Q. Why should our wedding group book with Romantic Planet Vacations as opposed to everybody just booking on their own?
Transfers: Your guests will need transportation to and from the airport, this will need to be organized.
Schedule Changes: Flights are known to change. When a schedule changes happens travel agents will stand up and take care of everything for our guests and ensure all options have been sought out prior to the passengers even being notified unless it is a major schedule change. In case of a Major Schedule change you would also be notified with your options and if you have booked air and hotel separately sometimes you can not just re-book the transfers, or the hotel can be sold out for the one day if the flight changes. In this case your group could be held responsible for covering the change fees. With a tour operator/travel agent there would be no change fees.
Over-bookings: If the hotel or airlines over-book (which does happen every day) people can and will get re-accommodated to other properties or flights, because they will not be classified as a group.
Peace of mind: By booking with a travel agent you will save yourself a whole lot of time and energy. This all equals stress. If something goes wrong, anything goes wrong, even as small as someones room is not close enough to the rest of the groups rooms, you will hear about it. With peace of mind, you do not have to worry about dealing with your guests, airline, hotels, transfer companies, insurance companies, making payment arrangements, changes, change fees, cancellations, tickets, ticket issues etc. You will also have us in the office in case something goes wrong while you are in destination.
Customized packages: When booking a large group it is common that not all passengers can travel on the same days (perhaps due to work or school etc). We can make custom packages for them and they will still receive the group discount for the nights that they will be staying at the hotel. Also if some guests can not afford to stay at the same property, we will find a resort close to yours and organize transportation and entrance to your resort on your Wedding date so that we can maximize the number of guests attending your special day.
Variance in pricing: There also could be large price variances for guests that book today, as opposed to those who book 3 months from now. Booking as a group helps level out the rates for everyone in the group.
Group Discount: These usually are offered for group sizes of 10 adults or more and the savings can range from anywhere between $100 – $500 per person. By having guests book on their own the cost that they could incur could be far greater then booking with a group rate.
No Service Fees: You are not paying a penny more by booking with us than booking direct. We earn commission from our suppliers which otherwise, they keep if you book with them directly. If there is no extra cost, why not let us do all of the work for you and your guests, both utilizing our expertise and contacts.
Smaller Booking Deposit: Another advantage to booking as a group is that your guests need only put down their deposit of $150 – $200 per person at the time of booking. When guests book flights on their own, they will need to pay in full for the flights at time of booking.
Coordination of Payments: We ensure that we notify and collect all payments from all guests. Tour operators, airlines and hotels are strict in canceling reservations if not paid on time.
Higher Change Penalties: If any guest would like to change their reservation (add a person, change their name, room, dates etc), tour operators, airlines and hotels always enforce a high change penalty for each and every change. In a group booking scenario, many change penalties are waived.
Crisis Management: In the unlikely event of a crisis as seen in volcanic ash in Europe, Swine flu epidemic, civil war, hurricanes, earthquakes, resort explosions etc., we are there to get your guests out quickly and safely. We work around the clock and coordinate exit and alternative strategies with all of our travel providers.
Booking without a travel agent, you are literally on your own.
Of course nobody can force your guests to book with us but the option must still be presented to them for all of the above reasons. There’s certainly no reason not to and let them decide what is best for them.
Q. Where’s the best place to go on a romantic holiday?
That depends alot on your interests, how much you want to spend, and the time of the year you want to travel. Do you like warm weather? Consider the Caribbean, South Pacific or Hawaii. Looking for adventure? How about Costa Rica or Mexico? Want a sophisticated European holiday like a stay in Paris or Rome? How about something really exotic such as Malaysia, Thailand or Bali? We have narrowed the world down to 45 of the most romantic destinations and this can be found at www.romanticplanet.ca.
Q. We’re on a budget for our honeymoon. Where should we go?
I strongly believe ‘budget’ and ‘honeymoon’ should NOT be in the same sentence. This is your ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME vacation – a time to get completely spoiled and a time to be inspired and be in awe of one another. Most times with travel, you get what you pay for. You definitely don’t want to skimp on your honeymoon because you will be creating memories on this trip that will last a lifetime. This doesn’t mean you should get the most expensive hotel on the block either. A good travel agent will be able to provide you the honeymoon of your dreams, without breaking the bank. Traveling at low season for the destination of interest can save you hundreds of dollars. Maybe consider staying 5 nights instead of 7 nights if it’s a fancy (and expensive property) or spend your first 4 nights in the least expensive room category and then splurge for the oceanfront or luxury honeymoon suite for the remainder of your stay. Usually, if you are open and honest with your travel agent about your budget, they will try and find the best possible destination and hotel that will fullfill your dreams.
