Category: Wedding & honeymoon travel

UK travel complaints and destination weddings

Here are a few funny complaints collected by UK travel agents. I wonder if any of the travel agents that read this blog can share something equally silly?

“I was bitten by a mosquito – no-one said they could bite,” a holidaymaker complained. I can relate.

Here’s one on how a foreign wedding is actually cheaper than a domestic wedding in the UK:

According to a recent report from market research firm Mintel, the average cost of an overseas wedding is £6,000 – leaving couples a spare £14,000 to fritter away on swimsuits, suntan lotion and building castles in the sand.

Then there is a list of things you want to consider before planning a destination wedding.

Here’s an article from Australia explaining that the airlines can not keep doing business the way they are now (heavy discounts, not enough business class passengers, etc.).

Aruba honeymoon – yay or nay?

Reader question: My fiance and I are getting married in October of this year, and we have been looking into honeymoon options. We are considering going to Aruba, at an all inclusive. We looked at a few options, including the Bucuti resort, Occidental, and a few others.

I was just wondering if anyone here had any experience/suggestions/recommendations, as neither of us have been there before. Any help would be awesome.

How big of a honeymoon bargain can you get? And cruises vs. all-inclusive resorts

This article talks about how to have a great honeymoon in 2009. It mentions that prices are dropping and an inventive way to help pay:

Some are even making weekly deposits with travel agents. Tour America reports that weekly or monthly contributions from family and friends for the honeymoon have become a fashionable pre-wedding present.

One other interesting note in that article is that prices in Dubai have dropped 40% – interesting because I was just writing about how the economy must be hurting Dubai, especially.

The article lists some “deals” but they don’t seem all that special to me – most are over 1,000 GBP/person. I’m not saying that the prices are totally unreasonable – just that they don’t seem 25%-40% cheaper than normal.

This article talks about how cruises and all-inclusive resorts make honeymoons less stressful – worrying about how much money you spend on each dinner would be a drag on your honeymoon. Personally, though, I think comparing cruises to all-inclusives is a bit misleading. As I wrote on my Alaska cruise review, I certainly saw people experiencing all kinds of stress because of the extra charges on the cruise ship (especially the very expensive photos). My wife and I ended up spending an extra $1300 on the shore excursions, specialty restaurants, photos, bowling, the mandatory tips, etc. Plus a bunch more money shopping.

At the resorts I’ve been to, there hasn’t really been any temptation to shop. Most seem to be no tipping. I think the food is usually included – even when you do eat at a specialty restaurant. So you really wouldn’t have to worry about spending extra money if you were to go to a resort like Sirenis, Punta Cana. On a cruise, you better expect to pay something extra.

Time for romance? Honeymoon and related articles…

It seems that I haven’t been to any of the 10 most romantic resorts in the world. Disappointing but not surprising I guess.

Here’s a personal account of how traveling with someone can show you if a relationship might work. Nothing huge revealed here but it reminded me of my honeymoon, the first time I really traveled with my wife. For the first 4 weeks of our honeymoon I was actually studying full-time for a CELTA degree in Rome (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults). There was some stress there, some arguments. After that we mostly argued about directions, especially in Assisi (good thing it’s small and relatively easy to find your way).

This article on romantic holidays had some interesting information:

When John Lennon and Yoko Ono got hitched in 1969, they held their celebrated “bed-in” in room 702 — the honeymoon suite — of the Amsterdam Hilton. According to Lennon’s “The Ballad of John and Yoko”,”The newspapers said, ‘Say what you doing in bed?’ I said, ‘We’re only trying to get us some peace.” Peace is still available: a night in Room 702 costs from €1,837.50, with breakfast. The hotel is marking the 40th anniversary of the “bed-in” from 19-21 March with a photo exhibition (00 31 20 710 6000; hilton.com).

They also mention Vegas as a wedding destination, like I have on this blog.

Here’s the travel troubleshooter, Christopher Elliott, helping out a couple that was lied to by Westin Aruba management about renovations – I guess they were lucky that they learned before they arrived on their honeymoon that the resort’s pool would be closed.

This article recommends a couple of honeymoon spots, The Residence in Mauritius and Breezes in Zanzibar, plus some service for a wedding gift registry where people buy you honeymoon-related stuff.

