Finding the Right Vendors and Suppliers for Your Destination Wedding
Amira Harris is the owner and destination wedding specialist of Aisle Travel™ based in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Aisle Travel™ provides Canadian couples with full group travel services, destination wedding planning, and customized wedding group experiences. In addition to running her own business, Amira is also one of QC’s leading tutors for the Destination Wedding Planning course.
With so many different vendor options available, it can be difficult to know where to start! This can quickly become even more difficult when you’re planning your wedding from afar. After all, you might not have the option to fly out to meet your vendors and suppliers prior to your big day!
Today, you’re in luck! As a professional destination planner, I’ve got some tips to help make the process easier for you. This way, you can always be assured that you’re making an informed decision – regardless of where you are!
6 Tips for Finding Vendors and/or Suppliers for a Destination Wedding
1. Hire a planner!
Hiring a certified wedding planner who specializes in destination events will help you a great deal! It’s their job to sort out all the many fine details, so that YOU can simply sit back and enjoy the experience.
One such responsibility that your certified wedding planner would take care of would be vetting potential vendors and suppliers. They’ll rely on their experience and industry expertise to ensure that only the best professionals are hired; ones who will best fit your vision, needs, and budget.
If hiring a certified wedding planner is within your budget, I highly recommend this! Having a reputable expert by your side throughout the process is an invaluable asset! It’ll save you so much time – and not to mention, your sanity!
2. Your chosen resort/hotel/venue might be your best friend!
Fun fact: if you’ve already picked a destination venue and have secured your wedding date, you may actually have the majority of your vendors already selected, too.
Most destination venues have a preferred vendor list, in order to make the selection easier for you, the client. If it’s a resort wedding, some of your vendors may already be included in your venue’s packages or services.
And if your venue/hotel/resort DOESN’T offer this to you? They’re still a great source for local talent! So, don’t be afraid to ask them for vendor recommendations and referrals.
3. Do your research!
That can all be done by searching wedding blogs, wedding forums, and even Pinterest! All of these resources provide awesome information on vendors and suppliers – whether it be locally, or in the area of your destination wedding.
Many wedding forums even have vendor sections you can search through, specifically in the area your intending to marry in. This can be extremely helpful!
Another resource you can take advantage of is social media. For instance, Instagram is great for finding suppliers and vendors. Social media provides you the unique opportunity to see just how much is available out there. Look at hashtags for your venue, event decor, and other suppliers in that area!
This will let you find other industry pros and businesses, and even allow you to get an idea of their reputation with past clients.
Lastly, make sure that when you’re in the research phase, you’re looking only at vendors within your budget. Nothing is more frustrating than falling in love with a vendor’s work, only to find out that they’re not attainable financially!
4. Get referrals from past couples!
Word of mouth and references from married couples can be wonderful for your personal research. I find that you can get a lot of perspective by asking married couples you know personally – or even using some of the online wedding forums I mentioned above – about which suppliers they’ve used in the past and were happy with.
Pro Tip: You’ll be likely to obtain the most honest recommendation if you ask a couple for feedback shortly after their wedding day. This is because at that point, they have nothing to lose. Usually, when they’re still in the planning stage, everything is going great. The REAL deal is asking right after the wedding is over. This way, the couple has had time to reflect. They’ll have a much better idea as to whether they would indeed recommend their chosen vendors to future couples.
5. Read reviews!
When it comes to finding vendors for your destination wedding, it’s critical to read about what other couples have said about their business!
Most vendors have testimonials on their website. However, you’ll need to dig deeper than that. Most professionals don’t make a habit of posting negative reviews on their business websites. After all, they have an image to maintain! The problem is that if you rely solely on their site reviews, you may not be seeing the bigger picture.
Instead, read reviews on different wedding forums. Look up their ratings on Google, Yelp, and Wedding Wire. Check them out on social media platforms, such Facebook. All of this will provide you with a more honest insight.
That being said, try to remember to stay realistic. A vendor doesn’t have to have perfect 5-star reviews (even though that does help). As long as their reviews from other couples are all positive and consistent, that’s what’s important!
If the reviews are mixed, or you find them to be mostly negative, move on. It’s not worth any additional stress. All it means is that your ideal destination vendor is still out there!
6. Meet with Them In-Person!
If the vendor is local, or you have the opportunity to travel to your destination prior to the wedding, it’s always beneficial to set up a face-to-face meeting!
However, this is not always an option. Especially in light of what’s been going on in the world the past few months, traveling may not be the safest choice just yet. In any event, if you can’t meet with them physically, you still have alternatives!
For starters, virtual meetings (such as through Zoom or Skype) can easily do the trick, too! Even meeting with them electronically provides you with the opportunity to put a face to the name, ask questions, discuss your wedding plans, and get a feel for the vendor.
See if you click! It’s always important that you can envision yourself working with this vendor for your big day!
When it comes to organizing your dream destination wedding, searching for the right vendors doesn’t have to be challenging. Just ensure that you’re doing your due diligence, and taking your time in the selection process. There isn’t a rush to find the perfect fit. When you find it, you’ll know!
Until next time, stay safe – and happy planning!