How to Book Destination Weddings + Elopements

August 21, 2021

If you are photographer, wedding planner, or even florist, just starting out in the industry and are trying to figure out how to book those dream location destination weddings and elopements or maybe you’ve been around for a few years but are wanting to get more inquires in a desired area, state, or country – this blog post is for you!

AS A DESTINATION WEDDING AND ELOPEMENT PLANNER, ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR QUESTIONS I GET ASKED IS HOW TO START BOOKING IN MORE DESTINATIONS!

After starting my destination weddings and elopements business from the ground up at age 22, I’ve learned a lot through trial and error and taking lots of action to start getting those dream destination inquires. I truly feel like I could write a book just on this topic ha! But for now I will narrow it down to 4 main tips that played a direct role in me starting to book the most incredible elopements and intimate weddings all over the world. So get ready, buckle up, and keep reading!

How To Book Destination Weddings + Elopements

HERE ARE MY TOP 4 TIPS TO HELP YOU START BOOKING DESTINATION WEDDINGS AND ELOPEMENTS IN YOUR BUCKET LIST DESTINATIONS…

1. TRAVEL THERE!

While this might sound obvious, it’s actually not. People tend to sit around waiting for the Iceland elopement or destination weddings in Tulum or hiking elopement in the all the best National Parks inquires to come to them, but most of the time, it doesn’t work that way. You need to put in effort in and work hard to make those dreams come to fruition!

You may ask, why is that?

Well, it’s because couples are WAY more likely to hire you for a specific destination if you’ve been there, explored around, and scouted all the best locations. People want to hire someone who is an expert on that area and can help guide them in planning one of the most important days of their life.

Good news: you now have an excuse to travel more! ;)

I always recommend traveling with open eyes, even if it’s for personal reasons. Because everywhere you go there is potentially a hidden gem location just waiting to hold a wedding ceremony ha! Start a list of locations in places you’ve been that you can even start pitching to potential couples who may be open. You could categorize it my type of scenery, ideal season to be there, level of activity to get there [hiking, walkup, overlook], etc. Then when you have a couple who hasn’t finalized where they want to get married but they know they want to be in the mountains, you can say “I have the perfect place in mind!”

Of course, over time, as you book more travel and people see that you will travel anywhere, more and more destination inquires will role in without you having to go to every single one of them. Couples book me for places I’ve never been, but they trust my knowledge and travel planning expertise because I’ve shown that time and time again.

2. PLAN A STYLED OR CREATIVE SHOOT

Planning a styled or creative shoot in a location you want to work will help give you a leg up. This will help you with booking destination weddings or elopements, over just traveling there. Because not only will you have the personal knowledge and experience, you’ll have work to show you’ve been to that exact location and can do it again to help them! It gives couples that extra peace knowing the magic you can create in a location they desire to go.

When you start to plan a shoot, be strategic and intentional in every decision you make. From the design, the season you go in, time of day, actual set up [tablescape, ceremony, etc.]. For example, if you want to get more National Park hiking elopements, go during the summer during wildflower season. Then you will want to actually go on a hike or overlook you’d want to take a real couple. Then recreate a picnic style reception in the park or Airbnb nearby just like you would for a real couple!

The key to getting your money’s worth out of a shoot is doing realistic things in a creative way. This is not only to inspire future couples and book you but to also give yourself a trial run. You can figure out what logistics did and didn’t work, what vendors you’d want to work with again, what kind of permits are needed, etc. Oh, and don’t forget to have fun!!

Friendly reminder, always respect locations in nature through the LNR trace principles and following local rules and guidelines. You’d never want to create something that 1 – couples can’t actually do and 2 – disrespects nature and will leave a negative footprint.

Photographers or wedding vendors – want help creating the most epic styled shoot?! Click here to learn more about the Content Styling services I offer and how I can help make your styled shoot dreams come true!

3. WORK + CONNECT WITH LOCALS VENDORS

Working and connecting with local vendors is one of my favorite things about planning intimate destination weddings and elopements. I love meeting and making new vendor friends across the world! I mean who doesn’t?!

Not only is it to make new friends, but it is SO IMPORTANT to work and connect with local vendors. Make sure to put a focus on the area you’re wanting to get more work in!

When you plan a styled shoot, it’s like a trial run for a real wedding or elopement. You get a chance to work with a vendor from the planning stages all the way to shoot day. It gives you an idea of who you’d recommend to your couples, who you loved working with and want to work with again, and even see their work first hand!

Bonus: most of the time the local vendors you work with will even start recommending you to couples! Giving you even more opportunities to book wedding and elopements in that location. Of course, that’s only if they loved working with you too. Always make sure to be genuine, respectful, and kind. There is so much to be learned from other vendors in the industry. After my own personal experience and talking with wedding vendors, from hair and makeup, florists, rental companies, paper goods, and more, I have a few tips on what to do when it comes to styled shoot vendor etiquette. Click here to learn about the 3 things to do when reaching out to vendors asking to collaborate!

4. SHARE ALL ABOUT IT

You are finally getting to go to Alaska to do a styled elopement on a glacier? Maybe hike in the Italian Dolomites to scout locations? Or take a catamaran around the USVI’s where you hope to have an elopement one day? TELL THE FREAKING WORLD!!!!

The moment you book the trip and begin planning a shoot, you should start sharing that journey with people. Get them excited to see the finished product! Talk about it on your Instagram Stories – the planning process, fun traveling moments, BTS from the shoot, etc. But don’t just tell people about it, SHOW THEM!

Once you have all the finished photos, reuse that content in every way possible!! Post it on your main feed on Instagram, create BTS reels of the shoots or an IGTV of your trip! You can even write a blog about it, update the photos on your website, and the list keeps going! Make sure to use the proper hash tags and SEO’s to help you market yourself to let the digital world. This helps people know that you’ve been there and wanna go back!!!

Now get to work and start booking more destination weddings and elopements!!! :)

WEDDING PLANNERS

Did you find this helpful and want to learn more amazing tips like this?! Click here to book a video chat mentorship session with me where we go over anything wedding industry related!

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Are you ready to take that next step and plan a styled shoot in one of your bucket list locations but don’t know where to start?! Click here to learn more about the Content Styling services I offer and how I can help make your styled shoot dreams come true!

Photography Credits: Brooke Womack Photography, Maura Davidson Photography, Brianna Parks Photography, Sav Brown Photography, + Amanda Gillian Photography.

Share: