Recently, I had the opportunity to basically work outside the box. Being a wedding photographer is an amazing job; you get to photograph two people celebrating their love for each other and their families celebrating them on one of the most important days of their lives. However, you know if you have been to more than one wedding, that at the end of the day there is a a bride, a groom, a white dress, a ceremony, flowers, some dancing. In any job that requires artistic creativity, you don't want to find yourself falling into a rut, which is why I was so psyched to travel to Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa in Tulum, Mexico with Kristen and her husband John from Kristen Driscoll Photography to shoot Chris and Courtney's wedding! Being based in New Jersey, I have done my fair share of beach weddings, which I myself actually had. Doing a destination beach wedding though is on another level.
My wife always says we should have tossed around the idea of a destination more, but like most people we wrote it off without really seriously considering it because of standard assumptions about family, travel and money. When you enter into those first wedding planning conversations, and the idea of venue comes up, take my wife's advice and consider the destination option. She's a pretty smart lady.
In the planning process, couples often lose track of what the real purpose of a wedding is- a ceremony to bind them together because they share the deepest of connections. A new branch on the family tree. Essentially this is a day when everything can really be about you, so no it is not rude to consider a destination wedding. It is rude though to expect everyone you know to be able to come. In taking the leap to get married at a destination that would require people to drive multiple hours/fly, stay overnight, etc., you have to realize and be ok with the fact that your wedding might not be in everyone's budget. That being said, because you are not footing the bill for 200+ place settings at a venue that charges $150 a plate, you have the option of being more less limiting with you do invite. You don't have to pick between 5 of your friends with dates or 10 friends without because if they are willing to pay for their travel and stay then the more the merrier! Of course, most destination weddings do turn out to be on the small side. Having spent this long weekend in February with Chris and Courtney's closest family and friends, I feel inclined to say this is something to list on the pro side. The entire group got to spend a couple days together in paradise hanging at the resort, going on excursions, and growing closer. When we finally got to that special day, the atmosphere seemed so much more intimate.
Even if you are going to be hundreds of miles away from home, you can be as involved or as far removed from the planning process as you want. Resorts have their own wedding coordinators on site who can take care of colors, center pieces, music, table cards all via a few phone calls. Or, like Courtney, you can still search Pinterest, shop Etsy, and DIY to your heart's content, and all it requires is packing an extra suitcase of your favors, guest room bags, etc.
Most resorts will offer a staff photographer to cover the wedding day events too. While it might seem like a great deal as part of the wedding package, remember that most couples who choose a destination wedding are saving money because of, again, all the per plates they aren't covering, limo rides, rehearsal dinners out, etc. Regardless of where you plan on having your wedding, a great photographer is key to making the trip worth it. Remember that when the whirlwind of your wedding day is over, your memories and the photos will be what you have left to look back on. So yes you could use the resort provided photographer, but these are usually the same photographers that walk around the pool with a lizard or bird during the day snapping family photos of Uncle Billy kissing a parrot. Pick a photographer you know and you have chosen for their artistic work to come with you on your trip that specializes in wedding photography. Building your relationship with your photographer from the very beginning helps bring a much more unique experience for you on the wedding day, as well get better attuned to what you are expecting out of your wedding photos. We work with you as much as possible before the wedding collecting ideas on your Pinterest board, talking on the phone or face to face about shot lists, your expectations, and help to refine the style you’re looking for to really bring you images you’ll love forever. This is not the type of communication you will get with a resort photographer, who in fact, you probably won't meet until the day of. Most resort photographers start their day at the ceremony, missing all the great prep photos, missing all the anticipation that builds up during the time before the ceremony or first look.
Finally, the icing on the cake for a photographer, like I said is that shooting a destination wedding is on another level artistically speaking. The simple change in scenery allowed us to try out new techniques and get some shots that I never would have gotten back home. So when thinking about your wedding day and what you have always dreamed things will look like, don't think palm trees and crystal blue waters are beyond reach in February. Snowflakes and icebergs are still possible for a June wedding. Mossy grounds and foggy fjords, a sunset over the Pacific when all you've ever known is sunrise over the Atlantic.
So consider a destination wedding, and consider Inspire Me Imagery because:
- We plan our trip around you. We get down to the resort, at the latest, a day before the wedding so we can get a lay of the land to plan for photographic opportunities
- We will cover your rehearsal dinner
- We are there from start to finish on the wedding day because we are staying on location with you
- We can even plan a “Day After” shoot like we did with Courtney and Chris at a cenote to take advantage of the beautiful location that you might not have with a wedding at home