Education: PLANNING A DESTINATION WEDDING

 
 Josh + Melissa's Intimate Wedding in the Smoky Mountains

Josh + Melissa's Intimate Wedding in the Smoky Mountains

We may be wedding photographers based in St. Louis Missouri,  but we have shot our share of destination weddings
and are here to offer some solid advice for you!

 

1| CHECK THE REQUIREMENTS

Whatever state or country you choose, the first thing that you should check off your to-do list is look up the state/country/regions laws and requirements for legal marriage! We know that each state has similar,  but sometimes different requirements for couples who wish to get married.

For example, in some states, like Connecticut, you do not need to be a resident to receive a marriage license, but you do need to apply either in the town where you plan on getting married. And then there are states like Arkansas where a marriage license can be used statewide!  Check for wait times too! Some states have a waiting period of three days after applying to receive a marriage license. If you're planning on getting married in a state with that requirement, it is probably best to get there at least three days before the weekend just to be sure. (Depending on if their courthouse is open on the weekends!) Each state has different needs when it comes to applications as well, so read up and make sure you bring all of the right papers, ID's, and whatever else may be required!

If you plan on eloping and are really wanting it to be a private, intimate moment consider Colorado! In the state of Colorado you are only required to have one witness, with a second space on the marriage license for an optional second witness. We've been witnesses for our couples elopements in the past and it is truly an honor. <3

Click HERE for a full list of US States and their requirements for out of state marriage!

 
 Jordan + Coleton's Intimate Wedding at Sapphire Point in Lake Dillon, Colorado

Jordan + Coleton's Intimate Wedding at Sapphire Point in Lake Dillon, Colorado

 

2| SCOUT THE LOCATION - IN PERSON OR ONLINE

Visit the area as a weekend get away to really get you in the mood for your wedding! Schedule tours with your favorite venues or if you've been before, maybe pick a spot that is super special to you? Could be a lookout on a hiking trail or the taco bar where you first met! Stay in a few cute AirBNB's in close proximity and re-rent your two favorites as getting ready locations for the guys + the girls. Plot twist: Get MARRIED at an AirBNB! Super affordable and endless locations, prices, and quirkiness right at your fingertips! 

Great resources to find THE PLACE!
Venue Report
• National Parks Websites or Vacationing there and adventuring to find the perfect place to say I do!
• AirBNB
• Or the best options: ask your photographer or coordinator!!

Some unconventional venue ideas:
• Green House
• Parking Garage (There's one in St. Louis that we ADORE.) 
• Rooftop
• Your backyard
• Alley way
• Library
• Record Shop
• Coffee House (Barista Parlor in Nashville is goals.) 
• Under a Bridge
• Airplane Hanger

#1 TIP - DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK UNCONVENTIONAL SPACES IF THEY'D BE WILLING TO HOST YOUR WEDDING!
The worst they can do is say no!

 
 Rebekah + Trey's elopement in St. Louis

Rebekah + Trey's elopement in St. Louis

 

3| PICK YOUR VENDORS

Finding vendors can be, yeah we know it, overwhelming! As a photographer who has personally helped clients plan out of state weddings I can tell you that my NUMBER ONE recommendation is to find a wedding coordinator that you love. We have three that we adore and always recommend for destination weddings/elopements. (In Alphabetical order, because we love them all!)  Brannan Events - Bridezilla Events - He&She Weddings . 

If you decide to go it alone, we recommend looking at hashtags on instagram  using your venue/location and then the category you're looking for. #yourweddingdestinationflorals/dj/weddingrentals. Junebug Weddings is also a great resource when looking for vendors after you've found your photographer. 

 
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4| LOOK OVER THE GUEST LIST

Is it overwhelming thinking about getting everyone you've ever met in one spot? Consider eloping. You can still have all of the beauty of the vows and plan a really great reception for when you come home! Print a couple of albums for your parents and show your video and printed photos at your reception to make your guests feel involved!  Eloping opens a whole new freedom in choosing a wedding venue stateside and abroad. You can squeeze into little spaces!

Not overwhelmed? Consider the AirBNB option! Rent one or two large spaces that can accommodate multiple families and save money by getting married there. There are some really amazing options. It's an updated version of the hotel block and is super trendy for 2018 + 2019 Weddings. Planning on getting married at a resort? Call and ask what kind of rates they can give to guests planning to make the trek! 

 
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5| ASK FOR HELP

You're not in this alone. All of your vendors, especially your photographer,  ;) want you to feel supported and provide as much information and support as possible leading up to, on, and even after your day. Your wedding day is so important to us and the people you choose to work with. Let us help create the best experience for you and your bride/groom to be. 
 

FINAL THOUGHTS: 
WANT TO HEAR FROM THE TWO BRIDES WHO DID IT? CHECK OUT THE POSTS BELOW!


 
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thanks for reading.


- ROSALIE MARION


ST. LOUIS WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
CAT LOVER EXTRODINAIRE.


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