Hi, I'm Michaela, the heart behind Lovely & Planned. This blog is all about elopements and destination weddings, but you'll also find general tips and advice on wedding planning. I'm so happy to have you here! Grab a cup of coffee and stay a while!
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7 Tips on How to Find the Right Vendors for Your Destination Wedding
Having a destination wedding is a dream come true for many couples. But with planning a destination wedding, there come specific challenges. One of those is choosing and finding the right wedding vendors at a destination you may not have been to before.
But with the following tips, it is easier than you may think. So, let’s dive right in.
First things first, before you even start looking for destination wedding vendors, you need to know your destination, your wedding date, and your budget.
Also, have a list of wedding vendors you need to book at your destination. Besides hiring a destination wedding planner (which I highly recommend), I consider the following vendors a must-have for elopements or small, intimate weddings:
Hair and makeup artist
Baker for your wedding cake
Optional, depending on your vision and requirements:
Expert Tip: If you don’t hire a wedding planner, start with your wedding venue and photographer. Often they can recommend amazing vendors they have worked with before and have had a great experience with.
Here is also a list of non-negotiable must-haves for all vendors:
Must be available on your wedding date and within your price range
Working website or at least active social media accounts
A valid phone number
Willingness to hop on a virtual call or a phone call
Must provide you with a legal contract that protects you and the vendor
Do a Google search using destination-specific keywords. For example: destination wedding photographer Amsterdam; wedding photographer Dubai; wedding celebrant Hawaii; elopement planner Tuscany
Search on Instagram using specific #s. For example: #destinationweddingeurope #elopementamsterdam #belgiumweddingphotographer #dubaimakeupartist #weddingplanneritaly
Expert Tip: with international destination weddings, I don’t necessarily recommend looking for vendors using major wedding blogs such as Wedding Wire, The Knot, or Style Me Pretty. The reason is that most wedding vendors are listed on local blogs for their market. Here are some examples: Dusty Blue for the Netherlands, Bride Club ME for Dubai, or B.Loved for the UK.
Once you have a list of potential wedding vendors, look at their websites and their Instagram accounts. Do they also have a Facebook page or a Pinterest account? What’s your first impression? Do you like what you see? Does their visual and written content resonate with you? Do they have reviews, for example, on Google or Facebook, or testimonials on their website?
Next, narrow down your list to 3 to maximum 4 vendors per category and reach out to them via Email, DM, or their contact inquiry form. How do they respond to your inquiry? Do they answer all your questions? How long does it take them to get back to you? That said, even though a vendor should get back to you in a timely manner, consider weekends and time differences!
Expert Tip: Even though vendors should provide you with information about their services and prices either on their website or in their package brochure that they send you via email, don’t expect them to give you the exact price at this point. For most vendors, it’s not possible to have one price that fits all. Each wedding couple is unique, having different expectations and requirements.
Finalizing Your Choices
Set up a virtual meeting (e.g., via Zoom) or a phone call. That is the perfect way to get to know each other and see if your personalities match. Ask as many questions as possible during this time. Some general questions you should ask every vendor:
Are you available on my wedding day?
How does working with you look like?
What are the next steps?
Will we have more virtual meetings? How many virtual meetings will we have?
What happens if we can’t travel and need to postpone or cancel our wedding due to COVID, including lockdowns or travel restrictions? Do you have a force majeure clause?
After this first consultation, you should receive a quote. If you have any questions about the offered services and price, reach out to the vendor again. You can even ask for a follow-up call to clarify any final points.
Finally, if you are happy with the services and the price, listen to your gut. Through the entire getting-to-know process, how did the vendor make you feel? Excited and confident? Or somewhat unsure and just not right? Was the vendor responsive, or did you have to wait unreasonably long to get any answers? Was the vendor easy to communicate with? Don’t book a vendor just because of the price. Look at the overall package before making a decision.
Finding the right wedding vendors for your destination wedding is quite time-consuming. Therefore, I highly recommend hiring a destination wedding planner. They help you save a lot of work, time, energy, and money. They also know everything about your destination, from marriage requirements to insider travel tips. Another advantage is that you don’t need to worry about language barriers or cultural misunderstandings with wedding vendors who may not speak your native language.