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Scottsdale, AZ Destination Wedding Planning, Planning a Remote Wedding

Scottsdale, AZ Wedding Guide

Destination Weddings
Travel Agencies & Bureaus; Wedding Travel; Airlines; Airline Ticket Agencies

A growing trend in the wedding industry is destination weddings.  A destination wedding is a unique and fun way to celebrate the union in a low key and exotic manner.  Avoid the stress and planning hours required for a traditional wedding by opting to have the wedding at a far away locale.  Typically destination weddings are more informal than a home-based wedding, as brides opt for a look and feel based on the location.  For a tropical wedding, the heat alone merits lightweight, brighter and lighter attire.  Some locations such as a French château grant themselves to a formal look.  There are no hard rules regarding destination weddings, so feel free to make this day truly your own.

Still begin planning as early as possible to secure a location and to maximize negotiating power.  A lot of budget can be saved by scheduling flights and making hotel reservations far in advance.  As planning is done from a distance, give yourself more time to review options and possibly visit in person to finalize details, it will go a long way in making the experience as stress-free as possible.

Why the Appeal?

There are definite advantages to considering a destination wedding.  Before beginning formal planning for consider why more brides are turning to destination weddings each year.

Less Stress-More Fun:  Planning a destination wedding cuts out a lot of the traditional stress that comes with a home based wedding.  The amount of planning is cut down and there are a number of options to receive help and support in the destination.  Many honeymoon resorts and vacation destinations offer all-in-one wedding packages.  They also provide wedding coordinators on staff to assist the bride in planning.  Less work allows you to enjoy the destination and spend time with friends and family.  Travel agencies and tourist boards also provide services for brides to help plan a wedding in any destination.

Eliminate Family Fuss: You know the saying about having too many cooks in the kitchen.  Well, that can apply to wedding planning, too. If a plethora of opinions are being thrown your way, escape the need to deal with them by planning a destination wedding.  Requiring guests to travel to a distant location considerably cuts down the guest list to those who matter most.  Focusing on less, being truly more can eliminate drama and help you enjoy the day.

Can be Cost Effective:  Depending on the location, having a destination wedding can be more cost effective than a traditional wedding.  With the average cost of a wedding at $20,000 to $50,000, combining a negotiated hotel and airfare package with a full wedding package can range from $5,000 to $6,000.  With that price difference, no wonder more brides are choosing to leave home to get married.

Ultimate Family Reunion:  Let’s be real about this.  A destination wedding is the ultimate extended vacation.  With most of the planning left to location coordinators, it frees up time for you to spend with close family and friends who made the trip.  The atmosphere is more party like and casual than the hectic pace a traditional wedding can provide.

What to Consider
Travel Agencies & Bureaus; Wedding Travel; Airlines; Airline Ticket Agencies

What to Consider
Who wouldn’t love turning their wedding into a two week vacation with their closest friends and family? While this may appear ideal in terms of concept, contemplate a few considerations before making any formal plans.

Guest List: Due to the cost of airfare, hotel and time off work required to attend the wedding, the final guest list will be considerably smaller. If a destination wedding eliminates too many must-have attendees from the wedding, this may not be ideal. It can be a hefty price to ask of some guests, especially those with big families. Grandparents who don’t do well on long trips, may have difficulty traveling a long distance.

Pay for Some to Attend: While it is not mandatory to pay for anyone’s accommodations to attend the wedding, consider paying for any bridesmaids or groomsmen you want at the wedding. Asking them to shoulder the cost may be too much. Or perhaps you can offer to pay for half of the expenses to help manage the cost and allow them to attend. The same could be true for key family members.

Do You Crave Control?: Are you a person that is comfortable turning a good majority of planning over to someone else, especially someone you have never met? You need someone at the location to work with vendors and ensure everything is scheduled for the big day. To make this happen, you need to give the reins to someone else. If this frightens you or is something you just can’t do, a destination wedding may not be right for you.

Send a Date Saver: As soon as you determine the location and chose a date, send out save the date notices. Provide enough time for guests who want to attend to secure the most affordable accommodations, as well as work to request the time off work.

Additional Luggage Required: As you will need to bring certain elements to and from the wedding, consider the amount of luggage you need to bring. Depending on the formality and style of the wedding gown, it may require a suitcase all to itself in order to arrive unscathed. If guests bring gifts, you need to bring them home. Bring a lightweight duffel bag to help get the gifts home. If you extend your vacation into the honeymoon and don’t want to travel with gifts, make preparations to have someone from your family bring them back and hold them until you get home.

