Today’s wedding vendor interview is with Courtnie Nichols, Owner & Founder of TravelBash based in Newberry, FL! Enjoy:

Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.

I am a coach’s wife and mama to a four-legged baby, Zoe. TravelBash was formed on the premise of inspiring people to celebrate more through travel. For me, travel is about escaping the daily routine and chasing the horizon that creates adventure, romance, discovery, and growth. It’s about loving the people we’re with and diving headfirst into everything the world has to offer. Travel is about becoming our best selves and using every last vacation day. I now get to plan extraordinary events and out of this world experiences for clients that are just as travel-obsessed as I am. I have lived and explored all over the US and Europe but currently live in Gainesville, Florida. When I am not boarding a plane or strolling the Caribbean, you can find me somewhere between college hoops and happy hour.

Read the full interview after the cut!

How did you get into the business?

I have been obsessed with travel since I was a child as my gran and father exposed me to various cities and always allowed me to explore. I decided to build my own travel company after some encouragement from a close friend. I knew I always wanted to own my own business but just didn’t know what or how that was going to look. After marrying my husband, I found myself moving 5 times in 8 years and trying to keep up with a job just wasn’t working for me anymore.  I love love love to travel and experience new cultures so that made me think, why not start your own travel company. My background is in marketing + fundraising so after planning several non-profit and university events I decided to take my love for events and apply them to travel with a twist. As I am a former destination bride, I fell in love with the process and wanted to help others plan their special day!

What’s your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part of my job is working with clients. I am a people person so I feed off good energy. I mean I could say the travel and site visits are the best but they can be tiresome and it’s not all sipping Margaritas by the beach.

If you could pick one unique product or service offering, which would be your favorite, and why?

Girls Getaways of course, including Bachelorette weekends, why wouldn’t I? These are so fun to plan and coordinate all the excursions, activities and VIP experiences.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to others just getting started in your field?

Make sure to start with a good foundation and ask for what you are worth, you have to value your time or no one will.

What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?

I am a college basketball junkie, I love a good spa and spending time with friends over good conversation and cocktails.

Any great stories from working with a client?

It was a client’s first time out of the country to attend a destination wedding and I surprised the family with a VIP service when they arrived at the airport. They were shocked that they got off the plane and there was someone waiting to greet them with a sign and then they got to skip lines through immigration + customs, escorted to a lounge and then taken to their resort in a private car. Hands down a true experience for them and it was great to hear how much they enjoyed their trip.

What makes you different from others in your field?

I believe my personality and how I run my business makes me different. I charge a fee as I consider myself a professional that holds a certain level of knowledge worth the price. I never refer to myself as a travel agent as I do not just book or sell travel. I act as a personal travel concierge or travel architect that helps you curate the perfect experience. I do not push certain products or services on my clients as I want to inspire them to think big and out of the box and try new things and see new places. I also do some travel writing and have some destination wedding e-courses etc.. so my role in the world of travel is always evolving to what the client needs.

Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see brides leave behind?

More and more brides are choosing a destination wedding, that’s one. I love this because I was a destination bride myself and think it was one of the best decisions I made after marrying my husband and starting my business. With that said even destination weddings are changing; brides are no longer just getting married on the beach. They are choosing more and more far-flung destinations such as Thailand and Africa. I will also say brides and grooms are choosing to forgo bridesmaids and groomsmen which I think I kinda like. It’s intimate and more about each other. Another trend would be online wedding tools and apps. This is huge. More and more brides are looking online to get all of their planning done. I also like that honeymoon couples are opting out of the traditional all-inclusives and wanting to explore more of the world outside of the Caribbean.  One of my favorite trends is the big emphasis on food! I love to eat and incorporating the cuisine from your destination is a nice touch and makes it more authentic.

All Photos by: Hope Stevenson Photography

What tips or advice can you give to couples who are in the midst of planning their big day?

Make sure you do what YOU want and not what others want you to do. Stress less and have a kick-ass day! Don’t forget the wedding is only a day maybe the celebration a week but the MARRIAGE is a lifetime and that is most important!

Thanks, Courtnie! For more information about TravelBash, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their website.

Do you have any questions or comments for Courtnie? Add them to the comments below!