There are often times when it may not be possible for couples to visit wedding venues in person. While recent events have required that more couples plan their weddings from home, it’s nothing new for couples planning a destination wedding. Luckily, we’re living in a digital age! There are so many ways to move forward with wedding planning without having to step foot inside a venue. Today, The Treasury on the Plaza is sharing our Virtual Wedding Planning Guide!
Part 1: Virtual Wedding Planning Guide
| Booking Your Wedding Venue Virtually
Tips for finding the perfect wedding venue…online!
1) Create a digital vision board
Start to notice patterns–what colors do you tend to like? Are you looking to celebrate all weekend at a destination wedding? Do you tend to like historic venues with unique architecture? How do you want your wedding to feel? What do you want your guests to say about your wedding weekend?
2) Go online venue shopping
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Use social media! Look at Instagram and Facebook for real wedding coverage and inspiration. On Instagram, you can use the hashtag search feature in a similar manner to using keywords to search on Google.
Do the venues that you are considering have a YouTube channel? Video footage of weddings and special events can be even more useful than still images when you are not able to see the venue in person.
3) Read reviews
Read reviews from brides and grooms on The Knot and WeddingWire. These testimonials from REAL couples will give you deeper insight into the level of service provided by each venue, and give you extra confidence as you narrow down your decision. Look for reviews that specifically mention the experience of planning a destination wedding or virtual wedding planning.
4) Connect with a person
Set up a call to review important information about the venue–price, availability, etc.
Ask lots of questions! What packages are offered? Are there preferred vendors? What dates are available? How many weddings does the venue host per day? Check out our blog with the Top 5 Questions To Ask Before Choosing Your Wedding Reception Venue.
Pay attention to the level of service that you receive from the venue. Do they respond quickly to your request for information? Do they have the people and resources available that make it easy to answer all of your questions? Your venue team will be an essential part of your virtual wedding planning process!
5) Schedule a virtual tour
Most venues will offer some sort of virtual tour experience. If you schedule a time with a member of the venue team they can be available to answer your questions, look at available dates, provide additional photos, and help you decide if the venue is the right fit for you and your fiance.
Pro tip: Write down a list of questions before your tour, be prepared to take some notes, have a bottle of champagne handy, and enjoy!
6) Say “yes” to the address!
Once you find the perfect venue and select a date, you’ll review and sign a venue rental contract. With electronic signature applications, sending and signing contracts from afar is fast and easy. Sooner than no time, you’ll be popping champagne and getting started on save-the-dates!
Part 2: Virtual Wedding Planning Guide
| Planning Your Perfect Wedding Day Virtually
If you have already booked your dream wedding venue, there are plenty of options for keeping the wedding planning process moving, even if you are not able to visit the venue in person!
1) Choose the perfect wedding vendors
Reading reviews on The Knot and WeddingWire is one of the best ways to get a feel for how these vendors work!
Interview them via phone, Zoom, or Facetime! Each vendor plays an essential role on your wedding day. Get to know them and see how your personalities match. Do they “get” your vision? Are they timely and organized? Knowing that you can connect virtually will be key throughout the planning process!
Reach out to your existing resources, such as your wedding venue and wedding coordinator, for recommendations. Venues and coordinators often have a preferred vendor list. They have gone through the process of “vetting” vendors based on the quality of their work and level of service. Use their expertise to your advantage!
Utilize social media for vendor research. Pull up your venue’s Instagram and Facebook accounts. Which vendors are tagged most often? Are there any weddings that have a similar vision or style to yours? We make sure to tag as many vendors as possible in our social media posts so that you can narrow down which team might be right for you!
2) Schedule virtual wedding planning appointments with your vendors via phone, Zoom, or Facetime
You may get to a point in your wedding planning where you are feeling the itch to really connect through more than just email. Maybe you want to see your floral examples or get a better feel of the layout of your venue. Just because you can’t be there in person, doesn’t mean you miss out entirely! Reach out to your vendors to see if they offer Facetime or Zoom virtual wedding planning appointments! Sometimes being able to see your vendor’s body language allows you to connect with them in a more genuine way, and will work wonders to ease any worries and boost your confidence when making those choices from afar.
