All photography is by Adagion Studio
Today the Teri Jon Wedding Guide Blog will be sitting down with our incredible founder and CEO Rickie Freeman and discuss the details of the planning process of her daughter’s destination wedding. While it was her third child to get married, it was the first time she planned a wedding in a different state which led to some unique logistical challenges. Now on the other side she is thrilled to be able to offer some tried and true advice to our customers.
Q. I’m considering having my wedding at a destination but I’m still unsure. What made you decide to have your wedding in a different state than the bride and groom’s home?
A. It meant a lot to the bride and groom to have a smaller, intimate wedding. They wanted to be surrounded by their close family and friends. How could I disagree with that?
Q. How far in advance must I send invitations for a destination wedding?
A. As soon as possible! An email or printed save the date should go out as soon as the location and venue are confirmed (ie. you gave a deposit). A destination wedding requires most of your guests to make arrangements for airfare, lodging, and even time off of work, so you need to give them as much time as you are able to. I also recommend creating a website with the details of the events and schedule so the guest know when to fly in and out. It does not cost much and a simple WordPress or Wix site can be built within a few hours for this purpose.
Q. Is it much more expensive to plan a destination wedding?
A. We are from NYC so the costs of making a wedding here are quite expensive. That being said, a destination wedding was less expensive but not by much.
Q. Did you use a professional party planner or event coordinator? Was it worth it?
A. YES!!! There are so many details to keep track of when planning a wedding and a destination wedding adds so many more elements. From welcoming guests when they land from their trip, to making sure their hotel reservations at the hotel with the group rate is easy, not to mention planning a party not in your home city, there is just so much that is required to make it go smoothly. If you can afford it, I highly recommend it.
Q. How did you choose vendors from so far away?
A. I spoke to many local Floridians for recommendations but ultimately relied on my amazing party planner. Once you have that trust in someone who is an expert in the industry you can let go to let them do what they are best at and plan your event. We took a recommendation from a Floridian friend about a restaurant to host the rehearsal dinner . My husband and I booked an appointment there a week before the rehearsal dinner to try it out, and, well, it was a disaster! Luckily I am an experienced cook. We quickly scrambled and sent the restaurant some of my personal tried and true recipes that he prepared at the rehearsal dinner, and thankfully it came out great. It could have been a complete disaster.
Q. Did you make a trip to the destination in advance? Do you think it’s necessary?
A. Being there is very important. We made three trips to the venue to check on everything. However, if time and budget constraints don’t allow it for you I think it’s okay if you are working with an experienced event coordinator that you trust.
Q. How do you match the bridal and other dresses to the wedding venue and theme?
A. This is an interesting question. The bride wanted everyone to wear creams, ivory and golds, however, she was a very special bride. It looked fantastic. Many other brides might not be comfortable with her guests in a color that is so close to white, and we’d encourage everyone to look to the bride first for her preferences (it’s her day!). However, ultimately nothing is more beautiful or flattering than confidence and it is in the bride’s best interest that everyone be comfortable with their dress of choice. If not everyone can get on board with her vision, I would say that it’s more important that you get along with your sister and your new inlaws for the rest of your life than for everyone to be wearing the exact same shade of the same color for the one night of your wedding.
Q. How do I travel with a dress?
A. This was one of our biggest concerns. How were we going to carry all the gowns to Florida? Fortunately, we found that flight attendants are so understanding. They were excited for our wedding celebration and were so accommodating and hung the dress in the coat closet. Just don’t forget to take it with you after the flight! I do not recommend checking in the dress. Luggage can easily get lost and you don’t want to be without your dresses on the big day.
Q. How do I dress for the weather and destination?
A. Their are a few factors to keep in mind. You will need to pack and carry your dress so something on the lighter side is ideal if possible. Also, most destination weddings have warmer climates so you want to pick fabrics that breath. Laces, chiffons, beading, or cotton based fabrics are all great. You want the dress to have some ventilation.
Q. What words of wisdom would you give to someone planning a destination wedding?
A. Travelling somewhere special is fun, planning a wedding for your child is also special- the compilation of the two is just amazing. Everyone at my daughter’s wedding made the effort to come because they truly care about the bride and groom. While it can be overwhelming- enjoy every minute. (And throw an after party- the guests are there already! There is no rush to make the party end.)
Q. How far in advance should I shop for a dress?
A. It is never too soon to find the perfect dress. When you try on the right one- you will know!