Agents launch association for wedding specialists

By Jerry Limone
Veteran travel agents Lisa Sheldon and John Hawks have launched a trade group for destination wedding/honeymoon specialists.

The Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association will focus on networking, primarily through a private Facebook group; online training via webinars, teleconferences and online conferences; marketing support, including a consumer-facing website; and supplier relations (rating individual resorts and cruise ships, creating fam trips).

The new association said it will hold a charter membership drive Feb. 1 through April 30, pursuing travel professionals in the U.S. and Canada.

From May 1 through Sept. 15, the association will be closed to new members to roll out programs and prepare for a first conference.

The group’s website is

Sheldon is a destination-wedding specialist who said she has focused on the niche for more than half of her 25-year career. She has run a home-based business, I Do Island Weddings, in Janesville, Wis., for the past eight years.

Hawks has worked with travel industry organizations for 24 years, serving previously as president of ARTA and senior vice president of the National Tour Association. He owned a travel agency from 2005-12.
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