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Confused already...and just beginning!

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#1 SheriB

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    Posted 18 November 2009 - 01:59 PM

    Okay, I am confused before I have begun - not a good start! So I have been looking at different resorts and have started to narrow down the location I want. I then went last night to talk with a TA who unfortunately has not done many (or any) DWs. So she tells me that there is no way of booking packages with charters for next Nov until maybe this July. So I was trying to figure out how so many of you on here have your wedding dates for next fall posted already. Then it occurs to me that you are booking the date with the resort you like and then working on the actual flight/trip etc. Is that right? So is this the timeline for booking a DW:
    Pick your resort (narrow down for what you want and also based on this year's prices)
    Call resort to book a date
    Then start working on flights, booking rooms etc - this way your date is booked and you can watch for deals on flights and rooms.
    Send out STDs once you have the date booked with the hotel but before you have actual packages worked out

    Do I have this right now? lol!!

    So what if once you have booked your wedding date and sent out your STDs you come to realize that the date is not quite going to work with the packages/trips you are looking at? So you make a small adjustment to the date before people book and then send out the booking info?

    Any help please??!!

    #2 carolina24

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      Posted 18 November 2009 - 02:21 PM

      you definately need to get your resort settled first. It's like a wedding at home, if you love a certain location, but the date isn't available, then you have to change venues or dates (depending on what's most important to you). Once you have the resort squared away, you'll be able to look at rates for rooms and flights.
      A bit of advice: At first, I tried to worry about getting the best deals for my guests (different dates, packages, etc) but it's just too much!!! I sent my STDs with our website on it and my guests can check out the resort and decide how to get the best deal. If you give people enough notice, they will be able to figure things out for themselves. When you try to please everyone, you'll end up driving yourself crazy!!!

      #3 bholthof

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        Posted 18 November 2009 - 02:29 PM

        If you are at all concerned about cost - you might want to check what the average rates are for air + hotel - because you might LOVE a certain resort, but the costs to stay there might be astronomical. Being November, however - I think rates might be slightly lower.

        We did it all at once - found the rates and the hotel availability at the same time, but our wedding is in April.

        You might also want to consider a TA who is familiar with DW, although you may have to have a long-distance TA in that case.
        21 people + Bride & Groom booked!!


        #4 Chica & Octi

        Chica & Octi
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          Posted 18 November 2009 - 02:52 PM

          Hey SheriB,

          I definately picked the resort first, but I picked the resort based on the average price of a room per night. I didn't want to pick a place that none of my guests could afford so that was a key factor for me.

          I also didn't go with a travel agent because I knew that I would have some guest come for a week and some for the weekend and I liked the idea of people being able to find the best deal they can.

          Happy Planning - and don't worry once you have decied on a resort it gets easier!!

          #5 lalanyc

          • Jr. Member
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            Posted 19 November 2009 - 05:01 AM


            I contacted wedding planners at various resorts first to 1) understand if their wedding options were suitable for me, 2) see if they had availability around the time frame we are considering and 3) see if their basic group rates were w/in reason for our guests. It also allowed me to see how responsive they were!

            I have not worried about the flights or packages yet b/c they change so much!! I have decided to negotiate a basic group rate first w/ the hotel (which I assume will be the maximum guests might pay) and then talk w/ a TA so that guests can choose whether they want to book room and airfare separately or whether they want to review the options offered by an agency.

            I think it's too hard to try to lock down packages up front b/c guests (as well as me!) will wonder if prices will get better so I'd rather just let them soak in the details first and then try to offer packages should they choose to take them!

            #6 hat0112

            • Sr. Member
            • 1,219 posts

              Posted 19 November 2009 - 05:31 PM


              For me I started already knowing I wanted to go to Aruba, I already had my date picked out, and I already had a TA that my family has been using for almost 10 years so I was in pretty good shape from the start. So what I did was I got all the resorts my TA’s agency (Apple vacations) recommended (the Golden Apple resorts) and I started there. I started contacting resorts to find out if they had my date available first since I wasn’t willing to budge on it. Then when I resort had my date open I asked my TA for prices on that resort. I ended up making an excel spreadsheet on the hotels and the prices of the wedding packages. Once I had all that information I was able to look though it and narrow it down to 3 choices then me and my FI decided on the final pick. Right now I am working out a contract with the resort. I told my TA my pick but since we aren’t leaving till October 2010 we can’t book our flight yet. My first priority was getting my resort to hold our date for the wedding.

              Good Luck with your planning!

              Wedding 10/22/10 Westin Aruba

              I love being a Mrs.!

              #7 trobin01

              • Jr. Member
              • 203 posts

                Posted 21 November 2009 - 05:41 PM


                I think something to keep in mind is that the American tour operators work very differently than the Canadian ones. If you decide to do an all-inclusive resort the Canadian companies usually book as a package deal with the resort, transfers and airfare as one. Usually, but not always, it is cheaper than booking rooms directly through the resorts and then trying to find airfare. Plus, the tour operators offer a group discount as well as concessions for the bride and groom i.e. free packages per every 20 guests or something. So contacting the resorts directly (with the exception of contacting the wedding planners for dates) may not be all that effective.

                However I booked my November 2010 wedding in October 2009. I was able to get quotes for all the resorts I was interested in. So, I think your TA should be able to do the same. While my TA is based in Ontario she specializes in group travel and DW. You can PM me for her contact info if you want to try contacting someone with DW experience.

                Good luck!

                #8 SheriB

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                  Posted 24 November 2009 - 02:36 AM

                  Hey trobin01 - thanks for the info. I hadn't thought about the US and Can being different but you are right, everything around here is focused on the package deal. My TA insists that they don't put those packages out until summer for the Nov packages so I figured we must have to book hotel/air seperately. But you say that you have booked your Nov 2010 wedding already - meaning the whole package or just the hotel? I am starting to worry that I should have gone with a TA experienced with DWs but she is a friend so I am not sure how to change!

                  #9 *Meagan*

                  • Sr. Member
                  • 5,521 posts

                    Posted 24 November 2009 - 04:16 AM

                    Hey Sheri!

                    Your first step should definitely be to choose a resort. I would also look into some of the TA's on this website and using their services and booking through them. They are very helpful!

                    FI and I had turks and caicos in our mind and knew that we wanted kids to be able to go. so we booked Beaches Turks and Caicos. And basically you do everything through them. The group booking and all that jazz. This way our guests are able to go whenever is best for them. Not what is best for us. Just as long as they make the wedding it wasnt a big deal to us when they went. So anywho if you want an all inclusive helpful group booking package I know Sandals and Beaches Resorts offer those. Def. chat with the TA's on here!

                    Good luck!

                    #10 RonNMel

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                    • 388 posts

                      Posted 24 November 2009 - 08:24 PM

                      Hi Sheri,

                      I think you should probably consult with another TA, if only just to confirm whatever info that first TA gave you. Doesn't mean you'd have to book with her, but at least you could get more information.

                      I find it very weird that packages prices for November wouldn't be out before this summer, as my TA (I'm in Canada too, just a different province ) told me that the prices for 2011 would be out in April 2010, so a full year in advance.

                      ETA Just for fun I checked an online travel booking website and, putting Alberta as my province and Calgary as my departing city, I was able to get packages for Caribbean places for as far out as October 2010.

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