Friday, February 18, 2011

Guest Blogger - Danielle Cococcia of Crystal Blue Weddings

Today we have a guest blogger Danielle Cococcia of Crystal Blue Weddings.  Danielle is the voice behind one of my favorite blogs Crystal Blue Weddings.  Danielle showcases real weddings, vendors and advice from the Cayman Islands.  Today she is giving us her expertise on how to hire wedding vendors for your destination.

Having a destination wedding—where do you start?  If you’re not familiar with the destination, it’s tough to know who is who, who is good and who will help you create your day. 

First things first, research.  With everything on the internet these days, it shouldn’t be too hard to find the vendors to start with.  Look at their websites, blogs, Facebook pages, tweets and whatever else you can find.  Research will at least give you some insight into the who is who and what they can do.

Second, if you can, visit the destination and meet with the vendors.  Nothing is as good as a face to face meeting so if it’s in the cards for you, do it.  When you meet with them, be prepared.  Have a vision for your day and discuss it with them.  After all, they are the ones who are going to help you create this vision—you want to be sure you are comfortable with their abilities, click with their personalities and know that they have the means to make your vision come to life.  If you can’t meet face to face, at least have a phone call with these people.  Trust is very hard to build on emails alone.

Third, and I really see this as a MUST, hire a local wedding planner.  Someone you feel you can trust and click with.  Someone who has experience planning weddings of your size and complexity.  Someone who will be your eyes and ears on the ground and will work with reputable local vendors to pull all of the pieces together and make it happen.   When interviewing planners, be sure to completely understand the services they are offering and how they price their services.  For example, will they handle the vendor meetings on your behalf?  Help you create a working budget?  Be present for the duration of your entire wedding and reception?  How do they charge for their services?

Next, understand the environment from a pricing and budget point of view.  Look at general areas like accommodation and entertainment.  Also, look more specifically at areas for your wedding.  Flowers, for example.  In the Cayman Islands (like in many destinations), wedding flowers need to be brought in from elsewhere.  This significantly increases the cost of flowers which may put that bouquet you had your heart set on way over your budget.  I’m not saying you can’t have it, it’s just helpful to develop a healthy expectation of costs (which is something your local planner should help you with). 

Last, it is likely that you will host more than just the wedding for your guests.  You may want to plan an excursion or a welcome party as a way of thanking your guests for making the journey to your wedding.  Keep this in mind when performing the steps above!

Thanks Danielle!! Check out Danielle's blog Crystal Blue Weddings 

Live.Laugh.Love….. Luxuriate!

Deniesha Joseph

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