Scoping Trip by Anita Gatley
As a Wedding Travel Specialist I am often contacted by couples who are thinking of travelling to the destination they think they want to get married in. When a couple are in the very early stages of planning a wedding sometimes a destination wedding features in the mix as a possibility.
A destination wedding is not for everyone and some couples rule it out very early on as they are aware that family and friends may not be able to come – for a variety of reasons. However, for some couples being able to spend more than a few hours with their nearest and dearest, often in an idyllic tropical setting, is an option they wish to investigate. From my experience destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular and the local destinations such as Rarotonga and Fiji, whilst still extremely popular, are being expanded to horizons such as Thailand, Hawaii, Bali and the rest of the South Pacific.
As Kiwis we are intrepid travellers and this doesn’t change just because we are getting married. On the contrary we want to share these intrepid experiences with a group that happen to be our family and friends. To this end I have seen more couples arranging “scoping trips”. This is a trip to the preferred destination to see exactly what is on offer for their wedding. They combine a holiday with meetings with wedding planners, resorts, photographers, hair & make- up artists, DJs etc. They may even try out experiences that they want their group to experience too – these can all be booked prior.
Often one or both of the couple may not have visited the destination and it is a good excuse to see if this really is the place they both want to marry. It is no different than visiting a host of venues or suppliers in NZ before you make a choice. I regularly get asked to recommend suppliers and this is one of the areas I can help with as a Wedding Travel Specialist. I can arrange your trip in terms of flights and accommodation and advise on wedding packages prior to your trip so you aren’t visiting hundreds of properties or suppliers. I can put you directly in touch with suppliers who come recommended.
I recently booked a couple who travelled to Phuket to meet with their “team” – they got to meet the resort wedding planner, look at venues within properties and meet other suppliers. This ensures that when they go over to marry, a year later, a lot of the emotions will be that of excitement rather than nervousness about whether they have chosen the right suppliers! They have personal contact details with the suppliers so they can ask any questions about the specifics of the wedding prior to the big day.
A scoping trip may not be something you have thought your Wedding Travel Specialist can offer but it is all part of the service they provide. They want happy couples who get the wedding they want and if it takes a trip before then to make a decision, positive or negative, then it is a good outcome.