By Kim Sayatovic, Belladeux Event Design
Planning exquisite destination weddings doesn’t have to involve a flight to an island paradise, passports or jet lag. Sometimes the destination is right in your backyard. Many couples crave the energy and guest experience of a destination wedding, but also want to celebrate what they love about their home or hometown. You can apply the same principles to planning a destination wedding at home that you would when planning a more remote event.
View the Town through a Newcomer’s Glasses
Take a day to roam the area as a tourist and see everything from a new perspective. If you’ve always heard about a certain museum or historic site, but never had the time to visit, go there now. Pick up brochures in the lobby of local hotels or nearby rest stops and welcome centers. Ask friends and colleagues where local kids go on field trips. Find out what marketers say and recommend when promoting the region to the outside world. You may find unique venues and inspiration for menus, music and décor are actually all around you.
Get to Know Your Clients
As you interview your couple, find out what it is that they love so much about the area. Have they chosen it merely out of convenience, or does their love story include a mutual affection for the local life? Do they have certain spots that were important in their timeline, like the tree where they were engaged, or the bridge where they first kissed? Were they listening to a favorite local music group when they first fell in love? Get as much detail about why the area is important to them as you can, then try to incorporate that level of detail into their guest experience.
Introduce the Region
Guests love welcome bags, and hosts love to start an event on the right foot. Collect samples of local treats, like single serve regional coffees or small bags of candy from the corner candy store. Pair them with comfort items and a personalized letter from the couple suggesting the best ways to enjoy the town and the can’t-miss sights. Also include useful information about transportation and important wedding details. Your guests will be grateful for the practical information and delighted with the local treats.
Feature Local Flavor
Does your couple have a favorite food truck or ice cream shop? Is the region world-renowned for its local wineries or breweries? Work with your catering team to use local products when creating menus, and feature regional wines or beers at the bar. Plan an end of night surprise visit from your clients’ favorite local doughnut or ice cream shop, or send everyone home with a take-out container of something deliciously regional and “insider-only.” Use special signage to share how the featured items were selected, or choose a personable live chef to interact with guests while small portions of the couple’s local favorites are prepared and served.
Record and Share
An often-ignored benefit of planning phenomenal destination events at home is recognition. Make sure that you market photos of your event as real wedding stories or features on blogs and websites you love. Celebrate your design and you’ll soon attract the attention of other couples that may very well make your town the home of their upcoming weddings!
Planning a destination event at home can certainly be a fun and rewarding experience, and your clients will love the opportunity to embrace all that is their hometown!