Planning a Destination Wedding
by Steven Frischling
Looking to get away from home for your wedding? Would you prefer a very romantic city for a timeless classic backdrop? Perhaps you feel like wearing flip flops, as the sun sets over the water.
Two words: Road Trip! Or rather: Destination Wedding!
Wedding location is your choice, and I can help you in two areas: Finding the photographer of your dreams and with travel tips to help make your travel logistics easier.
The Right Wedding Photographer
Working with a photographer is a truly personal decision. There are many different styles and different personalities out there, which lead to the two most important factors in selecting your photographer:
1) You must love your photographer's work. It has to speak to you, it has to visually satisfy you.
2) You must “click” with your photographer and completely trust their vision and visual abilities.
You will often spend more time with your photographer than anyone else on your wedding day. If you don't love your photographer’s work and absolutely trust them to photograph your wedding day, you're not going to have the best possible experience.
Determining Your Photo Taste
When you begin your search for a wedding photographer, make sure to have some idea what you like visually. Your style preferences can change as you look through different portfolios. Don’t be swayed by titles such as "traditional," "photojournalism," “reportage,” or "lifestyle." These terms are used by many photographers, but more often than not the meaning of these descriptive terms blur across many lines. You should look at as much work as you possibly can. Do not look at the pricing first. Look at the work, and make a short list of the work that really impresses you. This will help you determine what style of work you really like.
Wedding Photographer Location
Now the hard part. Do you choose to work with a photographer local to you and have them travel to your wedding? Or do you hire a photographer local to your destination, whom your have not met prior to your wedding day? If you are choosing to work with a photographer who is not local to you, you can also expand your search to photographers not local to you or your destination? The last option gives you the freedom to seek out the best photographer to meet your needs. Most of my wedding couples choose the latter option.
If you choose to have your wedding somewhere that requires Visas and a quick understanding of local customs, such as the beautiful buildings carved into the side of a mountain in Petra, Jordan, you may want to seek out a photographer who is not only a great shooter, but also one who is adept in travel logistics and researching location information.
This is not to say that less experienced travel photographers cannot handle the job. All photographers start their travel somewhere. If you decide on an international wedding, find out if your photographer has not only traveled, but has traveled as a professional photographer. Traveling as a tourist is different than traveling for work. When documenting a wedding or shooting any job, there is no "Oops." Find out if your photographer has dealt with issues like customs and immigrations, traveled with equipment, dealt with different electrical power converters, and is familiar with airline size/weight restrictions.. It takes skill to work on the road.
Traveling to Your Destination Wedding
You want to have fun. You want a good experience outside of your wedding day. You want to soak it all in and love it.
Chances are you will be bringing a lot with you to your wedding. To cut down on your stress, ship everything you can via FedEx/UPS/DHL and travel light. If you are traveling during a peak season try and get your baggage down to one legal carry-on and a personal item. This will allow you to skip the long baggage check in line at the airport and head to the self check-in kiosk most airlines now use.
When you arrive at your destination, you can skip the baggage claim and beat the rush to the airport shuttle stand. On a good day you can be in your room looking out at the view with a cold drink in your hand and a do not disturb sign on the door while the majority of your fellow passengers are still jumping over each other to see if the 21" black, ballistic nylon roll-a-board bag on the baggage carousel is theirs.
Destination Wedding Travel Tips
- Never pack anything valuable in your checked baggage. Even if you have TSA-approved locks, they can and often will be cut off when flying internationally.
- Pack Light. If you are staying for longer than a week, use space-bags, and enjoy the convenience of the hotel laundry to cut down on what you are bringing. You can have your friends or family travel with your bulkier items so you can pack in one roll-a-board and a Val-pak for a suit and a dress (not the wedding gown. Have the dress shop pack and ship it for you!). It’s your wedding, so don't stress.
- Seek out flights that have two-seat configurations. The Boeing 767 and Airbus A330 are often configured with only two seats in the window sections. Sitting in the window section would allow you to sit by yourselves. If you are on a flight with 3-&-3 seat configurations, such as the Boeing 757 or Airbus A320, try nicely explaining to the counter agent that you are newlyweds and see if they will to block out the empty seat in your row so you have all three seats to yourself.
- There is a long held myth that newlyweds often get upgraded to first class while flying. The truth is that newlywed upgrades rarely happen anymore. Airlines have cut back on the number of seats in "Premium Cabins," and you are competing with the airlines "elite" frequent flyers who want those seats. With an upgrade often hard to score, you can look at airlines that offer "premium economy" sections. The only U.S. airline with this type of cabin is United Airlines with its "Economy Plus" section, which is available on all planes flying anywhere they go in the world. If you are headed to Europe, Asia or the Pacific there are many non-U.S. international carriers who offer this added comfort for not much more than your standard economy seat! Find out how to maximize your comfort here: http://www.seatguru.com/charts/premium_economy.php
Steven Frischling, aka Fish, is the genius behind FishFoto. Fish's editorial & corporate assignments have spanned The Globe and his documentation of couples on their wedding day have taken him around The World. www.fishfoto.com