Destination Weddings: Tips on Importing Your Pros

Whenever possible, choose local florists, musicians, and caterers. But for more control over services like photography and video, consider flying in a professional. Here are a few details to anticipate:

Be prepared for the added expense. You'll be expected to pay for airfare, transfers, meals, and hotel rooms for your vendors (and often for their assistants). Some charge their day rate for each travel day. Fees for a rental car or toting their equipment may also be your responsibility.

Honor their travel requests. Some vendors insist on making their own travel reservations. While you do not have to pay for first class, you should respect their airline preferences: Many professionals have established relationships with specific carriers and other companies based on their needs – for example, a good insurance policy in case equipment/baggage is damaged or accommodations for a fragile cake.

Arranging to have your vendors arrive in town 24 hours ahead of time is always a good idea even if it adds a day to their fees.

Investigate visas. In some countries your vendor may have to apply for a special visa or work permit in order to service your ceremony. Rather than encourage him or her to work around this "inconvenience," recognize that attention to bureaucratic red tape is the sign of a true professional.

Ask for an early arrival. Arranging to have your vendors arrive in town 24 hours ahead of time is always a good idea even if it adds a day to their fees. In case of inclement weather or other unforeseen glitches, your pro will still have time to make alternative travel plans or hop on a later flight.

Get detailed estimates. Ask questions up front about what your vendor expects in regards to time and expense so you aren't stuck with any unpleasant surprises (as in out-of-you-budget bills) after you get home from your honeymoon.

Agree on a per diem. Establish dollar limits for meals each day. If you know your photographer has agreed to spend only $50 a day on food, you won't panic when you hear him ordering an expensive cognac at the end of the night. He's probably doing it on his own dime.

Include them in your calculations. Calculate your photographer, officiant, or planner into your head counts for events like the rehearsal dinner and lunch onboard the boat. If your budget allows, it will be easier than having them run off to find their own food during the evening's festivities.

Local Wedding Vendors, Local Wedding Cake Makers, Local Wedding Florists, Local Wedding Photographers, Local Real Weddings