Destination Wedding Planning Priorities (part 2)

When & How to Choose the Wedding Vendors

Tips by JP for your destination wedding

Have you booked your wedding planner & venue? Congratulations! It's high time to secure the pros who will help bring your dream-wedding into life!

When & How to Choose the Wedding Vendors

There are vendors that can serve one wedding per day and vendors that can serve more than one event per day. And, principally, there are your priorities. We suggest that you start booking vendors from the first category, as soon as possible, so that you can have a wider choice in terms of availability.

Our golden rule of booking order is: photographer & videographer, DJ & live musician/band, Hair & makeup artist, caterer if not provided by the venue. Follows the booking of flowers & decorations, cake & sweets, extra entertainment services such as dancers, photo booth, fireworks, etc., private transportation. Last but not least, comes the booking of vendors related to pre- & post-wedding events. So, practically, the first category of vendors is best to book 2-1 year prior to the wedding; while the second category of vendors is best to book nearer in time, between 12-3 months from the wedding, leaving at the far end of the booking order the transportation which is linked to the final guest list and accommodation details.

A wedding planner recommends trusted vendors with a proven high level of services and excellent collaboration on-site. A team of professionals happy to work together functions as a whole, maximizing the chances of a perfect flow on the wedding day. These vendors must be approved by the venue in case the venue has a limited list of suppliers they work with.

Let's meet top wedding vendors and see what you need to ask before booking them and what they need to know from you or your wedding planner in order to provide an outstanding service.

PHOTOGRAPHER

Popular photographers book up fast, so this is one of the first wedding vendors you want to enquire about. You certainly do not want to rush your decision, but you do need to start looking as early as possible. How do you choose a photographer? Your wedding planner will have already filtered the photographers that are close to your budget and are respected and trusted professionals. So, what you need to do is value all options and check their social media and webpage to understand the style of the photographer and see if you are in love with the pictures! The pictures are the memories you will cherish for a lifetime. Ask your planner details on the service (how many hours, how many photographers etc.) and on the deliverables (minimum number of pictures, n. of edited pictures and to what extent, delivery times, etc.). You want to hire a local photographer or a destination photographer with experience in your destination, as they know the best secrets of spots and light the destination keeps.

Ben Rigas is the lead photographer & owner of the popular wedding company WEDDING STORIES based in Santorini and Crete. He appreciates clarity as he is a firm believer that in order to have a happy client, the couple needs to be aware of all the details of the services he offers, as mentioned above. Ben advises all couples and/or wedding planners to take into consideration the factors of time and distance (e.g. in case the preparations take place in a different location or in case the couple wishes to have a portrait photoshoot in a different location on the wedding day, etc.). Photographers work differently and may need more or less time for the preparation pictures for example or extra time to capture the reception details etc.

VIDEOGRAPHER

Similarly to the photographer, the videographer is your memory keeper. He is the guy that will narrate the wedding day in a few minutes and capture the meaningful moments you shared with the people you love. Your planner should suggest several trusted videographers that are well combined with the photographer. If the two of them are not a team, they must become one on the day as they will work alongside to capture the moments. Firstly, you need to check on the videographer's work. If you find the storytelling emotional, if you like the videographer's style, then ask to know all the details of the services offered.

Andreas Markovic is a destination wedding videographer confirming that if you like a videographer's work, all the rest comes easily. If you like the style of a certain videographer, that is a good way to go, so do mention this. Meet the videographer(s) before the wedding if this is an option, let them know all your wishes and preferences, from important moments to the music you like or the music to avoid, beforehand, so they know exactly what kind of video they have in mind. Each couple is unique and the videographers' job is to help you tell YOUR story. For instance, some people do not like close-ups, some people do not like romantic videos, etc. We are all different and that is ok, so, that is why Andreas wishes to capture your true story.

The wedding planner must involve and respect the time requirements of all suppliers. Videographers, photographers, and all wedding vendors need specific times to be able to respond and exceed your high expectations.

ENTERTAINMENT

Entertainment hits the top three in our vendors' priority booking list! There is no wedding without some form of celebration; solo singers and musicians can perfectly stand in smaller or larger scale events. So does a DJ to guarantee the perfect music flow during the day and make sure that the dance floor is packed all night long! And the party goes even stronger if you combine more artists and performers!

DJ

Having a fantastic DJ is the key to a successful wedding reception! Your wedding planner should screen the best professionals, with great experience in weddings. You are looking for an open mind wedding DJ that understands your personal music preferences and your culture and is flexible enough to deal with particular requests, so you have to clearly communicate your wishes in advance. The professional DJs also offer sound and lighting equipment to enhance your event! In this category, the reviews from previous clients are even more important, as you can rarely see samples of their work; you might have the chance to see some videos or pictures online, but not to see them in real action in advance unless you have attended a wedding before, with them playing, but this is very rare.

