Destination Weddings

December 15, 2009 lisasimpsonweddingcelebrations
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I am in a fortunate position indeed.  I am based in a wonderful location where I have lots of local couples or couples that live close by, but 50% of the weddings I do here in S.CA are actually destination, meaning they are coming here from other cities/states or countries, and they is meaning the couple and many of their guests.  They have many great reasons to choose S.CA for their special wedding celebration, we can pretty much count on their outdoor ceremony being outdoors no matter what time of year, it may be cooler at times but never as cool as where they may be coming from.  S.CA is a great draw for the friends and family to meet and not only enjoy the wedding event/family reunion, but also combine it with a family vacation and take advantage of being close to all that we are famous for, Hollywood,  Disneyland etc, and be close enough to go to San Diego and enjoy the attractions and city only an hour away.  For some couples this is where one or both of them come from, or they have parents or family here, and for some it is really about the Pacific Ocean and the climate.  Being based here and with the huge range of vendors and options available here, it is a great idea to get a co-ordinator from here to help narrow down those options and ensure your event goes as planned.  Most couples do have one or more trips into the area to either select vendors or after selecting vendors finalise everything and know going in that everything is going to be wonderful.  I have couples from all over the country, seem to always have a few from NY NY, Miami, and Chicago, and some from out of the country – all these weddings have gone off flawlessly whether they came into town prior to the big day or not, so if you are looking for someone who is based here to help you from Santa Barbara to San Diego to Palm Springs, feel rest assured that I can make the process smooth and calm for you and have done so for many couples.  Some I have not even met until the day of  the celebration, as they didn’t need or want to do a rehearsal of the ceremony.  How’s that for confidence!!

Ok, Destination Weddings out of S.CA – if you are an OC or LA bride and looking to go elsewhere for your celebration, then I can assist you there also.  I can see where if going to another location in the States including tropical destinations like Hawaii etc, you may feel that as couples coming here find me and that works for them, well why wouldn’t you do the same thing in the reverse.  You can, the difference would be, if  we were involved in the planning process from the beginning together, finding the location, invitation sourcing, vendors etc, then you feel like you have someone on your side that knows what they are doing fully, where otherwise you may not be 100% sure you are covering all bases.  I always suggest at least one trip together to the destination to scout locations and vendors, or if that is done without a trip, a trip to finalise arrangements with vendors/see samples and ensure all is to be as planned.  By having me there with you during that/those trips and the final trip then you are going to be able to feel that you can fully relax and enjoy your destination as I will be ensuring all the details are covered/happening/as planned.  I am there working while you are enjoying.

Destination Weddings to Mexico, Carribean, Europe, Downunder, South Pacific and anywhere else you may have in mind – well this is when having someone with you on your side through the process here and then there I think is very beneficial.  With these kind of weddings it’s not just the 6 hours of the wedding celebration you need to be concerned with, you become responsible for giving accommodation options, transfers, activities, meals, before and after parties, all things that with a wedding in the US do not seem to be as essential to have to plan for the guests.  This involves using a Destination Management Company, which is going to be totally different to the person at your location who is assisting with the ceremony and celebration that will follow.  Most of the time there could be a language barrier/challenge, even if they speak english.  Where you may hear a yes answer, someone like me knows what questions to ask a variety of ways to ensure the yes answer is indeed correct.  I definately believe one trip should be done, either in the preliminary planning stages to scout locations and vendors, or if those are chosen without a trip, then a trip pre wedding to ensure everything will be as expected.  This way you will never have suprises or disappointment when you arrive a day before and don’t have time to make things right if something becomes obvious it’s not what you expect, or you end up stressed and frustrated because you now do not have time to deal with fixing things as family are coming in and you also had planned to chill for a day or so prior, so your whole experience starts to become tainted.  The pre trips and having someone like me I believe are a great investment when working with a destination where the culture and language can be foreign to you.

A good example of this is, I was at a resort in Mexico a while back and there was a couple in the pool that we started chatting to.  They were having their wedding at this resort in two months time.  They were from San Francisco.  We asked how everything had gone and they looked at each other, with THAT look.  Un oh, what has been happening we asked.  This was their 2nd trip down, their person at the resort had changed 2 times, they were never really given all their options, and were very stressed.  This trip down was to ensure all was going to be well and they could hopefully now relax and look forward to the big day.  The bride said, I wish I had of booked a co-ordinator from home to help me with this process, it would have been less expensive and stressful/frustrating to have had that hand to guide me through the process.  Even though her contacts at the hotel spoke english, she never really felt the confidence in what they were saying.  I felt very sad that where she should have been looking forward to such a great trip for all to share, she was now more in the frame of mind to have it happen so it could be done with and look back knowing it ended up as it should be, but she had had to spend her planning months worrying.

Now on the other hand, you can choose locations such as The One & Only Pamilla, which I had a chance to visit and tour of.  What a beautiful location, and not only from the visual standpoint, from the way you feel from the moment you are greeted, to how the accommodations are, to how the staff treat you and each other.  There is such a serene, calm feel at this lovely resort, you can see why Oprah chose this spot to host John Travolta’s 50th birthday party.  Top notch everything.  They have a team to assist you from arrival on, but even at a location like this, how nice it would be for you to have your local consultant helping you with everything from invites through vendor options (maybe taking some from here is best for you) and then being the person on site down there to handle everything while you laze by the pool, and go to the pre and post parties you have planned.  That’s how it shyould be.

I will say from a few years ago when doing a Destination wedding in Mexico or the Caribbean meant having to bring everything in such as linens, specialty chairs etc, all that has changed.  There are great companies in all these locations now to handle every aspect and option you would expect to have here in the US, there as well, and to be honest, with some of the vendors I have met with and seen, they can be a bit more creative/unique than what some of our local vendors can be, maybe it is that vacation tropical/feeling air.  so that is fabulous news.

Is doing a Destination Wedding out of country going to save you money? Probably not (unless you were looking at 200 here and now are cutting it down to 50 there), what it does is mean the friends and family that are the most important to you will be there, it is a more intimate event where you can really all enjoy not only being together, but be together, you aren’t so streteches as you are even trying to get around 120 people in a 5 hour wedding reception.  You can give those guests who travelled pre and post events to attend, the best food & beverage experience, and make use of linens/chairs/dancefloors/lighting and unique elements that maybe you would not have done at home, all create a fabulous memory for you all to remember forever.

The great thing about a planner such as I, is I have the contacts in the various countries to give us the support system we need, to know that all will be well.  This comes from having travelled to so much of the world, spending this year really looking at other locations for those couples based here who are looking to go elsewhere, my constantly updated list of professionals world wide who have contacted me wanting me to know where they are based and how they can help me and my couples wanting to go to their desintation, and my membership in Assn of Bridal Consulatants which has members world wide, meaning I can always lean on someone in an area I may not be familiar with, to give us the guidance we need to get things started,a nd know who/what we are dealing with going in.

Destination weddings are a celebration that you should be looking forward to with great anticipation, not trepidation, so use a co-ordinator such as me, on this end, to help you be in that place.

Until next time

Lisa

http://www.lisasimpsonweddings.com

Entry Filed under: Destination weddings/outside USA

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