Posted by Bridezilla on 30 Oct, 2008
With nearly two decades of experience, Atlanta-based Judith White is a certified travelzilla. A native Jamaican, White has worked in the industry for nearly two decades and currently owns White Sand Travel, a travel agency that specializes in honeymoon and destination wedding planning.
As a remedy to our sudden case of wanderlust (sniffle, sniffle and yes, it’s contagious), Bridezilla contacted White to discuss honeymoons and destination weddings. We let our imaginations do the walking as she explained how to plan a honeymoon like a pro. What did bridezilla personally take away from this chat? We need a fruity umbrella drink – stat.
Bridezilla: What prompted you to specialize in planning honeymoons and destination weddings?
Judith White: I’ve been in the travel industry since the late 80’s. About four years ago, my son and his fiance struggled when planning their own wedding and honeymoon. I saw how they could have experienced a much more satisfying honeymoon if they relied on someone with expertise to plan their trip. That’s when I fell in love with the wedding community.
Bridezilla: Why should couples consult a professional, rather than planning the trip themselves?
Judith White: When a couple books online, they miss out on a one-on-one consultation. We don’t take orders; we recommend resorts based on the couple’s lifestyle. There’s no one-size-fits-all honeymoon. When couples book online, they think they’re saving money, but the resort could have offers that the couple isn’t aware of. If they aren’t informed, they won’t benefit from the perks.
Bridezilla: What do you think will be the most popular honeymoon destinations this spring?
Judith White: A lot of brides head to the Caribbean in the spring. Jamaica, St. Lucia, Bermuda, Mexico, and the Dominican Republican are always popular because of the warm climate and all-inclusive packages.
Bridezilla: In this dreadful economy, can brides to cut costs and still have the honeymoon of their dreams?
Judith White: Absolutely. Brides can cut honeymoon expenses by making their honeymoon shorter. Stay 8 days instead of 10. And couples should book as far in advance as they can to get the best price.
Bridezilla: How far in advance should you plan your honeymoon?
Judith White: The earlier the better. At least six months in advance. Earlier honeymoon planning gives you better options for flight and resort selection.
Bridezilla: How about for destination weddings?
Judith White: At least a year in advance. Brides should plan destination weddings with a similar timeline as traditional weddings.
Read on for more travel tips from Judith White after the break!
Bridezilla: Travel insurance or no travel insurance?
Judith White: Definitely get travel insurance. You never know what can happen during a trip: loss of luggage, flight delays, injury, illness. If you’re headed to the Caribbean during hurricane season, travel insurance is a must.
Bridezilla What’s the most unique honeymoon locale a couple requested?
Judith White: The one that stands out the most is 9 Beaches Resort in Bermuda. It’s a resort with over-the-water bungalows. It’s unique because when you picture over-the-water bungalows, you think Tahiti, but the couple didn’t want to travel that distance and found their dream resort in Bermuda instead.
Bridezilla: In your experience, who is more ‘zilla when it comes to honeymoon planning, the bride or the groom?
Judith White: Definitely the bride. Grooms care more about the cost and brides focus on the details, like what the bathroom looks like and if the resort has a pool.
Bridezilla: I noticed your website has a honeymoon registry. I’ve never seen that before. Can you explain it?
Judith White: The honeymoon registry allows guests, family and friends to purchase gifts towards the honeymoon such as a massage, bottle of wine, dinner, and items of that nature. (Bridezilla mental note: book second honeymoon and register for a massage).
Bridezilla: Any last tips to avoid a complete honeymoon disaster?
Judith White: A honeymoon is very important as it is the couple’s first vacation together. Don’t focus on cost. A lot of brides plan trips based on the pictures they see, but pictures aren’t necessarily a true reflection of the location. Make sure your resort won’t be renovating while you’re staying there. And hire a travel professional, in the end, you’ll actually end up saving money.