Post # 1
FI and I just got engaged over labor day and are trying to plan a late summer wedding for 2011.
FI’s mom lives in Maine and the area is just beautiful. FI and I live in NYC. We want an outdoor wedding for a smaller group of guests (75-80) so we are looking for a smaller, more intimate venue on the water.
It seems as though a lot of the venues are already booked up for late summer 2011 and we can’t go too far into sept because the weather starts to get cold early.
There are 2 venues we like but we probably won’t get up to see them until October, at which time I’m worried they’d already be booked. FI’s mom can do some scouting for us and I trust her taste, I just worry about putting a deposit down sight unseen especially when you have to rent these places for a week at $10k +.
Did you see your venue before you put down your deposit? How did you deal with/are you dealing with planning a wedding from a different location?
Post # 3
@KatNYC2011: I got married at a castle in Ireland–sight unseen by me or my husband until the day before the wedding. It worked out fine. My husband found the venue online and we emailed back and forth with the manager several times before we committed to the location. The manager was able to send us extra pictures of other weddings on the grounds and answer all of our questions via email/phone. My Mom did a scouting trip for me about 5 months before the wedding but at that point we had already paid the deposit–she did it more for her own sanity than anything else. She didn’t even bring me home pictures!
I didn’t find the process of having a destination wedding anymore complicated than I find throwing parties in my hometown–it just came down to more phone calls and emails than face to face visits. I would say your #1 concern in planning a destination wedding is the staff at your venue. We would NOT have been able to pull off what we did with out the people we were working with–they were SOO helpful! If the staff is easy to work with and responsive to your requests I say go for it! Best of luck in your search!
Post # 4
@GlinBride: Thank you! That helps. Luckily we will have a lot of help in the area. FI’s mom lives there and is great at planning events and has fantastic taste.
FI’s godmother will be our caterer as well as helping with other items (i.e. tent set up, floor, etc) as well as be able to reccomend vendors to us for flowers, photography, music, etc.
I just guess I’m super worried about making the “wrong” choice and I feel like I am “rushing” find a place. But I don’t really want to wait until the weather warms up again in June 2012 if I don’t have to!
Post # 5
@KatNYC2011: Dont worry! You aren’t going to make a wrong choice–it is impossible to do! Whatever place your pick is going to be forever special to you and your fiance–you aren’t even going to remember the other options later! Send your FMIL out to check out the 2 venues you are thinking of and see if she loves one more than the other. I know EVERYONE says it–but your wedding day FLIES BY so dont kill yourself over the small details ie. the carpet color at one place vice the other–your guests probably wont notice and you will be too busy to care!
Post # 6
@GlinBride:Thanks. I know I’ll feel MUCH better once the date/venue are booked. I’m not worried about a lot of the details because I know FMIL and FI’s godmother will do a fantastic job and I can fully trust them.
I’m also stressing about cost, eventhough my parents are being exceptionally generous and paying for everything, I feel bad even spending the money they are offering.
Post # 7
- Wedding: December 2010 - Al Cielo / La Laguna
Not sure if this helps but we booked our venue sight unseen. I did find a LOT of pictures on photographers blogs for each of the venues and we also looked on sites like trip advisor so get the “real life” view. It helps a lot to paint a picture in our heads of the whole location.
We also asked our photographer which venue she preferred since she has been to them all. She was able to give us a lot of helpful feedback.
Another thing we did was find brides on forums who had their wedding there and ask about their experience.
Post # 8
I agree with Meerkat – TripAdvisor pictures are a life saver. Also check the negative reviews on the site. One of the venues I thought I *had* to have got thrown right out after reading how they’ve added fraudulent charges to a ton of people’s credit cards and Visa had a fraud alert on them!!
I ended up choosing through wedding photographers in the areas who had blogs w/ photos at the venue, asking the planner for additional photos of the spaces, and TripAdvisor. Still haven’t seen it in person!