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The Seven Stages of Travel and the Destination Bride

I was talking to my mentor and friend, owner, Tom. As we chatted, he mentioned that he’d recently learned the Seven Stages of Travel. He began to list them, and I jumped up and started jotting them down. It was like a stream of genius, that helped make sense of the entire Destination Wedding Planning Process.

Having communicated with hundreds of brides over the last several years, I have walked them through so many of these stages, but did not realize it was an actual psychological process. It’s a process each destination bride must go through in order to get to pure Destination Wedding Bliss, aka nirvana, aka Belize.

So, let’s go through the Seven Stages of Travel and the Destination Bride:

Stage One – Inspiration
At some point, the seed was planted “hmmm….maybe we should just go away to get married”. Bonk, like a coconut on the head, it hits you: A destination wedding….???

Stage Two – Research
You rush to your computer, or turn on your phone and you google. You google some random set of words, from ‘destination wedding’ to ‘run away to get married’ to who knows what. You start narrowing down the options, thinking this ‘wonky idea’ through, and the next thing you know, your shouting “Hey Hun, what do you think of getting married in Belize” or whatever country/location/place/wonky idea plops out of your mouth.

Stage Three – Planning
You send the Hun off to go make popcorn, and you stretch out and start to really think this through. In the time it takes Hun to come back with the popcorn, you have narrowed it down to a concept. You know you want (beach) (mayan temple) whatever type wedding. You may have narrowed it down to a country, so you start thinking this through a little more. You are planning. You are sending emails to planners, and hotels, and tour operators in every country you think might be a fit.

Now, this is the stage where couples usually start to panic. They have internet overload, and have gotten themselves so confused they dont know what they want. Fortunately, those couples have found me, and we stop and walk through their desires and help to really focus their vision, and give them a sense of calm. Remember…this is supposed to be fun.

Once I’ve got you breathing again, you move to Stage 4

Stage 4 – Validation
Now that we’re all calm again, you’ll likely go ask everyone you know, or better, a few key people, their opinions on the subject of a destination wedding. You’ll want to know to know that you are not totally alienating people you want to attend, and make sure you feel safe in the idea of getting so emotionally and financially invested in a foreign country.

A reputable company is easy enough to validate, regardless of the country. I do not advise that you rely too heavily on as it can be biased unfairly. Rather, review the actual credentials such as accreditation, length of time in operation, media coverage, and connections on professional sites like LinkedIn. Of course you can use facebook to find out a tremendous amount as well.

Guests to a destination wedding join the process at Stage 4. They have to make sure they are also comfortable joining a couple on their trip.

Once the couple feels comfortable, we move to the scariest Stage of all…Stage 5.

Stage 5 – Booking
Time to put down some duckets, dinero, cashola. It’s time to commit. In the case of Belize, a modest deposit on a hotel room is all that is required to get the ball rolling and confirm your date.

Guests will also begin booking their travel. To make it easier for a couple, I handle all their guests travel arrangements as well, and provide my couples with a full spreadsheet outlining all their guests travel, hotel, tours, so nothing conflicts. Also, as i tell my couples, “It might be your wedding, but it’s your guests vacation”.

Stage 6 – Travel!
The best of all stages! Well, at least it should be. There is a lot to consider in advance so making sure you have someone with “boots on the ground” in your destination is the best way to make sure Stage 6 really is the best stage of all.

Stage 7 – Sharing
This is the stage that matters most to the receiving country. I know that every person that works and lives in this country wants every guests and traveler to leave here so happy they tell EVERYONE they know. Belize depends on tourism as a major source of employment, and therefore hope for our tiny nation. We, the entire country, will strive to make sure that you do share your wonderful experience with everyone. So, as they say, “Sharing is Caring!”

So, as you embark on this memorable, fun, and unique destination wedding and travel experience, Breathe, remember you are just going through some natural progression of stages, grab a glass of wine…and then call me 215-469-2496.

Belize Destination Wedding expert Lara Goldman from Romantic Travel Belize answers your questions, doles out useful advice and shares her opinion about... well, everything! Lara's unique perspective is a breath of fresh air and exactly what you're looking for whether just for advice or for full service event planning.
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The Seven Stages of Travel and the Destination Bride

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