Friday, February 25, 2011

Guest Blogger - Danielle Cococcia of Crystal Blue Weddings

Last week Danielle gave great tips on how to choose your vendors for your destination wedding.  This week she's talking about reflecting your personal style even when you have a destination wedding.  You know I am a BIG believer in being you and showing your personality during wedding so I love this post! Thanks again Danielle!! Don't forget to check out Danielle's blog for great destination wedding advice, real Cayman Island weddings and inspiration!!

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Davidson

Just because you are getting married outside your hometown does not mean your wedding cannot be a reflection of your style. For example, if you are getting married on the beach, the décor does not need to be all sand, starfish and seashells. Here are a few tips to keep in mind…

1. First things first. Create an inspiration board (or book) to bring the vision in your head to paper. This will help you focus on what design aspects you are thinking about and looking for.
2. Talk to the designer you have hired at your destination. Look at photos of weddings they’ve designed before to find out what they can do. If there are items you are dying for but they don’t have, source them from somewhere else and ask if they will store them for you so you can ship them ahead of time.
3. Choosing a color palate. Again, if you’re getting married in the Caribbean, your color scheme does not need to be tropical, bright colors (unless you want it to be!!). Go with what you love.

4. DIY. As with any wedding, destination or otherwise, take comfort in these three lovely letters. Look to your family members or bridesmaids to help you prepare and carry these items to your destination location.

5. Remember that your wedding style does not start and end with décor. Think about it when choosing your dress, menu, favors and all of the rest.

Photo courtesy of Better Angel

Every aspect of your wedding speaks to your style…you may have to think outside the box to get what you want, but regardless of your chosen destination, one way or another, it can be done!

Live.Laugh.Love….. Luxuriate!!

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

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Destination Wedding Planning

During the month of January we discussed the first steps of wedding planning but that was for those couples that are having weddings in their home town. Now we are going to dedicate some time to destination wedding planning.

The key to planning any wedding is to start off with a good plan. The first steps you take will help the rest of the planning process run smoothly if you start out with a good plan. So now let's talk about the first steps to planning your destination wedding.

Choose a Destination
Choosing the country is easy.  Most couples pick their favorite vacation spot or some where they have always wanted to see. What you really need to focus on is where exactly your wedding will take place. Will it be a hotel? A venue? Indoors? Outdoors? Do want to get married in a church? You also need to know their marriage requirements as well. Many countries have different laws and you want to make sure your wedding is legal.

Choose a Date
Timing is everything when it comes to planning a destination wedding. Not only do you have to consider holidays, your schedules but you also have to consider the current weather conditions for your destination. Hurricane season, rainy season, or winter can all play apart in the time of year you choose to get married.  Some countries are complete opposite of the weather conditions you may leave in.

Wedding Websites
You should set up a wedding website when planning a destination wedding. This will be the hub of all the information your guests need for their trip. It should include your wedding date, destination, accommodation information, weekend itinerary, point of contact if you are working with a travel agent, travel documents needed and of course some details about you. Your love story, the bridal party and any fun facts.

Save the Dates
You should send your STD out one year before your wedding date. It should include your date of course, the destination of choice and link to your wedding website. Also let your guests know a formal invitation will follow.

Live.Laugh.Love….. Luxuriate!

Deniesha Joseph

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Today is the day to get cheesy and celebrate the love you have with your significant other. Today I want you to take the day off from wedding planning and do what ever your heart desires with your fiancee. Just take this time celebrate the reason you are getting married in the first place, your love each other.

Live.Laugh.Love….. Luxuriate!

Deniesha Joseph

Friday, February 11, 2011

Photo Op!! - By Dante Williams Photography

If I plan a wedding and the bride is doing this at the end of the night, I did my job!! This is my favorite photo for February.  This bride clearly enjoyed her wedding to the fullest.  Thanks Dante Williams Photography for catching this shot! To see the rest of this wedding check out Dante's Blog

Live.Laugh.Love….. Luxuriate!

Deniesha Joseph

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Inspiration Board - Pantone's Color of the Year

So we know Honeysuckle is Pantone's color of the year but we have to know how coordinate it.  One of my favorite combinations is honeysuckle and tangerine.  This is the perfect color palette for a summer wedding.  

Photo Credit: TheKnot, &  (Center Photos) Southern Brides Magazine, 

Live.Laugh.Love….. Luxuriate!

Deniesha Joseph

Monday, February 7, 2011

Real Housewives of Atlanta - Cynthia Bailey's Wedding

So my reality TV obsession has inspired a blog posting once again.  I’m sure everyone has seen the wedding of Atlanta Housewife Cynthia Bailey.  All my wedding industry colleagues were in a frenzy on twitter the night it aired because we couldn’t believe what a disaster this wedding was turning out to be.  The wedding in the end was beautiful but so much went wrong. This is what happens when your wedding starts off with poor planning.  Her first mistake was she hired her friend (whose a great stylist) to plan her wedding. If any brides out there are considering letting their friend plan their wedding and they are not planners, I hope after seeing this you reconsider.  In the end, Cynthia had a beautiful wedding.  She looked gorgeous, her husband looked handsome and the venue was exquisite.  I just hope she enjoyed it to the fullest.  As a planner, it broke my heart to see her stressed out about wedding planning. A good planner would have helped the couple with their budget and many of the mundane tasks she had to complete herself.  Let this be a lesson to all the brides out there planning their wedding. A professional will save you money, time and your sanity. 

Live.Laugh.Love….. Luxuriate!

Deniesha Joseph
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