Q. Can you book a trip for us or send us specific information on hotel and airline rates?
Yes. We defnitely can, however, we do also encourage you to contact your local travel agency and ask that they book your romance travel package with Romantic Planet Vacations Inc. We are the only wholesale tour operator in Canada to specialize in honeymoons and destination weddings worldwide. We can book airfare, hotel, airport transfers, tours, wedding packages, romance packages and more. Essentially we are your one-stop-shop for all of your travel-related needs, even if you have guests flying to the wedding from all parts of the world. We can serve them too so they also get in on the group discount!
Q. Many travel agencies charge a service fee. Do you?
No. We do NOT charge a service fee at all. We make our earnings through commissions from airlines, hotels, etc. For example, if you booked directly with the hotel, your rate with them will be the same as our rate with them. Except if we booked it, we’d earn that commission (but we’d do all that work for you).
Q. What resorts offer FREE destination weddings?
We have compiled a list of many resorts that offer free destination weddings at www.romanticplanet.ca/freeweddings.htm Please keep in mind that most free weddings require a minimum number of rooms booked and/or certain category of room booked. Please also try to compare the “free” wedding package with other packages because many free packages include only the very basics so you will still have to add on extras like photographer, judge fees etc.
Q. How can we avoid Hurricane season?
Hurricane season in the Caribbean and is now mid July to mid November. The chances are still slim that one will land on your front step, at your hotel, at your location, at your country, at that time of your trip but it’s important to always be aware that it CAN happen. If you are still set on the Caribbean for this time, you may want to consider countries that are outside the hurricane belt and therefore less likely to be hit such as Aruba, Turks and Caicos, Bahamas, North Coast of Dominican Republic etc. However, the plus about traveling during hurricane season is that the rates are lower. With the many hurricane protection policies now in place with hotels and tour operators, you will have the option to change your date, your destination or your hotel in the event that a hurricane has greatly affected your travel plans.
Q. What should we budget for on a destination wedding?
This depends greatly on when and where you’re interested in going and what star-rating of resort you’d like. Essentially a nice all-inclusive 4-star package from Toronto for a week will range around $1200 – $1600 plus $200 – $300 tax per adult. ($1500 – $1800 plus $200 – $300 tax from the West). You can add about $300-$500 per person for peak travel times like Christmas and $200-$400 for Easter. The least expensive time to go to an all-inclusive beach destination is October and April as these months are the beginning and end of the winter charter seasons and can save about $200-$300 per person on the rates above.
Then, a comprehensive wedding package (wedding coordinator, judge, flowers, decorations, paper-work, photographer, photos) is about $2000.
If you would also like to extend your stay another week for your honeymoon, you can add on approximately $600-$900 more per person (4-star all-inclusive).
TOTAL ESTIMATED COST (4-star)
Bride, all-inclusive hotel/air/tax one week $2000
Groom, all-inclusive hotel/air/tax one week $2000
Wedding package $2000
Honeymoon Add-on $1500
*Of course, this can be higher or lower depending on so many variables.
Q. Is it customary for the bride/groom to pay for the guests’ trip?
Most guests pay for their own trip but I have had brides and grooms (or parents) pay for the entire group as well. If you’re guests are on a tighter budget but you truely want that 5-star resort, my suggestion then is for you to cover the extra $200-$500 cost for the 5-star resort per person. That way most people can still attend the wedding and you can still get that dream luxury wedding!
Q. What are the reception dinner options?
Resorts will have many options for your reception dinner. If you have chosen an all-inclusive property, then in most cases, your reception dinner is already included and they will make arrangements to book your group at one of the a la carte restaurants (this should be made in advance). If you would like a more unique and private reception dinner with your own selection of a sit-down menu, than you can budget for around US$50 per person. This fee usually covers a fully decorated location of choice (try a beach set-up with tables, linens, and torches – beautiful!) and a full course deluxe dinner (even lobster!). These arrangements are made with the on-site wedding coordinator at the resort.
