In Part I and Part II of our Destination Wedding series, we shared some of the advantages and disadvantages in choosing a destination wedding. One of the items made both lists; not having control over every detail. For some, this could be a great sense of relief or create high degrees of anxiety in others. Regardless, you will need to hire vendors from the local area and trust that they will provide the service you were expecting.
Where to Start?
1. First, start with their online presence. If they are catering to destination couples, they know this is your first impression of them. The impression should be a good one. If it's lack lustre at this initial first step, it's hard to imagine they are going to go the extra mile for your special celebration. And remember, you need to have confidence in your vendors.
2. When you contact a vendor via phone or email do you receive a reply within a reasonable time? Don't be surprised if the response isn't immediate (within a few days). This is a good indicator as to how all your future inquiries will be handled by that particular vendor.
3. Look at the online portfolios carefully. Make sure the images you are falling in love with are of the immediate location you are thinking of choosing and not stock tourism images from the entire area. Read as many reviews as possible from many different sources.
TripAdvisor is one of many that will help to determine the feel of resorts, and many, that are popular with brides, will have reviews that include their wedding experience. Very valuable information.
4. A planner is essential. If you are traveling out of your country, your local planner will speak the language and be able to communicate with all your vendors if you can't. She/He will know all the necessary permits and laws that will be necessary for being wed outside of your country. Many large resorts have a wedding department and a menu of services from which you can choose. Literally, boxes are ticked for the services you want. Bridal Bouquet (check). Photographer ( check ) 4-piece music ensemble (check). You may not be offered a variety of choices within each category. For example, we wanted live music. Our choices were mariachi or jazz and we did not get to choose from a variety of musicians. It was either them or the other guy. There were no style choices for a photographer or videographer. Only if we wanted one or not. If you are choosing a boutique location, a local planner is invaluable. He/She will organize all the details for you, including the marriage laws of that country. (stay tuned for a future post with advice from a professional planner in Mexico). The planner will also be able to make sure all the necessary permits are required if you choose to do #5.
5. Do you want to travel with your own talent? Some brides decide to hire vendors from their home town. They pay for their services and their travel costs. Why? Confidence in the product. Photographers, make-up artists, and hair stylists often get asked to come along. Many have relationships with the above people in their home towns and feel they can be trusted to deliver on their wedding day.