Life is a Journey, Not a Destination - Tips for planning a destination wedding!
When Callie asked me if we travel for weddings, my response was “How many days should I pack for?” Destination weddings have become more and more common in the modern century, as social media expanded our horizons and deepened our hunger to discover what more the world has to offer. Not many people know this but our videography company, Evermore Stories, LLC was born while traveling. Grant and I have a hunger to see as much as this world has to offer; on a trip to Branson, Missouri we discovered that we could share those experiences through film. Our first video together was titled Wanderlust, and it featured some poorly lit and super shaky clips of Grant and me filming each other on a road trip. Most of it was shot out of the window without a stabilizer, all of that was shot on a 50 mm lens which was often way too tight in most situations, but even though we had absolutely no idea what we were doing at the time, it was obvious filmmaking was something we always wanted to do.
Fast forward a couple of years, Evermore Stories is established, traveling for weddings, and pretending it’s a career move! I didn’t have to do much convincing to get my husband to sign on as a professional wedding crasher alongside me and I credit him for much of our success. His network is how I was introduced to great people like Callie and Dereck. Their Florida wedding at Skopelos at New World in Pensacola was one of our first destination weddings and it spoiled us to the entire process!
While destination weddings are incredible, they do pose a few challenges.
Not Seeing the Venue
It can be difficult coordinating vendors without being able to visit on location. It isn’t much different from playing the childhood game “telephone:” where kids line up and whisper a secret from person to person, passing it down the line. By the time it gets to the end the message always seems to be distorted. Similar misunderstandings can happen when coordinated wedding details over the phone and without person-to-person contact. The good news is there are some things you can try to make the process smoother.
Hire a local wedding coordinator
Ask vendors to meet with you virtually, giving you the chance to have their undivided attention and share visuals
Plan a trip ahead of the wedding and schedule multiple visits during the same trip to finalize all your plans
Google maps + satellite view is a great way to take a virtual tour of the area around your venue. It can help you plan routes, parking, and to see local restaurants and accommodations nearby
Travel is Unpredictable
Whether you’re part of the bridal party or the film and photo crew, planning to arrive at least 24 hours in advance of the wedding is essential. Travel can be incredibly unpredictable so it’s important to give yourself the best chances of making it into town, settling in, and avoiding travel-related fiascos. Most couples have a rehearsal dinner the evening before, and this is a great way for everyone in the bridal party to learn where they will be reporting and how long it takes to get there to arrive on time!
Every wedding comes with unexpected costs, but this is even more true for destination weddings. For instance, gas to travel, plane tickets, cost to ship items, check extra bags, coordinate the delivery of items to your venue, or extra travel charges from your vendors. Planning ahead can help with making sure you don’t end up way over an already extravagant destination budget.
Ask about travel charges from vendors upfront
If hiring a local wedding coordinator, ask about shipping decorations directly to them
Choose local vendors for things that won’t transport well (cake & florals)
Preplan, over budget, underspend
Consider weather-related risks and travel insurance. The pandemic taught us the value of preparing for the absolute unexpected!
Don’t Rush the Experience
If you’re going to go through the trouble of a destination wedding, don’t rush the process just for the sake of ‘saying’ you did it. What’s the point if not to really enjoy the destination? Plan your wedding weekend as a vacation with a couple of days tacked on to experience and explore. Eat the local food, enjoy local culture, events, or nature. If you’re worried that your wedding day will be too rushed to photograph your destination in all of its glory, plan a fun experience and have it photographed. We love documenting our couples on fun adventures either before or after the wedding - especially in beautiful destinations!
No matter where you decide to get married, or how you decide to do it, the most important part is enjoying every moment of it!