Exotic Islands, Romantic Cities, Foreign Countries

Although destination weddings may involve exotic islands, romantic cities, or foreign countries, for the wedding planner, destination weddings can be a great deal of work. This is where we come in!

“As a travel agent, destination weddings are the part of my job that I love the most. The brides we get are confident that we do our utmost to make their day perfect, and that makes us all feel much more relaxed and get things going in a smoother way!”

– Lia Vincent

Getting married in another country means you and your guests can be immersed and experience the food, culture, sites, services, language and more that will make your wedding truly unique and an experience of a lifetime!

Destination weddings are weddings that take place in a location where the bride and groom do not reside. Often, these weddings are outside of one’s home country and passports are required. But, increasingly, destination weddings are being held a bit closer to home, which expands the destination wedding market. “Couples can be very creative. Whether they select an exotic resort in the South Seas, a castle in Europe, or a lodge in Northwestern Wisconsin. Making this happen, and a success, is our job.”

It’s so true that “Anything is possible!” Just look at the explosive changes in destination weddings over the past 10 years. What started as a small, niche idea has grown exponentially. Not only have the numbers increased, but the very definition of what constitutes a destination has been revised. Is a destination weddings right for you? We can help you navigate the challenges and make it a success! Explore the ancient ritual and charm of a Mayan destination wedding, as well as events in Italy and Ireland. The possibilities are truly endless! We can help you discover your unique wedding and use it to set yourself apart from the crowd!

Destination planners face other challenges unique to their specialty, like identifying the client. In the end, not only are the bride and groom the client, but the guests as well. Planners find themselves playing host by assisting guests with questions about the location. The guests see the planner as the point person in assisting them with travel plans and questions. There are also legal and procedural challenges planners encounter. “We often get in touch with couples thinking that they can arrange their legal wedding in one to three months.” “It can be hard to make them understand that some procedures, like asking for a marriage license, especially if we are speaking of a Catholic wedding, take time. The bureaucracy of Italy is terrible. It can be quite a clash of cultures.

Budget, too, can be an issue as couples often have an unrealistic expectation that holding a wedding in a foreign country is less expensive than their home country. “Sometimes it can be hard to make them understand that if you want to get married in famous places like Venice, Rome, Florence, or Amalfi, prices can be rather steep and accommodations, especially during peak season, are very expensive. It’s then our job to make them see the other possibilities and help them choose the solutions that fit their expectations, and which do not break the bank.

Research is often the key to getting the budget right—especially outside your home country. “When working on a budget or quoting costs to the client, be sure that you have researched on-island costs and have these in writing. For example, flowers can cost more than five times what they are in the U.S.

Logistical considerations and back up plans are also critical to address in destination planning. Rain and back up options are a must. Many hotels have small or limited event space to host an inside event, so the planner must consider renting tents to ensure the wedding occurs without a hitch. Find out if the location or venue offers tents before you suggest a location. If it cannot accommodate a rain plan, move on. Sometimes, this leads to disappointment for couples set on a certain locale. “Occasionally, their dreams are not reality-based and compromises are difficult to swallow. Breaking the news is often more difficult than solving the issue.

How destination wedding specialists make those weddings perfect is in the details—incorporating local traditions, customs, and flavors into the day. Perhaps it’s being entertained through dinner by a local Mariachi group, dining on regional fare, drinking local wines, or gifting guests with sweet treats from the area. “Each time, we offer something different, depending on the style and taste of the couple. I could never think of doing the same for everyone,” says Lia, who has arranged varied events for her destination weddings including wine tastings, spa treatments, and tours of the Italian countryside.

In the end, the memories that are created for couples are life-changing moments that lead to happy endings. “Up until now, among the biggest challenges we’ve had, are a symbolic destination wedding which was planned in just three weeks; a double, twin wedding; a Catholic-Protestant wedding that needed the authorization of the Bishop; super-small weddings and quite large weddings; relaxed country-style weddings and hyper-modern weddings; beach, lakeside, and vineyard weddings,” “Oh, yes, destination weddings can be anything like this, or not be like this at all. And we are always happy to help out!