All these articles reminded me of this interesting conversation on honeymooning in Disney.

Destination weddings and marriage economics

Many of the destination weddings here are typical go to a resort type deals, but one stands out:

For the even more adventurous, there is a wedding in the wild at Kenya’s Cottars 1920s Camp, through Uncharted Outposts. Couples wed under a clear blue sky surrounded by chanting Masai warriors. If the wedding is in July or August, the soulmates will behold the great wildebeest migration, but any time of year they will see hippos, impalas, buffalo, zebras, and cheetahs. A four-night stay, including all the arrangements, starts at $3,250 per person.

On the second page they switch to vacations that I hope are not for weddings like a 31 day motor coach tour…

This article on the financials of marriage suggests having the weeding in the spring or fall to save money (on the wedding and on travel fees for the honeymoon). I don’t think that would have worked for me because I pretty much have to do my traveling in summer and winter when school is out. So my August 19th anniversary date works out real well since I am always off and we can always do something (even if we don’t travel on our anniversary).

The good and the bad

I don’t know if you’re in the mood for a rant about how bad flying is these days, but here you go anyway. You at least have to appreciate the proposed solution:

The one solution I can think of to all of these problems is for Congress to pass a law insisting that all airline CEOs fly on their airline’s longest flight in coach class once a week. After a few weeks, they’re bound to either make some changes or leave the airline business. I’d be happy to accept either outcome.

Airline issues dominate this travel Q&A.

On a happier note, this article starts off with a hilarious photo of a ‘Hello Kitty’ themed wedding in Japan. It then goes on to talk about destination weddings. The Hello Kitty couple is not the only crazy couple getting hitched:

She has had some bizarre requests. “Once we had a client ask if we could provide penguins for a wedding in Las Vegas. As you can imagine, that did not happen,” she says. A US groom-to-be once asked her to plan a surprise wedding in Florence and Thornton-Brown arranged everything from the location for the proposal to the bridal gown. “His unsuspecting girlfriend had no idea her holiday to Italy was going to be her wedding and honeymoon,” she says. “Thankfully, the big risk did pay off and the wedding was amazing.”

Here’s another happy vacation experience, and in some detail. The itinerary goes by time of day so we really get a feel for the painting vacation.

Destination wedding scam in the Dominican Republic

We talked about destination weddings not too long ago and how they are supposed to reduce stress. That isn’t happening for British and Canadian couples who had destination weddings in the Dominican Republic but haven’t gotten their marriage certificates.

Of course the wedding planner says to hire a professional, but how does a wedding planner in your home country know if whoever is doing the ceremony has the proper credentials?

And if you’re curious about America’s changing wedding culture this article may be of interest. Scroll down to see the mention of destination weddings near the end.

Destination weddings – how much easier are they?

According to this article, one advantage of having a destination wedding is easy for the couple:

“Everything is pretty much handled for them,” Goetschel said. “It’s not really a do-it-yourself wedding. The couple is treated as a guest even if they are stars of the show. They don’t have to do the extra labor, either.”

Since my wedding was in Korea, my wife got stuck with making most of the arrangements but is was a substantial amount of work for her.

And I remember when my sister got married – she and her husband had a lot of work to do and were real busy making plans.

So I wonder if anyone here has had a destination wedding and if it really was easy.

Naturally there are some disadvantages. For example, destination weddings are often expensive. This article talks about extremely expensive ones. For normal people, though, I don’t know if it would be much more expensive for the couple getting married, especially if they honeymoon where or near the place of the wedding.

However, for guests who live near the bride and groom the extra plane fare might be a big deal.

Reader needs help planning a honeymoon

Reader submitted question: My soon to be finance has put me in charge of planning the honeymoon. Any specific specific resorts/locations to recommend? I googled for vacation planning websites but didn’t see anything that good. Any specific booking/planning sites out there? My original thought was to go to Italy but I don’t think it will be affordable.

My answer: Firstly, this vacation planning blog is pretty good…

Seriously though, I honeymooned in Italy in 2001. It is more expensive now, and we don’t know what your budget is like, but personally I wouldn’t be afraid of an expensive honeymoon, even if it means spending less on the wedding. My wife and I soent 9 weeks in Italy on our honeymoon and it was incredible. Sure we were paying off loans to various relatives the next 18 months, but it was well worth it for us.

