As most of our events are destination weddings, we often have some of the most logistically complex events around. We are dealing with different time zones, currencies, expectations, and sometimes even languages! As a Destination Wedding Planner in France, I have complied my top five tips for navigating this often complex but so rewarding experience.
Hire a planner. That may sound biased, but it is absolutely essential to your overall experience, especially if you are American. In general, Americans have a very specific and high standard of service. The standard often becomes the expectation. This high level of expectation is often not the same in other destinations. Having a planner there to relay specific expectations and to be there to go to bat for you is crucial to you enjoying your planning process. Plus, having a planner will help you find vetted and reliable vendors, save you money in the long run, and save your friends and family any hassle of feeling like they have to put on the event.
Remember to be flexible. As I mentioned above, there is a difference between the way American vendors and European vendors operate. Americans, generally, know how to and are expected to hustle. This same constant state of working and communication is not accepted or tolerated abroad. Your vendors will reply to you when they can and get their work to you as soon as they can. Remember, they work to live, rather than living to work. Take a play out of their book and relax a little – let them be the artists they are rather than the hustlers you expect.
Plan cushion time into your day. Traffic mishaps, missed trains, slow catering… these are all common situations with destination weddings in Europe. Rather than sticking to a strict time table, allow your day and night to flow naturally, allowing for cushion if there are delays.
Remember that customs are different in each country you go to. Review in detail with your planner your timeline and expectations and make sure they communicate that to your vendors. We recommending doing a thorough inventory of your needs and expectations with your planner.
Take advantage of the unique experience you are creating for your guests. There is nothing wrong with incorporating some classic American traditions into your day abroad, but consider including unique location inspired ideas! You can incorporate these into your decor, guest experience, and even the week or weekend long plans!
This gorgeous shoot was designed with a French aesthetic in mind in preparation for our 2019 workshop. During this workshop, we taught our attendees our tips on how to become a Destination Wedding Planner in France. We also focused on experience and location based design. For more information on upcoming workshops, please contact us via our contact form.