We have decided to have a destination wedding in May 2014, but I’m not sure where to start. We have seen photos from beautiful beach weddings in Florida and I think that is where we have finally decided on. Where do I start?
We might be able to plan a trip to see venues, but it will easily cost $1,200 for us to go for a few days. Do destination brides typically go look in person at wedding venues? I’m not sure how the logistics work out–do we spend a day or 2 looking at all the possible venues and then spend the 3rd day chosing the options at the place we chose? Do I need a travel agent or a wedding planner? I really don’t even know where to begin. I need someone to explain all of this to me like I am 5 years old.
Sorry I’m no help but I feel the same way right now! I thought planning an intimate destination wedding would be easier than planning a full-blown wedding here at home. Having to judge everything from pictures and all of that is so overwhelming. I feel so lost >_<
Hi! We’re having a DW as well. We’re currently living in Singapore, my FH is from US and I’m from the Philippines. We wanted a beach wedding so we started to look online for posible venues. Bali was an option but we figured planning would be hard coz none of us is from Indonesia. So since Philippines has a lot of beaches, we decided to have it there.
Honestly, we booked our venue without personally seeing it. It’s at ShangriLa’s Boracay.. so the place, Boracay, is very popular to be beautiful and ShangriLa is of course a known hotel/resort name. We just asked for photos from our venue’s event coordinator: ceremony set-up, cocktails and reception set-up. We did so many online research about the place (Boracay is #1 world’s best island for 2012 travel+leisure) and about the resort/hotel (shangriLa is declared part of Conde Nast Gold List for worls’d resorts/hotels).
And i must admit, when we went there for the food tasting (which is actually optional) a month after we paid our deposit and booked the venue… we were so amazed at how beautiful the place was. Seeing it in person is a lot more beautiful than the photos we’ve seen.
So you see, booking your venue without personally seeing it could actually work. Just be sure to ask your resort coordinator for everything you want to know BEFORE actually booking it. Research, research, research.. it could be done I wish you the best! Happy wedding planning!
Start with lots of research and narrow down your perspective locations.
Some brides will arrange to go on ‘site visits’. This can be quite expensive and is by no way a vacation, rather think of it as venue shopping on the fly. You have a certain number of days to meet with potential sites, bakers, flourists….Aaaaand GO! It’s exhausting. My FI and I lucked out and are returning to a resort that is very special to us.
If you do not want or can not afford a site visit get cozy with your travel agent. You can also try to arrange for a local wedding co-ordinator who is available on Skype and who can be your ‘in place of’. They will know the area, potentially the property even and will be able to advise you of those little hiccup details.
Hope this helps
@bananapancakes96: We were lucky and ended up picking a place we had already been to for our destiantion wedding. I feel like for me I would have to see the place and experince it before I could bring all my guests there. But there are many people who book weddings without seeing the place first..it all depends on your personal preferences. If you are able to visit the place first I would do and when there aska as many questions as possible about having a wedding there.
We did not see our wedding venue before booking it, although we have visited Grand Cayman a few times so we do know the island a bit. I have only seen pictures of the venue, but I am not worried. I was actually more interested in tasting the cakes, etc, but that won’t happen either. I have faith everything will be lovely and good. We didn’t feel it was worth spending the extra cash to do a site visit.
@bananapancakes96: We had to do the same thing.
My advice would be to not just go off of photos, but really comb the web (and the BEE) for other bride’s feedback and reviews on the venue. A good photographer can make any space look amazing, but reviews are HUGE…
Another trick I used: I would go to Google and search…
wedding + blog + venue name
wedding + photograhy + venue name
That way you can see other people’s actual wedding photos from that venue.
I did not see the venue before we got married. I honestly did not want to! I sort of wanted the experience of seeing it for the first time right then. I relied on pictures, and I also asked for them to send me a few names/emails of other people who got married there to ask how their experience was before reserving the venue. It also was just a gut feeling in talking with the venue because they were very organized and always responded promptly to my questions. Good luck to you!
I agree with paw! Although it is stressful not seeing the location I love the idea of it being a surprise. Just make sure you do a lot of research and you should be fine. You can always ask people on the bee if they’ve been there, ask the resort/hotel/etc to send you more pictures. A wedding planner is always an option and they can ease your worries.
@bananapancakes96: We picked our Canadian venue without seeing it. But I did have tons of online photos and some personal reviews from a bride or two who eloped like us. I was not disappointed even after staring at photos for five months!
I did what phillybride did too – found tons of blogs/photographer website of weddings there.
Most hotels come with wedding coordinators, I have recently found out they are not the same as planners:).. Be sure to ask questions!! I would be happy to give you more information about the Grand Plaza hotel in Florida, I’m getting married there in June:) good Luck!!
I actually traveled to look at locations, but ended up picking a location that wasn’t completed when I visited. It was just too perfect to pass up though. With everything I’ve planned, even with my destination wedding, I’ve had that moment where I just knew. I really feel like when you see the location that you love, in person or in pictures, you’ll know! Good Luck!!
We are getting married in Florida this June (Santa Rosa Beach, 15 min east of Destin). We did not see our venue before picking it. We booked the venue in April. We did go down in October for 4 days with my parents to meet at the venue and with the florist but I dont believe it was 100% necessary. We kind of just wanted a few beach days. Lol. Once we saw it, we knew we made the right choice for our budget!
Oh I have to agree with @Birdi: wedding planners are not the same as wedding coordinators. I have a coordinator who is also the food and beverage manager on site (it’s a hotel), but I have done a fair amount of my own planning (i.e. picking flowers, design and decor). She basically gets the prices for them and arranges for vendors to provide them. A lot of folks have both a coordinator and planner. Depends on your needs. I am very hands on so having just a coordinator worked for me. Ask lots of questions!
I booked without seeing the venue, and found bestdestinationweddings.com helpful! They offer some services for a charge which I am not using. I just read lots of the real bride reviews.
For us, anything we spent visiting would have come out of the budget and FI just doesn’t have the vacation time to go anyway. It’s a little scary but I’m trying not to think about it. How bad could an all inclusvie four or five star resort possibly be?