Wedding Talk! Destination Wedding Tips

Although a majority of the weddings we photograph are based in Portland, OR, there are a number of times when our clients request locations outside of the Portland area. While these weddings bring a lot of excitement they also bring many more things to consider when planning. Paul Rich Studio recently returned from a wedding in Mexico and asked the My Portland Photographer group for tips and suggestions they have for couples planning a destination wedding.

Paul from Paul Rich Studio says:

When considering the photography for your destination wedding, don’t forget to consider some of the events that will occur surrounding your wedding day. Oftentimes, in addition to the rehearsal dinner, there is an evening or two where many of the guests get together to either visit the local area or to do some fun group activity. Whether it is an evening out for dinner, a group tour of the area, people hanging out on the beach, or some fun activity like zip lining or attending an event, all of these activities will have special meaning to you and they present a perfect opportunity to be documented. When traveling for destination weddings, Paul Rich Studio highly recommends documenting some of these activities to capture the entire wedding experience.

Nickole & Joe were recently married in Akumal, Mexico. A couple of nights before the wedding, the couple invited their guests to join them in a local town called Playa Del Carmen. Guests had an opportunity to taste local food, explore the local town, and experience some of what Mexico has to offer. While strolling through the town, I captured a fun image of Nickole & Joe playing around. I love the contrast it offers to some of the more formal wedding photos from the trip.

While in St Lucia, Rachelle & Donny took their guests on an incredibly unique tour of the island. They included me on the trip to document everyone enjoying the experience. Toward the end of the tour, guests had the opportunity to hang out real close to a local snake!

Jamie Bosworth has this to say:

Destination weddings may sound like a lot of work given that you have to do so much of your planning long distance… the perks, though, are all about the unique experience for you and your favorite people. As a professional photographer, I always ask to arrive the day before the wedding for a few reasons… first, it gives me a chance to scout the light at your venue. That can be very important far away from the familiar, relatively predictable local spots. Secondly, it gives me a chance to meet the people you care about most since they are usually at the rehearsal dinner. Obviously it will cost you a little more to put me up an extra night but I do include 2 to 3 hours worth of rehearsal coverage as a way to sweeten the pot. Besides, what if the bride surprises the groom with a tandem bike? ;0)

Lastly, it gives me just a little insurance about getting there on time with all of the gear intact… if something goes wrong, it is the wiggle room that you will need.

This particular wedding was at Avio Vineyards on the edge of Sutter Creek in the astounding foothills of the Sierras… I can’t tell you how beautiful the drive was going east from Sacramento!

Besides Sutter Creek, I have had the pleasure to cover weddings in Santa Fe, Manhattan, Anchorage, San Francisco, Seattle, Berkeley, the San Juan Islands, Lake Tahoe, Scottsdale and Darby, Montana to name a few. ;0)

Britney & Joe with Turn Loose the Art offer these tips:

Renting a large house or villa for your friends and family to stay at is a great way to save on travel expenses as well as have a fun time with your guests. They’ve traveled a ways to be with you, so make the most of it. At one of our weddings, the couple’s family packed some “essentials” such as waffle irons so they could make big communal breakfasts.

If you’re in a tropical location and will be there for days before the wedding, buy a couple strapless swimsuits for your pool lounging time and wear plenty of sunscreen. No one wants sunburn in their wedding photos!

Evrim with Evrim Icoz Photography says:

For destination weddings, make sure to create an emergency kit. Since most destinations are in warmer, tropical climates, things like bug spray, sun lotion, water proof bandaids, imodium, neosporin, and a stain remover pen, are all items to consider having readily available.

Also, consider creating a website with local information, such as your favorite restaurants, how much to tip, transportation options, a map of the area and an itinerary of the events leading up to and including the wedding day.

Alice & Josh with Mosca Photo have this to say about destination weddings:

The world is filled with beautiful destinations. Some near and some far. As photographers, we here at Mosca Photo love to visit places that are away from our usual local areas, because it gives our vision… a fresh and new environment to play with in photos!

As an example, seeing a loving couple frolicking on warm and sunny Hawaiian beaches for their special day, is one of the happiest set of images we’ve ever had the chance to take! Whether near a couple’s home town, or from afar, a destination wedding seems to bring family and friends together in a broader sense of the term. Usually, a smaller number of guests is able to travel away from home for a wedding, making the whole experience more of a multi-day trip for close friends and family.

It’s a very personal time and, as photographers, we are honored to be there for you, too! We love to travel for our couples’ wedding and we welcome proposals from anyone, to anywhere in the world. Don’t be afraid to ask your favorite photographer to travel to your wedding with you. You’d be surprised who is open to doing so 🙂

Alan Weiner with Alan Weiner Photography says:

Stacy and Mac got married at a very upscale hotel/resort in Del Mar, California. One of the best things about shooting at a destination wedding is that all the visuals are completely new. Think of how much more aware you are of your surroundings when you go on vacation versus when you walk down the street in your own neighborhood.

Because all the scenery is new to the photographer’s eye, he/she will have a better chance of catching something that’s visually exciting and different.

Two of the great things I’ve found about destination weddings are that the brides and grooms tend to be more laid back and the locations tend to be more scenic. It takes guts and trust to hire someone to photograph your wedding who you might meet for the first time on your wedding day. That requires someone who is willing to let go a bit more and go with the flow of the day – no matter what the plan was.

And, by nature, destination weddings tend to be higher budget weddings which often means the venues are stunning. Prettier pictures happen in prettier environments. This photo is of one of the calmest and most carefree brides I’ve had the pleasure to work with. Their wedding took place on Cumberland Island, Georgia.

Amy and Jp from The Art of Joy shared:

You’ll never know what inspires a couple to choose a wedding location. Tammy and Michael are true gear heads. They’re love of muscle cars took them to La Hambra, California where they arranged the opportunity to have their photo session surrounded by hot rods and classic cars at Boyd Coddington’s Garage. I can only describe the two as kids in a candy store of V8s as we dashed from car to car.

The main event was the Elvis Tribute Car – a completely refurbished and tricked out 1957 Pink Cadillac that Coddington restored for the release of Reese’s limited edition Elvis Cups (yes, they were peanut butter and banana and while we were able to score a session with the Caddy, we had no luck searching down a sample of the confection.)

Tammy arranged access to the garage several weeks before the wedding. A private tour of the garage is a treat, but as far as I know we were the first and only wedding portrait session on the location. It was very important to us that we learn the cans and cannots of shooting in the space as to not damage any of the beautiful vehicles. Whether you choose an exotic location, a mountain top, or a garage of muscle cars, be sure you learn the policies of the venue and share them with your photographer.

After the session, Tammy & Michael tied the knot in a simple, intimate ceremony in Long Beach, and celebrated the occasion with a favorite Italian dinner for their family and friends. The couple chose this image with the Cadillac for a 30×40 canvas gallery wrap which hangs in their living room. My favorite? No surprise, one of the moments of joy.

Lots of great stories and great advice from the contributing photographers of My Portland Photographer! If you are planning your wedding for Portland, Oregon or destinations across the world, you can check the availability of any of our experienced photographers by using our free Date Checker page.

All you have to do is select a date and it will show you a list of photographers who are available on your wedding day, along with links to their respective websites and contact information. Best wishes for a lifetime of happiness!