Destination weddings (DW) have been hugely popular for years. In fact, they’ve grown 400 percent over the last 10 years, according to a 2006 survey by The Conde Nast Bridal Group, publishers of Brides, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride (wpja.com). Not all are having Jamaica beach weddings, though. Destination weddings can be classified as a wedding over 200 or more miles from the couple’s home. For example, I just got back from Tracy and Jason’s Sunny Hill Resort wedding in Upstate New York. They live in Baltimore and decided to head up to the Hudson Valley area to have a DW. Also, in a couple weeks I’ll be heading down to Ocho Rios Jamaica for Brenda and Jason’s Riu Ocho Rios hotel wedding!
Anyhoo, some couples don’t realize the importance or option of bringing their own wedding photographer for their DWs. Recently I’ve experienced bad vendors and heard of a couple of horror stories about some wedding photographers.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
Should I bring some of my vendors (that I know, trust and enjoy to be around) with me to my DW?
Recently at one of my destination weddings I experienced one of the worst vendors ever! The name and vendor’s specialty will remain protected because I’m not that type of guy. Well this person was an online purchase from the bride and groom in the area that the destination wedding was. So there was no way of actually meeting them beforehand. This vendor may have been on some type of mind enhancing “medicine”….and I’m not surprised if they had “will work for food” on their website!!!! It was really really bad.
It might be worth the extra money to bring a wedding photographer, videographer, make-up artist and/or hair stylist with you. You don’t want any unexpected surprises on your wedding day! My main mission with any of my couples is to build a relationship with them before the big day. The wedding day is not the day you should be meeting your photographer for the first time. If you’re completely comfortable with me then you will act completely natural. This equates to the most candid and natural looking pictures. This is also true about your family and guests. When I shoot destination weddings I always like to show up to the rehearsal to meet everyone. Then everyone thinks of me as a part of the wedding…not just one of the vendors.
It’s great to hang out with my couples and their guests on the days leading up to the wedding!
Think of me as your personal photographer for your whole destination wedding adventure.
Great wedding pictures and some fine art, too!
Can’t I use the resort wedding photographer?
You can, but I’ve heard a lot of very bad things happen. You don’t even know who your wedding photographer is until the big day. Whoever is not busy that day will be your guy!!! Most show up and shoot 24, 36 or 48 pictures. They give you an album with those selected number of pictures soon after. Recently, one of my destination wedding brides forwarded me this email (from a DW bride…to her destination wedding planner…to my bride) and said, “all i can say is thank god you are coming!”
“On the other hand, I was very displeased with the photographers. Before we could even do our recessional they were in our face, and had our bridal party do a receiving line – mind you – before we even got to walk down the aisle. They had to play our recessional song twice!!!! I was kind of upset about that. Then during the sand ceremony, they kept telling us to kiss- DURING THE CEREMONY!!!! I can understand them telling you to pose etc after the ceremony, but that is our special time – we’re not actors – it should be real not scripted. Then at the reception, they had us cut the cake 3 TIMES because they kept missing it. This was a cake the hotel threw in – i didn’t want a cake anyways, as i was doing that at our at-home reception. But it was nice of the hotel to do that for us. Not so nice to have the photographer make us re-do the cutting 3 times. The last straw with the photographers was during the garter toss. Pete threw it and my cousin caught it and dropped it after he caught it. The photographers called for a “REDO”. That was it – my maid of honor had to go talk to them and tell them to stop with the acting. If they miss the shot they miss it – too bad. This day is not a play.”
How does this work and what are my options?
Bringing along a wedding photographer to document your whole wedding adventure is pretty simple actually. Everything is basically the same except some travel fees will apply. Some couples want a photographer to document all the days leading up to the wedding, their rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, wedding day/night, day after brunch and do a day after photoshoot!
Trash the Dress sessions are another option.
Some wedding photographers would rather stay local and not travel for DWs. They don’t like leaving their families and some don’t like the stresses of traveling. I love to travel! In the U.S. Navy, I became an experienced world traveler with my camera in tow. Recently I had the honor to photograph two events in Jamaica with Prince Charles. My approach is very laid back and casual as I blend into the party, which results in the most candid moments. I like for my couples to think of me as a friend/guest who happens to be shooting pictures. It’s great to be able to be a part of my couples’ adventures! Also, don’t be surprised if your family “adopts” me. It’s happened many times before.
Some Caribbean Islands have set up websites specifically for DW.
Barbados destination weddings
St. Lucia destination weddings
Destination wedding photographers