Destination Wedding Slang Decoded

An alter draped with white curtains waiting at the end of an aisle lined with white, pink, and orange flower arrangements.

Planning a destination wedding can be stressful enough, but we wedding and travel planners don’t make it any easier for you with all those buzz words we use! I thought it would be helpful to break down some of the most used terms you might hear, or need to know, when planning a wedding bash away from home!

The Destination Wedding Dictionary

Travel Itinerary - This is a schedule sent to you with details of your trip. It usually list info such as the who/what/when/where etc.

Adults-Only - This is just as it sounds; guests must be at least 18 years old to stay there. A few brands that have this policy are Excellence, Secrets, El Dorado and Live Aqua.

All-Inclusive - This means a hotel/resort includes food & beverage, and possibly activities etc. You will not have to worry about food/alcoholic drinks/gratuities/ etc., you just go have fun! (You could possibly show up without money, and have everything you need!) Don’t quote me on that, different resorts have different policies. Also, cruises consider themselves all-inclusive, however, alcohol/beverages and some activities are NOT included. A few examples of all-inclusive resorts are: Excellence Playa Mujeres, Ikos Olivia, Grand Velas, Zoetry Agua Punta Cana.

Black-Out Dates - Just ask Disney about black-out dates. There is always a catch. This means if you have a deal/sale/promotion/coupon/freebie, it might not be valid on specific dates. This usually takes place around holidays and high-peak travel times.

All-in-One Insurance - This could be tricky. Read the fine print. Usually, it means you can cancel for any reason, no change fees. Also, it could include trip interruption, baggage delay or lost, emergency evacuation, medical expenses, travel accidents, and trip delays. Make sure to know what you are paying for.

Certified Destination Wedding Specialist, or Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant - All the fancy titles are given to people who have usually taken the extra step to go through a certification process through a specific supplier/resort/ travel vendor, etc. This does not necessarily mean that they are always are better, or know more. Sometimes, they have booked several weddings at a specific resort or paid the money for the title—so do your research, and make sure you ask your destination wedding planner specific questions regarding your wedding and location.

Civil Ceremony - This ceremony is legally binding meaning you REALLY got married in Mexico, you took the extra steps, filled out the paperwork, met with judge etc....

Symbolic Ceremony - This is what most brides and grooms choose. They aren’t LEGALLY married, but they share the experience with their friends and family, pick their own pastor and then celebrate with friends and family. Most times, in this case, the couple has already gotten married before—they elope at the courthouse in their home town, or plan to do so when they return.

Couples Only - A bit different from Adults Only, but like it says, these resorts are for couples—meaning the resort/hotel focuses on romance and rooms will only come with one bed. There are no double beds at the resort and occupancy is limited to 2 people.  A few resorts like this are Sandals & Couples Resorts.

Payment Plan - When you book most groups, you will have the option to allow your guests to make payments over a period of time to ease the burden of lump sum payments.

Excursions - Activities, the fun things you plan to do on your trip.

Family Friendly - All ages are welcome. It’s good for family reunions and multigenerational trips. A few resorts are Beaches, Dreams, and Wild Dunes in Charleston, SC.

Group Room Block - A selection of rooms held for you so your guests can book directly with special pricing and perks.

High Season - This is usually when everyone travels. Resorts are usually at capacity and the prices are higher. For most of the Caribbean, it is from December to April.

Low Season - This is when you’ll get the best deals, but you could be in the thick of Hurricane season. Usually, September - November.

Should Season - This is the perfect time to go. You can still get a good deal, at the beginning of hurricane season, and you usually get nice weather. May-August.

Onsite Wedding Coordinator - Usually, the resort you book your wedding with has a team that helps coordinate all details for your special day. They are your boots on the ground doing the work to ensure your vision comes to life. They are your go-to for all wedding related details at the resort.

Non-Motorized Sports - This is important because usually the all-inclusive resorts include this in your fees. These activities include snorkeling, kayaks, paddleboard etc.…

Preferred Partners - This is something you might hear your agent say. These are vendors that give an extra perk that might get you extra amenities such as anniversary nights, spa credits, upgrades etc.… Therefore, you need your Travel Agent. They have the hookup.

Price Match - This applies to more than Best Buy. Whatever you see on the internet, your agent can get the same deal and sometimes even more through select price matching opportunities with their supplier partners.

OTA - Online Travel Agencies - These are the Expedias, Book-It’s, and Pricelines of the world.

Suppliers - Your agent has contact with different travel partners such as airlines, car rentals, cruise lines, hotels, tour operators etc.…

Semi vs. Private Event - These are usually included in one of the many wedding packages the resort might offer. Semi is basically a blocked off space maybe in a hotel that another guest can still use, but will be sectioned off. Private event is just that, it’s you and your guests, and is usually an additional charge.

Resort Amenities - All the services and perks that the resort offers. Ex: Pools, spa, kids program, personal concierge service etc.…

Room Occupancy - This is the number of people staying in your room. Unlike a hotel where you pay for the room, resorts do not work the same. The pricing is set based on room occupancy. You have a per person rate. So, if you were to go to a Hilton and pay $159 they are allowing you to pay for the room meaning you can fit as many people in there as possible because they have sold you the room. This is the hardest thing I get my client’s guests to understand. With resorts, especially all-inclusive, you are paying per person because all your food and beverage etc. are included, so you can’t look at the rates the same way. Single rates are usually more expensive than double. Most resorts stick to a standard double occupancy rate. Sometimes for triples and quads you must upgrade to a bigger room, and it may or may not save you money.

Resort Credits - The extra cash put on your account, or given to you in a coupon booklet. This might be from a promo that is running. You can use your credits towards spa purchases, romantic dinners on the beach, exclusive bottles of wine at dinner (yes, a bottle of wine, if not being served the house wine, costs extra even at all-inclusive resorts).

Turndown Service - A staff member at the hotel/resort prepares your bed linens, and sometimes even runs your bath at nighttime. They also add a special touch by leaving you chocolate or fruit and a romantic display or rose petals, or a towel stuffed animal!

Wedding Package - This is the complete collection from ceremony to reception that the resorts come up with all the way down to the décor. Pricing varies and they might not allow you to pick and choose certain amenities included.

Wedding Website - A Must! This is how you share info with your guests and loved ones. You can add everything. Check out my post to learn what all you need to get started with a destination wedding website.

What am I missing?

Any other words you need help decoding? Shoot me a message. I can help!