Myrtle Beach to focus on wedding tourism

Tourism authorities at Myrtle Beach are to focus on wedding tourism this year.

Officials of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce said that this year it would focus more on marketing the Grand Strand as a wedding destination. The chamber is focussing on weddings because statistics show that last year, 25 percent of all marriage services performed in the US were destination weddings. With more people opting to get married in exotic locales, the demand for unique and bespoke wedding services is high, and authorities at Myrtle Beach are gearing up to meet that demand, which is estimated to be worth about $18bn in the US.

Trends in the marriage industry have changed a great deal in the US. While in the past couples opted marry in their hometowns, education and exposure to new horizons is luring them to the more exotic locations.

Meeting up with media representatives to promote the destination, officials said that they were focusing on the beach’s versatility to attract more wedding planners to the area. Myrtle Beach wedding planner, Cheryl Cox, said, ‘We cover quite a gamut from beach weddings to plantation weddings to weddings if you want something more rustic, whether a barn or country type, Low Country weddings. We offer it all. For example, if the groom wants to come to the Grand Strand, we have wonderful golf courses and we have that opportunity, the ladies can have shopping or spa day, so we also have the wonderful entertainment venues.’

Local officials are hopeful that 2013 will be a prosperous year for the destination, with increasing hotel occupancy indicating that visits are on the increase. There is a general consensus among wedding planners that Myrtle Beach is affordable and has a good reputation as a family destination. With many visitors planning entire vacations around a wedding event, the area has the potential to attract a whole new cliental.

Destination Weddings Gain Favour with Couples

Destination weddings are gaining favour with British couples, with increasing numbers opting to hold their wedding ceremonies abroad.

With the cost of weddings increasing in UK, exotic locations are appearing to offer better value, and the lure of sunshine and white sand is proving difficult to ignore for the romantically inclined.

Recently, a report by the Daily Mail newspaper pegged the average cost of weddings in the UK at around £18,500 for a couple, while destination weddings can work out to a much cheaper price. Some of the favourite wedding destinations for couples are Italy and Las Vegas and Hawaii in the US, while Barbados, St Lucia and Antigua in the Caribbean are also catching up fast, according to figures from Holiday Hypermarket, a UK based holiday comparison site.

The 2012 Destination Weddings Study has reported that the market for destination weddings is currently around 350,000 annually, with around half of them having a duration of for four or more days.

Around 51 percent of destination wedding couples appoint a wedding planner, and 69 percent of these weddings are held outdoors to add to the glamorous ambience. The study revealed that 86 percent of couples that opt for a destination wedding prefer to continue with their honeymoon at the wedding venue.

Calum Macdonald, the e-commerce manager at Holiday Hypermarket, said, ‘There are so many destinations that have idyllic settings, but which are also affordable locations to plan a wedding. Barbados and Antigua are just two beauty spots that are worth investigating this year.’

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel To Be Wedding Venue

The St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel is offering its facilities as a wedding venue for couples wishing to marry in the UK’s capital city.

The hotel, which was meticulously restored only a year ago to reflect its period design, offers 245 guest rooms, including 38 luxuriously refurbished suites. The historical Victorian era building is intended to become a premier wedding destination in London, having nine licensed wedding venues, and facilities to accommodate up to 240 guests for dinner and dancing, in addition to the celebrated Grand Staircase, which can provide a stylish setting for wedding photographs.

The hotel is offering the services of Marriott Certified Wedding Planners, who can coordinate all types of weddings, including ethnic and military weddings. The wedding planning service includes advice and support for the big day, in addition to consultations and menu tasting sessions.

The wedding package prices commence at GBP165 per guest, for events including 80 or more guests. The wedding offers also include a complimentary night for every GBP1000 spent on wedding expenditure for events celebrated on either a Friday or Sunday. The offer is valid on bookings made by December 31, 2012, and celebrated by March 31, 2013.

Event bookings may be tailored to include treatments and grooming services from the St Pancras Spa in London, a bridesmaids’ dinner, monogrammed bathrobes for the couple, accommodation and breakfast for the couple on their wedding night, chauffeur services to the airport next day, a three-month membership for the fitness centre, and an anniversary dinner a year later.

The St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel, a favourite of travellers in the nineteenth century, was initially opened in 1873 as the Midland Grand Hotel, only to close 77 years ago, and then reopen in its new incarnation in 2011.


Destination Weddings Gaining Favour In Mexico

The Mexico Tourism Board, a Mexico-based government agency for promoting tourism, is promoting destination weddings at some of the most romantic resorts in Mexico.

In order to promote the wedding destinations, the Tourism Board is hosting ‘Love Mexico’ events in the US and Mexico, for popular wedding suppliers to showcase their offerings designed for hosting perfect weddings at various Mexican destinations.

While 24 percent of US couples opt to go for a destination wedding, around 9 percent of them tend to choose Mexico as the venue, as the resorts are thought to offer good value for money.

The 2012 ‘Love Mexico’ events, to be held in Dallas, and New York, in US, and Riviera Maya in Mexico, are expected to be attended by around 40 vendors from Mexico, including resorts and wedding suppliers, while around 180 wedding planners and travel specialists will also be present.

Eduardo Chaillo, the executive meetings unit director, for Mexico Tourism Board, said, ‘We were delighted with the response to this year’s Love Mexico events; all of the vendors and buyers that I spoke to had great feedback. With its combination of natural beauty, rich culture, world-class hotels and resorts and outstanding service, Mexico is the ultimate destination for weddings, honeymoons and romantic getaways. As the destination weddings market grows and changes Mexico will continue to develop its offering.’

Mexico is also considered to be a promising destination for the gay and lesbian wedding market, which is set to play its part in helping to boost the Mexican economy by USD9.5 billion per year, says a recent study reported by Forbes, a business magazine published in the US.

Sandals Resorts Offers New Wedding Concept

Sandals Resorts, an operator of all-inclusive resorts for couples in the Caribbean, is offering couples that marry at one of its resorts the opportunity to totally customise their celebrations.

Sandals is launching its, ‘Your Wedding. Your Style’ concept at all of its fourteen Caribbean properties, for couples that want to personally style and fulfil their dream wedding. Sandals claims that with choices on everything from colour palette and wedding accessories, to bespoke experiences, couples can be provided with everything that they need to create their perfect ceremony and reception.

To assist couples in constructing their personal dream day well in advance, Sandals has created an on-line Destination Wedding Designer. First, the couple selects their wedding location from Sandals Caribbean destinations, Antigua, Bahamas, Jamaica or St Lucia. Using an interactive tool they can then choose from the ten-shade colour palette. That done, they can continue to build their day by browsing nearly 1,000 wedding ideas for essentials including flowers, decor, wedding cakes and entertainment. Catering requirements, photography and video packages and salon and beauty treatments can all be packaged using the on-line tool. It also allows an unlimited number of wedding variations to be constructed, to allow ample opportunity for comparison.

Each ‘virtual’ wedding receives its own code, to make booking the actual event easier once the decision is made.

Marsha-Ann Brown, director of romance for Sandals Resorts said, ‘At Sandals Resorts, a WeddingMoon is the ultimate celebration of a couple’s romance. Everything during their stay should reflect their taste and style as a couple, from the Love Nest Luxury Suites that were designed especially to offer newlyweds the seclusion they desire, to their own personal butler, who will cater to their every need, be it an indulgent couples spa treatment or a private waterfront candlelit dinner.’

As a special offer, Sandals is also offering couples USD500 dollars towards their dream wedding on booking a stay for a minimum of six nights.