Recommend reached out to Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes, CEO of Aruba Tourism Authority to talk about all things weddings—destination weddings on the island that is. Tjin Asjoe also have us the scoop on the island’s largest vow renewal ceremony, as well as honeymoon trends, wedding party size, and when you should start getting your clients to start prepping for their destination wedding.
Michelle Marie Arean (MMA): When it comes to destination weddings, what trends do you see for couples celebrating in Aruba?
Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes (RTAC): We have noticed some trends similarity between leisure travel and destination weddings segments. Driven by Millennials, who have dominated the travel sector in the past few years with their thirst to explore the world, the trend of experiential and off-the-beaten path travel is now taking over destination weddings as well. While a beach wedding is still the most sought-after traditional wedding location, we are seeing increased interest in unique locations for weddings like underwater, on landmarks such as our CasibariRock Formations and more.
Aruba has a diverse offer of hotels and resorts with options for a range of wedding budgets, as well as party sizes. We also have excellent wedding planners to help couples imagine and plan their big day.
MMA: When are these couples planning their destination weddings and why?
RTAC: Traditionally, late summer and fall are when most American couples set their wedding dates for. This is because weather at that time of the year is pretty nice in most states around the U.S. While we do see an increased activity in the sector this time of the year, we have weddings in Aruba year-round as our weather permits for planning an outdoor event any month of the year.
MMA: What size is the typical destination wedding in Aruba?
RTAC: It would be hard to pin down an average wedding size as we are seeing many different wedding formats these days. However, smaller wedding parties were more common in the past years, while now we are noticing that more and more friends and family are joining the celebration with the couple.
MMA: How far in advance to you suggest travel advisors have their couples start planning?
RTAC: I would recommend that couples start planning for a destination wedding about a year out. This leaves them enough time to research all the venues available on Aruba, as we have so many beautiful places to choose from. It also gives their guests proper lead time to plan their travel as well.
Wedding planning is always a stressful affair as there are so many details to consider, but a destination wedding can actually take some of that stress out of the equation. Often, wedding planning stress is more related to the number of individuals involved in the process. Aruba has excellent and experienced on-island wedding planners that will guide couples through all the choices and give advice from a local’s perspective that a couple can rely on.
MMA: Do couples who have a destination wedding in Aruba, typically also have their honeymoon on the island?
RTAC: Yes. It is a trend we are seeing; coupling the wedding on Aruba with a honeymoon is very common. We are also seeing that the wedding guests are pairing this occasion with their own vacation time and are staying in a destination longer. Can you blame them? They are already in paradise, no need to hurry back.
MMA: If so, what types of activities and accommodations are they booking?
RTAC: If a part of a wedding party, most guests chose to stay with the same hotel or resort where the wedding took place. This way, they often get to extend the group rates into their post-stay, and it is convenient as they do not have to pack and repack to move to another hotel.
In terms of activities, because we have so many different generations taking part in destination weddings in Aruba, it varies. Our curated romance-themed itinerary highlights a number of popular activities including beach-front dining, sailing the crystal clear waters, and guided-island tours via UTV, bike or hiking.
MMA: Can you tell us more about trends in vow renewals in Aruba?
RTAC: Vow renewal interest on-island continues to grow. We just hosted our third annual vow renewal ceremony event, which continues to see tremendous growth. This year alone, the event grew by 25 percent when more than 230 couples renewed their vows in our beautiful, romantic Eagle Beach ceremony.
MMA: What years are most couples celebrating, and how large is their party?
RTAC: Vow renewals are becoming more of an all-ages occasion with couples opting to renew their vows at 1, 5, 10 or 50 years of marriage. Given the wider variety of couples celebrating, we can ensure that we offer accommodations, activities and experiences fit for every couple, no matter the anniversary year.
MMA: What types of things are guests booking for a vow renewal?
RTAC: When booking romantic activities, guests have a variety of options on-island, such as:
MMA: Tell us about some of the romance packages travel advisors can book…
RTAC: There are exclusive love-inspired vacation packages available from more than 15 on-island hotels for your readers to consider! Some highlights include:
Offers a 5-night romance package that starts at $840 pp ($168 pp, per night) and 7-night romance packages start at $1,148 per person ($164 per person, per night). Both include accommodations in a 1-bedroom suite, daily breakfast for two, romantic candlelit beachside dinner for two at Pureocean, welcome turndown service for the first night with special treats such as flickering white bedside candles, a petal-strewn bed, a chilled bottle of champagne in a keepsake souvenir wine cooler bag, two souvenir champagne flutes and chocolate or tropical fruits.
For more on destination wedding trends around the globe, don’t miss our June issue.
For more information, visit aruba.com/us/organization/aruba-tourism-authority.