Wendy Dahl of "Dahl Wedding Company" provided an excellent article on "The Bride & Bloom" website about the importance of having a Destination Wedding Planning Trip or what some people call a "Scouting Trip". Not everyone planning a destination wedding has the luxury of arranging such a thing due to funds or time away from work, but if you are able to work at least one weekend visit to your destination wedding location, it is money & time well invested.
You can read the entire article here so I don't go into blog post overload, but i'll use my own words here to sum up and add some of my own comments as well...
Idea Phase-Consider crucial details such as guest list size, season, budget, formality, etc.
Get Organized-Get yourself some binders, plastic sleeves & dividers, create a wedding planning folder on your computer to store photos, emails, menus, contracts, etc.
Research, Research-The world and the web is a mouse click away to discover where you want to go. Visit websites on specific locations you like, visit the travel bureau of countries/states you are interested in to learn more & how your wedding might be affected by weather, culture, etc.
Get Ready for your Planning Trip-Make appointments & prepare questions in advance for the venues/vendors you will be meeting with. Get proper directions to ensure you arrive on time.
The Planning Trip-Schedule meetings in clusters of one location to save travel time. If you are interested in booking, get the paperwork while you are there to save yourself time and/or costly phone calls later or book on the spot if you are ready and sure about your decision.
Of course, the best piece of advice offered by Ms. Dahl and Your Las Vegas Wedding Concierge (me), is to hire a local professional wedding planner to assist you with much of the on-site research, planning and legwork. Someone who will guide you to the best and steer you from the worst & help you navigate all the local customs, laws and quircky little details of your destination that can save you from hassles and make every part of your destination wedding planning and wedding a memorable one for all the right reasons.
Some planners, such as myself, do offer consultation only services (in addition to full planning) that can be of great help for those who may simply need some direction with venue/vendor suggestions or a package of 5-10 hours to work with a couple to get crucial details under way before, during & after your planning trip.
And, just like you would research all the venues and vendors in your selected location, make sure to research your selections of wedding planners as well to ensure they are conducting their business in a proper legal, ethical and professional manner.
Have a Stylish Day!