Venues are realizing the importance of connecting with their destination couples and couples who are planning their wedding virtually. Many have created virtual tours of their spaces, allowing you an interactive opportunity to “walk” the space and “look” around. These virtual tours are for couples at every stage in the wedding planning process! Utilize virtual tours and floor plans to plan out the perfect spot for your sweetheart table, or where the cake will shine in front of that picturesque backdrop!
Extra tip! Colors can be very tricky to choose from a picture or on the internet. When it comes to linens, bridesmaids dresses, or even invitations, oftentimes, a vendor can send you a sample of the material in the mail. That way, you can touch, feel, and experience it as if you were having the meeting in the same space!
3) Tips from past couples who have planned destination weddings
Latoya Francis, Treasury on the Plaza Bride:
“Love everything about your venue and envision yourself there in the moment.
“When Matt and I started wedding planning we went through the spectrum of having a backyard wedding to a destination wedding. We started with our top places to travel (Bora Bora/Maldives) and a central location in between our two families (2 cities in Florida, St. Augustine and Fort Lauderdale) we were currently traveling for work living in California and we started looking up venues in our top locations.
“After searching multiple venues we ultimately fell in love with pictures that reflected everything we wanted for our special day. Every picture from every couple and every room were things that we loved. A grand room with tall ceilings. An intimate ceremony and dance floor. Something unique and historic. We found a venue that offered all of those things and a place we could see ourselves at in every picture we looked at.
“After doing a virtual tour and speaking to a representative, the service we received solidified our decision. We booked it thousands of miles away before ever seeing it in person and it was the best decision we made. Our wedding day and wedding venue were everything we envisioned and more and I’m glad that I didn’t let distance get in the way of following our heart. ♥️”
Jordan Beretta, The Treasury on the Plaza Bride:
“My top tip for planning a destination wedding is to first, find the perfect venue, and then learn to trust the professionals.
“Being from Pittsburgh we looked at 5 venues in South Carolina and Florida and no one compared to The Treasury on the Plaza. It seemed that everything we ever dreamed of or thought about wanting, the Treasury had to deliver.
“Once Glenn and I had picked our venue, a lot of the process is put into other people’s hands. In regard to opinions and advice, you have to trust, because you are not there in person or from that area to make every decision each step of the way.
“The team at The Treasury and Coastal Coordinating, especially Lyndsey, Kiera, and Katy, have been nothing short of amazing. They were there to not only plan everything the first time, but even now the second time after the wedding being canceled due to the [coronavirus] pandemic. They have been extremely helpful, resourceful, and full of love and encouragement every step of the way.
“Once finding the perfect venue, everything else will fall into place with a little trust and guidance from amazing people!”
Jordan and Glenn, we can’t wait to watch you say “I do” soon!
4) Lean on close family members
Do you have a trusted family member or a friend who lives close to your venue or vendors? If so, see if you can enlist their help! Let them be your hands and eyes to keep the planning on track! We often see moms, aunts, brothers, or even close friends come by to help get a few questions answered in person, or offer a trusted opinion. We promise to guide them and provide our expertise along the way!
5) Plan A Future Visit, If Possible
Plan ahead! Coordinate appointments with all key vendors. Seeing if you can stack meetings will make the most of your time while you are in town. Just make sure to schedule coffee and lunch breaks. A cake or bar tasting break doesn’t hurt either! 😉
The early bird gets the worm. (No, that doesn’t mean you have to send an email at 5 am.) It does mean that planning ahead will afford you more open availability for vendor appointments! This is especially important if you are planning a trip on a weekend, as your vendors will likely be trying to accommodate appointments in the morning before turning their focus to any weddings that might also be happening that day. We know that planning a trip–especially if you are planning a destination wedding from WAY out of town–can take time, resources, and effort. We want to make sure that we have enough time carved out to give you the attention you deserve! The earlier the better!
When planning a wedding, couples are often surprised by how close they become with some of their wedding vendors. You talk to these people on a regular basis for months–often even years! You’re working together toward a common goal: planning the perfect wedding day! Just like any good relationship, with good communication, those bonds can be strong, despite any physical distance.
There’s an old saying that goes, “together forever, never apart, maybe by distance, but never in heart.” If you’re reading this, and looking for a partner in this (sometimes crazy!) wedding planning journey, The Treasury on the Plaza team is here for you! We can’t wait to chat with you and plan your dream wedding together!