How to Book (and charge for)Destination Weddings
There are great benefits to being known as a destination wedding photographer, planner or makeup artist. You get to travel around the country — or world! — all expenses paid. But, let’s be honest, it’s never that easy and not always as fun as it sounds.

Focus on a Narrow Market

While it is a lovely thought to believe you’ll get an email from a couple who wants to fly you to England to shoot their castle wedding, it’s probably not going to happen (at least in the beginning). Josh Kane, a wedding photographer who works in the US and Australia, suggests focusing on a region of the world to which you are connected. This way, you’ll build a portfolio quickly while being able to stay with people you know, saving your clients the cost — and increasing your chances — of having to pay for your travel.

If a potential client finds out that you have previously worked at their venue,they are going to be more likely to hire you! Add captions to your website photos, disclosing the locations so it’s easy to find out where the weddings took place. And remember, you must — you must! — add written content to your photo blog to improve your SEO ranking on Google and be more easily discovered.

Be Well Acquainted With Destination Locations

As a destination wedding planner, you need to be well-versed in the language, culture and laws of the countries to which you’re willing to travel. Even more, you must be able to make the couple feel at ease about relinquishing control. If couples are going to shell out big bucks to cover your travel and hotel costs, you need to have answers for every question and a calming effect when responding.

Get to know reliable wedding vendors in the areas you’re willing to work. If you have dependable go-to sources for travel, flowers and music, your clients will feel at ease about your proficiency in the location. Offer insider tips or discounted services to your clients so they will be more willing to spend the extra money to hire you for their destination wedding.

Be Fair (to Yourself!) About Travel Costs

These days, many brides and grooms are paying for their own weddings and are thinking economically. They may try to fly you in and out on the same day or ask that you bunk with another wedding professional. But remember, just because you’re working with a thrifty couple, doesn’t mean you have to offer freebies.

If you have to take off a normal workday at your salon to travel to Napa Valley, you’re losing money. Most destination weddings last at least three days, which means you may be away from home and work for the better part of a week. You can offer a discount on services to lessen the financial blow, but don’t be afraid to charge for travel days — especially if you would otherwise be working at home!

Did you know that destination weddings make up almost one quarter of all weddings? This trend is only going to continue, so you’ll want to get in on the action. Couples are thinking beyond the beach, so be prepared to travel to wine country, a mountaintop or even Iceland!



Megan Miranda is a Portland, Oregon-based blogger, writer and business owner. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her baking bread and planning her own wedding.