ugg cleaner kit How millennials are changing destination weddings
It starts with a save the date. But not just any save the date. This one arrives via email. It’s not typically how you expect to receive it, as you’re more accustomed to personalized stationery with embossed lettering that you can place on your fridge with a magnet. But this save the date is not for a typical exchange of vows. It’s for a millennial destination wedding, and since millennials do everything else electronically texting, banking, dating why not wedding save the dates, as well? The happy couple has electronically invited you to share their joy, simultaneously reminding you to mark your calendar for adorableweddinghashtag on the beaches of Tulum. Details to follow.The travel industry has gotten used to millennials shaking things up. In fact, the world has gotten pretty used to it in every market segment. Destination weddings, and weddings in general, are no exception. Millennials are changing the way destination weddings are done, turning them into epic, once in a lifetime vacations for them and their friends, picking exotic locations, plastering it all over social media, keeping it all cost effective but still absurdly personalized.Whereas destination weddings have traditionally been for second or third marriages, Apple Vacations president Tim Mullen said millennials are opening up the market for first timers. So if you thought the save the date notice was the only thing different about the way millennials are planning destination weddings, it’s just the first tier of a very large wedding cake. Here’s how you can walk away with a slice.A wedding ceremony at Azul Beach Negril. Photo Credit: Moris Moreno/Karisma Hotels Resorts”>It’s not just a dayWhile typically a destination wedding is all about the wedding, millennials are taking it a step further to the point where the actual ceremony is not as important as the overall experience. Millennials want their destination weddings to be epic, once in a lifetime vacations for them, their family and friends. Agents are no longer planning destination weddings, they’re planning entire group vacations that are highly personalized.”Wedding couples are aiming to experience an authentic vacation with their closest family and friends, where they can spend an entire weekend together versus just a single night somewhere locally,” said Terrah van Meter, a travel consultant with Legacy Travel in Dallas.Nowadays, destination wedding specialists are becoming full service travel concierges, and not just for the bride and groom but for the entire guest list.A wedding reception prepared at the Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica.”All of my millennial wedding clients ask for my travel concierge service,” said Emily Lockard Furry, founder of Traveluxe Official in Beaumont, Texas. “They value the experience in whole, versus just one day. They want to go to Costa Rica and have an experience. It’s completely different from my other clients in that I become the main point of contact for all guests.”Lockard Furry does everything from RSVPs to creating the website to arranging individual bookings. When she arrives at the property for the wedding, she provides welcome bags for the guests, all the way down to giving each person an individual, customized itinerary.”It really creates an experience for the bride and groom, but also for the guests,” she said. “They feel like it wasn’t just a wedding trip.”All the details without the price tagAfter they’ve decided that they want an all out vacation with their friends and family, the next step is doing so on a budget. Millennials care tremendously about the personalization and detail, but they’re cost conscious and on the hunt for a deal.According to the Knot’s 2016 Romance Travel Study, the average couple spends $27,227 for an international destination wedding. Apple Vacations sees budgets lower, hovering around $15,000. And Kelly Poling, senior vice president of marketing for Karisma Hotels Resorts sees budgets around $28,000 for millennial destination weddings.”Millennials spend less on destination weddings overall,” Mullen said, “but they are a key demographic for any agency looking to increase its groups business.”Millennials also opt for smaller weddings to keep costs down, and they expect their guests to pay their own way. The motto of millennials when it comes to destination weddings is, “Those who really want to be there will be there.””Millennials are saying, ‘If you want to come, come, and we’ll supply a welcome party and activities,” Lockard Furry said. “It’s more approachable for them to invite people to come because people are paying for their rooms.”As with most things millennial, the bottom line is about acquiring experiences, not things. They view destination weddings as a way to bring those they love together to create lasting memories. This is also combined with customized experiences, great food and wow moments that cater specifically to their tastes.Diana Diaz de Leon, the weddings manager at the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen, said millennials “are focused on details and the experience they can have. They are asking for entertainment for guests, like water drums or dancers at the beach. They want their wedding to be about experiences for the guests.”A Premium Swim Up Suite at at Azul Beach Negril. Photo Credit: Moris Moreno/Karisma Hotels ResortsScott Wiseman, president of Travel Impressions, observed, “While some millennials may have money to spend, the majority are looking for value adds that can make the wedding unique. They are the generation of the online shopper and of the age of the influencer, so it becomes a balancing act for them to find the best price while keeping their standards Instagram worthy. Things like a special venue at the resort or a rooftop ceremony can often do the trick.”Destinations that continue to be most popular for millennial weddings are Riviera Maya and Jamaica. But more niche destinations like Tulum and Sayulita in Mexico, and even farther afield locations like Costa Rica, Canada and Europe are in play.The wedding ceremony setup at the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen. “>Weddings with bragging rightsSpeaking of Instagram worthy weddings, does social media really have that much of an impact on millennial destination weddings?”Big time,” Wiseman said. “Many agents get their leads from referrals and testimonials from other brides. Social media also helps direct brides to the new hot spots and creates the buzz that helps to sell the wedding. Word of mouth has become even more powerful with the exponential influence of social media, and reviews and user generated content from one couple can easily spread like wildfire and even go viral.”Millennials want their destination weddings to create buzz, which is where social media plays an oversize role.Ivy Jacobson, senior editor at the Knot, said there are several reasons that destination weddings offer “huge social media opportunities.””The location and scenery is gorgeous, and guests will want to document the event on social media the whole time they’re there,” Jacobson said. “And having a hashtag is a must.”Photography becomes even more important in millennial destination weddings, as these clients want to share studio quality photographs in real time, not wait for a photo album to emerge months later.