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Planning A Destination Wedding

Updated: May 15, 2023

Regs and I have been officially planning our Destination wedding for over a year and half now. Luckily for us I have had quite some time working around weddings (over 8 seasons to be exact) so I have a pretty good idea of how it all goes down. Currently I only have the cake left to sort and that’s us done!

I mean how hard can it be right..

In all seriousness our planning so far has actually been a dream. I put this all down to getting organised early and having a clear vision of who we want in our team. Vendors are a massive part of your day so it’s really important to choose the right tribe for your vibe. Not only do they need to be professional and have experience in weddings but it also helps if they blend into your morning as if some of your best friends do.

The main ones to start our team of amazing humans was Susie Blatchford and Sarah Clements, both amazing photographers that I have worked alongside on weddings for quite a few years. Although for our wedding I have convinced Sarah shes on video for the day as we knew we just had to have them both LOl soz about that Sez!

For us we are literally taking our entire team bar a couple of vendors from Christchurch. It’s worth every cent to know its people we feel comfortable around, know we can trust to do an epic job and are just awesome at what they do.

Your vendors have done this all before remember, so try not to let anything stress you in terms of what they have covered and if you do feel a little uptight about certain people then they may not be the right type of people for you. The main focus for your wedding day is the fact you're marrying your best mate - don’t let anything take away from that.

Wedding’s are about prioritising what’s the most important to you both. With the average NZ wedding costing around $40,000 these days, we knew Byron Bay was not going to be cheap. Even though we are a super relaxed couple who don’t need all the bells and whistles we also aren’t into doing this super cheap either as we knew we would regret it not being how we actually pictured it to be.

Here’s where my advice comes in on how to potentially save some money.

Don’t go crazy on the bits and pieces focus on keeping things simple with a few main feature items for your decor/florals. Let’s be honest by the time anyone makes it through to your Reception, they have had a few drinks and likely will not even take note of the thousands of dollars you spend dressing your tables.

The things they will remember is how amazing the food was and how all night they were up on the D-floor dancing their night away to an epic band.

Skip the sit down meal and go for something like grazing platters or shared festival style dining, it doesn’t have to be cringey cheap but lets be honest its amazing how many new pals you make over your love of a bloody good snack. It’s a way to keep everyone being social and a way to avoid the $100 per person food price tag.

As much as you love the dress is it worth spending half your wedding budget on it? Don’t get me wrong I am a massive fashion lover but for me the dress truly isn’t something I wanted to spend ridiculous amounts on.

Shop around as even some of your local dress makers can make your dream design for you likely for half the price too!! Just avoid places like Ali Express and Wish as the quality is likely to not be great and I personally am way to scared that a doll size dress would arrive instead lol! Avoid the stress and be a smart shopper lol.

Get in early and be organised! - Most decent in demand vendors book out at least a year in advance, so don't beat around the bush! Booking vendors who have worked together before is also a great idea as things then run super smoothly and it creates a nice relaxed atmosphere for you to get ready in with jokes and convo naturally filling the room.

Save the dates - These don’t need to be fancy because they technically aren’t your proper invites. Vista Print is great or even better do a virtual save the date and create a facebook group. If your having a destination wedding too, I use our group as a way to post airline deals etc for our guests too when they pop up.

Trends - Do’s and Don’ts

As the years have gone on, couples are getting more and more less traditional. I would say over 40% of my clientele currently are opting for first looks. For us we are going with a traditional non religious ceremony (short and sweet is us) . We have also decided to have second day photos that way we get to hang out with our guests. We will then also get to enjoy the quite pricey acoustic singer we have booked - there’s no way I’m missing his beautiful voice lol!

Second day photos also means I get to wear my dress again and we can venture into some of the epic places that surround Byron Bay. I mean why not? My entire team will still be around and it means we get to capture a few snaps that truly tell the story of who we are as a couple. An Adventure loving, sunset chasing duo who don’t take life too seriously and are truly just bloody best mates.

Hats - A lot of brides are ditching the veils currently and opting for a hair vine or a simple do but bigger florals. My answer - you do you boo! Rough out our day we are yet to decide but if your considering it go for it!! Florals look so epic wrapped around a nice Will and Bear hat (see the pic of my Calloway dressed up looking fancy for a shoot we were apart of).

Veils - Alot of brides are ditching the veils currently and opting for a hair vine or a simple do but bigger florals. My answer - you do you boo!

So there you have it, a few tips I have so far, everyone’s wedding day is different and everyone has different things they prefer to prioritise. One piece of advice I do have though is don’t skimp on your Photographer. Your photos are the one thing you have left after your day, even if you're not normally a photo kind of person, you don’t want to be disappointed by them trust me I have seen a lot of clients who hate their photos after going with simply the cheapest option.

I know they can be expensive but that’s for a reason, as with all vendors all of those running legitimate businesses have taxes to pay, top quality gear to buy and service and also to have their time covered. Often everyone forgets about the time we spend prior to the day messaging back and forth too. Once you work all of that out, it’s actually really reasonable in the scheme of things.

Anyway that’s my two sense worth for now, as we get closer to the time I may have more to say but honestly at the end of the day your wedding is YOURS. Don’t let others opinions create stress for you, be like us and accept no money from family that way there’s no way anyone can pipe up with their two cents - it instantly eliminates any stress that may come from that family member wanting their great uncles cousin to attend also lol!

Genius right, try not to sweat the small stuff, and go with a venue that has a wet weather option for goodness sake - NZ weather is so unpredictable don’t put that kind of stress of it being a perfect sunny day on yourself it’s not worth it for all the money you spend on that one day lol.

If your ever stuck and need a hand I'm only a message away - we’re all in this together <3

Stacey x

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