Elias PLM is the DJ and owner of PLM EVENTS entertainment company specializing in destination weddings. The information he seeks in order to deliver a flawless mix and a seamless performance is mainly the music preferences of the couple and their guests. Try to list your beloved songs or specific genres, and optionally, songs or genres that you want him to avoid. Other important things he needs to know is the special songs (first dance, entrance song, cake cutting song, etc) and the timeline of the evening. Also, will be helpful to know the age range of the guests and of course if the couple wants the DJ to take song requests from guests. The DJ also needs to be aware of any announcements you may need him to do, and of any micro-events, you may have during the reception, to ensure that everything is running smoothly and on time according to your time plan. And a piece of advice: never forget that the DJ, like the musician, is a live performer. Show him your love and get it back multiplied!

MUSICIAN

Live music has always been popular for wedding celebrations for a reason. A musician will indulge your guests to a classic quality or to a particular groove, depending on the style. For example, a harpist can create a delicate dreamy atmosphere during the wedding ceremony, while a sax player could be ideal for the cocktail hour or play along with the DJ to lift off the party! Micro-weddings or elopements are shorter in time, which makes it possible for a musician to cover the entire event. The couples need to know if the musician they are looking at can play different styles of music, and have an idea of the repertoire.

Raphael Sigalas is the artist behind SUNSET PIANO NOTES. As an experienced pianist, he has worked for hundreds of couples, creating magical ceremony moments, as well as unique sunset experiences. The pianist wishes to know the musical preferences of the couple in general but also the favorite songs of the couples to incorporate them into his performance. He also needs to know the important songs a couple wants him to play in special moments; for example, the walking down the aisle song or the song to be played during the signatures and of course the celebration song when you walk back up the aisle as husband and wife!

Combined musicians and singers increase the repertoire and the pleasure. Daydream with the piano notes combined to the sound of the violin or dance and whisper along with the singer and the pianist! Enjoy!

HAIR & MAKE UP ARTIST

Professional hair styling and makeup used to be a last-minute addition to the wedding services. This is not the case anymore! Good HMUA book up fast and you definitely do not want to miss out on your favorite hair and makeup artist. The artist must speak to your aesthetics and be experienced in weddings. Certainly, the wedding planner will have screened already the top professionals, so all you need to do is to check their work on social media and websites to find the artist that inspires you the most. Style apart, you might want to know the products they use, as well as the preparation times required. The wedding preparations are fun moments to share with the bridal party. Having the certainty of an impeccable result will take away the stress and let you enjoy.

Panos Antoniou is a well-known hair and makeup artist with a 22-year presence in the beauty world; as a Mac Cosmetics specialist, he creates bliss in fashion shows, editorials, and movies. During his experience he had the chance to provide beauty services to brides of many cultures, meeting them for the first time just a few hours before the wedding. Some brides opt for a trial which allows them to experiment more and feel even more confident. Panos, firstly asks the bride about eventual allergies and/or skin prescriptions & products used for skin issues that might not be visible. Secondly, he talks with the bride about the overall style of the wedding, and mainly about the wedding dress, so that he can advise on the makeup color palette and on the hairstyling. Emailing inspirational pictures in advance may be helpful too. In any case Panos' ultimate goal is a flawless and long-lasting result that will satisfy the bride 100%.

FLORIST

In the destination wedding planning, couples usually book the florist 12 to 6 months from the big day. By then, they know more details, such as the actual size of the wedding party, the colors of the dresses and suits. Moreover, the bride has had time to surf for inspiration and has seen her own "favorites" change and mature as time goes by, so now she knows what she is after. The main questions to answer with the help of the planner are if the idea you have is compatible with the venue and with the budget. A most common mistake is to choose a fantastic decoration that was designed for a wedding hall, while your destination wedding will be al fresco! As for the budget, the type of flowers-seasonal or not- as well as the quantity and the complexity of the design, will be critical factors. The choice of the florist needs to be aligned with the wedding style you are after - modern, classic, natural, boho - a beautiful endless list! A wedding decoration does not depend just on the flower kind and color selection, but also on the decorative items to place on or integrate the flowers and of course on the florist's perception.

"A flower arrangement is a piece of art", says Kostas Korakas from RED BOX DAYS, "If the couple and florists share the same aesthetic values, the result can only be beautiful". You may give two florists the same description of what you aspire or even the same set of flowers, but their interpretation in putting together the flower arrangement will give diverse outcomes. In order to provide an impeccable service, Kostas has simple rules: he must know the style and character the couple is after, to start with; then, their favorite flower(s) and the color theme.

Click here for part 1

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