Q. Should we go with all-inclusive or EP?
An all-inclusive package includes activities, all meals, and drinks. They are most popular in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba and Jamaica. However, they can also be found in Antigua, Bahamas, BVI, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, Fiji, Costa Rica, and Bali. Many like the all-inclusive feature for the value and peace-of-mind of not having to carry your wallet everywhere. Those who like the EP (European Plan or hotel room only) like that they don’t feel restricted to just eat at the hotel and can explore cuisine outside the walls of the resort. They also like variety and quality of food over the common buffet-style of food found at all-inclusive resorts. A good middle-ground is staying at an EP hotel but ordering their meal plan for a few days.
Q. Where is the best place you’ve been to?
This is by far the most difficult question that I can answer as each place has offered so much. I very much enjoyed Malaysia for it’s high standards in accommodations, prestine beaches, culture and cuisine. I loved the Cook Islands for it’s quaint feel – like you were just one of the locals, the Dominican Republic for the people, Rome for it’s romantic aura and history, London for all of the action and shopping, Panama for it’s beauty and untainted landscape, Australia because it felt just like ‘home’, and my newest top 10 is Fiji and many, many, many more.
Q. What are the wedding requirements for various countries?
We have added this to our web-site at www.romanticplanet.ca/weddingrequirements.html
Q. How far in advance should we book our destination wedding?
If you are angling for a charter package to the tropics, please know that you have more options if you travel mid October to mid April (as in the summer most charter airlines head to Europe then). Packaged rates for the winter season usually do not become available until late Spring. However, in most cases, if you want to book before then, you can pre-register your package at an estimated rate with a fully REFUNDABLE deposit. The advantage of pre-registering gives you the very first dibs on the air and hotel space. When the exact rates then become available, you will have 48 hours to still go ahead with your reservation or cancel it and continue shopping. In my experience, the estimated pre-registration rates are very close to the exact rates. It’s the perfect option for those wanting to book far enough in advance to give all of their guests ample notice. Usually however, I recommend booking 7-9 months in advance should be adequate.
Q. Can I carry my wedding dress onboard?
Brides are allowed to carry their wedding dresses and grooms to carry their tuxedos onboard as a courtesy in addition to their carry-on bag. Please note, however, that most airlines do not have special hanging facilities in their aircraft, and therefore, the dress and tuxedo must be folded and stowed in the overhead compartments with other bags.
Q. What is the usual process of booking a destination wedding?
I recommend following these steps:
Research by going through destination wedding travel brochures, the internet, and talking with Romantic Planet Vacations or your travel agent to select the perfect destination, hotel and date that work within your interests and budget.
Request the group rates including any single occupancy guests, triple occupancy guests, one and two week duration rates, departures from cities in which your guests live, and child rates (providing their ages at the time of travel).
Book the wedding date and time with the onsite hotel wedding coordinator.
Usually group quotes are valid for only 7 days so be prepared to apply a minimum of 10 deposits (usually ranging from $150-$250 per person). You must apply a minimum of 10 deposits in order to book at the discounted group rates. Names are usually not required at this stage so the likelyhood of filling these 10 seats is fairly high. Please note that those number of deposits received will secure the space for only those number of passengers.
Send out invitations with as much information as possible including dates, hotel, prices, deposit details etc. Another great suggestion is to create an online wedding site (a free site can be created at www.ewedding.com ) as you can generally add alot more information here. This will help immensely with answering any of your guests’ numerous questions so they are not hounding you everyday.
Any additional guests can then contact Romantic Planet Vacations or your travel agent directly to join your wedding group and apply their deposits.
Fullfill all pre legal requirements for getting married overseas and ensure all guests have their passports and/or other ID to fullfill all entry requirements.
Contact the wedding coordinator directly to make further wedding arrangements.
Usually at 45 days prior to departure, we will require first and last names, as they exactly appear on the passports or other photo ID required, and all final payments. If you have booked with an Early Booking Bonus, then full payment is usually required earlier. Seat Selection (most usually for an extra charge) can also be made now.
You will receive all travel documents about 2-3 weeks prior to departure. Some tour operators off E-tickets while others still offer traditional paper tickets.
Be sure you meet the maximum luggage allowance as you pack. It is recommended that the wedding dress is carried-on with you as opposed to placing it in checked baggage. The wedding dress will count as one carry-on and can usually be hung in the closet at the front of the plane if you ask the flight attendants. Please remember to have no fluids or liquids or sharp objects in your carry-on as the good people at security will take them away.
Within 24 hours prior to your departure, always recheck the flight times by calling the 1-800 number or visiting the web-site detailed in your travel documents as sometimes flight times change without warning.
Be sure to arrive at the airport at the recommended time of three hours prior to your departure.
