By Sydney Berry We love you, Minnesota. But your weather mood swings aren't exactly ideal for wedding planning. So brides, don't feel bad if you're thinking about ditching your homestate for warmer waters. You're not alone. In fact, about 350,000 U.S. couples choose to have a destination wedding each year—that’s nearly one out of every four weddings. And with the average cost estimated to be $20,890 per event, it’s not a bad business to be in. Enter Margie Osorio: owner of Minneapolis-based boutique event planning and travel agency ‘IMINA Travel & Events. We tapped her to give us an insider’s look at the multibillion-dollar industry, and some tips for planning your own destination extravaganza.
MSP Weddings: Explain what ‘IMINA Travel & Events does. What resources do you provide for Minnesota couples planning a destination wedding? Margie Osorio: I am both an event planner and a travel agent. With more than 20 years of experience in hospitality, it allows me to design an event with realistic expectations and to deliver on a promise by partnering with the best destination wedding suppliers in the business. As a certified travel agent, I have a vetted list of preferred travel and wedding suppliers. I can take the guesswork out and offer first-hand knowledge of the most beautiful resorts. MSP: With 20 years under your belt, I'm sure you've planned every type of destination wedding. In your experience, what are your most popular location requests from Twin Cities brides? MO: Being home-based in Minnesota, it’s no doubt warm-weather destinations. I specialize in Mexico and the Caribbean Islands—which are most popular—Hawaii, and even locations within California and Florida.
MSP: We don't blame them for wanting to go somewhere warm, but what does something like that cost? MO: Statistics show the median destination wedding cost is $400 per guest internationally and nearly $260 per guest domestically. Keep in mind that a destination wedding is a multi-day event, bringing much more value to your wedding dollars. MSP: Good point. Besides being a multi-day event, what are some other differences between a destination wedding and traditional wedding? MO: Just about everything is different. There are some elements of the planning that are the same, such as deciding on the theme, who is participating, the menu, budgeting, etc., but you have to be more mindful of portability, accessibility, and the ambiguity. You have to be more sensitive to scheduling and timelines. Travel logistics add that extra layer of complexity. That’s why it’s smart money to hire a destination wedding planner. MSP: OK, so to all of our brides out there thinking about a destination wedding, what should be their first step? MO: One of the very first questions I ask when having my get-to-know you consultation with the couple is, “Have you talked it over with your core family members who have to be there, and are they all 100 percent supportive?” Once the couple has the full support, they should figure out the guest list. They need to know how many people they are accommodating, keeping in mind where guests will be traveling from, which will be important when it comes time to choose a wedding location. MSP: After the guest list is settled, what are some other big challenges brides can run into? MO: The biggest problem is the DIY approach, with all the online travel sites and travel advice. No matter what size your wedding is, it really is best to hire a destination wedding professional to help you make smart decisions, because when a problem does happen, it could be a costly one.