Destination or Local Events: Take your pick

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August 24, 2017

By definition, a celebration is considered a destination wedding if it’s located three hours or more from the couple’s home and most of their guests have to travel. When compared to their at-home counterparts, it can seem like they involve a lot of planning and are more trouble than they are worth. While they do involve some planning, they require no more work than a traditional local event—in some cases, it can be even easier to plan something away from home.

Yet not every client is a good fit for a destination event, just as not every client will love staying close to home. Let’s take a look at how to determine what’s the right solution for your client, as well as considerations to keep in mind throughout the planning process.

The ideal destination client

A lot of factors come into play when determining the setting for a client’s event, with the size and budget being two major priorities. Large guest lists are typically better for close-to-home celebrations, but I don’t hesitate to encourage a getaway event for anyone who is concerned about ‘obligation invites’ and wants to keep their guest list short. In many cases, a destination wedding simply makes sense—especially if the couple doesn’t live in their hometown and their family would have to travel to see them anyways. With everybody booking plane tickets anyways, there’s no reason not to send everyone to a unique place to celebrate.

Photo Don Mears

Your guide to planning

Chances are that you are most comfortable working within your own market—this makes sense, as you’ve spent years building your network and growing familiar with all of the venues and vendors in the area. It’s no problem to pop in on your caterer buddy and run through a few points for a shared client, as opposed to working through distance and time zones.

With that said, taking on a handful of destination events not only adds to your portfolio, but it always provides you with invaluable experience. Planning something from a distance is no longer the challenge it once was, and there are numerous resources to help connect you with professionals on the other side. Apps like WhatsApp, FaceTime, and Skype can help you stay in touch with people all over the world, from florists to DJs to caterers.

Still, it’s important to keep in mind the logistics that come with hosting a destination event and you’ll want to be sure that it’s an undertaking that your client is ready to have. They come with their own unique challenges (a forgotten tuxedo is much easier to solve from home!), but they also bring distinctive benefits—namely, the once-in-a-lifetime experience for the client and the opportunity to produce an unforgettable event by infusing the celebration with local elements.

If a client chooses to jet off, be sure they’re aware of everything that the planning process will entail. Prepare to show up on-site a couple of days before the main event and have them join you, as you’ll want to avoid the risk of travel delays and ensure there is enough time to get everything in order.

Destination events are filled with exoticness and unique opportunities, which are perfect for certain clients. However, there will always be those who prefer to stay close to home—if that’s the case, add an extra special local touch to bring the ‘destination’ feeling home and your clients will be happier than ever.


Kim Sayatovic is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Belladeux Event Design, a full-service wedding and event design firm based in New Orleans, Louisiana.ource 2018!

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