Destination Wedding: Where To Start


 

To destination or not to destination? That is the question. Everyone says that once you find the venue, planning a wedding becomes a lot more fun. We're almost there and I'm seeing the fun at the end of the tunnel. In discussing where to have our wedding, Andy and I had no strong feelings towards one place or area in particular. He's from Miami and I'm from LA - both our families still live in our perspective hometowns and we have friends all over the country. We went into the process very open. After some major hunting on The Venue Report and serious sticker shock at the cost of wedding venues in pretty much any big city in the US (or gorgeous wine country), we became more and more open to the idea of doing a destination wedding. For a 6 hr event in the States, we could have a 3 day extravaganza elsewhere and since many of our guests have to travel anyway it kind of seems like a no brainer. While we haven't finalized anything yet, we did take a weekend trip to Los Cabos a few weeks ago to look at some venues, so I thought I'd share our process on researching, investigating, and figuring out the ins + outs of a potential destination venue. Keep reading for tips! 

 
 Everyday Pursuits in Paris: Ashley + Andy

Everyday Pursuits in Paris: Ashley + Andy

 

Identify the Venue

As I mentioned in previous wedding Wednesday posts, I have spent way too many hours on The Venue Report looking at venues. From my research, I've found that it's one of the most comprehensive venue websites as well as extremely functional and user friendly. When you create an account you also get access to pricing for the venues which can save SO much time and waisted emails.

Contact the Venue

Contact information is provided in the Venue Report or you can find it on the venue's website. From what I've found, most venues in other countries have an event coordinator that speaks English as well as insanely detailed decks on what they offer and at what price. 

Use the interwebs! 

The power of the internet and social media is frightening until you start planning a wedding. That's when you realize everything you've ever needed is at your fingertips and you're going to a stage 5 stalker. Here's what I did:

  • Google Venue name and "wedding" to find any blog features, photographer websites, or images of weddings at the venue to paint a better picture of what the overall feeling and vibe of the venue is like 
  • Check the Venue's Geotag on Instagram to see REAL photos of weddings at that venue 
  • From that I landed on names of past bride + grooms OR current wedding websites for couples getting married at the venue in the next year or so.... JACKPOT.

Why jackpot? Because current and past couples have ALL the information. Did you know public wedding websites list ALL THE THINGS? You can see a couple's destination weekend itinerary (oh, so that's how they're doing it), what hotel block they got for their guests, if and how they are providing transportation. See where I'm going with this? With past couples, if you're really feeling all Carmen San Diego you could reach out to them and pick their brain about their wedding, vendors they used, what they wished they'd done differently.... again... ALL THE THINGS. Also, I'm sure you've realized this by now, but people have NO problem talking about their wedding and/or providing advice on wedding planning solicited or not. 

For us we also did research on weddings/venues close to the venue we liked because at the end of the day they're all destination weddings, so the hotel and transportation aspects are going to be very similar. 

Plan a Visit

Depending on the location, try to visit the venue before signing on the dotted line. No amount of pictures, videos, or anecdotes can give you the full experience especially as it relates to weather. We were astonished at how hot it was in Los Cabos - even though we knew we wouldn't be getting married in the same month, it still made us re-think the month we were considering. 

 
 Wedding planning: where to start planning a destination wedding

Wedding planning: where to start planning a destination wedding

 

You guys, I'm getting a little excited for all of this! Is there anything specific you want me to touch on as it relates to this whole process? Based off today's IG post I'll definitely be sharing some gorge white dress finds as well as ideas for what to wear during your engagement photos. We may not be taking engagement photos so it never crossed my mind to do a post about what to wear... but duh! So glad someone said something. 

 

More wedding right this way...