Photo by Mountain Made Photography
Destination weddings in the Southwest are some of the most incredible in the world. And, as if the scenery isn't beautiful enough, we also have some of the best vendors in the business...
Planning a destination wedding can be challenging. When you plan to hold your big day right in your hometown, you can visit vendors in person, load things up in several vehicles, and head to the venue (of course, it can be a little tougher than that). Destination weddings, on the other hand, are a much bigger affair, especially as it relates to finding vendors like planners, photographers, and venues.
In this post, we'll cover the top vendors you'll want to lock down, as well as provide a free checklist for brides and grooms to help you organize your full dream team.
Top 4 Tips for Finding Your Destination Vendors
Photo by Nicole Aston Photo
#1. Finding a Venue
Finding the right wedding venue is one of the most important decisions you can make for your wedding day! This will be the gathering place where most of the magic will happen, so before booking, consider the following:
Guest List: How many people will be attending your big day? Do they need lodging? Is there a place for the ceremony? Is it how you envisioned the big event? Do they provide catering or do you need to manage that yourself? What about...
•Rentals (tables | chairs)
"When finding a venue that can host your preferred size and style of party, it's also important to know the drive times between your locations and your venue! Many couples are surprised by how spread out the Southwest can be, with often an hour + of drive time needed between locations.
Don't cripple your day's timeline by choosing a venue too far out of the way of your adventurous plans."
-Nicole • Nicole Aston Photography
Photo by J. Willis Photography
#2. Finding a Planner
We've said it before and we'll say it again: never try to do it all yourself-- especially on a destination wedding! You'll want someone experienced to help you put this dream event together, and you'll never regret having someone who can...
•Lead you through booking a venue
•Find a great photographer
•Put together all of your rentals
•Organize setup & takedown
•Plan and execute the timeline
Want more info on finding the perfect planner? See our previous guide for all the tips you'll need!
"When finding a planner, find someone who cares about YOU as a couple. There are a lot of really great wedding planners and designers out there, but finding someone who really values your personalities and relationship is worth their weight in gold.
You know that they will support alllll the quirky ideas that you want to incorporate into your wedding day because they know that it's all about YOU. If you want a dinosaur cake topper? Let's do it. Star Wars Themed Wedding? Let's do it. Pink wedding dress? HELL YES!"
-Jacqueline • SunRae Planning
Photo by *Forevermore Films
#3. Finding a Photographer
A photographer, like a planner, will spend a significant amount of time with you through this whole process, so it's key to ensure you gel together. Spend some time chatting with your prospective choices-- we're talking Facetime so you really know when the chemistry is right. That way you know that, even if you aren't doing formals or engagements before the big day, you'll feel comfortable with your photog when it counts.
As an additional note, you want their style to match your vision, so it doesn't hurt to ask for a full gallery before you commit.
"It really comes down to your
style and preferences. Every
photographer sees the world
a little differently. They all
edit and take photos their
own way. So pick the
photographer whose photos
make you stop what you're
doing and say "WOW I want
that for my wedding photos".
If you find this look and style
then you have passed the
first step in finding your
-Brad • Forevermore Films
Photo by Unleashed Elopements
#4. Finding a Dress/Suit
Whether you're planning to wear a white wedding dress or a stylish suit, this is a fun one to knock out early on in the process. No, it may not be as time-sensitive as the other three, but rest-assured the style of dress or suit you choose will often set the pace for how you'll want the rest of your wedding to look and feel. That said, we don't recommend putting this step off for very long.
"Be true to yourself and your personal style. You will be more confident on the wedding day feeling like YOU! Or at least a more glammed-up version of you! Trends will fade and change over time. You don't have to fit into a mold to be a beautiful bride or groom!"
-Tambra • Tambra Moultrie Weddings