January is a busy month for wedding planning! New engagements and new resolutions, but most of all a seemingly endless to do lists to plan your dream destination wedding from abroad. It can be a daunting task so I enlisted the help of my dear friend, colleague and wedding guru Esther to share her advice on how to make the process easier… Thank you Esther for the wonderful insight!
Five tips to plan a wedding from abroad
After 4 years of running the blog and receiving hundreds of emails from brides asking for my advice regarding their destination wedding, I think I have a pretty clear picture of the do’s and don’t of organizing a wedding abroad and I am thrilled to share some of my insights here on Gabby’s blog! So here are my five tips to guarantee that your Spanish nuptials will become a blazing success and a day you’ll cherish forever.
1. Hire local vendors
Organizing a destination wedding without actually being there can be challenging, no doubt. That’s why hiring local vendors is so important. Someone like Gabby, who is familiar with the region and most wedding venues here. She is also well-connected and knows the ins and outs of the Spanish wedding industry (peculiarities included). Not only can she give you valuable advice and connect you with the right people beforehand. Her knowledge of the wedding scene here also ensures that there will be no unnecessary road bumps on the day itself, and that the collaboration with other vendors will run smoothly. (note from Gabby: to receive my super trusted vendor list you can sign up to my newsletter HERE)
I should make special mention of the value of hiring wedding planner, who can play an pivotal role in helping you organize everything from abroad. I know, lots of us think we can actually do it without a planner, but believe me, hiring one will save you a lot of time, headaches and money!
2. Make a site visit
If in any way possible, I recommend flying in once before the wedding. That gives you time to tour a few venues, connect with your main vendors in person and maybe even do an engagement shoot at the beach or somewhere beautiful. Those photos can be used on your website (see below), plus it’s the perfect way to warm up to being in front of the camera and to connect with your wedding photographer on a personal level. And being at ease with the person behind the lens will help you to look more relaxed, confident, radiant and beautiful in the photos of your big day!
3. Create a website
Destination weddings can be seen as a little bit of effort by your guests, so try and make life easy for them. The best way to answer their questions and make them feel prepared is a wedding website, where you can share some personal info about yourselves, but also solve your guest’s main problems: What are the best airports to fly into, and the best airlines to use? Where to stay (offer them a list with a variety of options)? What to expect regarding weather and dress code? Create and embed a custom google map with the venue(s), hotels and main points of interest. Most guests will arrive a day or two early, so share your knowledge about your destination with them and provide them a mini-guide with fun activities and the best restaurants… they’ll love it! (note from Gabby: this is a good place to start)
4. Let the surroundings do the talking
What do I mean by that? Well. If you’ve chosen a beautiful destination, like Barcelona or Costa Brava, to celebrate your big day, you probably love the country, the scenery, the weather. And the amazingly beautiful venues here. So don’t try and overshadow this with elaborate decorations. Your wedding will be special no matter what, simply because you have chosen a gorgeous location. So instead of copying generic ideas from Pinterest, I recommend designing the event around the venue or setting… and in most likelihood, there won’t be much “designing” to do!
5. Let go and enjoy!
Organizing weddings, whether abroad or at home, can be stressful. But only because we chose to stress over it and fall into the trap of perfectionism (I know, I am guilty of this as well). I have heard from more than one bride that the only regret they have about their destination wedding is not having enjoyed the planning process and the days right before the event enough. Mishaps are bound to happen, but sometimes it’s important to ride the waves and take things as they come. Once you’ve carefully selected your vendors and surrounded yourself with a good team, it’s time to let go and enjoy being a bride-to-be… because honestly, it is so much fun!
Lots of love and good luck with your preparations,
Photos of Esther shot on Pentax 645 & Fuji400h , dev & scan by my darling Gema at Carmencita Film Lab