As an international wedding planner, Elisabetta White thrives on making wedding dreams a reality in any breathtaking location across the globe. She specialises in designing intimate and effortlessly cool weddings and elopements, with a penchant for modern aesthetics and bringing together personal details to create a truly unique celebration. In this post, Elisabetta will share her thoughts and advice on how to find your dream destination wedding location.
Destination Wedding Planner
How to pick a meaningful location/ destination?
When you opt for a destination wedding, the location is pretty much the expression of your motivations. Couples that opt for a wedding away from home often do so because they want a more intimate wedding in a breathtaking place, with a backdrop they couldn’t get at home, and a cultural and culinary experience that will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of their guests. Other couples pick a destination based on some of their love story and memories – for example, if a couple got engaged in Italy, they might decide to get married there as a way to continue on that romantic journey. So when you’re trying to pick the perfect place, think of the motivations, the things that are close to your heart, and your personality.
Things you need to consider?
A destination wedding affects and is affected by many variables. To start with, the number and type of guests you’re planning to invite will have a bearing on the type of destination you may want to pick (i.e. couples, elderly, disabled, children, etc.). Travelling to some destinations can prove to be really pricey for some of your guests, so you might need to ask yourself whether it will be practical for all the people you want by your side to get there.
Also, if you were hoping to tie the knot soon, you need to consider whether your guests need a lot more notice so they can save the money to travel for your wedding (not that anyone can consider getting married soon, considering we’re living during a global pandemic!).
Also, consider when it’s the best time to get married at that destination. One of my key wedding destinations is the Red Sea (Egypt). The best time to get married in Egypt is late autumn and spring when temperatures are milder and winds are less strong. If your wedding party includes families with children, however, it might be difficult for them to attend as they can’t take children out of school. So would the Red Sea or any destination that is more suitable for a wedding out of peak season be the right destination not just for you, but for the people you really want to be present?
Your personality also plays a part. Certain regions are incredibly laid back and local venues and suppliers don’t tend to reply to your emails in a timely manner. If you are the type of person who is extremely organised and cannot tolerate people that aren’t punctual, planning a wedding in one of those countries might prove to be extremely frustrating unless you hire a wedding planner. We tend to know our markets’ work culture really well, which in turn means we can better manage your expectations.
What to look out for when you visit the location?
Would the location work if it is raining? Are there easy sleeping arrangements for the guests?
When picking the right venue for your destination wedding, first and foremost you would want to visit in person if at all possible. Pictures almost never give a place justice, but equally, pictures can be quite deceiving too. Walking through your wedding venue will help you immensely in figuring out whether it is the right place for you or not. I always say, picking a venue is almost like picking your wedding dress – you know when you’ve found the one! Most of my couples either have goosebumps or tears in their eyes.
If you cannot visit in person, then I strongly recommend that you ask the event manager who is handling your enquiry to give you a live video walkthrough, so you can see the space with your own eyes.
There is a huge amount of things you need to consider when evaluating venues. To start with, location. Some couples prefer venues that are reasonably close to an international airport. Knowing which airport the majority of your guests will come in from will potentially skew your decision to pick a venue over another. Other couples might prefer venues that are in close proximity to a large city so that guests can have plenty of things to do during the days before and after the wedding.
Accommodation on or off-site is also a deal-breaker for some. If you want your guests to stay with you, do you want the venue with exclusive use? If you do, a buyout needs to be within reach of your budget. Some hotels have a huge number of rooms, despite calling themselves “boutique hotels” – 100+. If you only have a small number of guests, or if your budget doesn’t allow, perhaps a large hotel is not the way forward.
Will your guests pay for their rooms and if yes, how can the venue team arrange for that to be done? Some venues still require you to guarantee the rooms. Are you able to do so?
Aside from this, there are also other considerations you might want to bear in mind, such as whether the catering is handled in house or not – if yes, what’s the venue’s reputation for their food? How experienced are they with catering for events? Find out what equipment/furniture they provide and whether it’s to your taste, otherwise, you could find yourself having to spend quite a lot of money on rentals, something you might have not foreseen.
Check if the venue has a plan B in case of rain. If they tell you you need a marquee or an Arab tent, check with them whether they have a preferred supplier and enquire with them about prices before you commit. Marquees can be quite pricey, so you need to ensure you’ve allocated enough money to cover the cost.
And lastly, are there any music limitations, particularly in terms of cut off times? I find that one of the priorities of a lot of my destination couples is being able to party until the early hours; but sadly some destination venues don’t offer that option due to local regulations, or require that the party is moved indoors, thus forcing the couple to either give up to the dream of partying under the stars, or to double up on the cost of music equipment so as to have second music set up indoors. This can have quite an impact on the budget, so it’s important you are aware of it.
To find out more about Elisabetta’s destination wedding services please visit: elisabettawhite.com
You can read more about my destination wedding photography services here.
Image of Elisabetta is by The Brand Studio Co.