cover photo courtesy Nicole Gerhardt Photography
Looking at Taiya Colonello’s picture-perfect destination wedding photos on an idyllic beach in Costa Rica, it’s hard to imagine that a mere month before the big day her best-laid plans were in jeopardy.
“Exactly one month prior to the group’s departure for Costa Rica, I received a message from my contact at the tour company, a message no travel agent ever wants to receive: The flights were cancelled and there were no alternate flights offered or available for their travel dates,” travel agent Pamela Walker of Weddings by Escapes, tells Travel Courier. “I sat there, stunned, as I read and reread the words on the screen in front of me. Is this real? Am I being punked? After recovering (somewhat) from the shock, I kicked it into high gear – I must find a solution. This is what I do. This is where I must call on my superhero powers and save the day.”
More than a year earlier, in February of 2018, Taiya and her now husband Jordan first reached out to Walker to start planning a destination wedding for the spring of 2019 in an accessible yet unique and off-the-beaten-path destination. After locking in on the plans with confirmed travel bookings in place by last summer, no one could have predicted the last-minute turn of events.
“The next week was a whirlwind – many, many emails and calls were made as I scrambled to work with Taiya and Jordan and find an acceptable solution for their group – obviously cancelling the wedding was not an option,” she recalls. “To make matters a little more complicated for myself, I was on a personal vacation in Phoenix and in the midst of adopting a senior pup and dealing with all the arrangements that go along with that as well. Fast forward two weeks and incredibly everything had been rearranged: New flights were booked with an alternate airline, the private airport transfers were confirmed, and the hotel stays were adjusted to match the new flight dates.”
The following week the wedding group was on their way to RIU Palace Costa Rica and on April 9 the newlyweds tied the knot surrounded by their closest friends and family.
“Throughout the imposing disaster, Taiya and Jordan were every travel agent’s dream clients. They were able to suppress the panic I am sure they were feeling and put their trust and confidence in me to essentially fix this. Our end game was to get the two of them and all their guests down to their wedding. No matter what,” she says. “If this isn’t a fairy tale ending, I don’t know what is.”
While most destination weddings certainly aren’t this dramatic, they typically result in clients and their families making special memories in a scenic location.
Here’s an inside look at some real agent-booked destination weddings, including Taiya and Jordan’s happy ending.