Destination wedding planning is really a different animal. And, though many couples book wedding planners who live in the destination, there are plenty of planners who “have passport, will travel.” So today, we wanted to talk about what you should plan ahead for when the destination wedding is also a destination for you! Read on to hear thoughts from 3 experienced destination wedding planners from our community – Michelle Garibay Events, Taylor’d Events, and Lucky & in Love.
“Being a destination wedding planner is more than just being someone who “loves to travel.” (Who doesn’t love to travel, really?!) Knowledge of the locale and culture are equally important because they can be much different than what you are used to. They can be much slower-paced so it is important to build relationships in the destination to ensure the entire process runs smoothly from start to finish.
If you are able to travel to the location in advance during the planning process to walk the venue, chat details and meet with your creative professionals – I definitely recommend it! But regardless of if you can, you still need to ask your vendors to give you an overview of how they are used to working, familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the area (including weather, traffic patterns, marriage license requirements, and any other potential obstacles), and map out what will happen upon arrival.”
“When planning a destination wedding that I am traveling to, I make sure I have enough time to get to the destination. So, I usually arrive 2-3 days before the first event if I am flying and, a day before if I am driving. I still bring as much of my emergency kit as I can (even if I have to pair it down to the most important items).
In preparation for my arrival, I schedule a meeting in place with the vendors for that wedding. I make sure it is in-person so that we can go over any last detail changes, review the setup, and go over the timeline.
When you plan from afar, it is key that you build those relationships with the wedding professionals in that area because they are the key to a successful destination wedding!”
“Having planned a wedding sight unseen for myself and my husband, you learn quite a bit from trial and error. The biggest lesson we learned is the “people on the ground” in the country you are planning the event are your biggest asset. No amount of Googling or internet searching could have given us the insight to the city that we needed. From bus rentals to government offices and regulations (we were married in Italy), the Venue Manager at our Villa was able to connect us with the best people to get the job done. Don’t underestimate the power of hiring professionals who intimately know the space you are looking to work in. You’ll never regret the extra spend, for peace of mind.
Lastly, ALWAYS give yourself more time than you need. We arrived in Italy for our wedding five days early and still ended up missing our own ceremony rehearsal due to being stuck negotiating our ability to get married. If you have the time to spare, the more the better.”