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Destination Wedding Planning

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Planning a wedding away from home.
1 review about Destination Wedding Planning

Tips on planning a destination wedding

  • Jul 29, 2011
Advice for planning a wedding outside the US:

1. Hire a wedding planner
This is a keystone decision when planning an OOC (out of country) wedding. Unless you speak the native language and want to haggle with vendors, hire someone to do it for you. Just remember to tell your planner that you want them to get the best price. Also, get verbal references for your planner. Our planner was the St Regis' (nearby hotel) wedding planner and we STILL wished we would have talked to American's who had used her.

2. Get a clear vision
Don't rely on your OOC planner to create a wedding vision for you. Decide and articulate a crystal clear vision of your wedding to your planner (color swatches, music examples, decorations, flower arrangements, etc) but then understand there will be a cultural translation to your vision and it won't turn out exactly they way you want. It will be close, but allow room for error.

3. Payment
Don't pay for your planner upfront. Pay 50% before and 50% after the event. Same goes for the photographer. We didn't pay the second half to the photographer for almost 6 months because we hadn't received the final pictures.

4. Photographer
Bring your own photographer. That means: find one in the US, fly them to your destination, pay for their hotel and receive amazing pictures. This is our biggest regret and we will forever pay for this decision because our wedding photos are terrible. Photos are so important...don't 'nickel and dime' this aspect of your wedding.

5. Haggle with the Hotel
If you are planning on having guests fly to your wedding and stay at a hotel, call the hotel ahead of time and haggle with them on a block of rooms. It will be tough to get them to come down in price (especially if it's a luxury hotel) but they will eventually work with you on price. Oh, and get them to throw in complimentary breakfast for everyone.

6. Plan every event of the weekend
Make sure you plan out every event in detail and create an itinerary for the week (or weekend). Also, think about shuttling people to and from each event. Structured itineraries (with down time for relaxation) show people what events they are expected at and what events are optional.

7. Hotel vs Estate Wedding
We decided on an estate wedding because: a) It seemed more intimate than a hotel wedding b)our immediate family could stay at the house with us c)It allowed us to use the house as a private, central meeting destination.

We also decided that a hotel wedding wasn't our cup of tea because it felt contrived (based on the hotels we were looking at). We wanted a really intimate experience with just family and friends, and since we were having a small wedding...the estate route looked more appealing.

*How to find an estate: I found our estate on a blog. I literally googled "Punta Mita wedding" and started scrolling through all the links. I eventually came across a photography blog of this amazing wedding and they happened to give credit to the location and link back to a real estate rental company. I contacted the company, described what I was looking for, and set up a time to walk through several homes in the area. We flew to Punta Mita for 24 hours, toured 8 homes and found the one we wanted to get married at. Google is your friend in finding the perfect location.

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July 29, 2011
These are great tips for any kind of destination wedding, even if it's four hours from where you live. We had ours in Santa Barbara and these could be used for that planning as well, except for the translation part ;p Thanks for posting these, I'm sharing it with my wedding peeps!
July 29, 2011
Thanks for all of these great tips, Susan! Sorry to hear that your photos didn't turn out the way that you wanted though. I know wedding planning is stressful, but I love how you broke in down into seven tips and I'll have to forward this to any friends who are planning a destination wedding :)
July 29, 2011
Purchase the natural wedding by Louise Moon. This is a wonderful work on how to have a wedding in a natural setting and save tons of money. My copy is for sale if you have a Paypal account. If you are not entirely happy with the photog, contact participants and get copies of their pictures. At least, you'll have some record of the event.
July 29, 2011
Those are great tips, I provide more advice around destination weddings should you need more... http://www.blanchardphotographic.com/Blancha...ographic/Blog/Blog.html ...And congratulations on your engagement!
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