I am so excited to be sharing Beth + Jon's Destination Disney Wedding at the Swan & Dolphin Resort on the blog today along with some tips for couples considering an intimate wedding away from home! This couple has a special spot for Disney in their hearts and knew the second they got engaged that their celebration had to be at the happiest place on earth. Their day was full of laughter, yummy food selections & a few special guests...but i'll get to that later.
I have been wanting to do a post on destination weddings for a while since a group of our lovely brides each year spring for a fun wedding location. Planning a local wedding is hard enough ladies but add in the fact that you are hosting your event at a place you may not be familiar with and that can be a major stressor.But like every journey preparation is key, and we got you covered...don't worry! Here are my top 5 tips to help make your destination wedding planning process a little easier.
Keep it Intimate
It may be hard to not invite co-workers you barely know, or mom's college friends but the biggest way to save money while planning this type of event is to dwindle down that guest list. There I said it...and I know its hard to hear! People understand that destination weddings are expensive and they tend to be more open minded when they aren't invited to weddings such as these. I always suggest only inviting close family & friends to cut down on costs. Then you can put that money towards giving those guests you do invite the best experience possible.
I know a lot of you bridal babes out there want to plan your weddings yourselves. I appreciate your enthusiasm but when your dealing with a destination wedding it is best to hire a planner. You may not know the lay of the land, the best venues or vendors that are available to you in that area, and that is where we come in.
Not only do we help with putting together your top notch team of vendors, but planners think of everything from a logistical perspective. Wondering how to put together a room block with the best hotel in town? Or how to schedule transportation for your out of town guests to and from the wedding? What about creating a wedding weekend timeline for your bridal party and vendors? Yep we do it all!
Here is just a few examples of things we work closely with our destination brides on: venue selection, looking over vendor contracts, putting together a personalized mood board for the event, room block maintenance, menu selection, vendor referrals & communication, wedding weekend timeline construction.
Don't only think like a local when considering designs but also think like a local when planning out your guests experience. Think local food, local weather & local decor. During the early stages of planning while picking your date think about whether this date falls on a heightened visitation period and if so plan accordingly.
Local food is also something to consider when working with your planner on your menu selections. Get to know the local cuisine and food items that are popular with tourists in the area you are seeking. Beth incorporated a chicken and waffle station with mickey shaped waffles to incorporate Disney into her theme.
If you have room in your budget consider welcoming your guests with a short reception or welcome party to greet them when they arrive. Beth & Jon invited their guests to a dessert party the night before the wedding that included signature desserts from some of the local disney resorts complete with fireworks! You could also add some local flavor to your reception by hiring local entertainment, giving guests local favors or booking entertainment that will create a unique vibe is a perfect way of personalizing your day.
Go with the Flow
The secret to staying sane while planning your out of town event is to over-prepare and then go with the flow the week of. Unlike a at home wedding you have a deadline to get things done, and a certain time will hit when you can no longer control your day. Whether that is the moment you board the plane, or the second you arrive trust your planner to support you from that moment on. Allow them to make decisions on your behalf and let them take over the control of your wedding weekend at that point so you allow yourself to properly interact with guests and have a unforgettable time. In those final moments you want to feel good knowing you did everything you possibly could to make your adventure go smoothly.
Treat Your Guests Well
Your guests have saved up money, taken time off work and even flew in for your special day. So take the time and effort to make them feel special as well. Putting together welcome baskets that are ready when they check-in is a really nice gesture. Adding a handwritten note thanking them for their travel is even better. Include information about local attractions, some of your favorite restaurants in the area etc. This is really helpful since guests of destination weddings typically try and make a vacation out of the trip. You may want to even share parts of the timeline your planner has put together for you with your guests so they are up to speed on what is going on when.
Beth + Jon's day was full of Disney touches as well as a little magic and whimsy. I just adored their boardwalk theme complete with mylar balloons, vintage candystick place cards & their pastel palette. I truly have a special place in my heart for Disney Brides and Beth was no exception. I loved working with these two and the Detailed I Do's team wishes you both the best!
Photography - Emily Gilbert Photography
Planning / Styling / Design - Detailed I Do's
Venue - Swan & Dolphin Resort
Videography - Beyond Videography
Officiant - Reverend Tim Herring
Floral - Lee Forrest Designs
DJ - Event Concepts
Silhouette Artist - Paper Portraits
Hair & Makeup - The Destiny & Light Hair & Makeup Group