Destination weddings are big business in the Bahamas.
"We have the ideal setup," said Ellison "Tommy" Thompson, deputy director general for the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. "Couples get married in Nassau or on Grand Bahama Island, with family and guests present. Then they escape to one of our Out Islands for a private honeymoon."
At the first Bahamas Wedding & Honeymoon Symposium, held in May at Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort in Nassau, panelist Rebecca Grinnals, bridal consultant and chairman of the Caribbean Wedding Association, offered agents several promotional ideas for destination weddings:
- Emphasize your ability to reduce the couple's stress by handling all the details.
- Don't ignore the groom. More than 80% of today's grooms are full planning partners.
- Check wedding blogs for leads, send out newsletters and post your own blog.
- Send bridal clients and potential clients a "just back from" message after an agent fam trip and include photos.
- Package short "mini-moon" trips that enable couples to experience a destination before committing to booking their destination wedding or honeymoon.
- Ask clients about newly engaged friends and relatives.
- Don't be bashful. Post kudos received from satisfied clients.
The Bahamas Bridal Association's membership of bakers, florists, limousine services, musicians, photographers, videographers, ministers and other wedding suppliers is another valuable contact.
Agents accessing www.bahamas-bridal-association.com are assigned a service provider (at no cost) who coordinates with the agent and the client on the progress of each component used. Commissions are paid individually.
Among several Grand Bahama wedding locations are Pelican Bay on the lagoon at Lucaya, the beachfront at the Westin & Sheraton at Our Lucaya and Old Bahama Bay at the Ginn Sur Mer Resort.
Choice locations on Nassau/Paradise Island include Sandals Royal Bahamian, the Cloisters at One & Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island and the gardens at GrayCliff Inn.
Compass Point's bright, crayon-colored cottages on Love Beach add splash to a less formal event.
Day cruises also are popular. Those that feature the Dolphin Encounter attraction in Nassau hold the wedding ceremony on a platform above the water, and the dolphins serve as ring bearers.
Wedding cake designer Sylvia Weinstock was on hand to share her expertise with agents. Weinstock's cakes, featuring delicate, spun-sugar flowers, begin at $500 for 20 to 25 persons.
Wedding planner Preston Bailey was also there, offering four commissionable WeddingMoon packages managed by Sandals wedding coordinators.
For more details on destination weddings in the Bahamas, call (800) 4-BAHAMAS or visit www.weddings.bahamas.com.
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