Destination weddings are serious business. It is not just planning a beautiful wedding in a beautiful location away from your home base – it requires a whole different strategy from timing to travel to execution.
Before you dive into the destination market, check out top tips from Lindsay Landman, recently named one of the top wedding planners in the world by Vogue.
Photo credit: Allan Zepeda
#1 – Become an explorer.
In order to be the best possible resource on a specific destination, you need to have perspective on many destinations. If you’ve only ever been to one Caribbean island, how can you insure your client which island would be best for her event?
Take the initiative to learn about a variety of locations – either by visiting if you are able or by conducting thorough research.
#2 – Build relationships with amazing travel professionals.
As you begin to work with clients on their destination weddings, they will inevitably turn to you with their questions and needs in regards to travel. While you should be well versed enough in basic travel procedures to help them identify the best destination airport or most favorable room block, you should also know your limits.
A great travel pro can pick up the slack when you are out of your realm, so spend the time to find someone you trust to be your travel planning partner in your destination projects.
#3 – Determine your value “on the road.”
Why would a client in your home market hire you to plan her destination wedding in a far off location where you’ve never been?
If you don’t know, now is the time to figure it out, as it will be crucial for you to maintain your value in that area first and foremost.
When I was hired to plan a wedding in India, my clients told me that they wanted to bring my New York approach to timing and flow to what is often a more haphazard wedding structure common in India. When I was knee-deep in details for a 500-person, 5-day wedding and the pressure was on, I remembered the reason they brought me across the world and directed my focus there to insure success.
This is also what I “sell” to new clients considering me for their destination weddings.
Photo credit: Allan Zepeda
#4 – Get your network on.
The only way to be truly successful as a destination planner is to build a nationwide and worldwide network of colleagues and vendors. You can’t possibly go and be everywhere, so you need to know the right people to help connect you in a destination when the time comes.
You will have extraordinary confidence talking to a client about a place you haven’t been if you have a trusted contact on the ground who knows that market well and can liaise with you leading up to an event.
Social media is a great tool to find and build a network, but you need to do it in person as well. Target conferences and classes that bring a wide range of pros together – and after you meet great people, don’t forget to follow up and stay in touch.
Destination wedding planning requires learning about intense logistics, budgeting, local culture, legalities, infrastructure challenges, time management and working with vendors long-distance. It can definitely be a challenge, but it can also open up a literal world of possibilities to anyone willing to learn.
What questions do you have about destination weddings?
Lindsay Landman of Lindsay Landman Events has been producing innovative weddings and special events across the globe since 2001. Lindsay is teaching a 5-week online course on Destination Wedding Planning at the Event Leadership Institute starting Dec. 6, 2016.