You're engaged! Congratulations... where's the wedding? This is often a question asked before the rings even make it to our fingers. Many brides, myself included, are opting for what we believe will simplify everything: a destination wedding.
So far in my planning process I would say it's about the same amount of work as having a local wedding. Of course having planned 100 events throughout my career, it's no surprise that I've become a bit of a control freak around my own big event, which is hard to achieve when you're thousands of miles away from your location. The question is, are destination weddings actually easier to plan? I've done some research, and it appears there really is no cut-and-dried answer; it depends on the location, your proximity to that location and your luck.
A friend of mine recently got married in Tuscany and although it was the most romantic and beautiful wedding I've ever been to, it did come with its planning challenges. The wedding took place in the summertime in the heart of the Tuscan countryside at a classic Italian villa-like resort. Vineyards surrounded the property, which included a gorgeous pool, tennis courts and restaurant.
Before flying from her home in Paris, the bride-to-be was packing to leave for her wedding when she received a phone call. Expecting it to be her mother who was arriving that day from Montreal, she was disappointed when the voice on the phone was the manager of the resort in Italy. Sounding cowardly, he began speaking to her in what she coined as Itanglish, delivering the news that he had double-booked all the rooms the night her and her family were to arrive and that they would need to find another hotel for the night. He also informed her that he had double-booked her rehearsal dinner with a wedding in the same space and needed her to find another location. With only a few days to spare and at the height of the tourism season, this was going to be a challenge. In the end however, all was sorted, people had rooms to stay in and the rehearsal dinner was relocated to a nearby resort (which turned out to be fabulous).
The next call came from the wedding photographer's partner -- their photographer was going through some personal issues and needed to cancel. Although they had back-up photography staff ready to go, this wasn't ideal as it was the work of the original photographer that the bride and groom admired.
Finally the bride and her family left for Tuscany, arriving a few days before the big day. When the wedding day arrived everything seemed to be running smoothly, regardless of the florist bringing a variety of white flowers, none of which the bride had requested. As she got ready with her hair and makeup duo Fabio and Franchesca, a recently divorced couple from Sienna, an argument between the two broke out. With passionately spoken Italian swear words and hands flailing, Franchesca left the room never to return. Such drama wasn't appreciated only moments before the wedding ceremony was to commence.
At last, the moment everyone had been waiting for arrived as the guests waited patiently on the breathtakingly beautiful grounds of the resort, the harpist playing an angelic tune beside the chuppah which was set up in front of a giant heart-shaped tree. And then she appeared, absolutely stunning; it was the most meaningful and romantic ceremony I've seen. The reception was dreamy and perfect for the occasion. The five course dinner will forever live at the top of my best-meals-ever list and the memories we would always share made my friend's wedding unforgettable.
I've come to the conclusion that whether your destination wedding is planned by checking boxes on a sheet of paper or by having to co-ordinate with a cigar-smoking Italian gentleman over Skype, if you want a destination wedding, then be prepared for the ups and downs. In the end, the blips you might experience will only truly be noticed by you, and the memories your guests will have of their time spent at your destination will live on for a very long time.
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