We do have a few resources on this site, including several blog entries about Rome and an interesting discussion about honeymooning in Disney World. Let’s see what else we can find you.

Other people’s ideas:

1. You can’t go wrong with a beach like Maui, but it should really be about what you guys are into. If you like Europe but think Italy might be too expensive, some of the eastern European countries might work for you. I’ve not been personally, but I’ve heard really good things about the Czech Rep/Prague and Hungary/Budapest. It also depends on what time of the year you are planning on going…

2. I leave for my honeymoon on sunday. I’m doing St Lucia with Sandals all inclusive resort. The whole thing cost us about 5k including airfare and we are staying in a honeymoon suite. We have access to all three sandals resorts that are on the island we are staying at the Halcyon.

Whatever you do go all-inclusive or get a Caribbean cruise. I personally like Western Carribean (it’s much less crowded in Cozumel, Isla Mujares, Belieze and Roataan), but most people prefer Eastern. Anyway, a cruise is usually stress free which is nice after a big wedding.

3. If you want intimacy and quiet solitude, go to Maui/Hawaii (big Island). Whatever you do… DON’T go to Honolulu. Too commercial and cheesy-touristy. If you are feeling adventureous look at renting a villa instead of staying at a resort. We have done both and enjoy both. At a Villa you are much more “on your own” as far as things to do but the privacy of your own pool on your honeymoon is priceless. At a resort you will meet more people and have all the resort amenities at your convenience. If your looking for privacy, go with the villa. My wife and I went to La Bagatelle Villa in Soufrie, St. Lucia. Awesome!

4. Antigua was nice for doing absolutely nothing, if relaxation is all you want. But there isn’t much doing beyond sitting around. Ditto for Aruba. The best part about Aruba is the food. Great restaurants and nice people. But the beaches are very windy and there is no snorkeling to speak of. Not a very pretty island either, as it is desert, not tropical.

5. If you want something different and have the money, the Greek Islands are amazing. my wife and I went to Santorini, Rhodes and Mykonos. A honeymoon should be, in my opinion, once in a lifetime, and the Greek Islands were just that! If you can only do one, Santorini is the perfect honeymoon spot!

If you can add something, please leave a comment.

July 7, 2007: Lucky day to get married?

I blogged about getting married in Vegas before, but on July 7, 2007 many more couples than normal will be visiting one of those 24 hour chapels and letting Elvis lead them through their vows.

If Vegas isn’t your thing, and spending $77,777 sounds lucky (rather than insane or impossible), this article suggests something special in New York:

Ritz Carlton, New York has a lucky number wedding package for just: $77,777. It includes the wedding reception for you and your significant other and 75 of your friends and relatives (total:77), plus cocktail hour with an open bar and a 7 canapés tasting.

Reception with dinner, dessert, and a custom 7 tier wedding cake. A 7-bottle champagne toast to commemorate the occasion.

Floral arrangements by celebrity florist Jane Packer including centerpieces on the 7 guest tables. 7 diamonds for the bride from Tiffany & Co.

7 manicures and pedicures for the bride and six close friends in La Prairie at The Ritz-Carlton Spa.

Luxury accommodations in The Ritz-Carlton Presidential Suite, Room 2107, for the lucky couple on their wedding night including a rose petal turndown, a bottle of champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and an Old Fashioned Rose Bath drawn by the Bath Butler.

A 7-night honeymoon at any Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the world.

Hopefully all the lucky couples getting married on the 7th are already pregnant so they can give birth before the end of the “year of the golden pig”.

This article says the year of the golden pig happens once every 60 years, but if I know my Chinese calendar, it’s actually once every 600 years:

And, as surely as spring follows winter, China will be facing a baby boom in the new Year of the Golden Pig, which comes around once every 60 years. China’s maternity wards are being booked months in advance in expectation of the millions of babies being born this year to the newlyweds of 2006 – far more than China’s maternity wards can handle. Baby-product companies are salivating over the sudden prospects of a booming market: Kimberly-Clark says the disposable-diapers market will grow 60% this year.