Friday, April 17, 2015

Should You Stay or Should You Go?

Here are the results from our quiz: Is a Destination Wedding Right For You?

If you scored less than 6: Stay home. Marrying away complicates every detail of your planning, and your circumstances may make a far-from-home ceremony challenging, if not downright impossible.
A destination wedding is not for someone who has a large list of must-have guests. It's for someone who wants to spend quality time with the group of her friends and family who chose to join her wherever that may be; her backyard or Bali!  External issues -- VIP guests who can't (or won't) travel, a large must-have guest list or a less-involved groom -- may mean you'll need to decide between eloping at your dream locale or saying I do near your loved ones.

But your personality also comes into play. The complexity of a destination wedding may be beyond the grasp of a not-so-organized bride, while a perfectionist may have a hard time handling the fact that some details will veer from her vision. "If you want that fairy-tale, black-tie wedding with an eight-course meal and lots of exotic details, it's going to be complicated," says Tatiana Byron of 4PM Events in New York City. You'd be better off planning a wedding close to home, where you'll be available to manage every detail to your liking.

The alternative: Hire a travel agent and let her handle the stress.  If you fall in love with specific photos from magazines and you're very particular, you really need to get someone who can help you. A top-notch consultant can make certain that your vision is carried out -- even halfway around the world.  

If you scored 6-10: Venture forth -- but not too far. You have the organizing chops to put together a destination wedding, but to make it simpler for you and your guests, stick with more established locations along easy travel routes. Ask yourself, 'What will my guests be into? How easy will it be to get there?' If you fall in love with a venue that takes three planes to get to, maybe you should just elope.  

Choosing a domestic locale, especially in a popular wedding spot such as California, Florida or Las Vegas, ensures that you'll have access to quality vendors used to working with destination brides. Better yet, you can ‘Test Drive Your Wedding’ so you'll be able to meet with vendors and get a more accurate picture of their capabilities. The people at these locations do weddings all the time, so if you like the way they presented it to you, let them do their thing.

If you scored 10-15: Grab your passport and pick your spot. Experts agree: You're the perfect candidate to wed away. Destination brides tend to be nontraditional, adventurous and open-minded. They want something unique.  Your excellent organizational skills will help you strategize a multiday event, and your laid-back attitude will enable you to have the time of your life, even if a detail (or five) isn't exactly as you'd expected.  It also helps that your friends and family are willing to travel to the ends of the earth to witness your vows -- and that you're excited to spend several days with everyone you're inviting.

Ready to make a move?  Contact Jennifer at Divine Destinations to get started planning your Happily Ever Ever today!  It only takes a few minutes and soon, you will be chillin like a villain knowing your details are being taken care of by a certified specialist and trusted advisor in the wonderful world of romance!  

Is a Destination Wedding Right For You?

You and your fiancé are ready to tie the knot. Now comes the big question: What kind of wedding do you want? The idea of a wedding away is appealing to most couples, but is it right for you?  

Here are 5 questions to ask before you commit:
1. The main reason we're considering a wedding away is:
A. We want to slash the guest list without causing a familial civil war.
B. We've both been to a million mediocre weddings and want to do something different.
C. We fell in love with a particular locale on a previous trip.

2. The bulk of our A-list guests:
A. Have never stepped foot outside our home state.
B. Like to travel -- just nothing too exotic.
C. Have multiple inoculations and well-used passports.

3. As a newly engaged couple, our budget for the wedding looks like:
A. Non issue.  I’m Daddy’s Princess and he’s generously footing the entire bill!
B. A bit of a concern since we have student loans and hope to buy a house within 6 months.
C. We’ve been saving for awhile now so as long as all the basics are covered, we’re happy.

4. As a bride, how would I rate my organizational skills?
A. I thrive on chaos and haven't planned anything bigger than a last-minute BBQ.
B. I'm the go-to gal for organizing group plans and have been known to alphabetize my spice rack.
C. I can definitely keep things straight, but I don't freak out if the unexpected occurs.

5. When it comes to wedding planning, my groom:
A. Is pretty easygoing but wants input on a few key details like food & destination.
B. Wants to be involved every step of the way.
C. Just wants to know when and where to show up: The rest is my call.

How did you score?
1)       A-1   B-3  C-2
2)      A-1   B-2   C-3
3)      A-1   B-3   C-2
4)      A-3   B-1   C-2
5)      A-2   B-1   C-3

Click here to see your results and what they say about if a Destination Wedding is right for you! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

It Started with a Kiss & Now it's Come to This!

