4 Tips for Finding Vendors for Your Destination Wedding
There are such great pros to having a destination wedding, whether it be having a more intimate experience with just you and your partner or a few family friends, these adventure weddings are all the rage! They are so popular in fact that we thought we’d help anyone who is interested in having a destination wedding start with one of the first steps in planning, finding vendors. While this list is more designed for brides looking to plan their wedding abroad both without a wedding planner AND at a place other than an all-inclusive resort that also does weddings, tips can be utilized for any bride planning a wedding anywhere in the world.
Important to Consider/Vendor Requirements
Before we get too far into the tips let’s first set some requirements about vendor must haves so you have a better sense of what you are looking for and who you can trust to deliver. When it comes to tracking down a vendor you want to make sure that they have a contract that protects you AND them, that they have a website or at a minimum have active and are active on social media. You want the vendors you start interviewing to be open for a facetime or zoom call walk through since it may not be probable to travel to the destination a year before your wedding date. Also check things like making sure they have a valid phone number and that they are available on your wedding day and at a price you can afford.
Before the hunt starts, have a serious conversation with your partner and anyone pitching in to cover the wedding, which vendors you are looking to find and how much you are willing to spend. We recommend finding a venue, photographer, officiant, hair, and make-up artist. You can rank these vendors in order of importance, so you have a clear understanding on which vendors you are willing to pay a little more money on and who you are willing to cut.
Other optional vendors include a florist, wedding cake designer, caterer, videographer, transportation services, etc. Depending on the size of the wedding you may be able to just source flowers from a local floral shop versus having to hire on someone to do all of your bouquets. You may be able to save money by not having a caterer and instead renting out a room at a very nice local restaurant instead to act as your reception. My point is there are totally options for you!
Now that we’ve talked about budget, vendor requirements, and the necessary vendors let’s get into the 5 tips you can utilize to find and nail down those vendors.
Tip #1: Google and Social Media
To get anything done you have to start at the biggest search engine in the world, Google. Just start googling and doing your research. When you find a place you think you might like explore their website and then cross reference that with social media accounts. We suggest doing this for two reasons, one because typically a vendor with a social media presence is savvy enough to work with you while you are across the world AND they typically have a portfolio. This also means they are used to finding new clients through that medium. There are of course ways to vet people through social media but that’s an article for another day. Utilize Google but don’t forget that social media is also it’s own search engine and you can use hashtags to narrow down your search! Such has searching #destinationweddingsantorini. The result should start to push you in the right direction
Tip #2: Gather The Vendor List and Narrow it Down
Once you’ve collected a decent list of let’s say 7 or 8 vendors for each category it’s time to start reaching out. Some vendors will cancel themselves out by not being available for your date/time or even within your budget, which is why we suggest getting 7 or 8 potential vendors. Once you’ve crossed out the duds start looking through reviews, and seeing what others have to say. You might’ve started a little bit of this in the previous step but if you haven’t, you can do that now. If you used reviews to pick the first round of 7 or 8 vendors, then use this time to revisit those reviews and comments to rate the remaining vendors based on client ratings and cost per service. Be sure to keep in mind that vendors may potentially send you a generic pricelist, which should be viewed as a ballpark price list and not a definitive amount. If you price list is dancing right on the line of being over budget, it is likely it will be.
Tip #3: Meet Virtually
While you are calling around and having more formal conversations with vendors be sure to keep it all hypothetical for now, while you continue to narrow down your potential choices. Ask questions like:
- What are the next steps should we choose to hire you?
- Have you worked with international clients in the past?
- How interactive are you? (i.e. will we continue to have more virtual meetings or does further communication come via email?
- What happens if our wedding is postponed due to COVID travel restrictions?
- What is included in your prices?
At the conclusion of this general consultation, you should have clear and specific price according to the needs of your wedding! For example, if you are looking to hire a caterer you want to know how much it costs to have the caters, servers, and an open bar and that price could vary from the price list they offered initially.
Tip 4#: Pick a Vendor!
Now that you have researched and interviewed the final 3 to4 four candidates, it’s time to pick your vendor! Try and weigh all of the pros and cons of each potential vendor but ultimately you have to listen to your gut. Once, you’ve settled reach back out to the chosen vendor and get the ball rolling. Then you just rinse and repeat for each vendor you plan on having for your big day.
When planning a destination wedding, it can get a little bit complex trying to go vendor hunting when you’re half-way around the world and there is a potential for language barriers and currency challenges, etc. If you are determined to plan your wedding on your own do not let that deter you, and those of you not as committed to doing this planning solo, the first vendor you may need to hire is a destination wedding planner!