(Editor's Note: Today, we welcome a fantastic guest post from a faraway contributor - Fabrice Orlando of Cocoon Events Group, based in Morocco! Read more about Fabrice at the end of the post)!
No matter where a wedding is, there are a number of things that are the same when it comes to the planning process – whether it’s a few miles from your house or halfway around the world. That being said, destination weddings also come with its own set of specific considerations to keep in mind.
First Things First
When you become a part of a destination wedding, one of the very first things you have to do is to familiarize yourself with the venue. It’s most prudent to do a site inspection, which can run about 48 hours. While there, be sure to take photos of the space, get to know the property from the inside out, meet all of the key staff members, and finalize the overall concept of the event. It can be helpful to bring your team members as well, so they can get an idea of what they’re working with. All of this is much easier when you’re on the ground there, but a video tour can suffice in difficult situations.
While a local wedding may mean getting up early to get to the venue on time, working a wedding getaway may mean taking off several days in advance to ensure that you (and your gear!) get there safe and sound and have an opportunity to get the lay of the land. How early you arrive is largely contingent on the size of the event itself and the amount of work that needs to be done at the destination. It can be anywhere between one day prior to two months prior, depending on how many elements need to be created from scratch. As you qualify the event, you’ll need to gauge the commitment level in order to price accordingly.
Your travel expenses should be included in your fees, but you’ll still have to handle the actual travel process. Plan in advance and let your other couples know that you’ll be away from the office. Ensure that your passport is valid and that you have suitable luggage to transport any supplies you have to bring.
Another major change when working a destination wedding is the need to bring in local suppliers to fill in the wedding team. While you may have your own staff, chances are you’ll need to find local vendors or freelancers to work with. Every event is unique, so diversifying your team members can allow you to be flexible to create a custom team of professionals. For this reason, it’s key to have a great qualification process to ensure that you’re bringing in the right vendors. Oftentimes, the venue can provide a list of preferred vendors that they have already qualified, but you’ll still want to assess them to confirm that they’re the right fit for your brand.
When planning a wedding from a distance, aim to create designs with elements available at the destination. This will make it much easier to handle on the other side than dealing with transportation costs for major pieces. When getting to know the local vendors, spend some time to really get to know them and how they work. For example, if they’re putting together a setup for you, observe the speed that they work and how detail-oriented they are. It’ll show how well they’ll work with your team on your event.
While it may be a business trip, there will still be some downtime for you to soak in the local surroundings. Your priority is, of course, to be there for the couple, but they’ll need some alone time as well! Take advantage of your time there and fit in a walk around the city or a few hours on the beach – you may even find some additional inspiration for the celebration!
Destination weddings are an opportunity to put on an unforgettable experience that couples and guests alike will remember for years to come. While it may take a little bit of extra planning, they’re certainly worth the effort!
Fabrice Orlando is the CEO of Cocoon Events Group, a luxury event planning company based in Marrakech, Morocco, that specializes in high-end weddings and special events worldwide.
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