Happy Wedding Wednesday!! Today’s post is such a fun topic – destination weddings! I was married here in Dallas, but have always thought there was just something so dreamy about having a destination wedding. I haven’t actually attended a destination wedding yet, but my friend, Lauren, is currently planning the most picturesque wedding in Florence, Italy, so I’ve gotten to live vicariously through her. If you haven’t met Lauren yet, I recommend you check out her blog – A Lo Profile. Her passion for food, travel, and fashion will instantly captivate you just like it did me! But enough from me. I had the honor of interviewing Lauren about planning a destination wedding and am sharing it all with you guys here!
Planning a Destination Wedding with Lauren Morgan:
I am originally from Dallas, Texas (fun fact: I went to the same high school as Anna’s husband!) and attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville where I studied Psychology. I went to graduate school in Little Rock, Arkansas and now work as a School Psychologist in Dallas. I am in my fifth year as a School Psychologist and recently switched districts this year. Charles (my fiance) is from a small town in Arkansas and we knew each other’s names but did not really know each other in college. We had a TON of mutual friends, and even spent a Summer as neighbors, but somehow did not really spend much time together. My last few months of graduate school I was ready to move back to Dallas and spent every weekend I could in town. Charles moved to Dallas after finishing graduate school. We hung out one weekend when I was visiting and he ‘stole’ my phone and put his number into it. He texted himself, and we started texting and have talked every day since. We have now dated over five years, but got engaged in August after about four and a half. We have traveled the world together, lived in another country for a Summer together, adopted a dog, and lived together in Dallas during our time dating. We are getting married on July 1, 2017 in Florence, Italy. Everyone who knows us knows that we love to travel and so there is no better way for us to start our lives as a married couple together than by having a destination wedding!
- How did you and your fiancé determine where you would get married abroad?
We thought about where would be meaningful for us. Our first International trip together was to Italy. When originally planning that as a trip to take together, we took into consideration both of our love for pizza, pasta, wine, and ice cream. Neither of us had been to Italy when we planned our first trip, which made it fun. When considering where to have our wedding, we could not think of a more meaningful or romantic place!
- Do you recommend having the ceremony and reception at one location since most guests will not be familiar with the area?
I think it definitely makes it easier on the guests! If we weren’t doing ours at the same location, we would have made it as easy as possible by providing transportation.
- Will you be honeymooning in Italy as well?
Absolutely! We did not make it down to the Amalfi Coast last time we were there so we will be taking the train from Florence (where we are getting married) down to Positano and spending our first few days between there and Capri. From there, we are going to Greece and ‘island hopping’ for a week!
- How far in advance do you need to plan for a destination wedding abroad?
I’d say at least 6 or 7 months to give everyone (including yourselves) a chance to save for and plan for travel. Not everyone loves to travel, so it can be overwhelming. Time can definitely help with these worries!
- Is it more expensive to have a wedding in Dallas or Italy?
That depends on what you value! We are being able to plan 3-4 days and nights of fun activities for a small amount of guests. This was a huge factor in our decision to have a destination wedding because we are so big on experiences and thought that ultimately, our time and money would be best spent on several days full of different activities with those closest to us rather than one night with a ton of people.
- Has a difference in currency been a problem?
Actually, it hasn’t. It’s sort of a gamble when you sign a contract listed in Euros. Luckily for us the exchange rate is the best in our favor it’s been in years. We actually could have saved quite a bit by signing and paying one deposit a few weeks later. Hopefully it keeps working in our and our guests’ favor!
- Has having a destination wedding affected the number of guests you’ve invited?
For sure. You really have to prioritize and consider who will actually come and who you feel like you HAVE to have there. I think it’s so important to remember that you can celebrate your marriage and the commitment you’re making at a time other than your wedding. Just because someone isn’t AT your wedding doesn’t mean they aren’t important to you or can’t celebrate with you. We have to keep reminding ourselves (and sometimes, others) of this!
- Will you or do you recommend having a reception or party back in Dallas when you get back from your Honeymoon for locals to celebrate you?
We aren’t planning anything on our own, but we’ve never turned down a party! haha
- Does your venue aboard dictate your vendors?
Luckily ours is pretty flexible! Some we reached out to seemed to have their own little system running. Particularly for Americans looking for vendors who speak English. Our provided recommendations, but ultimately let us make our own decisions.
- How do you do things like cake tasting or do you just forego that luxury of planning a wedding locally?
We’ll taste our cake on the night of! If it’s not good, we figure that it’s eating not so great cake in Italy. There could be worse things! We can make a gelato run if needed.
- Do you recommend using a photographer there or bringing one with you?
We are bringing one with us! There were a lot of photographers willing to work with us to find a price that works. These photos will also be great for their portfolios and seemed to be a bucket list item for several photographers. It is ultimately the same price (or even cheaper) for us to bring one with us and ensure that I love their style and that we can communicate effectively on the day. I am a picky, picky girl when it comes to photography, so this is one of the things I was actually particular about.
- Do you recommend hiring a wedding planner here or there to help or not at all?
We’re winging it! We had a few offer to help us, but ultimately felt like we could handle it.
- How are you handling gifts? Are you asking people to just mail gifts instead of bringing them to Italy?
I sure hope no one packs and brings a Vitamix or a place setting to Italy! haha. If people want to get us gifts I assume they can get us one at a shower or before/after. I truly view everyone coming to the actual wedding as being a gift themselves. Cheesy, but true.
- How will you get your dress there?
This is a sensitive subject. We’re draining all of our miles to ensure we can fly business and have some priority when boarding and on the flight, as well as some extra space. I’m also hoping everyone is oh-so-nice and doesn’t ask me to put my dress in an overhead bin with others’ luggage or something odd. Don’t mess with the dress!
- How far in advance will you get there?
We’re going the Sunday/Monday before. We’ll spend a few days getting adjusted to the time and relaxing before all of the festivities start!
- How will you get all the information to your guests? Your wedding website?
We put a ton of information on our wedding website! We’ve been in constant communication with our guests, too.. so most know what to expect and can ask us any questions along the way!
- Do you send invites or save-the-dates out earlier so that people can get their plane tickets as early as possible?
We sent our save the dates out as soon as we got our venue booked to ensure everyone had plenty of time to plan.
- Has anyone been mad or gotten vocal about you guys choosing a destination wedding?
There are lots of opinions over any big decisions in life I feel like and this has been no different. Ultimately, it’s our wedding and we had to decide what we felt was best.
all images via a lo profile