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Free Wedding Planning Guide for the Destination Bride

Award Winning Destination Wedding Photographer based in Asheville, NC shares Free Wedding Planning Guide for the Destination Bride!

Bride & Groom share a kiss on a foggy wedding day at Country Club of Asheville.

Oh, Hey Future Mrs! Congratulations to you on your Engagement! Having worked as a Destination Wedding Photographer for the last eleven years, I’ve worked with hundreds of couples who have planned their Dream Destination Weddings! If you didn’t already know, Asheville, NC is a huge Destination Wedding town (approximately 80% of my couples plan destination weddings in Asheville every year!) & here at Asheville Wedding Photo, we know very well just how the world of Wedding Planning, especially planning a Destination Wedding can feel entirely overwhelming when you’ve never done this before, which is why we’ve put together this Free Wedding Planning Guide for the Destination Bride to help you get organized and plan your perfect Destination Wedding!

ONE YEAR BEFORE:

  • Choose your Destination Wedding Location
  • Select your Wedding Date/Season
  • Work out your Wedding Budget with your Partner/Parents
  • Start Creating your Guest List (you’ll need a rough idea of guest count for selecting a venue to accommodate your event)
  • Research Venues in your chosen city (deep dive into websites, social media, photos & reviews)
  • Email the Venues that you’re potentially interested in booking:
    • Ask for Pricing & Availability
  • Book your Wedding Date at your Dream Venue!
  • Research Photographers – Deep Dive into Google, Websites, Blogs, Reviews & Social Media accounts!
    • “But, shouldn’t we research planners/coordinators first?” (Hot Pro Tip – I don’t know if this is true for every photographer, but when you’ve been in the business for as long as I have, I literally have a recommendation for the actual best of everything from bands to florists & caterers to coordinators in my city.) Not like — the businesses who paid the most to be on that top ten list or who pay planners a percentage of their bookings for referrals or who paid the most in google ads to show up in the top of your search results but like — the actual best of the best to work with! It’s like asking a local to give you the down low on all the best, off the beaten path places to eat & drink in a city that you’re visiting! I’m telling you, your photographer can be your very best friend in this process! 🙂
  • Email Photographers that you’re potentially interested in working with:
    • Ask for Availability & Pricing information!
  • Email Photographers who are available & who fit within your budget range:
    • Ask to schedule a Phone Call, FaceTime or Skype Conversation with them!
  • Book your Photographer!
  • Ask for your Photographer for Recommendations for Planners and/or Coordinators, Bands, DJ’s Officiants, Videographers, Florists, Caterers, Bakers and anything else you might need! (photo booth VW bus anyone!?)
  • Research Planners and/or Day of Coordinators, Florists, Bakers, Caterers, Officiants, Videographers, Bands, DJ’s, etc against any recommendations you received!
  • Hire a Planner and/or Day of Coordinator
  • Select your Wedding Party
  • Get Inspired!!! Check out Pinterest for beautiful, unique & fun ideas to incorporate into your Wedding Day!
  • Check out our Dream Wedding Inspo Pinboard for our Favorite Dreamy Wedding Trends and Inspiration! 🙂
  • Choose a Color Palette and/or Concept

Bride and Groom playfully kiss on Wedding Day at Country Club of Asheville, NC.

10 MONTHS BEFORE:

  • You should’ve hired Wedding Photographers and Videographers by now!
  • Finalize your Guest List and Request Addresses
  • Schedule/Shoot Engagement Portraits
  • Order Save the Dates
  • Buy your Wedding Dress!
  • Create your Wedding Website (this is a great way for guests to get important info!)
  • Select Caterer and begin working on menu
  • Identify Lodging Options for Guests and/or Reserve a Block of Hotel Rooms for Guests (include this information on your wedding website!)
  • Book Officiant for your Ceremony!
  • Book Ceremony Musicians & Wedding Band or DJ! (Deep Dive – Recommendations, Websites, Youtube & Reviews)
  • Create a Wedding Registry (include this information on your wedding website!)

8 MONTHS BEFORE:

  • Order Invitations
  • Start Thinking About/Planning your Honeymoon!
  • Reserve Rentals (Tents, Linens, Tables, Chairs, Lighting, Seating, etc)
  • Book your Florist and begin planning arrangements (Pinterest girl, Pinterest!)

