It’s that time of the week where we answer the wedding planning questions you’re struggling with and today we’re talking about destination wedding vendors: I’m having a destination wedding in Greece and I’m just starting to research wedding vendors. As I’m looking at these vendors, I’ve been wondering, should I be looking for wedding vendors in Greece or should I be bringing my vendors in? I’ve been reading conflicting recommendations on the matter and I wanted to get your opinion. What is the better route to go?
This is a great question and you are right, there are conflicting opinions out there. And the reason is because it depends on who you ask and what their self-interest is. Being a destination wedding planner, I deal with this all the time, so I can speak to it honestly. And the honest answer is that it just depends on you and your fiancé, what you two want, what is important to you and how much you want to spend. Let me explain this in more detail.
Every destination has a collection of vendors who are based there and who do weddings all the time at the various venues and who are familiar with the people, players, landscape and how things work. This is valuable knowledge to have not only because it removes any uncertainty in terms of the vendor being able to deliver their product or service, but because it puts many couples at ease. However, many vendors who do weddings in only one place, while being super knowledgable of the area, also only do weddings in a certain way. They aren’t exposed to what is popular or trending where you live and may not understand the style, feeling or look you are going for. They are used to doing what is “normal” in their area, which doesn’t tend to lend itself well to destination weddings. In this instance, bringing someone in who does understand what you want and can do what you are looking for without any translation or guesswork needed, can be the better way to go.
So, the question becomes what do you want and what is important to you? Think about your individual vendors and ask yourself, is there something you have in mind that you really want, that a local vendor will have a difficult time doing? If the answer is yes, then that is when you may want to consider bringing in destination wedding vendors. Let me give you some examples here. Say music is really important to you and you want to have a pianist play contemporary music for you at your reception. If you are getting married in a location where that just isn’t something people do (like say the Caribbean), you will have a hard time finding someone who can execute on what you have in mind and bringing a pianist from your area (or another area) that you like will ensure that it happens they way you want it. Now on the flip side, if you wanted reggae music and are having a wedding in the Caribbean, then that is something much easier (and better) to find locally. Another example is if you love a particular photography style and the area you are getting married in just doesn’t have photographers who do that. Perhaps the style there is more traditional or too posey, then flying in a photographer who can deliver on what you want is the better route to go. Or perhaps the wedding planners in the area have very set packages or set looks/styles and you want something special and unique and different, then bringing in your own destination wedding planner is better.
The last question you need to ask yourself is how much you want to spend. In almost all cases it will be more expensive to fly destination wedding vendors out to your destination then to find someone in the area (not always, but most times) because you’ll not only be paying for their services, but their travel and any items they need to bring with them. So, if your budget is really tight, it will be better for you to use vendors in the area. If you have some wiggle room or a healthy budget, then you can certainly consider bringing some destination wedding vendors in. I wouldn’t suggest you bring everyone in (unless you have an unlimited budget), but pick and choose depending on what you want and what is important to you. To help you with this, the destination wedding vendors that are easier to bring with you are your wedding planner, photographer, videographer, hair/makeup artist and officiate. The harder ones are your musicians, DJ, florist, cake baker/designer, caterer, and rentals. They aren’t impossible, but will be harder and more expensive to bring over just given what they’d need to bring with them or what they’d need onsite. But once again, it just depends on what is important to you and what you want. You have to make a decision that is right for you and your wedding.
(Photo credit: Chrisman Studios)
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