Experts Say Destination Weddings Are the Way to Go

wedding couple on beach excellence collection

Cancellations, postponements, alterations, and all sorts of related decisions have been at the forefront of weddings in the past twenty-plus months. But a shift is on the horizon and new trends have emerged. Over the past decade, destination weddings have enjoyed massive popularity, but logistically they can be significantly limiting; however, for weddings in 2022, industry experts claim they will be one of the year’s biggest trends.

We have chatted with the Groups and Weddings Department for The Excellence Collection—a hospitality group of high-end, all-inclusive resorts for adults, couples, and families in the world’s favorite Caribbean destinations, Punta Cana, Cancun, Riviera Maya, and Montego Bay, and this is what they had to say.

excellence collection resort Caribbean destination weddings

YEAR-ROUND CEREMONIES:

Historically, April, May, June, or November are the top picked months to carry out nuptials. But according to the Excellence Collection team, this is no longer the case. Based on their reservations and inquiries, every month of the year will be an equal contender to say ‘I do’… (if you choose the traditional route, of course) 

“There is a notable rise in destination weddings for 2022. And there does not seem to be a preference for a particular season or month.” Stated The Excellence Collection’s Groups and Weddings Associate Director.

There are many factors that have potentially led to this new trend. Typically, or more so before the pandemic, the majority of celebrations predictably took place on specific dates or seasons. But this has changed due to the current flexibility that working remotely allows. Planning a ceremony does not have to revolve around holidays or PTOs. Instead, many newlyweds are now able to get away and work simultaneously. To this, we add the Caribbean’s perfect year-round weather, and that simplifies the date selection process. 

At the moment, explains the department’s director, most destination wedding inquiries are for properties in the Dominican Republic, specifically for The Excellence Collection’s new all-ages resort, Finest Punta Cana, and the modern adults-only, Excellence El Carmen. Both properties have seen a substantial rise in bookings that represent the aforementioned trend. There is a bit of correlation as the properties are located next to each other. This makes for a smooth transition between family and adults-only experiences.

FEWER ATTENDEES, MORE CELEBRATIONS:

In the past almost two years, events have been reduced to smaller, controlled groups due to health regulations and venue restrictions, and though they have loosened recently, intimate soirées are here to stay. Last-minute cancellations leading to smaller weddings were a normal expectation in the midst of a pandemic. But soon-to-be newlyweds are opting more for small gatherings and meaningful celebrations regardless.

excellence beach wedding ceremony set up destination weddings

With fewer attendees and simpler logistics, weddings for 2022 will evolve into a series of events beyond the typical reception and ceremony. Overall guests have bigger budgets. And are choosing to allocate their resources to more activities that range between 3-5 days on average. Whether it’s catered brunches, karaoke nights, silent parties, or alfresco dinners, there is a growing demand for personalized group activities before and after the nuptials, which by the way are also on a steady path of change… on to the next.

BREAKING TRADITION:

More celebrations call for new ideas and different concepts. Therefore traditional practices have begun to take a back seat at destination weddings that are planned as multi-day events. Yes, the classic vows and the ‘I do’ will remain intact in most cases. But father-daughter dances, toasts, bridesmaids, registries, and other traditions will be easily broken as couples seek to create their own. 

Even though technically not a wedding, symbolic events will also play an important role in destination ‘weddings’. Couples who tied the knot during COVID-19 now show interest in celebrating their union alongside close friends and family. Sometimes without nuptials but just as lavishly as any ceremony at a luxury all-inclusive resort is expected to be.

There is an influx of elopement-related bookings as well. “More couples contact us to coordinate their weddings without the presence of many attendees or any at all. A quick and unforgettable romantic getaway is what they come to us for.”


trinity chandelier koket luxury lighting

FROM WEDDING TO VACATION:

A growing tendency is for destination wedding guests to turn the occasion into individual vacations post-nuptials. Since a big percentage of travelers have feared international travel for so long and remote work has become the norm, guests at destination weddings are likely to stay an additional significant time for personal leisure.

“At our all-inclusive properties and compared to before the pandemic, a great number of guests within wedding parties have extended their stay. We had not seen this before as wedding guests usually fly in a day or two before and after the main event; however, for 2022 guests stay up to a week longer and this is happening company-wide throughout all of our properties.” Said The Groups and Weddings Associate Director. “In the case of the Dominican Republic, where we have several properties, we are suggesting that guests visit at least two of them in Punta Cana for a different experience without compromising the quality of service”, she added.

woman walking into a pool where a man is swimming in a tropical setting

WORTH A MENTION:

Decor and color palettes continue to be a priority for lovebirds throughout the wedding planning process. Making them among the first points they want to discuss, according to the experts. Subdued opulence, small tasteful arrangements, and outdoor venues dressed in earth tones and light colors are in order for the new year. Though weddings will tend to be smaller, the rate of confirmed attendance has increased in comparison to previous years, despite group size.

intimate wedding dinner set up on a beach

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only limited the industry but has also encouraged couples and vendors alike to optimize time, opportunities, and resources, making 2022 a comeback year. According to Wedding Report, the US alone will host 2.5 million weddings next year, the most since 1984.

The industry is gearing up for a strong season of weddings in 2022, with destination weddings being an important source of tourism. As discussed with The Excellence Collection’s Groups and Weddings Associate Director, a lot of changes are underway. But there is a brighter outlook on hospitality following the impact of the pandemic. Visit www.theexcellencecollection.com to learn more about their wedding packages, venues, and ideas.

Words by Diego Osorio


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