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Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding | Guest Blogger, First Pick Planning

March 9, 2016

Since we’re busy at WPPI this week, we’re all about the GUEST BLOGGER! And today’s #WeddingWednesday advice comes straight from one of our absolute favorite wedding planning teams: First Pick Planning!! Today they’re going to chat about their favorite tips for planning a destination wedding!

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Hello RAD Readers! We ladies here at First Pick Planning not only love Randy & Ashley, we love destination weddings! We have planned destination weddings throughout the US both for wonderful clients and for ourselves. While the task may seem a bit daunting, we are here to provide a few of our favorite tips to make the process easier:

Owner, and lead planner, Jen Bergmark stresses to research your target wedding date carefully: “Keep in mind any possible holidays or local events in your destination that may cause flights or hotel prices to soar or even sell out.” Check out local online newspapers or tourism sites for those events that can cause whole cities to fill up fast, such as art festivals, concerts, or conferences (don’t try to plan a San Diego wedding when it’s time for ComicCon!).  After planning weddings all over the country and Mexico, Jen also reminds couples to think of the calendars of your desired vendors as well. “Some vendors may charge more for holiday weekends and are typically booked far in advance.” She suggests locking in your venue and photographer as soon as you can.

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Associate Coordinator Ashley Fraser has first-hand wisdom, as she is currently planning her own destination wedding in Costa Rica! She quickly realized she had to balance her destination with her guest-list, specifically those people who absolutely needed to be there.  She knows that not everyone can make it to the exotic locale, and she reminds herself, and her couples, to not be discouraged—they are there in spirit! Not to mention, there are other cool ways to make them feel included. “You can plan a separate celebration at home with those that can’t make it, which is also a great time to show your wedding video to make your guests feel like they were there with you.

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For those guests that do plan to travel to your destination, Associate Coordinator Sarah Bond advises couples to have several resources for guests to look at. While planning her own Florida wedding from her home in California, she learned the importance of providing her guests as much information as possible to help them budget and plan their own travel arrangements. Go above and beyond sending a save-the-date by building a wedding website where everyone can easily access information on accommodations and hotel blocks, addresses for all wedding events, itineraries for those events, and any local attractions. But don’t feel like you have to entertain your guests every second: “Feel free to invite guests to some of the pre-wedding festivities, but remember that guests will be able to locate pools, beaches, shopping, food, and fun on their own!

And finally, Associate Coordinator Emma Seitz likes to remind couples that a “destination wedding,” is not necessarily a wedding that is out of the country or out of your home state. “If my couple has to travel more than 1 or 2 hours or over 100 miles to get to their wedding venue, they are having a destination wedding. Alternatively, if over 50% of your guests have to get on a plane, that is also a destination wedding!”  Keeping this tidbit in mind is important to help sort your guest list and for considering vendors. “A lot of vendors have travel fees if they have to go more than 50-100 miles to a venue, and those fees can add up fast!

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But one thing all of the First Pick Planning team can agree on? Hiring a planner! We are here to help you find vendors, keep you on budget, and manage the logistics of having a wedding away from home.  But think about what type of planner will be most helpful to you: is it someone on the ground at your destination that can tap into local resources? Or do you need someone that lives minutes away from you and your fiancé who can meet you in person on a frequent basis? We travel with our couples all over the world, but also love helping couples plan their perfect day in California from afar. No matter what type you need, just having a planner is the #1 way to have a wonderful and stress free wedding day.

Happy Planning!

SIDE NOTE | Anybody who hires with both the First Pick Planning team and Randy + Ashley for their destination wedding outside of Southern California will receive special pricing on their wedding photography! Email us for more details!

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