Tips for Planning Destination Weddings

SPR Events has had the pleasure of helping several couples plan their destination weddings over our years in business.  Along the way we’ve learned a few things that will make your destination wedding planning experience much more pleasant.

1.  Hire a local wedding planner.

Whether you’re planning a wedding a few hours away, a few states away or in a completely different country, it is always best to have someone that is local to your wedding destination on your side.  This person will know the ins and outs of planning a wedding in that area, and they’ll have connections to top notch vendors and all of the resources you need to effectively plan a destination wedding.

*Pro tip – always do your own research and verify the recommendations your wedding planner makes, but also be comfortable trusting them enough to help you make decisions without in-person meetings for every vendor category.

Brooke and Justin had roots in Palatka, FL, one area SPR Events services here in Northeast Florida, which brought them all the way from Sydney Australia to tie the knot.  Because of the time differences and Brooke’s work schedule, much of the planning was done through email.  When the couple arrived a few days before the wedding, Staci and Brooke had only spoken on the phone twice and had never met in person.  Brooke later mentioned that she was extremely comfortable handing over many of the planning tasks completely to Staci, because of other vendor recommendations and reading many online reviews from past clients.  Because Brooke had some family local in the area, they became a go between when larger decisions needed to be made.

2.  Get Educated.

When choosing a venue or location for your destination wedding, do you homework before signing any contracts.  Pricing in all vendor categories varies, sometimes greatly, from one market to the next.  What a photographer charges in one state, may be much lower, or higher, in another.  This could work to your advantage if you live in California or New York and are planning a wedding here in Northeast Florida; your budget will go a lot further here than in your home state.  But, if you’re from Northeast Florida planning a wedding in California or New York, it could be a disadvantage if keeping to a budget is a requirement.

When Robert and Emily chose historic St. Augustine, Florida, as the location for their unique pirate themed destination wedding, this was something they definitely had in mind.  Residing in California, they initially checked out a venue in Cali that offered a similar guest experience to the Black Raven pirate ship they ultimately chose as their ceremony venue here in St. Augustine.  However, the price difference between the venues, $15k vs. $3k, sealed the deal and make traveling across country completely worth it for them.  They knew that they could go above and beyond what their budget would afford them in Cali by having their wedding here in Florida.  The best part, their guests absolutely loved it, and many took it as a vacation opportunity.  What better way to spend a long weekend than winding your way through the streets of the Nation’s oldest city?

3.  Know what requirements there are for your destination wedding

Every state and every country has different laws, rules and requirements for marrying there.  It could be something as simple as needing to arrive several days prior to the wedding to obtain your marriage license.  But it could be as complex as having blood tests or medical tests done prior to issuing you a marriage license.  Because I am not a lawyer, and this tip boarders on legal advice, I am going to point you to a great article I found on Findlaw.  This article will at least get the questions rolling through your brain, so you know what you should be asking when planning your destination wedding!

A different kind of destination wedding.

Destination weddings can be a lot of fun in that they do provide for a mini-vacation of sorts for you, your family and friends.  Destination weddings don’t always require traveling too far from home though.  Venues such as The Secret Cove provide couples in Northeast Florida the destination experience close to home.  With onsite accommodations, and gorgeous views of the St. Johns River, The Secret Cove is the perfect option for those who want a private venue setting, while being close enough to larger cities.  This provides for ease of travel and ample entertainment options for their guests.  Be sure to check out this amazing venue today!

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