Sunday, December 13, 2009

Location Report: The Biltmore in Asheville, NC

For us, when we think about destination weddings, they are usually intimate gatherings on some beach somewhere. However, one of the nicest wedding destinations we’ve seen recently is The Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina.

We went to The Biltmore in Asheville for some personal relaxation time, but while we were there, we observed several weddings. It dawned on us – wow! This place makes a great wedding destination.

The Inn on Biltmore Estate makes the perfect home base for your wedding. It’s on the property, offers stunning views of the Great Smokey Mountains, has several nice restaurants and offers all the amenities you’ll need for your wedding. The hotel is rather large, but has a quaint charm since it is decorated in this French renaissance style. The staff is quite friendly and attentive.

The Biltmore House is the main event. This was originally the Vanderbilt Family’s country estate and they advertise it as America’s Largest Mansion. It is a huge mansion, meticulously maintained and thoughtfully presented. As we took the tour, we were able to look out onto the grounds and noticed there were several weddings going on. It dawned on us – this is a very romantic spot for a destination wedding.

For your ceremony and reception, there are a number of locations on the property – the lawn in front of the house (where the Biltmore serves as the backdrop), a terrace just off the house (looking out on the Great Smokey Mountains) or down in the Walled Garden (where you are surrounded by immaculate gardens and millions of flowers).

There is one downside to a destination wedding at the Biltmore – it doesn’t appear that they close down part of the facility for you. So, as you’re getting ready for your wedding, you could have tourists gawk at you (just as we gawked at folks on our visit).

Now, fair warning, we have no idea on the expense of a destination wedding at the Biltmore. I’m betting those weddings cost a pretty penny. They are gorgeous, but surely expensive. They have a wedding website, but it doesn’t have much information on it.

For the day after your wedding, consider having a brunch for you and all your guests at the Deerpark Lodge on the Biltmore property. They serve a decadent brunch in charming converted stable. It’s both rustic and sophisticated.

The Biltmore Estate is a wonderfully beautiful place and would be a romantic place for you to tie the knot.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Travel Insurance for Destination Weddings

One aspect of destination weddings that people often neglect is travel insurance. Destination weddings involve travel and sometimes the worst case can happen – a trip gets cancelled due to weather, illness or something else.

Travel insurance can protect you from these cancellations and problems. If your trip gets cancelled, you can get a refund. If you should encounter a medical problem, most travel accident insurance can get you good medical care. Personally, we both carry International SOS coverage through our employers for emergency medical. However, that wouldn’t help us with the financial piece of a cancelled trip.

If you purchase travel insurance, make sure it covers trip cancellation, trip delay and medical coverage. Most insurance coverage also covers lost or stolen luggage and personal property.

Do your homework to make sure you’re getting a good policy. Be sure to read all the fine print and ask lots of questions. Also, make sure your policy will cover the wedding (or "event") portion of your trip, not just the travel part.

From our perspective, travel insurance is mandatory for a destination wedding. Given the amount of money you’re spending on your big day, it’s better than taking any chances.