Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Meet the Expert: Jennifer Carfagno

In this week’s Meet the Experts column, we interviewed Jennifer Carfagno, the wedding planning expert at The Weather Channel. She writes the “Ask Jen” section on the Wedding Planner tool on and is also the travel analyst on TWC’s morning program, First Outlook.

What trends do you see in destination weddings for 2009-2010?

I definitely have noticed more requests for weather information for outdoor weddings near hometowns vs. island or other exotic destinations. It seems like Brides are still making the event a weekend destination, but instead to a location that perhaps is easier to travel to for the wedding.

Since most destination weddings are held outside, weather obviously plays an important part of the wedding. What things do couples need to consider?

Of course, every bride would love a sunshine guarantee for their wedding day! We can't do that, but we can help couples focus on the typically dry times of year for their location. It's also important to keep in mind not only the average temperatures for the date, but also how far the temperature can swing above or below that average - we can help with that too.

Are there general rules-of-thumb about areas or regions to consider with respect to weather?

There are definitely some rules of thumb to follow. The rainy season in the Caribbean (whether due to summertime thundershowers or hurricanes) is in the later summer and early fall. Hawaii's rainy season is during the winter, but even then, the weather is usually quite nice. Europe can be cold and wet during the winter, but August can also be quite hot, too. We have a great guide on - Where to Go When: Best Weather by Wedding Month.

How can couples minimize weather-related difficulties for their destination weddings?

Couples should definitely try to plan their outdoor wedding during the dry and mild season. But they should also find out the possible weather extremes, and have a contingency plan for those as well. For example, the possibility of a record-breaking 95 degree day when you were expecting 70 degrees will be much easier to handle if you at least know that the tent can be air-conditioned.

When we were planning our destination wedding in the Bahamas in June, we spent a lot of time thinking about the weather. As much as we enjoyed planning the wedding, we didn’t like to think about the contingency plan in case of rain. How do we get past it?

No one wants to plan for rain on their wedding day! But in an island location, it certainly is a possibility. Embrace your wedding day weather. Make it fun, make it part of your day. Give umbrellas as favors! Get pictures in it - rain or shine. After all, it's the backdrop for your wedding story.

How have the needs of engaged couples changed over time? What are they looking for now that they weren’t looking for a year ago?

Weather and weather forecasting is so much a part of our pop culture. And everyone seems to be savvier about the limits of weather predictions. When we first launched Wedding Planner on, I received a lot of requests for specific forecasts a year out, even two. Now, most brides and couples are inquiring about the rainy season, dry season, and "odds" of a bad weather day. Those requests we can answer!

In light of the economic climate, how are couples adjusting their destination wedding plans to cope? Are couples looking at different locations?

More and more brides and couples have been requesting weather information for destination weddings close to home, as opposed to on island or exotic locations. They still very much have a "destination wedding" feel to them, just at a local lake instead of at a white-sand beach, for example.

Is there anything that we haven’t asked that you want to share your thoughts on?

June is known as the most popular month for weddings, but I see October as the new June. Especially in light of more people planning destination weddings in the continental U.S. October is one of the driest months of the year across our country, humidity is often low, temperatures are comfortable, and it often boasts that brilliant azure blue sky that is a great backdrop for pictures.

1 comment:

Heather Ioni said...

Love the idea of wedding favors to match the destination wedding! There's a cute site - Sunflower Favors - that has great beach wedding favors, las vegas favors, and other great destination wedding favors. Check it out :)