Photo Credit: Photo credit: Andre Hunter
Groom's Guide To Destination Wedding: Save The Date
My bride-to-be and I were two weeks away from visiting Mexico and meeting with the different vendors to prepare for the destination wedding. We were looking forward to meeting our wedding planner and having someone helping us navigate everything. When that person ultimately decided to quit, my bride-to-be’s world was in a whirlwind.
Wedding Planner Goes AWOL
One of the major concerns that my fiancé after she began working with the wedding planner was the lack of communication. As I look back on the experience, this was one of the earliest signs that our wedding planner wasn’t the right fit. For example, the wedding planner sent a list of vendors; however, they didn’t fit with our vision for the weddings. My fiancé researched some vendors and sent the wedding planner a list to do follow-up calls and get quotes. The wedding planner would take weeks to respond to those requests.
Despite those situations, my bride-to-be and I remained calm and pleasant. There were things that were starting to get under my fiancé’s skin; however, we continued to plan the wedding with the wedding planner that it took weeks to find. However, there was only so much that we could take.
In our last interaction, I demanded that she give us a ballpark figure of what the wedding would cost. My fiancé had been asking for months to give us ballpark figures for each component of the wedding, and it was important for us to know how much we were spending on the wedding.
After our conversation, she filled out all of the ballpark figures and gave us gives us a list of the vendors. Although we were able to get the information we needed, it still felt as if we were pulling teeth from the wedding planner. My fiancé had already contemplated letting her go weeks before, but I was still optimistic.
Two days later, I received a message from the wedding planner saying that she was resigning and offering a full refund on our deposit. My fiancé was devastated.
Out With the Old in With the New
On the week before leaving to visit our destination wedding location, we managed to score a new wedding planner. Immediately, we recognized that she was a way better communicator then our last planner.
By the time we arrived in Mexico, we had a full itinerary planned fill with different appointments. We met with caterers, toured the wedding venue, and explored the city while on break from wedding plans.
After the experience of losing the first planner, I learned that we should have been more thorough in the interview process. We didn’t ask all of the right questions in the beginning to ensure that that was the right wedding planner for us. My fiancé and I only looked at their résumé and the portfolio.
My recommendation is that you ask questions that tell you what kind of person the planner is. You also should be extremely direct with your intentions and how you’d like to manage the wedding. Whether you’re a person that loves deadlines and communication or you’re more hands off in the experience, you need to be upfront with the wedding planner. All these components can really decide the type of planner you end up with.
Finding Local Caterers and Decorators for a Destination Wedding
One of the most critical and important components of the destination wedding is finding the perfect caterer. The best part about a destination wedding is that you get to have the best cuisine that the city has to offer. For destination wedding planning, I recommend scheduling tastings after you and your significant other have had time to try the local food. This will give you both the opportunity to try the local cuisines and give the caterers ideas on the menu.
Another major component to every successful destination wedding is finding the best wedding decorator. My fiancé, who has dreamed of her wedding since she was younger, had her Pinterest board ready; however, we needed someone to bring her ideas to life. My fiancé and I wanted a minimalist boho chic style. Since the venue is surrounded by a lot of greenery, we wanted everything to naturally flow visually within it’s own elements.
There is a lot of decisions that go into designing a wedding from the type of furniture to the table settings. When planning a destination wedding, it is important to research the style of the city that you are going to. If you want decor requests that don’t fit the country’s existing landscape, it may be more expensive.
When hiring a wedding decorator, it is important that you and your significant other review their portfolio. If you vet your wedding planner, you will save a lot of time and determine whether they fit your vision. In addition, keep an open mind when reviewing their work and try to find people who have good reputations.
Choosing The Venue of a Destination Wedding
Finding the wedding venue is one task that you will have to do remotely. The best venues typically get booked almost 18 months in advance around popular dates.
Social media makes researching for a wedding venue remotely easier. The more popular venues usually have plenty of content online, and couples eagerly share their beautiful wedding videos with the locations in the captions. When you find some places that you like, call around for quotes or share them with your wedding planner.
There are two types of venues that you can look for during your research period. Some venues are separated from resorts and are created specifically for hosting weddings. This provides you full autonomy to pick the decorations and catering; however, you will have to worry about transportation and lodging. You will need to find a hotel to fit all of your guests and a way to transport them. Transportation and lodging are two major costs to think about.
The other type of venue to look at is one attached to a resort. A resort is a one-stop shop for all of your wedding needs. The wedding could be hosted at the resort venue, which cuts transportation costs, and your guests can book rooms in the hotel. While it may be the more inexpensive option, the downside of it is your options in decorations and catering will be limited to the options at the resort. Managers more than likely will charge a fee for outsourcing catering and decorations that don’t have a relationship with the hotel.
Save The Dates
When it comes to planning out a destination wedding, time is the most important factor. After we solidified the vendors, the venue and the location, we had to get our official guest list and give people time to plan their travel.
My fiancé and I sent out our Save the Dates a year in advance to give our guests enough time to make arrangements. I recommend getting an idea on who can attend the wedding before getting quotes for the official wedding invitations. Some couples like to have memorable and extravagant invitations, while others are fine with having a simple invitation that gets all the information they need. The choice is yours, but keep in mind that invitations can cost anywhere from $600 to $2000 depending on the style and design.
When it comes to planning the trip for a large group, there are so many services available that you can use. One of the easiest solutions is hiring a travel agent. A travel agent can help organize hotel and flight information for all of your guests and put them on an installment plan. This can help those who have financial hurdles, but still want to attend.
The Destination Wedding
Throughout this process, I learned a lot about myself and my role in my relationship during the destination wedding planning process. Your partner has to know and feel your involvement in this process. Planning a wedding will be a learning experience for yourself, but it also will give you and your partner the opportunity to learn more about each other. I always believed the key to great relationships is having joint plans and goals to reach toward.
The wedding planning process is not only important to the bride. Grooms play an important part in the wedding planning process. It is important to be as involved in the wedding planning process because that is the beginning of the rest of your life with your partner.