99% of our clients are traveling from out of state to have their Vail, Colorado, Aspen, Breckenridge weddings, so we’re experts on destination wedding planning! If you’ve recently gotten engaged, congratulations! I’m sure you’ve been seeing all of the wedding planning checklists on Pinterest, The Knot, etc… but I haven’t seen any that really work for destination weddings. Our clients usually only come into town twice before the big day, so we need to do things a little differently.
The first step in the process is obviously to choose your venues, so you’ll need to plan a trip, and you’ll need to be efficient! Here’s what to do…
- Hire a local planner to schedule venue tours for your ceremony, reception, rehearsal dinner, and room blocks, and to take you around while you’re there. It’s ok if you don’t have the money in the budget for a full service planner, you can pay their consultation rate! A local planner will be able to choose venues for you based on your personality, style, and budget. They will account for travel time between venues, and they will know how much time is needed for each location because they’ve been on multiple site tours at each venue before! They will also know who to contact to schedule the tours. Hiring a planning just for site tours first is great because you can feel them out, and possibly hire them later. As a planner I deduct the cost of the site tours from the wedding planning contract if I’m hired for the wedding!
- Hire a Photographer to do your engagement photos while you’re in town for the site tour. You’ll need engagement photos for your wedding website, and save the dates….. Again, this is a great way to try out the photographer to see if you want to hire them for your wedding, and they will probably give you a deal on your wedding package if you do hire them because a lot of photography packages include engagement photos.
- You’ll want to look pretty for your engagement photos, so you’ll want to hire a hair and makeup artist to do a trial directly before your engagement photo shoot. Again, a great way to try them out to see if you want to hire them for your wedding. Also, a lot of their packages include a trial, so when you do hire them, you’ll probably get a deal.
- After your Site tours, make a decision on your venues! They go fast!
- Do the first draft of your wedding timeline. Book than planner if you liked them…. Once you have the venues locked in you’ll be able to figure out what time your ceremony and reception with be, and you can do your timeline. If you liked the planner that took you around on tours, you should hire them, and then ask them to walk you through creating the timeline. If you don’t want to hire that planner that’s cool too, maybe you can pay their consultation rate and ask them to help you with the timeline. You’ll need the timeline to book all your vendors.
- Start Booking Vendors. If you liked the photographer who did your engagement photos and the hair and makeup artist that did your hair and makeup, go ahead and hire them! Good wedding pros go fast! If not, it’s ok, you can do some more research and start booking the following month!