Sunday, February 14, 2010

Travel Woes

With the recent weather chaos all around the United States, I started thinking quite a bit about travel during bad weather. After all, one of my couples (Brooke & Damian) were leaving for their wedding in St. Lucia right before the big February snowstorm hit the Northeast USA. Fortunately, they were able to get to St. Lucia on time.

However, another bride (many brides, I'm sure) wasn't so lucky. I was on the phone with American Airlines, trying to rearrange a flight for another couple that I have getting married in April. When the AA representative learned that it was a wedding, she said, "I just got off of the phone with a bride that is stranded at JFK airport with 50 of her wedding guests, and she isn't going to be able to get out for another three days." I was stunned, but then realized that this does happen. As a matter of fact, it nearly happened to one of the producers of my show, Wedding Lane with Candy Cain. Suzanne tells this great story of how her flight was cancelled, and she was able to finagle a way to get herself and all 75 of her guests at the airport onto an earlier flight.

After quietly thanking God for letting Brooke and Damian (as well as Aleisha and David, who were married on February 6 in Jamaica), get to St. Lucia in a timely fashion, it dawned on me that a lot of brides - especially those that do not live in areas that get hit hard with inclement weather - don't take travel into consideration.

The absolute worst month for airline travel is February. There are no two ways about it. This is the month with the most delay-causing winter storms of the year. Even if you are flying from somewhere in the south, it is still a bad time of year to travel. Why? There are several major airports in the Northeast and even Mid-Atlantic that pretty much come to a standstill when there is a massive snowstorm: New York's John F. Kennedy, Boston's Logan, Washington DC's Reagan National, Philadelphia, New Jersey's Newark, and I would even group Chicago's O'Hare into this mix. Flight delays and cancellations at these major airports can cause flight delays and cancellations at other airports. Do yourself a favor and avoid the headache by choosing your wedding date from March through November. December and January are "iffy" months. February is just a gamble.

If you do decide to have your destination wedding in months that may have bad weather, think about scheduling your flight an extra day in advance than you have to be there. Most countries have a residency requirement where you have to be in the country for at least 48 hours. If you miss this residency requirement, you will have to move your wedding date. Who is to say that the resort where you have your wedding planned will be able to accommodate your wedding on another date? If you book your date at least one extra day in advance, it leaves room for you to get to another airport if necessary. (That, of course, is where your travel agent comes in... To get your butts on another flight from a functioning airport!)

Don't get me wrong; February is a fabulous month to get married, and quite popular because of Valentine's Day. If you are going to have a destination wedding in February, just be sure you leaveroom for travel delays.

Candice Cain is the owner of the Candy Cain Travel Co. She is a Certified Sandals Specialist and a Destination Wedding Expert. Please feel free to email her for help with your destination wedding!