Travel and enjoy your holiday!!!!!
Send Romantic Planet Vacations your photos and testimonials of your trip upon your return.
Q. What happens if the airline makes a schedule change?
If you have ever flown on a chartered flight, you would know that often the flight times are not that good. The advantage however of flying on a chartered flight is that they are direct, non-stop (which most would agree is more convenient than stoping over in another city). They are also alot less expensive than regular scheduled airlines by about $500 per person.
TRAVEL PACKAGE OPTIONS
All travel options will be provided to the bride and groom at the time of quoting. Usually however, weddings are booked far in advance, prior to having the flight times available. Most chartered flight times are not released until 3-4 months prior to departure which is too late to try and accommodate everyone in a group and also secure a wedding date at the resort. Essentially the chartered flight times are luck of the draw.
WHY DO SCHEDULE CHANGES OCCUR?
EVERY airline in EVERY country always reserves the right to make schedule changes at ANY time. This is written in your documents every time you travel and is the reason why it is advised to always re-check your flight times even within 24 hours of departure as they could still change then. We also do advise all customers not only in our terms and conditions but also and always on everyone’s invoice.
There are MANY variables and reasons for schedule changes – weather, mechanical, airports and their own scheduling/arrangement of flights, policies of traffic control, policies of FDA, safety and approval of aircrafts, etc. There is absolutely NO way we have control over such variables and reasons and it doesn’t matter how much volume we do. No travel agency has any control of this – only to provide you with alternatives if you are not happy.
WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS?
If the schedule change occurs prior to final payment, most tour operators will allow you to cancel with a full refund if made within 48 hours notice of the schedule change. If the schedule change occurs after final payment, then you can cancel and will be subject to the tour operators cancellation penalty policies. We will look for alternative options with all other travel suppliers.
Q. How is the deposit payment made and can it be done seperately by families/couples attending or does it need to be paid by one credit card?
Deposit payments can be made anyway you’d like. If they are accumulated by you and your guests, this process usually takes awhile and since we cannot book a group until we have a minimum of 10 deposits, sometimes it can go past the expiration date of the quote. Please have guests book and send deposit to www.romanticplanet.ca/onlinebooking.
Most brides/grooms or parents however, put down the initial deposits themselves, then send out their invites, then guests contact us to book. Once guests apply their own deposits, we reimburse the original deposits back to you. However, since deposits are non-refundable, it is important that if you choose this route, that you put down the deposits for the seats you know will be filled indeed. Our average group size is 26. Most brides/grooms will put down 20 deposits to get started as it’s usually a safe bet.
Q. What is the $500 in total for the group for? Is this an additional charge?
The $500 group deposit is not an additional charge.This is only a deposit which is applied towards your trip. The only time it is non-refundable is if the entire group should cancel.
Q. My brother and his wife has children and my aunt will be traveling alone? What are their rates?
There are going to many, many other quotes required for your guests such as 2-weeks, upgrades, child rates, singles, triples etc. Usually this is done as the next step and as per guest inquiries. I will request the exact rates but know this may take up to a week as well so I don’t want this to delay your booking process, as the rates quoted to you expire in only 7 days.
Q. If we book now and there is a natural disaster, hurricane or disease outbreak, do we lose our money or can we change our wedding to another destination at no cost?
Most every tour operator has a hurricane protection policy which allows you to change resorts, dates, or destinations if a hurricane should affect your trip before arrival during the hurricane season. If a hurricane should affect your trip while you are there, they will make all efforts to get you home safe. They will not however, refund any or all of your trip.
I’ve been in this industry for 16 years and have only witness events like the Swine Flu once. The odds of something like this happening are very slim. Since it’s extremely rare, nobody had a policy on it. We had three wedding groups leaving that weekend to Mexico when all flights were cancelled. For every single one, the tour operators were very cooperative and changed dates or destinations without penalty. One group left that weekend for Jamaica instead. The other went to Cuba the following week, and the other one changed their date to 5 months later. It all worked out. In the very, very unlikely event of a natural disaster or disease, you can be assured that the Canadian government, the large tour operators and our agency will do everything in our powers to get you home safe or provide you with viable and fair alternatives.
Q. Why aren’t the flight schedules available yet?
Scheduled airlines usually have their schedules available about 10-11 months prior to departure. Chartered schedules however, have them usually available about 4-5 months prior to departure. There are many factors involved when airlines are setting their schedules such as airport gate availabilities, airport take-off and landing time availability, aircraft maintenance schedule requirements, FDA regulations, etc. It is imperative to know even when flight schedules are released, that the airline reserves the right to change the times and even the dates as they so require. It is the responsibility of the passenger to re-check their schedule before they depart with the airline.
