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East Coast to West Coast: How to Plan a Destination Wedding

How would you like the wedding of your dreams in sunny Southern California? Well in 2017, approximately 250,000 weddings happened in California, according to

And yours can too.

Many couples attempt to plan a destination wedding, and while it might sound like a simple process, many give up after a few stress-filled months.

The truth is that when it comes to planning a destination wedding, most engaged couples get excited at first, start planning, get overwhelmed and then sadly, they give up on the idea of even having a wedding outside of their city.

Even couples who do move forward with the plans they make, there is uncertainty of whether the venue or other vendors they chose are truly reputable, and a fear exists if things will go as expected for their Big Day.

Here are three tips for planning a destination wedding in Southern California that may ease the stress, as well as put a bit more confidence into the idea that your destination wedding to Southern California is in fact a reality.

1. Hire a destination wedding planner thats lives in Southern California.

This may sound very obvious to most, however, many couples mistakenly hire a destination wedding planner that lives in their own city or a city outside of their wedding location. When you find a destination wedding planner, that also lives in the city of your wedding location, it is like winning the lottery or striking gold in the wedding world!

However, when couples make the mistake of hiring a planner from their own city or one outside of the wedding location, they are only adding a headache to their own planning process, as there will be many things the planner will not do on their behalf.

Couples should want their wedding planner close-by to the wedding venue and main wedding vendors (within 0-3 hours is a good measurement). One of the reasons is that there may be many tasks and events the planner can do on your behalf, such as meet with the caterer, florist or rental company to see selections in person. Couples on the East-Coast may also want the planner to suggest qualified vendors- a planner who lives in the city of the wedding location can suggest the best of the best due to knowing that particular vendor community.

An example of this was a previous bride of mine, Leah, from Ohio, who we planned a wedding for in San Diego, California. She was very confused about certain design choices. Because she was across the country, she didn’t know specifically which florist to hire. The florists she had wanted was from Ohio, but was going to cost a fortune to do florals for her wedding in San Diego. I suggested 3 florists that were on the top of my list, each from San Diego, who knew the terrain and season of San Diego. She chose a florist that worked best with her budget and the wedding day turned out beautifully.

2. Book the wedding venue between the months May-October.

Most people assume Southern California is ALWAYS sunny. However, we do have some rainy days, and when it rains… it pours! Sometimes, even bringing along gusty, cold winds that no wedding guest wants to experience.

Although some say the rain brings good luck for a couple, the process of booking a tent is not very lucky for the person paying for the tent. Tent’s in Southern California range between $10,000 to $50,000; I suggest cutting out the likelihood of rain altogether and booking during our dryer months.

If you must book during November-April, choose a venue with an indoor option, or have a tent in the plans well ahead of time.

3. Allow freedom for creativity by your wedding vendors.

One of my couples, Amanda and Jason, from New York, started working with me when they had absolutely no mapped-out plan for their wedding. In the first week, we clarified the entire planning process.

One of the things they told me during that call was, “we trust you and the other vendors, surprise us!” That wedding, still to this day, was by far one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever planned, and I have been doing this for almost 10 years.

The reason being was that the vendors involved were able to use their creativity freely. They each designed their part with no restraints from the couple, just a simple “must have” (and “must not have”) list.

I suggest this to all of my couples, but especially to my destination couples, that they must allow for the planner to use the desired outcome for their wedding, as the guide for the planning. This allows for freedom of creativity to the vendors, and creates for the most beautiful outcomes.

This also removes a large headache from the couple who is across country.

If you are looking to have your wedding in Southern California, I specialize in helping couples like you plan their big day! Most of my couples are from the East Coast planning a wedding on the West Coast.

If you are interested to learn more about my Destination Package, please feel free to contact me here.

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