Club Med started a partnership with Imagine Weddings and Events last year to boost its destination wedding business at its resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico and the U.S. Club Med Weddings By Imagine feature a set wedding package and customizable packages, as well as provide couples with wedding specialists to aid in the planning and implementation of their dream wedding.
“Club Med always offered weddings, but wanted to offer a more customized and personalized event for their guests,” says Valerie Brizuela Mahon, marketing director of Imagine Weddings and Events.
The weddings are available at several properties, including Club Med Cancun, Yucatan, Mexico; Club Med Columbus Isle, The Bahamas; Club Med Ixtapa Pacifico, Mexico; Club Med Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Club Med Sandpiper Bay, Port St. Lucie, FL; and Club Med Turkoise, Turks & Caicos. The partnership seems to be working, as the property had 11 weddings in 2010 and is up to 22 to date for 2011 at press time. Additionally, the weddings at Club Med are now bigger groups and families rather than couples only, says Mahon. The average wedding size is currently 30 to 75 guests, but with many weddings over 100. Couples generally book approximately six to nine months out, with bookings within 60 days discouraged, says Mahon.
Club Med decided to partner with Imagine Weddings and Events because of the company’s extensive years of experience. It is an affiliate of Miami-based The Wedding Experience, the cruise industry’s largest provider of cruise ship and destination weddings.
what sets a club med wedding apart A strong selling point for Club Med weddings is that only one wedding a day is scheduled at each property. No room category blocks or minimum stay requirements are needed (with the exception of Columbus Isle). The main wedding package, which Mahon defines as “high end,” includes a personal wedding specialist dedicated to them which travels to the property for each wedding. Other promotional packages are available at various times throughout the year; these include a dedicated wedding planner, but that person does not travel with the couple.
In addition to the personal wedding specialist, the Club Med Wedding package features are divided into three types of services. Pre-wedding the couple get a complimentary wedding website to keep friends and family informed, creation of customized wedding ceremony (vows, readings, interactive customs), and preferential location of room in category (based on availability). Onsite wedding services include early check-in (based on availability), special turndown service (with purchase of deluxe room or suite), a non-denominational officiant for ceremony, wedding ceremony performed at a reserved onsite venue, recorded ceremony musical selections, bridal bouquet and boutonniere, 1-hour professional photography service, wedding cake for two, bottle of Moet & Chandon, keepsake Club Med marriage certificate and late check-out (based on availability). Post-wedding services include one silver trimmed 8×10 wedding frame with photo of choice. The package rate starts at $4,000, with a long list of enhancements available.
Customizable packages include the Family Wedding package, designed to accommodate the bride, groom and family members. Family upgrades include various family wedding favors, family tree guestbook, sailing and sports packages, and spa treatments. TheEco-Chic package is created for couples who are interested in a green ceremony, as they can choose from among an extensive line of invitations and favors that leave a minimal environmental impact. Available upgrades include pesticide-free floral cake toppers, organic bridal bouquet, organic wedding cake, eco-friendly transportation and even edible menus. The Family and Eco-Chic packages do not have starting rates and can be modified to fit the needs of each couple.
Travel agents handle all room bookings directly with Club Med, either with the groups department or with Club Med Sales depending on the group size and they are then automatically commissionable. All wedding details are then arranged with Imagine Weddings and Events, either with the travel agent and the client being involved or only the client, whichever is preferred. Travel agents also receive 10 percent commission on wedding packages.
The ideal couple for a Club Med wedding is one that “…likes the stress-free factor,” says Mahon. “We take care of all the details and all our couples have to do is show up. Our packages are created especially for the couple that wants to kick back, spend time with their friends and family and enjoy the scenery and beauty of their Club Med resort.”