So you're engaged?  Congratulations!  Now that the engagement parties and congratulatory toasts  are out of the way, time to focus in on the reality of an engagement – stress!  Luckily, it doesn't have to be stressful.  Use these five discovery questions to help pave the way to your Happily Ever After!

Who do you want to surround you on your big day?  Maybe you dream of a small intimate gathering while your fiancé can’t bear the thought of Great Grandma not there. How will you work around this idea and still be affordable?  Remember, for every person who attends, there is a per person cost involved.  Consider having a small intimate wedding away and a large reception back home to announce the wedding and celebrate with all your family and friends.  Consider a themed reception bringing in elements of the destination you wed at.  Imagine, while your guests feast on an authentic  Jamaican Jerk BBQ you can have reggae music playing in the background while a slide show of your pictures play on table top digital photo frames or the Jumbotron! Ya Mon!

What do you want your big day to look like: simple and chic or elegant and couture?  The option is yours!  Involve BOTH of your personalities into the design of the wedding for a one of a kind feel and one that creates fun memories.  Are you sentimental?  Incorporate your Mother’s dress or even your Great Grandmother’s ring.  Untraditional?  How about a rock & roll themed wedding complete with Brett Michaels at your reception instead of a DJ!

Where would you like to wed? Beach, Backyard or Aboard a Cruise ship? You can marry anywhere you like; however, some places are easier than others.  Consider my backyard wedding in September.  The mosquitoes were so bad, the photography session took longer and the retouching of all the red bites on the wedding party was incredible.  However, compare that to a cruise ship, not only are there not any bugs, you can also relax in knowing while you say “I do”, there is a complete team in the other room setting up your reception dinner and you don’t have to lift a finger!

When??  Timing is everything.  Consider shoulder seasons for best value.  Don’t expect a deal on red roses in February or even in the Caribbean as they are not native to the area. Same goes for venues.  Not everyone wants to play Roulette with Mother Nature in spring or fall in the Midwest; however, these can be amazing times to travel to more exotic locales for a fraction of the cost during other times of the year. 

Why are we doing all of this?  Because two people fell in love, that’s why!  This really isn't about what Mother wants or Daddy hopes for or even what your sister did.  This is about the uniqueness of you and your fiancé.  Don’t get so hung up on the details of planning a wedding that you forget about the WHY.  

Jennifer Maki, Destination Diva at Divine Destinations specializes in making Wedding and Honeymoon dreams come true!  Still overwhelmed with all the options?  Give her a call at 218-348-2825 and schedule a complimentary planning session to see what option is perfect for you.  Life is hard.  Planning a wedding or Honeymoon should not be.  Trust your big day to the experts; you'll be glad you did! 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Under the Sea with Alicia Maki, Age 12

Some bubbles, coral reefs, and maybe some fish under the sea
Is all SCUBA Diving had ever seemed like to me

My parents had both done it, but it seemed dangerous and scary
Which is why when the question came up, I was instantly wary

A simple dive, the instructor said. It should be pretty easy
Ok, I said. So we hopped on the boat; I'd never felt so queasy

Regulator in my mouth, tank feeling like a weight-filled sack
I fought to get my flippers on, then flip-flopped to the back

Hold your hand on your equipment, they said, and take a big step forward
I looked down, took a breath, and plunged to my horror

But then I was told to deflate, which meant it was time to sink
My adrenaline rushed, my brain started to think

Sharks, stingrays, maybe an electric eel?
Oh my gosh, my stomach was turning a never ending cartwheel!

But then I stopped and looked around
And there was nothing but beautiful, colorful things to be found!

We swam like little fish and even got a picture of a turtle!
Any fear that I'd had before, I'd gotten over like a hurdle

I loved that dive, I wanted to do it again
On a scale of 1-5, I'd give it a 10!

But sadly, there wasn't enough time before we would leave
That news, that news, I could hardly believe!

But this winter, when my family went to Turks,
We made ourselves a schedule where frequent dives would work

While we were there, to prove we weren't babies
Certification courses? They asked. A definite maybe!

That maybe turned into a yes, which meant 3 hours of videos and bookwork to start
Oh geez, I thought, "When it comes to SCUBA diving, we are definitely going to be smart!"

And smart we were, because by the time we some pool and ocean dives, plus a couple of tricks,
We were certified, with experience solid as bricks!