Bride Bouquet and Jewelry Detail Photo on Wedding Day at Country Club of Asheville, NC.

6 MONTHS BEFORE:

  • Choose Bridesmaids Dresses
  • Choose Groomsmen Attire
  • Purchase/Rent Groom Attire
  • Arrange Transportation for the Wedding Day/Night as needed
  • Send out Save the Date’s
  • Select your Baker/Order Cake (Utilize Recommendations, Website/Portfoilio, Reviews, and of course, Pinterest for Inspo!)
  • Send Bridal Shower Guest List/Addresses to Host
  • Book Rehersal/Rehersal Dinner Venue
  • Book your Hair & Makeup Artists (Utilize Recommendations, Website/Portfoilio, Reviews, and of course, Pinterest for Inspo!)
  • Music (work with Ceremony Musicians, Band or DJ to select Processional, Recessional & First Dance, Parent Dance Music, Party Music Requests etc!)
  • Schedule your first Dress Fitting
  • Book Accommodations for your Wedding Night
  • Send Bachelor & Bachelorette Party Guest List/Addresses to Best Man & Maid of Honor

4 MONTHS BEFORE:

  • Finalize Catering Menu for Cocktail Hour + Reception
  • Finalize Floral Arrangements (Ceremony, Bridesmaids, Bridal Bouquet, Groom/Groomsmen, Parents/Grandparents & Reception)
  • Purchase Wedding Bands
  • Order Wedding Favors (Pinterest for Inspo!)
  • Finalize Event Schedule and Master Day of Timeline (including vendor arrivals) with your Planner or Day of Coordinator
  • Conference Call with your Officiant to Finalize Ceremony Outline & Details

Groom's personalized hankerchief on Wedding Day at Country Club of Asheville, NC.

3 MONTHS BEFORE:

  • Send out Invitations
  • Finalize Music Selections, Playlist or Set list with the Band or DJ
  • Enjoy your Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties!
  • Submit Wedding Announcement to Hometown/Local Papers
  • Apply for Marriage License
  • Touch Base with All Vendors (confirm arrival/departure times)
  • Send out as many Final Payments as you can!
  • Make sure Groomsmen Attire has been Purchase/Rented
  • Make sure Bridesmaids Dresses have been Purchased/Sent for Alterations etc
  • Final Dress Fitting
  • Work on Reception Seating Chart

Bride & Groom embrace on their Wedding Day at Country Club of Asheville, NC.

1 MONTH BEFORE:

  • Conference Call with Photographer to discuss day of plans & finalize Wedding Day Photography Timeline
  • Send out Rehersal Dinner Invitations
  • Send out Master Day of Timeline to all Vendors (should include event schedule including arrival/departure times for all vendors and contact info for everyone)
  • Finalize Reception Seating Chart – (Order or DIY what’s needed for that (Pinterest, girl!))
  • Purchase Alcohol & Finalize Signature Cocktails as applicable
  • Purchase/Prep Wedding Party Gifts
  • Write your Vows!
  • Enter all RSVP’s you’ve received into your master guest list excel sheet!
  • Check on Hotel Room Blocks
  • Call Invitees who haven’t responded for RSVP for Final Guest Count
  • Relay Final Guest Count to Caterer, Venue etc.
  • Make sure members of the Wedding Party know what their Duties / Roles are for the Wedding Day!

1 WEEK BEFORE:

  • Check in with all vendors one last time (for peace of mind)
  • Delegate any small day of Tasks/Responsibilities to Family/Friends/Wedding Party
  • Break in Wedding Shoes!
  • Prep Checks/Cash for day of Final Payments and/or Tips
  • Pack for Honeymoon
  • YOU DID IT!!! Cut Loose, Go on a Date Night to Destress before the Big Day! <3

Bride and Groom kiss on their Wedding Day at Country Club of Asheville, NC.

Jenna + Joseph were Married on a rainy October day at Country Club of Asheville.

Download our Free Wedding Planning Guide for the Destination Bride Here: Let me get that!

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Serving Asheville, NC & Beyond

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Serving Asheville North Carolina& Beyond