Depending on the country and current restrictions in place, a destination wedding is possible but fraught with unknowns. What could be allowed today may be restricted tomorrow.
“It’s just an unfortunate reality,” said Wendy Eidmann, owner of Round Tuit Travel in St. Joseph. “We don’t have the freedom we had a year ago.”
“(A destination wedding) is such a huge thing and so much planning and detail go into it, so much more so than a normal vacation,” she said.
Eidmann knows that, eventually, she will sit down to discuss destination weddings with couples, but that there may still be some lingering uncertainty because of COVID-19. When the time comes, she plans to make a checklist of risks with couples so each can make the most informed decision possible.
Here are some things to consider:
• If you find that one resort or hotel is closed, that doesn’t mean that’s the case for the whole island or region. If the location is part of a chain of resorts or hotels, Eidmann has seen that some have reopened, while others have remained closed.
• All travelers to the wedding should purchase “cancel for any reason” travel insurance. Determining if a cancellation or refund policy for the airline and venue exists and what the policies entail is always a good idea, Eidmann added. Some travel vendors may take 90 to 100 days to return payment following a cancellation, so this is also good to know.
• Look at the country’s entry requirements and know that this may change by the time of your wedding, such as is there a mandatory quarantine on arrival or when you return home? At press time, the Bahamas required a negative COVID-19 test within seven days of arrival, and European Union countries had a ban on travelers from the United States.
• Know that the resort may not look or feel the same. Masks may be required (or strongly recommended), and some of the big draws to these resorts may be closed or have limited capacity, such as beaches, night clubs, casinos, pools and swim-up bars. Off-site excursions may be limited. Jamaica had a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew that expired June 30. At press time, the Bahamas’ 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew was still in effect (visitors are still able to move about their hotel and resort properties, just not off site).
No matter how you look at it, it’s a tough year for brides and grooms, Eidmann said.
“Look at all the risks,” she added, “and if you’re OK with them, move forward.”