Don’t Forget THESE When Planning Your 30A Destination Wedding
Planning a wedding where you live can feel overwhelming. Planning your 30A destination wedding remotely? Even as a wedding DJ, that’s enough to make my head spin. Fortunately, as Jamie Cooper from Fancy Events pointed out one of the latest recordings of Make Your Wedding a Highlight, the area has a ton of talented and awesome wedding professionals that will be able to create the 30A destination wedding of your dreams! While we chatted during the episode, she shared about what couples should keep in mind — or make sure not to forget! — when they start to plan their destination wedding.
Make The Destination Meaningful
Jamie Cooper, Owner, Fancy Events: There are so many things going on in the world and a wedding is an incredible lifetime moment and experience. The first thing I would say is to make sure you choose a destination that means something to you. I have a lot of clients who have been coming to this area their whole entire life. They’ve been on the beach in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, or 30A since they were little kids. So it holds a lot of meaning for them.
But I also have clients who have never been here before in their life. The reason they choose this area is they want to make a memory here. They want this to be somewhere they can come back to on their anniversary where they can bring their kids. So that intentionality of saying, “This place either already means something or I want it to mean something,” I think is probably one of the most important things. Because destination wedding planning is not for the faint of heart.
Beware of Unexpected Costs
When I first started out, I found that a lot of my destination brides felt they could do really whatever they wanted. There was this expectation that, since they weren’t getting married at home, it was going to be so much less expensive. In reality, destination doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper. In a lot of instances, the price is either equal to or surpasses what it would cost for a hometown wedding.
Also, because Pinterest is a real thing, don’t obsess on Pinterest. Find the things you love and let that be a guide. But don’t let it be the end all be all. Because I can’t tell you how many times I have brides come to me and say, “This is what I want.” And then they are surprised when I tell them, “This is your food and beverage budget for this one thing. Are you sure that this arbor that could go into costing five figures is really what you want?” And their response, “Oh, but it’s just flowers!”
For example, flowers don’t grow here because this is an island, so we live on sand. You can’t grow peonies down here. The local flora and fauna are beautiful but a lot of brides don’t want to incorporate what grows here into their wedding decor. That means everything has to be flown or shipped in, which means those prices automatically go up. So it’s going to be a little more expensive.
Hire Wedding Pros, But Start With Your Wedding Planner
As wedding planners, we can help maximize everything about your wedding from your experience to your location and even your budget. In the hundreds of weddings I’ve been a part of, one thing has stood out to me. As things change, we’re right on the pulse of what’s happening in the area. We can really help you figure out what is going to work the best for you.
And it’s not just helpful for the brides but the other vendors they hire as well.
This area has such great vendors whose passion makes them want to go above and beyond for their clients. But when you work with a wedding planner and you have somebody that plays the role of the team captain. Then you don’t have vendors planning on top of each other. As the DJ, your main focus is the music, the ambiance, and using it to maximize the guests’ experience. The photographer’s focus is capturing those moments. As the wedding planner, I’m overseeing everything. When you have someone making it all work together cohesively, it makes everyone’s life easier. I really relish that.
Be Mindful of the Season (Tourist Season)
If you choose somewhere like The Henderson, a premium resort, it’s a gorgeous location for your wedding. I feel it’s worth the spend but not everyone has that in their budget. You have to take into account there are more expensive places people will be staying at, especially depending on the time of year. Spring and summer are going to be more expensive because that’s when most people have their vacations. Your hotel rooms will cost more. Things you need to rent for your wedding will as well.
We’re fortunate because we are still on the continental 48. We’re not international but we have an international feel to our area because our beaches are so pristine and beautiful. One of the downsides to that is it’s also a quick place to get to. Just from the area’s regional airport, there are around 10 flights back and forth just to Atlanta everyday. That makes it easier for guests to come. The more guests you have, the higher your cost for your event will be.
Keep DIY To a Minimum
This might be an unpopular opinion but I’ll go ahead and say it anyway. Don’t go overboard with DIY. Shipping or traveling with all the little things you want to bring along is way more hassle than it’s worth. Plus, you have to account for the time it will take up that you could be spending with your family and friends. Also, consider your guests.
Keep Your Guests In Mind
Your guests will be traveling from all over the country, maybe even all over the world. They’re spending their hard-earned money to be a part of your big day and probably have themselves a little vacation as well. You don’t want to plan every second of the time they will be here, but it’s a good idea to have a few events planned for when most of the guests will be present.
This is also why sending save the dates is so important. It gives people the time to plan their trip without feeling the need to rush. This reminds me of one of the biggest new trends that’s gained popularity within the last handful of years: make sure you have a wedding website.
There’s nothing easier when technology is at our fingertips. We literally carry around computers in our pockets every single day. A wedding website is the easiest way to get all of the information to your guests one spot: from lodging to travel to event times as well as things to do in the area. It does require a bit of work on the couple’s end, but it’s such a meaningful thing. Creating a website shows that you’re taking care of the people that you love. It also cuts down on the amount of times you have to answer the same question as well.
Jamie, thanks so much for sharing such valuable insight for couples as they get ready to plan their 30A destination wedding! Not only is she just an all-around pleasure to chat with, she’s also an awesome coordinator. If you want to start your own conversation with her, head on over to her website or Instagram to see her portfolio and get an even better idea of what to expect when working with her to plan YOUR 30A destination wedding. The cover photo was captured by Lily & Sparrow Photography.
In case you missed this week’s episode of Make Your Wedding a Highlight, Dannon Hooks from Tap The Coast chats about how she came up with the idea for her company and how it can make your wedding unique to you as a couple. Also, last week’s blog was all about a great Destin, FL, destination wedding location, The Henderson. Check out my conversations with Jillian McCarthy here. As always,
here’s to the couples that are planning their wedding (whether locally or otherwise). Here’s to making that wedding a highlight!