A wedding is probably one of the most important holiday sales a travel agent makes, so it's not surprising that some counter staff get slightly nervous when a couple come in to book their special occasion.
But if you know what you're doing, selling wedding packages can be a lucrative earner, as couples are happy to pay a little extra to guarantee a memorable experience.
Travel Weekly asked the experts to give us their top tips on how to sell wedding packages.
Find out as much information as you can from the couple about the type of wedding they want, advises Planet Holidays managing director Mathilde Robert. For example, do they want a civil wedding or religious one? Town hall, beach or hotel room?
"Make sure you know what they dream of as a perfect day - then you can start suggesting destinations and hotels," she said.
Narrow the options
Too much choice can be confusing for any couple planning their wedding, so operators suggest that, once you have found out the couple's requirements, narrow down the options to two or three suggestions.
Keep it in the family
Sandals' family-friendly Beaches properties are perfect for couples, perhaps second-time-rounders, who already have children, according to Gabi Birbeck, director of Rendezvous Travel, in Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire. Couples attending the wedding party could stay at a Sandals property.
Do your sums
Be clear about what's included in the price, advises Cosmos Dream Weddings co-ordinator Joanne Dewhurst. "Little extras, such as photographs, wedding DVD and transport to an outside venue can all add up, and the couple should be aware of them before they travel."
Useful links and tips on our weddings abroad page, in association with Sandals
Look for hidden extras, whether there are charges at the wedding hotel for guests who are staying elsewhere. "If it's a large wedding party where not all guests are staying at the same hotel, the wedding hotel may charge a day-pass fee for non-resident guests to attend the wedding," said Dewhurst.
Double-check the legal stuff
Every wedding carries some legal red tape, but agents should be aware of extra legislation in some instances, such as second marriages.
Some countries insist people should be divorced for more than a year before the wedding can take place. Other countries insist the bride must not be pregnant. Also ensure couples are aware of any charges for paperwork.
Short-haul destinations are more accessible for friends and family to travel to and attend the wedding,
even if they wish to join the couple for a few days, and with the huge increase in accommodation-only options and the ability to dynamically package, it's never been easier for agents to put together group bookings. If you explain this to the couple you may persuade them to invite more guests - and therefore increase your commission.
Two into one
Sell the wedding and honeymoon package together, advises Dewhurst. This way, the couple will still qualify for any honeymoon offers. "This will give the couple the idea that they are saving money by having their wedding and honeymoon all in one holiday," she said.
Fortnight is best
The majority of destinations insist on the couple staying for two weeks and the wedding taking place in the second week. "Therefore, if guests originally only wanted to book one week you'll be able to convince them to book the second week, thus increasing your sales and commission," added Dewhurst.
More from this week's weddings special...
- Weddings abroad: Budget destinations and packages
- Weddings abroad: Travel Weekly's Agent Challenge
- Weddings abroad: Market update and trends for 2009/10
- Find out how you can win a £25,000 wedding with Princess Cruises and Travel Weekly...
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