How to Book More Destination Weddings

For many, destination weddings are the perfect mix of business and pleasure. 

Travel to enchanting destinations, experience local culture, sit by the pool, or beach, or on top of a mountain

All while getting paid to do it.

Truly, it’s a dream for many.

But how do you make it a reality? 

That’s what I talk about with one of the biggest authorities on destination weddings in the world on the Own Your Business podcast this week. Jennifer Stein, founder and editor-in-chief of Destination I Do, spends an hour giving insights and recommendations on how to speed up your success in the destination wedding world. 

The #1 way to get more destination business

At the end of the interview, I ask Jennifer for her top tip to get more business. It took her .3 seconds to give me her answer:

“Go. There.”

That’s it. It’s the first step to everything you’ll need to grow your business in that market.

Of course, going to the place you want to do more destination weddings makes perfect sense when you lay it out so simply.

Here are four reasons why it’s the crucial first step you need to take.

#1 – See if you like the place

Have you ever gotten a recommendation from a friend to go out to a restaurant, and when you see the menu you don’t find anything you like? 

Or read about how amazing a certain city is and when you get there you don’t see what all the fuss is about?

Big expectations are often followed up by even bigger letdowns.

I’ve traveled all over the world (24 countries and 28 US states) and I can tell you some places are not all they’re made up to be. (Cabo is like that for me. I know, I know, so many love it (especially my Texas and LA friends), but I’ve been twice and it’s not my vibe. Sorry.)

Other destinations are billed at the highest levels – and meet or exceed expectations. (Paris is that place for me. I’ve been 8 times over the past 25 years, including two stints for 2+ months, and I can’t get enough of it. I intentionally schedule overnight layovers in Paris so I can hit up my favorite spots and walk the city for a few hours.)

But you don’t know these things if you don’t go there.

#2 – Scout out what it’s like to work 

Travel isn’t always about the destination. It’s also about the journey. Take it from a guy who’s lived on an island for most of the past 20 years. 

On a recent trip to San Miguel de Allende (which I had low expectations for but now feel like it might be another Paris for me), Katy and I took a 

  • Taxi from our house to the ferry

  • Ferry to the mainland 

  • Shuttle to one city

  • Shuttle to the airport

  • Red-eye flight to Mexico City

  • Four-hour ride to our rental house

And then we did it in reverse on the way home. But had to stay in a hotel overnight (with two extra shuttle rides required) because the ferry wasn’t running when we returned at night.

We spent 50 hours traveling to spend 4 nights in San Miguel. And it was so worth it.

For a vacation.

But if I was a vendor traveling for work with gear? I don’t know if I’d want to risk all those transfers and potential places to lose my bags. Or miss a connection.

Destination weddings are not as simple to do as an event down the street at a local ballroom. Be sure to practice what it’s like to get there so you know what to prepare for when it’s game time.

#3 – Build content 

It’s harder to book business if you don’t have content to show in the destination.

Couples and planners don’t like to take risks on inexperienced vendors. And familiarity with local venues, customs, transportation requirements and so much more is quickly communicated when you can show a gallery from the place you want to do more work.

It’s also a great way to get found in the first place. Social media tags and locations are an excellent way to get your name and work in front of couples searching for vendors. So are images from a blog post discovered through SEO. But couples can’t find you if there aren’t any images.

So create content however you can with whomever you can. It might be scouting a venue or two, and then creating a blog post or TikTok. 

Or it could be more formal, like a styled shoot with local vendors you connect with. 

If you’re a photographer, find a local model and bring a dress you rent so you can create bridal portraits in the location. Boom. Instant “wedding” content.

Get something, anything when you travel. Or no one will discover you.

#4 – Meet potential friendors

I mentioned above how you can do a blog post about venues in the destination. This is a great way to meet new people and build content at the same time.

But you don’t have to do a photo session to make new friends with vendors. Find wedding pros in the area who feel like a good fit with your style and personality, and then reach out to them. A single DM might get you a friendor for life.

Already have vendor friends in the area that you’ve connected with before? Amazing. Now put some time and energy into deepening that relationship with a coffee date or dinner out. And ask them to bring some new friends you can meet. A single ask might make you five new friendors.

Build a destination wedding business

If you’re serious about doing destination weddin
gs as a major part of your business strategy, or you just want to see if it’s worth pursuing, check out this week’s episode of Own Your Business.

I talk with Destination I Do founder and editor, Jennifer Stein, to share insights and perspectives that will:

  • Get you more inquiries from destination clients 

  • Build content to attract couples in locations you want to work

  • Show you who to reach out to for referrals

  • Give insights into a post-pandemic destination wedding market


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