So, after seeing the beauty of the underwater world
Let me list for you some things I saw through the water that swirled:

Reef sharks, barracuda, stingray, trumpet fish too
Little yellow fish that swam up to check you out, flashy multicolored coral and plants that were blue

And on top of everything there was the prettiest arrangement of confetti  Almost microscopic fish of every color that were so cool that when the dive was over, you just weren't ready!

And so, what I once thought was just bubbles and "blub blub blub" breathe
Is not only fascinating, it's a part of me!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Book Early: The Insider's Guide to Getting the Best Value Out Of Your Vacation Dollars

1.       Best Selection
Just like when shopping for groceries, it’s best to do it early in the morning AND early in the week for best selection.  By waiting until the produce has been on the market for the entire week, you will have less to choose from since all the smart shoppers were there days ago.   Don’t want to choose between bruised peaches or really bruised peaches?   There is something to be said about the fact the Early Bird Gets the Worm.

2.       Best Prices
You will already be getting the best prices simply by hiring a travel agent, that’s a no brainer.  However, did you know the best prices are released about 11 months in advance and commonly referred to as Early Booking Savings rates?  Whether it’s a cruise or a resort, the best prices are generally released first.  As the inventory goes down, the prices go up: Simply put, it’s the law of Supply & Demand.

3.       Less Stressful
Have you ever had to try and find a gift last minute?  How about stocking stuffers during the 11th hour?  It’s very stressful and many times we feel like we've had to “settle”.  Never settle on your vacation!  Enlist the experts to research and recommend the perfect getaway for you by drawing on their experience and firsthand knowledge.  Not sure if passports are needed?  Do they speak English where you are going?  What about currency or customs?  Don’t sweat it!  If you've hired a professional, it’s all covered and you will be traveling stress free with all the details handled.

4.       Price Protection
Ever bought something to find it went on sale after the fact?  FRUSTRATING!  What isn't frustrating is knowing that if you have purchased your dream vacation package and then it goes on sale afterwards, you will be refunded the difference before the final payment has been made.  After the final payment it’s not likely to go down, however, if you have purchased travel insurance, chances are the difference will still be covered. 

5.       Peace of Mind
Always include travel insurance in your package!  Why?  It covers you for the unexpected!  Insert any of these words after UNEXPECTED:
Pregnancy , death in the family, accident on the way to the airport, weather delays, lost luggage, stolen passports, trip to the ER in the DR.  These are all real examples of some perils my clients have encountered this past year and all reasons for you to have travel insurance.  In my opinion, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind!

Ready to plan your next Divine Destination? Click here to get started!  You can be confident in knowing when you enlist the help of an expert at Divine Destinations, your vacation will be designed with thoughtfulness, hassle free and unexpected delights throughout.  What are you waiting for?

Spring Break: The Prelude to Summer Vacation

So the kids have either been home for a week and you are oh so happy to send them back to school today or you are just about to have a few extra bodies, mouths and “we’re bored” mantras around your house this week.  Imagine, just about two months and summer vacation is here!

I’d like you to imagine Spring Break away from home.  Imagine Spring Break in a destination where the kids are free to sleep in while you hit the yoga class on the beach.   
A place where you can have made to order omelets every day, yet you are not the chef.  In this magical place the kids can hang with new found friends at the beach, the kids club or even with their siblings (gasp) at the water park. 
Imagine being able to have a few golf lessons and then play a round of golf with the family before lunch.

  Maybe you are the explorer.  Go swim with dolphins or try your hand at bartering at local craft markets or even try a new cuisine local to your destination.  Rather reconnect with your loved ones?  You can do that too. Maybe that’s on a catamaran cruise at sunset or by giving back to the local families in the area through your gift of time or gifts.

In case you are wondering, this place does exist!  In fact, millions of smart families are taking advantage of this vacation every year and are making memories with their friends and families in other parts of the world.  You only have a few years before your kids won’t find you’re cool anymore or they go off to college or even start families of their own. 
What are you doing to make memories your family will cherish for years to come?   Why not start a tradition this year?  You’ll be glad you did!  Don’t know where to start?  Give us a call and we’d be delighted to do the work for you so you don’t have to lift a finger!

Jennifer Maki, Destination Diva of Divine Destinations makes traveling easy and fun!  Simply give her a call at 218/348-2825 or drop her a line and let her knowledge and reputation in the travel industry work for you as she plans the details so all you have to do is pack your bags!