Wedding tourism: Santorini among the world’s top 2019 destinations

What are the latest destination wedding and honeymoon trends as we head into 2019? Here’s what’s going on according to Renée Strauss and Pamela Strauss-Goldman, the co-founders of Wedaways.com.

Here’s what to know:

Heritage Return: one of the top initiators of a destination wedding today is what is known as “heritage return”. The wedding will often be the first opportunity a couple has to return to their land of origin (or the land of ancestry for one of the partners). This is why Ireland and Italy are incredibly popular for destination weddings.

Most Popular Wedding Destinations: the most popular wedding destinations are Tuscany, Italy; Amalfi Coast, Italy; Provence, France; Paris, France; County Kildare, Ireland; County Waterford, Ireland; Marrakech, Morocco; and Napa Valley, California.

Honeymoon Destinations Gaining In Popularity: Wedaways is seeing more and more requests for honeymoons in Marrakech, Morocco; Santorini, Greece; Algarve, Portugal; Swiss Alps.

Advance Booking: Couples are starting the booking process for a destination wedding approximately 15 months out and only 5 months out for the honeymoon.

Guests Attend Based Upon The Destination: Guests often decide to attend based upon the destination versus if they actually want to see the couple wed!

Pre-Wedding Planning Trips Are On The Rise: Couples take the time and spend the money to visit the destination and venue prior to the wedding date. They want to see and feel the overall venue experience so they can plan around it accordingly.

Wedding Guests Are Booking Pre- And Post-Wedding Stays: Because guests are traveling great distances to attend a wedding, they take advantage of the opportunity to build their own travel into the trip. Wedaways is seeing many guests either departing for the destination earlier or staying on after the event. Guests are timing a cruise to coincide with the wedding, going from the wedding to a safari, or a scenic road trip in and around the wedding destination.

Fewer Couples Want Pre-Packaged Anything: Even though a couple might be going to a hotel or resort that specializes in destination weddings and offers a wedding package, most don’t want a “cookie-cutter” experience and tend to stay away from a hotel’s “wedding package.” They seek out preferred wedding planners in the destination to ensure a truly bespoke experience.

It’s Not Just A Wedding, It’s A Multi-Day Celebration: a destination wedding is much more than just the actual wedding day. Couples are now including itineraries in the guest’s welcome bags which include details on all of the events the guests can participate in as well as suggestions and options of activities guests can do to best experience that particular destination over a few days for the wedding celebration.

Authentic Destination Guest Gifts: Couples are after authentic guest gifts which represent the destination of the wedding versus something generic. For example, for a recent wedding in Japan, one couple gave away gorgeous Japanese silk fans for their guests as a keepsake.

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