Q. What happens if the price goes lower before final payment is due? Can we take advantage of this price even though we’ve put down the deposit?
No. The whole purpose of a deposit is to secure the space and the rate. This is a common question though but when thought out, would you like us to ask for more money if the rates went up? In this industry, rates fluctuate very often, sometimes daily, sometimes even hourly. There is no way of predicting or controlling the price. From experience, most wedding groups get the second lowest possible price that may ever exist for their package. This is because they get a group discount and most often, an Early Booking discount. The very lowest possible price usually only happens as a last minute seat sale that only occur for 2-6 seats at a time and ONLY for departures within 6 weeks of departure. You will never be able to get an entire group on these last minute seat sales. However, if you have any guests that are not that important in attending your wedding (in case the plane sells out) but that are on such an extremely tight budget, then perhaps they can wait. They do risk a lot however, in rates going up or the plane selling out. As a travel agency of course, we can book virtually anything out there so we will do our best to accommodate everybody and their budgets.
Q.What happens in regards to pricing for those who are attending the wedding but arent prepared to join the group rate at this time?
ALL space and rates are subject to change for anyone who doesn’t place a deposit. I’ve had crying brides come to me advising that their maid of honor didn’t book when she should have and now there was no space available at all to get her there. Again, that’s out of our control. Those who are not prepared to put down the $150-$200 deposit risks the rates going up or the space selling out.
Q. We have people coming from all across Canada and some outside of Canada. Do you need 10 deposits from each city or 10 deposits in total?
Most packaged tour operators only require 10 deposits in total from Canada in order to book a group. For those guests departing outside of Canada, it’s best that we provide them with the discounted group rate on the hotel but that they book their own airfare.
Q. Where is the best place to have a sunset wedding?
Anywhere on the West coast will have great sunsets. Puerto Vallarta/Nuevo Vallarta is one of my favorite places for sunsets, as is Negril in Jamaica, Kaanapali in Maui, the west side of Barbados and St. Lucia.
Q. Which resorts are best for children?
If you are looking for luxury 5-star family-friendly resorts, I highly recommend the Dreams Resorts in Punta Cana, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, Cancun and Mayan Riviera, the Paradisus Resorts in Costa Rica, Punta Cana, and Mayan Riviera, and the Azul Resorts in Mayan Riviera. All of these spoil all of their guests, including the children. Their kids clubs are incredible and they have many child-friendly menu options etc.
The Crown Paradise in Puerto Vallarta is equipped with an expansive kids water-park and in-room bunkbeds and the Sandos Resorts in the Mayan Riviera really cater to the little ones. Most all-inclusive resorts however, do have a kids pool and kids club and are very accommodating to families.
Q. Is it necessary to stay at the same resort as the wedding will be hosted?
By having your wedding ceremony and reception at the resort, you will save a lot of money. Because they are earning revenue from your hotel stay, they most always lower your wedding costs significantly. The average cost of a ceremony is $2000 to include flowers, photographer, cake, decorations, wedding coordinator, etc. The reception dinner and alcohol is most often free because it’s included in your all-inclusive package.
However, if you prefer to have either the ceremony or reception or both outside the resort, we work with many venues and wedding coordinators that can help you. In this case, the average cost of a coordinator and ceremony is $4000-$6000 and the reception dinner will be around $50 per person plus the bar tab around $1500 – $4000, depending on your group size.
Q. What is the difference between the services you provide vs that of the resorts and what they offer?
We are a travel agency so we do all of the coordinating of the airfare, airport transfers, tours, hotel stays and booking your wedding date and time, not to mention offering our expert advise on various destinations and resorts worldwide and guidance with every step along the way. There is no service fee for this so if you took on the task yourself of trying to coordinate all of this on your own, you will still pay the same price but of course will spend about 100 hours or more on it and the stress that can sometimes come with such coordinating. We take both of this away from you.
Q. What are the costs involved for you to plan our wedding?
We do NOT charge any service fees for groups. There are no extra costs of using our services at all. Some other companies charge a service fee but we do not. As all travel agencies earn commission from the various suppliers involved, we find it unethical and unnecessary to charge you more than we need to. You also get to utilize our expertise, knowledge and experience as destination weddings are truly our specialty!