Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Joys (and Pains) of Destination Wedding Planning

So with the location set, it was time to delve into the nitty-gritty details.  Planning a wedding is already no easy feat, so imagine throwing hundreds of miles and a different country into the mix (yikes!)

Clearly I’ve never planned a wedding before so with no prior knowledge (other than my kickass research and organizational skills) here are the first three things I did to get started;

Start with wedding books.  If you are like me, you really didn't know anything about weddings and wedding planning so start by getting your knowledge on. My favorite site in the world is Amazon and they have a plethora of wedding related books, from organizational binders to advice for destination and budget weddings.  Here are some of the books I ordered that I found invaluable and subsequently recommended to recently engaged friends;
The Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer by Alex A. Lluch / Image:

The Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer by Alex A. Lluch
Bridal Bargains: The Secret to Throwing a Fantastic Wedding on a
Realistic Budget by Denise Fields
Destination Wedding Planner: The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Wedding from Afar by Alison Hotchkiss
The Wedding Book: The Big book for Your Day by Mindy Weiss

Google. Google. Google.  Whether you are a destination or local bride, Google should be your best friend.  I used it to start preliminary research regarding potential wedding venues, photographers, wedding planners/coordinators and other primary wedding vendors.

Figure out the top priorities for your wedding.  For us, we are BIG food and music lovers, so Venue/Catering and a DJ were our top priorities.  Photography was another extremely important element for us.  So these were the 3 areas that we were willing to spend a bit more on for quality.  

Side note: the reason I lumped venue/catering together was because since it’s a destination wedding, we wanted a location that was all-inclusive with venue, food, alcohol, chairs, dinnerware, flatware, etc.  Luckily for us all the venues we looked at offered these all-inclusive wedding packages (more on the venue search in the next post).

After these few steps, everything else started to slowly fall into place.  And contrary to common belief, I actually don’t necessarily recommend starting the entire wedding planning process with a budget.  While it’s key to work within budgets, if you’ve never planned a wedding before how do you know how much you will actually end up spending?  I approached this with the mentality of first getting a general idea of average costs for wedding related things then making decisions from there.  

For example, I really wanted a videographer but any way I sliced and diced the budget, I just couldn’t justify adding another $4K-$5K to the budget.  Contemplating running out for some lotto tickets right now!

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  1. I agree. Destination weddings are tricky. Although we deal in live wedding bands, the over all advice here is very good. I'm sure the best vendors want you you have a great experience and the key is great communication & planning.

  2. Staying organized has definitely been the biggest challenge so far in the wedding planning process. It's so easy to let the small details fall through the cracks.