Adventures in Destination Wedding Planning
Greetings from my hotel room in sunny SoCal! This weekend I am installing a beach wedding in the suburbs of San Diego.
More often than not, I am planning a destination wedding for a couple coming to Las Vegas from out of town. On this particular occasion, the rolls are reversed! I've left my home base of Las Vegas and traveled to Mission Beach where I will serve as the wedding planner to Amanda Cohen and Phillip Safarik.
So, how does this work? Why would a couple decide to bring in a vendor from another market? Especially a wedding planner! How does the planning process differ, and how does the work product change when the wedding team is coming in from multiple markets?
For many couples, expanding their search beyond their own market gives them the chance to book the planner that they have the best connection with, and the most confidence in. With technology today, most planning and communication takes place by phone, email, and text message. But nothing takes the place of the warm and snuggly face to face meeting to put all parties at ease! There is a cost associated with bringing your planner in for a few days of power planning, but my our of state, destination wedding couples have always found it more than worth it!
One of the coolest things that happen when you bring in a vendor from an outsided market is that you get a whole new, fresh set of eyes. Just as I see the city of Las Vegas through the eyes of my clients, destination couples get to re-envision their own city and venue through me, bringing a whole new perspective and style to a location that they may be very familiar with.
For the creative partners that come together and work on the wedding, everyon'es location is secondary to communication and responsiveness. We all get to know one another by phone, Skype, and email. By the time we come face to face, we are typically embracing like old friends, energized and inspired by the new set of experiences that we each bring to table, motivated to create an environment that's new and a feeling of camaraderie!
For me as a planner, the days are a little longer, the kids are missed desperately, and the schedule is expanded to make sure that no one on the home front or the work front feels neglected. But I have to tell you - The excitement of being in a new place, the professionals I get to meet and work with, and the experiences that I get to share with couples around the country outweigh everything. It's so rewarding, and so motivating.
To give you a behind the scenes look at what it takes to do this well, I've scaled back the timeline (currently 18 pages, but who's counting) to a quick to-do list that you might find interesting!
But for now I am off to enjoy my one lone dinner San Diego....
Send out final timeline. Contact each vendor and partner. Review with couple.
Review packing list. Pull all wedding inventory. Review timeline again. Touch base with couple. Cuddle kids. Try to breathe.
Up at 4:30 AM to get in extra time with kids and dog. Respond to all emails. Respond to all phone calls. Pack. Load inventory pieces into car. Review timeline again. Touch base with couple.
On the road by 10 AM. Chat with bride on earbuds until noon. Focus on driving.
In & Out by 1:15 PM.
2:00 PM Conference Call with Clients from Florida.
Check in at hotel by 4:00 PM.
Unpack everything from packing list. Confirm all wedding inventory made it. Review timeline again. Touch base with couple. Breathe.
Call Bride & Groom. Are they eatiing? Do they need anything? Text. Tweet. Respond to Emails. Respond to Phone Calls. Touch base with ALL other clients - I may be out of the office, but I am never unavailable.
Review timeline again.
Walk the ceremony location. Walk the reception location. Touch base with hotel staff. Touch base with couple.
Execute rehearsal. Walk space (again) with couple and hotel. Review timeline (again) with couple, hotel staff, and AEE task master team.
Execute Rehearsal Dinner. Review bill.
Back at the hotel. Review changes to timeline.
Respond to Emails. Respond to Phone Calls.
It's on! This is it!
We get there first.
We leave last.
If it happens between those two times, it belongs to us!
WOW - Not done yet!
Wake up early. Send Love Note to the new Mr. & Mrs.
Shower & Coffee to combat the Wedding Hangover.
Review alll wedding inventory. Pack all wedding items. Pack all personal items.
Symbolically burn timeline. Just kidding - Move it to the "History" folder.
Check out of hotel, head to post wedding brunch. Walk space, greet clients, goodbye hugs and love all around.
Go to sleep with a smile on my face.
Wake & Repeat....No matter where in the world we are!
Oh, this...Just the view from my suite! 80 degrees and sunny all day...I'll take it!