Jeff Copeland, owner and marketing director for Simple Weddings by Simple Treasures Photography in St. Petersburg, Florida, recently shared with me the ins and outs of planning the destination wedding of your dreams – the easy way!
What should couples just starting the planning process take into consideration when trying to determine whether a destination wedding is right for them?
Obviously, budget is one of the top considerations for most people. On the one hand, a destination wedding can be less expensive, because they generally tend to have fewer guests, and you can often eliminate one of the top expenses associated with weddings – the venue rental.
Popular destination wedding venues, such as beaches and parks, are usually "almost" free. Sometimes, a permit is required, but this generally costs less than $100. And of course, even if you opt for a more traditional venue, you still save money by having a smaller guest list, which requires less space, food and drink. On the other hand, you do have to factor in the travel expenses – but see the next question!
What are some of the top benefits of having a destination wedding?
In my mind, one of the top benefits is being on vacation the days before and after your wedding. We all know that after a few days of vacation, the problems and stress of your day-to-day life at home just seem to fade away. What better way to ease into your wedding? I also like the idea of combining your wedding and your honeymoon. With destination weddings, they kind of overlap, which I think allows for a much lower stress level, and a much higher fun level!
What are some key challenges that might arise when trying to plan a destination wedding, and what are your tips to help a couple get past those issues?
Obviously, it can be hard to pick things like a venue, an officiant, and a photographer from hundreds of miles away. You have to find someone who can be your eyes and ears, and who you can trust. But again, that can be hard to do over the phone or via email. We have found that the best way around this is with the old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words."
We have designed our website and blog to cater to out-of-state couples planning a destination wedding, and both sites are chockfull of pictures. We have pictures of our most popular wedding beaches and venues, pictures and bios of our staff, pictures of actual weddings we've done, and tons of useful planning information online. We want our clients to feel like they can somewhat get to know us through our website and blog. And I have to say, it works. Often, our clients seem like old friends, even though we may be meeting them for the first time. We work hard to always maintain that personal touch!
Are you planning a destination wedding, or is it something you’ve considered? Why do you or don’t you think it would work for you?
(Photo Credits: Claire Copeland of Simple Treasures Photography)
Jeff Copeland is the owner and marketing director for Simple Weddings by Simple Treasures Photography in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the author of the Florida Beach Wedding Guide. His company offers Florida Beach Wedding Packages on Florida's Gulf Coast from Tampa Bay to Naples. Simple Weddings was recently named "Best of 2009" in two categories – photography and wedding planning – by OneWed.com based solely on feedback from happy customers! Be sure to check out his website and his Florida beach wedding blog, or drop him a line at jeff (at) simpleweddingsflorida.com.