When planning your destination wedding, you may not realize that you can still support local Milwaukee vendors in the process. Things like your wedding gown, accessories, wedding rings and of course planning a reception back home may initially come to mind. However, hiring a Milwaukee wedding planner might be the best decision you make and can save you a lot of time and headaches.
For this article I sat down with with Sara Dahmen, owner of Golden Chic Events. Sara has helped several local brides plan their destination weddings, and has some great destination wedding tips that will help make your big day abroad run smoothly.
Why Hire Local VS. Onsite
The great thing about a local wedding planner is that you can meet with them in person. This can help to develop a rapport with them, understand their style and develop a level of trust. You’ll also be fully aware of their credentials and previous work before hiring them.
Many destination resorts will offer an onsite wedding coordinator. While this coordinator may know the lay of the land better, you are really trusting them to execute your wedding without having ever met you. Their motives may not always be in your best interest.
Help With Research, Vendors and Follow Up
There are many levels of assistance a wedding planner can provide for a destination wedding. These range from doing research to help you choose your destination to working with your chosen location to secure other local vendors such as cake, flowers and catering.
Your destination wedding vendors are hundreds, if not thousands of miles away and a local planner can perform those dreadful multiple follow up calls to make sure your wedding goes how you want it.
According to Sara from Golden Chic Events, one of her jobs is to keep vendors on task with the established timeline. This can be stressful to do on your own if you don’t have the time to dedicate to follow up calls.
While local wedding planners generally don’t travel down to your destination with you to manage day-of activities, it is always an option. If that appeals to you, be sure to ask your wedding planner if they do that. Keep in mind that additional costs of travel and service charges will likely apply.
Destination Wedding Tips
Sara had some really great tips and things to remember when planning your destination wedding.
- Tropical weddings are not always luxurious. If you’re worried about getting your wedding dress dirty, a beach wedding may not be for you.
- Flowers and wedding cake will generally reflect what is available locally at your destination. This isn’t always a bad thing. Showcasing the local flair of your destination wedding can be fun!
- Menu choices often reflect the local fare of your destination. Love the idea of offering a filet as an entrée for your guests? Keep in mind that the quality available at your location may not be what you are used to here in the states. Focus on offering foods local to your destination. The seafood selection at many tropical locations is amazing.
- Remember your guests. They are traveling far distances and paying travel and accommodation costs to be part of your day. Consider planning special events your guests can be part of during their stay. An elaborate gift basket can be a great way to show your guests how much you appreciate them making the trip. This is a great time to use your wedding planner to help with some of these details.
- Guests are your “gift.” As your guests are taking a lot of effort and spending money to come to your destination wedding, don’t expect elaborate gifts from them.
- Home Reception. Many couples will have a reception back home after the wedding that can include those friends and family that couldn’t make the trip.
- Music will be local and can be a wild card. If you are a more casual group, Sara mentioned some couples have had their destination ceremony and dinner, but then continued the party at a local establishment. A fun bar with music to continue the celebration can be a great way to keep your party going while experiencing the local flavor.
Destination weddings reflect the local culture where you are having it so choose a destination that reflects you and your fiance’s style and have fun! Big thanks to Dennis Felber Photography for providing the amazing images for this article and Sara Dahmen, owner of Golden Chic Events for the great wedding planning tips.