto at 416-241-6183 or 800-667-3777 if you have any questions.