There are so many gorgeous destination wedding locations around the world. From Tulum to Thailand, a faraway locale will turn a destination wedding into an adventure for both you and your clients.
As a wedding and event planner, you may already offer planning for destination weddings or you may be considering adding destination wedding planning to your service offerings. There are some important factors to consider when you work with couples who are having a destination wedding.
You are planning a huge event for your client in a place you may have never been. Unlike a wedding at the hotel downtown or at your local country club, you can’t just hop in your car and tour the venue when you want to see something or measure a particular area for new decor details.
Planning long-distance events can be more stressful for the planner when you can’t be there to oversee the details. This makes every event more complicated because it’s new and uncertain. Of course, this is just what some planners need to stay excited and maintain their passion for planning!
To be able to understand the venue logistics and planning challenges, you will likely need to visit the venue. As the destination wedding planner, you may find that one trip to the destination before the wedding isn’t enough.
Many planners agree that three visits before the wedding are incredibly helpful. The first visit will be to explore the top venue choices and choose the location. The second visit will usually involve doing tastings, determining the layout and floor plan, and deciding on design and decor details. The final trip usually occurs about one month prior to the wedding where you will finalize everything with the venue and vendors. Sometimes this final trip can be done a few days before the wedding, depending on the complexity of the event and the desires of the clients.
With different time zones, language barriers, and thousands of miles between you and the venue and vendors, communication can be tricky. If a language barrier is an issue, consider having your clients hire a local guide or translator to help you communicate with the vendors and venue.
“Island Time” and “Mountain Time” are real things. If your client’s event is not in the next few weeks, the local vendors and venue may not have the response time you expect and may not see the urgency of your emails and calls. Because you have to work with these people for months and want them to like you and your clients during the wedding weekend, don’t push too hard during the planning process. You will need extra patience and not annoy those who are in charge of making your clients wedding a success. You and your clients want to have a good relationship with everyone involved when you arrive for the wedding.
As a destination wedding planner, you need to be able to give clients an idea of what it would cost to bring in the necessary resources and to help them find a venue that has the expertise to make their dream wedding happen. Depending on the destination, not everything is available the way it is in your area. You and your clients might have to make some compromises.
Since you’re not local to the area, finding quality vendors may be a challenge. You may consider hiring a local wedding planner for a few hours of consultation time. He or she can point you in the right direction for vendors and give advice on what to avoid.
You and your clients will likely use tech tools such as FaceTime and Skype to interview potential vendors.
When you visit the location, in-person vendor meetings may be different than what you are used to for a local wedding in your area. Caterers and cake designers may not have commercial kitchens and may not offer tastings to their destination wedding clients. If they do offer tastings, they may charge a fee unless it is already covered under the contract. Depending on the location, florists may not have shops to browse since most florals for events are ordered and shipped in.
It’s especially important for you, as the wedding planner, to realize that most remote locations don’t have stores that carry wedding supplies. There are no Michael’s stores in the Caribbean. If you think you or your clients might need something for the wedding, buy it at home and ship it or bring it with you.
Most importantly, you must know the cancellation policies and make sure they are spelled out clearly in the contract with the venue and vendors that are hired. We just witnessed the destruction that Hurricane Dorian had on the Bahamas. What if your clients had a destination wedding planned in the Bahamas right after Hurricane Dorian?
Having event cancellation insurance from Markel Event Insurance is a must-have for both your local and destination weddings.
Markel Event Insurance knows destination weddings and works hard to protect your clients and to put your mind at ease in the event of unexpected events such as venue bankruptcy, vendor no-shows, extreme weather events, an unexpected accident or illness of an immediate family member that prevents the wedding from occurring, and more. Wedding cancellation insurance will also protect couples against lost or damaged photography, lost gifts, lost weddings rings, and more.
Markel Event Insurance can provide cancellation insurance for destination weddings in the following countries:
Markel Event Insurance makes it easy for you and your clients to obtain easy online quotes. You can also request free marketing materials from Markel Event Insurance.
Make sure your next destination wedding is protected.
Thank you to Markel Event Insurance for sponsoring this post with these expert tips on planning destination weddings!