Planning your Destination Wedding with One Fine Day Wedding Consultants
Sometimes we just need a helping hand. Planning your wedding is a huge task and although many of us like to be in complete control, relinquishing that control can be the best medicine. When you find someone you can trust, you are able to then sit back and ENJOY the journey of being engaged and planning your wedding.
When I think back to my own wedding, I spent so long meticulously planning every single detail and whilst I loved it, when I look back there were so many other things I could have spent my time doing and enjoying as opposed to stressing over our day!
I was able to speak to Bernadette from One Fine Day Wedding Consultants to get a better idea of what it looks like to work with a planner - and I think I need to hire her for a 10 year vowel renewal off the coast in Italy somewhere (if my husband can cope with me and 2 daughters for that long!).
One Fine Day specialise in creating multi-day, private and intimate weddings, elopements and events in incredible locations. They pride themselves on giving all of their couples and loved ones the best days of their lives - full of beautiful, treasured memories to fall back on and draw strength from as they embark on their journeys of love and commitment to each other.
Their mission statement is pretty deep, it really speaks to my soul! without further ado, let's dive into some Q & A with the wonderful Bernadette:
Q- What makes a great destination wedding?
A- Imagine a beautifully restored chateau, a castle ruin, or a stunning private villa set in its own lush grounds. An agriturismo within a vineyard, a gorgeous beach, or a modernised Masseria in the stunning countryside. Many of these options produce their own delicious food and wine and all of them provide only locally sourced produce.
Now imagine the sound of culturally traditional music playing for your ceremony: the happy smiling faces of your loved ones chilling and chatting. An unhurried aperitivo time that offers a delicious taster of the food to come, attentive hospitality and a chance to relax and take in the beauty of your surroundings.
Follow that with a totally relaxed alfresco reception dinner under a perfect sunset with twinkling fairy lights and flickering candles. Then add into all that magic, music and dancing till dawn… these are just a few details that make a great destination wedding.
Q- What’s your favourite country for a destination wedding?
A- This is a very difficult question to answer as they all offer something wonderful and unique. So I guess I would have to say that all of the European countries that I work in offer amazing hospitality, stunning scenery, incredible home-produced or local food and wine, and a passion for making people happy.
Q- How to budget/any advice around conversion rates for different things?
A- It is very important to be clear that the budget for your wedding will not be the same as anyone else’s.
Every wedding is unique and the costs will change due to many different factors.
Sit down with your partner and work out how much you can genuinely afford, if you have been offered financial help from members of your family, ask exactly how much that will be.
Once you have a realistic budget that you are both happy with, it is most important to stick to it. Starting married life with a huge ton of debt is not the most fun way!!
If possible, try to set aside a small pot of money for the unexpected... maybe 10-15% of the total budget, enabling any surprise costs to be taken care of.
Don’t get too concerned about the exchange rate as paying for vendors and venues in other countries is so easy now with all the different options available online. Even sending money abroad with your own bank is very straightforward.
Q- How to choose your wedding vendors?
A- Hiring a wedding planner that knows the local area is a must. They will know all the best suppliers and venues, will have worked with them all on a regular basis and they will trust them to do an incredible job.
I personally give each booked couple a list of recommended local suppliers of which they can choose whoever they like. I am also quite happy to work with suppliers flown in if that’s what the couple decides to do.
If a venue visit is planned, then I will arrange meet-ups between the couple and the suppliers and hair and make-up trials at the same time.
However, if no pre-visit is planned, then it’s usual to be at your destination one or two days before your wedding day which is ample time to arrange all these meetings and trials.
Q- Do you help with organising flights/hotel accommodation?
A- I have always offered advice on flights and accommodation and always arranged transfers, but I have recently partnered with a travel agent who can actually arrange travel, transfers and accommodation that is all ABTA and ATOL protected!
Q- When to send save the dates/invites?
A- I would advise for a destination wedding to send out your save the dates 12 months in advance of your wedding. That way your guests know that you really want them there and they have a chance to book the time to be with you and to book accommodation if they are required to do so. This also gives them a chance to save for the occasion rather than having to put yet another expense on the dreaded credit cards.
The invites would then just be a formality - so six to nine months would be absolutely fine to send them out, with an RSVP expected back by a certain date.
Q- What’s the etiquette around the couple paying, or guests paying for themselves?
A- Usually, the couple will pay for the wedding day meal, the welcome dinner and the farewell brunch for all their guests which means your guests will not have to budget for any food expenses for those three days when calculating the costs of their stay, but depending on the couple's funds, there is the option to pay for the most important guests accommodation too. If you are hiring a private villa for you and your nearest and dearest to all stay together, this is very easy to arrange. But your guests are usually very good friends and loved ones who will be honoured to share your magical day with you and would not expect you to foot the bill.
Q- Tips around getting dress/suits to the destination? A- I highly recommend taking your wedding outfits on board the plane as hand luggage so there is no risk of loss or damage caused by the airline.
Most airlines will allow you to take your wedding dress on the plane as hand luggage however before you travel you should contact your airline to find out their policy on this.
The major airline carriers will generally hang your wedding dress in the first class cabin wardrobe for you if there is space. Budget airlines often do not have hanging space and you may be required to put your wedding dress in the overhead lockers.
Depending on the policy of the airline you will be travelling with, you should consider whether a protective dress bag or a storage box would be the best way to transport your wedding dress. I highly recommend speaking with your wedding dress shop or designer for their advice, they are experts in knowing the best way for your dress to travel.
If you find your wedding dress becomes slightly creased during travel your wedding planner will be able to arrange someone to steam it for you onsite. Take it out of its container or bag as soon as you arrive and hang it up: in warmer, more humid, climates creases may come out naturally with the weather.
Q- Tell me about your favourite destination venues!
A- My favourite venue types are the private hire villas. Hiring a private villa for your wedding in which you can invite your guests to stay gives you an option to completely kick back and relax with your friends and family.
There is genuinely a feeling of togetherness, calmness and fun around weddings like these.
We usually arrange a welcome party on the first evening, which sets the tone for what’s to come and we always finish the stay with a farewell dinner. Spending time together with your closest friends and family in these important times of your lives creates magical memories that will be cherished forever.
Q- Any other general advice for planning your wedding abroad?
A- Planning a destination wedding is completely different from planning a local one. There's a lot to think about from legal documentation or particulars of the marriage requirements to language barriers to the act of just getting there.
Regardless of when you must arrive at your destination for legal or documentation reasons, I highly recommend allowing yourselves an extra day or two, especially if you are flying. Weather and flight cancellations can delay travel and giving yourself extra time can avoid a problem before it even starts.
Q- My top-tip for the wedding day itself is...
A- Forget the rushing around and the planning... that’s what the planner is for.
Take the time to take it all in ... look around at everyone there and think about how much they all mean to you both.
Enjoy every second of the day, from start to finish.
Don’t panic about the small details... this day is about the love you have for each other and the love you have between your family and friends. It will be a day filled with love and laughter.
Spend as much of the evening with your new partner as you can, it will be the most romantic of evenings and you will feel so so in love and so happy. Then hold those feelings of happiness in your heart to remember forever, when normal life resumes.
"There are so many reasons that we love doing what we do, such as travelling, creating beautiful, magical wedding days and getting to work with some of the most inspiring people. But our biggest joy is getting to know our amazing couples. Making their weddings personal and unique, bringing their dreams to life and helping them plan their wedding with expertise and care to make it the most incredible day full of love and emotion, in some of the most wonderful places."
If you are thinking about arranging a wedding abroad, I'd highly recommend contacting Bernadette for more awesome advice and to see if she can help craft your perfect destination vision!