I'm Kati -
I'm a Wisconsin based engagement + wedding photographer with HUGE dreams. If you know me, you know I'm obsessed with tacos, puppies, stationery stores, pineapples, and EVERYTHING Magnolia!
TOP 4 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE PLANNING A DESTINATION WEDDING
Trust me, I get it. There are SO MANY resources out there on the internet about weddings. It's hard to know where to begin and it can quickly get ultra-overwhelming! One thing that I learned real quickly as I began planning my wedding, is that there aren't that many resources specific to destination weddings! Crazy, isn't it? Considering how much destination weddings have grown in popularity with Millenials and Gen-Z-ers.
This will be my first post of many in a series of posts all about destination weddings! I'm going to give you a bride's point-of-view on what I went through planning my own, and what resources I wish I would have had. I'll also dive into what it looks like from a photographer's point-of-view. So with that, I bring you a post all about deciding if a destination wedding is right for you, your groom, and your family.
PHOTO BY OUR AMAZING WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER, ALEX GOOD
WILL YOUR MUST-HAVE GUESTS BE ABLE TO TRAVEL?
The first and most important tip I have for you is to make a list of people that you couldn't live without being at your wedding. Maybe this looks like your best friend from Kindergarten or your Aunt who has basically been a second mom to you. Consider the time of year you want to get married. Will they have time in their schedule to come? Is it around a holiday that they won't want to miss at home? Also think of health issues. Will your must-have guests be able to sit on a plane and get around easily once they arrive?
IS IT AFFORDABLE OR WILL YOUR GUESTS HAVE TIME TO SAVE-UP?
Tip number two is to be sensitive to the fact that your must-have guests might not be able to afford a vacation. Are you prepared to push the date out by a few months to accommodate them being able to save-up? Will they be able to pay on a payment plan or will they be required to pay up-front? Are you in a position to offer to help them pay for the trip if you absolutely NEED them there? One of my best suggestions is to offer a shorter vacation option and a longer one. For example, for our destination wedding, we offered a 4-day option and a full 7-day option. This worked out great and half of our guests stayed the full week and half felt the 4-day fit their schedule and pocket book better.
WILL YOU WORK WITH A TRAVEL AGENT OR WEDDING PLANNER?
I can't recommend getting a travel agent enough. They handle all of the hard logistical work for you such as finding the cheapest flights! In our case, our travel agency had different destination wedding options with varying levels of involvement. We opted for the bottom tier option that allowed them to take care of all the trip bookings but didn't put them in charge of the actual wedding planning. They then put me in contact with the corporate resort planners in Florida who I worked with to choose everything from the décor to the location of the ceremony. I then worked with a day-of coordinator from Mexico over email a few weeks before the trip and met with her a few times once we arrived at the resort. A HUGE thing to keep in mind is language barriers. Luckily, our wedding specialist spoke amazing English and we had zero issues communicating our wants and needs.
WILL YOU BE OK WITH PLANNING FROM AFAR?
Are you the type that needs to be 100% hands-on? If yes, then you're going to have a hard time planning a destination wedding not being able to be there to see and taste everything prior. For me, it was easy - remember that a photo is worth a thousand words (sorry for the cliché, but it's true.) I was able to send them photos of all of my inspiration and the planning was seamless. Check with your venue and see if they have any special packages that would include you being able to visit prior to your wedding. A lot of larger resorts offer a discounted rate for 2 or 3 nights 3-6 months before your wedding.
Obviously, there are other factors and it's more complicated than that choose-your-own-adventure graphic at the beginning of this post, but hopefully this gets your wheels spinning and you're able to figure out if a destination wedding is in the cards for you!
Did you have a destination wedding? What are some of your tips or what did you learn while deciding if it was the right move for you? Comment below!