Using a Destination Coordinator

If seriously contemplating a destination wedding, hire a destination wedding coordinator.  Even though some of your time is freed up due to simpler wedding planning, you may not have the resources or time to coordinate a wedding at a distance.  There are certain elements where you must be present in order to handle them. Unless you have unlimited resources and time, you will not be able to travel extensively back and forth throughout the process.  Rely on an on-site coordinator.

The good news is there are many professional coordinators to help with all your needs.  There are still a number of decisions you need to make and input to provide, but having a coordinator help negotiate with vendors and find the right vendor will be invaluable.  Provide the coordinator with pictures and ideas of what you like, being as precise as possible, and they will find the right vendor to re-create the look.

Is It Cheaper
Travel Agencies & Bureaus; Wedding Travel; Airlines; Airline Ticket Agencies

Like a traditional wedding, budget for a destination wedding is controlled by a number of factors.  The cost of the wedding package is typically lower, the guest list is simplified and the ceremony and reception are much smaller.  These factors keep costs significantly lower.

However, if you make several trips to the site before the wedding (you should try to do this at least once) and you pay for guests and attendants to attend, the cost of a destination wedding could outweigh a standard wedding.  Also, keep in mind that staying at the location for several days, even weeks, can add up, as you’ll be paying for a number of meals and activities. In order to have your paradise wedding and your dream vacation, too, consider the following ideas to conserve budget.

Cost Saving Ideas
Choose a Lower-Cost Location:  Consider Napa Valley over Tuscany, Italy or Miami over Tahiti.  The cost of accommodations will save you in the long run and allow the budget to stretch further.

Maximize Discounts:  Leverage the quantity of guests when reserving hotels and airfare.  Most companies are willing to provide a package rate when the number of guests is 10 or more.

Leverage Travel AgentsTravel agents have extensive experience planning trips for larger groups and can be a valuable asset in helping to plan the wedding.  They can often get great deals not extended to the general public.

Keep It Local:  Use the resources native to the location.  If planning a tropical wedding, use the flowers native to the land rather than requiring roses that need to be flown in special for the event.

Leverage local vendors to avoid longer rental costs. Instead of renting a tuxedo in your hometown and carrying it to the destination, rent it within the location. This keeps rental times to a minimum and avoids late charges.

Working with Vendors

Even though you won’t be able to schedule appointments with each vendor in person, don't hire them without some research.  Like a local vendor, ask to see their portfolio.  Many have online resources, as you are most likely not the first bride they have worked with remotely.  Request a minimum of three references, including phone numbers of brides you can contact, and ask them about their experience.

Take the time to talk with vendors personally and establish a personal report.  This will help ensure they deliver a quality product, even though you are a distance away. If they have a relationship with you they will work harder to make your day perfect.

Consult the destination coordinator for recommendations of vendors. Most likely, they have worked in the location for years and can provide a strong recommendation based on reliability and quality of a vendor. Ask them to create a short list that can be used to begin the investigation. From there, research their website and speak directly with each one to determine the vendor for you.

Post Wedding Celebration

Don’t forget those who could not personally come to the wedding and opt to include them in a post-wedding celebration.  Even if they could not attend the actual wedding, they will still want to extend best wishes and celebrate the union.  This does not have to be as elaborate as a formal reception, unless you have the budget and desire to do so.  It can be as formal or informal as you like.

Make sure to include pictures of the actual wedding so guests can see what it was like and talk to you about the experience. Decorate the location in the theme and style of the wedding. If a tropic wedding occurred, celebrate with a luau or decorate using tropical flowers. If the wedding took place in a Tuscan vineyard, hold the celebration at a wine bar or elegant restaurant and serve wine native to the location. The options are endless but with a bit of creativity, guests who could not attend can feel like they are part of the celebration.

Still Get It in Writing

Even though you are planning remotely, there will still be contracts you will be required to sign.  Make sure to review them closely and ensure they include the details of all the elements within the wedding package.

Consult the contract guidelines within this guide, by section, for each vendor you include. This will help ensure nothing is forgotten or overlooked.

In addition to the standard names, dates, and times and other details depending on the type of vendor, make sure you include a back up plan in case it rains, deposit and payment plans, cancellation policies, refund policies, details on the overall wedding package, special accommodation rates for guests, wedding insurance details, etc.

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