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Justyna Smith

Beverly Hills, California Travel Agent

One-of-a-Kind Destination Weddings

A destination wedding is very personal, and couples want their event to be unique to them. That usually means picking a place that their friends haven’t gone. For millennials, who are at the age where a lot of people are getting married, that can be a challenge.

The solution I found for one California couple was a hotel that hadn't yet opened! The bride-to-be and I toured several venues around Ojai, which has weddings every weekend, but nothing felt right. Then we took a hard hat site tour of the Rosewood Miramar Beach, slated to open in Montecito. The hotel’s 124 rooms and 37 suites were perfect for her guest list, and she booked the entire hotel for her event. It took imagination to envision the venues, but we had fun with the idea of planning the wedding at a not-yet-built site. For their invitations, they sent a picture of her fiancé re-proposing on the grounds of their future wedding venue!

Hawaii offers many wonderful options for weddings and is especially popular with West Coast couples. I work with a trusted wedding planner in Hawaii. She knows the best florists, photographers, and other suppliers as well as amazing venues, both at hotels and on secluded beaches and in lovely gardens. 

Mexico is also extremely popular, and for good reason. Both in Los Cabos and along Yucatan Peninsula, five-star resorts offer stunning beach and garden venues and personal service to help couples carry out their vision. Mexico also provides a lot of value. 

My role in wedding planning varies. I often help couples select a destination and a venue and make all the travel arrangements for their guests. As a destination wedding specialist, I am familiar with both popular and less-known venues and can often provide a new perspective. I plan everything from elopements and small groups of 25 or less to huge weddings where the event takes over the whole hotel. 

Most brides have their own wedding coordinator, and sometimes even have selected a venue and are turning to me to negotiate the room block and make the travel arrangements. My experience allows me to leverage my own contacts along with benefits available to me as a Protravel International and Virtuoso travel agent to secure the best rates. I also negotiate for favorable attrition conditions, so if the guest list drops from the estimates, my clients aren’t left holding the bag. 

Couples also can add my info to their website so that their guests know to reserve with me, allowing me to track the bookings and coordinate special guest amenities and other arrangements with the hotel. 

In most cases, I also plan the honeymoon. There has been a trend towards postponing the honeymoon. For those who can manage the time, I usually advise taking at least some time sometimes right after the wedding. I think it is a special time and it is nice to have some time to revel together in the bliss of the wedding as opposed to going right back to work.

It is fun working with couples on their destination weddings, and I love the idea that I am helping make their big day everything they dream it will be. I also love booking the travel for their guests because weddings are an exciting time for everyone.

Let me know if you’d like suggestions for your destination wedding!

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