If you are planning a destination wedding in the United States (or surrounding areas), there are some very unique ideas for making your reception & ceremony personal and memorable. There are also some very clichéd stereotypes you may want to avoid. Most brides want their wedding to be “unlike anyone else’s;” but even with this in mind, brides and some wedding planners tend to fall into the same-ol’ routines of yester-year. Let’s see if we can help you avoid some pitfalls:
Choosing a venue should obviously be your first decision and can often be made too practically. To help avoid a stereotyped location for your destination wedding here are some do’s and don’ts:
- Pick a place that is personal to the bride and groom. A location with a backstory (even an ordinary-looking location) will change the feel and atmosphere of the entire wedding.
- …your homework. If you breeze through this decision and just Google venue ideas, you’ll end up with a VERY popular location that is often littered with brides who think their wedding is unique.
- Consult a wedding planner/concierge/events manager who is very familiar with your possible venue to find out restrictions. For example; if it is important to you to have a Party Band to play at your reception, you can eliminate venues that don’t have the power or space requirements.
- Write down your ideas for environments and prioritize
them: Outside vs. Inside; Winter vs. Summer; Beach vs. Mountains (or other
settings); etc. Eliminate your least preferred environments, then start searching by area.
-…Think you have all the time in the world. Too many “compromised” venue decisions happen because brides/planners wait too long to book a venue. Most destination wedding venues are booked at least a year in advance.
-… settle for multi-use venues. Hotels are usually good, but unless you are really into golf (for example), getting married on a golf-course can be overdone; it can also be a little tacky--definitely not a unique wedding idea.
-…forget about your guests. True, it is all about the bride and groom, but if most of your guests are used to cold climates and you bring them to the virgin islands, a lot of their attention will be diverted to how hot they are rather than you and your unique wedding.
One mistake that brides make is that they think about what they want their wedding to look like as they are right now, not as they will in the future. Many brides, for example, get really hung-up on modern trends. Some brides from the 80’s spent a lot of money and effort into decorating their weddings to resemble the “modern” styles and were later embarrassed at their over-powering color-schemes and hair styles. A good rule of thumb, think unique… but also think “timeless.”
Just a quick word on wedding planners. Many planners (the good ones) have been doing this a long time and know what works and what doesn’t; this is invaluable experience. However, an average wedding planner will let you know what has worked in the past and convince you to replicate it; a GREAT wedding planner will work with your personal ideas and come up with something that works for YOU.
Catering is an interesting animal when it comes to making things unique. Make it too unique and many of your guests will not enjoy their food. People are picky when it comes to what they put in their mouths. My advice, don’t worry too much about making the food “unlike anything else.” Just pick what you like and what your guests will enjoy. If you do, however, want to make the food unique, here are some pointers:
1.) Pick the right caterer. You may have to have an idea of what you want before you get into hiring your food provider as many caterers specialize in specific areas of culinary craft (just like restaurants and cooks).
2.) Keep your guests in mind. You’re not going to be able to please everybody, but at least keep allergies and general preferences in the forefront of your mind.
3.) Pick the right venue; again, some venues make you use their catering staff, so don’t get stuck with a venue with restrictions you can’t live with.
There are a myriad of unique things you can do with music and other entertainment that will really add something extra to your wedding reception or ceremony. Whether for ambiance or dancing, musicians and bands come in all shapes and sizes. First things first:
- Pick a Theme:
Deciding what kind of atmosphere you want can be complex or easy. If you are in and "of" the country, obviously a country band or a bluegrass band is the way to go; but if you are going more traditional, decide on an atmosphere: Classy? Lively? Subdued? Exciting? Modern? Jazzy?
- Consult an agent:
You can talk to a lot of bands and musicians but in the end, all you know is that everyone says they specializes in everything and everyone is the perfect fit for you (uhh… huh). A good talent agent can tell you which bands are available, what you’re looking for, and in your budget.
- Think Outside the Box:
Like wedding planners, music planners (agents) can either be average and tell you what has worked in the past, or great and work with your vision of how things can go. Let your agent know that you want something unique and you’d be amazed and what is available: Children’s Choirs, Ethnic bands, fire breathers, cowboy poets, aerialists, circus acts, Celebrity tribute bands (or just celebrities themselves), and the list goes on and on.
These are just some of the ideas you can make your destination wedding unique and memorable. Avoid the pitfalls and stereotypes and your wedding will be personal and timeless.
-This article was written by Stephen Tobian; Manager at Dance Bands