A destination wedding is defined as marrying at least 100 miles from where the couple currently lives. So imagine the options that a destination wedding opens up for you.
A destination wedding is a great option for those who want a smaller wedding, or for the couple who loves to travel or in a lot of cases the couple wants to get married were they grew up vacationing.
We recently had the pleasure of teaming up with Celebration Cottage and Knot a Second Thought in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina to learn more about destination weddings, how they plan them and who most of their clients are. We also had the pleasure to sit down with Jess Brass of Common dove who is a destination wedding photographer. After we all sat down and chatted we put together the greatest styled editorial shoot to showcase what a real destination wedding could look like! The shoot consisted of all local vendors used by Knot a Second Thought and The Celebration Cottage, the food spread was even provided by their in house cater and we even had a LIVE PAINTER (something that is so popular in the South for our wedding day)! The photos you find throughout this feature are from the shoot.
When we sat down with Zena, planner and owner of Knot a Second Thought she told us about planning from start to finish, how hiring a wedding planner for your destination wedding is the BEST thing to do, to ensure you get everything covered and pick the best wedding vendors, how she got into the planning industry and so much more!
How did you get into the wedding planning industry? Well, I was working for a Vacation Rental Company, helping to manage their events which led to a position opening up there within. Destination clients renting beach homes that were managed by this company, as well as Events and Weddings at a local Hotel they managed at the time. After doing this for a few years, while my experience and portfolio were growing, so was my family! Working in the office during the week and then events on the weekends was becoming too much and I was missing time I wanted to spend with my Kids. I decided to make the jump and start a Planning and Coordination company of my own. Allowing me to be in more control of my time. So I left my job of 9 years and started Knot a Second Thought.
Can you tell me about your company? KAST is a lot more today than I ever envisioned it to be. We are a full service Planning, Coordination and Design Company. And this year, we expanded to offer full Floral Design! With six employees and an abundance of talent, we are able to help plan, design and execute events of any style, size or caliber with ease and smiles our faces.
Did you ever think you would be doing destination weddings for couples? Not really. I went to school, briefly, to be an English teacher, then changed to Social Worker...then realized I was "lost". So I left school and came home to regroup. Got a job at a local real estate company, just to pass time until I found out what I wanted to be doing. A few years in, I started helping with Events and I knew it was the right fit. I love that I get to work with couples from all walks of life. I've planned with couples living overseas, to right around the corner. Couples that have been together 20 years and others that met online 6 months ago. They are all wonderful and unique and I am so glad I found this path. With years of experience under my belt, it is easy for couples to trust me with their plans, even living hundreds of miles away. Some couples I don't even meet face to face until the day before, at Rehearsal! :)
How many destination weddings do you do a year? We average about 40-50 Weddings per year, about 70% of those are for couples that live over 8 hours from us. Most farther than that.
What is your top recommendation to someone who just got engaged and wants a destination wedding? Yay! Congrats! Take a breath. Make a list of things that are important to you both for your Big Day, start looking at venues that you love and call a Planner. We will help you with every step of prioritizing your time and budget.
Planning a destination START to FINISH? how do you go about this when people are so far away, please tell us the communication process also.
Well, these days technology makes it pretty streamline and "simple", dare I say? We have everything ready and lots of pretty, organized documents. We are there step by step to walk you through a planning timeline. Most couples start planning about a year out, some less, some more. So where we are on the calendar will help to determine what we knock off the list first. We start with a questionnaire to help gather your details, we have a design questionnaire to help you hone in your design ideas. We have a wonderful preferred vendor list of other amazing vendors in our local area and so much more.. I am a working Mom. I am totally honest with my clients about this and let them know from the beginning, they can email or text or call me anytime. I am quicker to respond to text, since sometimes my kids are loud and crazy in the background, but totally available as much or as little as they need. We work together to make sure all things are just how you imagined them to be. We make a timeline for all vendors to follow and we are there to execute it on the Big Day.
Brides- Don't you think hiring a planner for your destination wedding would be in your best interest, we do!!!!
Next- we got to sit down with Jess, Destination wedding photographer and owner of Common Dove. We recommend hiring someone who has photographed multiple destination weddings before!
Why did you decide to be a destination wedding photographer? I feel like destination weddings have such fun and adventurous vibe to them. When you get all your closest family and friends together and travel to a place to say your vows, it some how feels a little bit more magical....like one big, love-filled experience that everyone gets to witness. Plus it feels like a big vacation with your family and friends which automatically sets the tone for an extra dose of spontaneity that can sometimes get lost in a traditional wedding setting.
How did you even decided to be a photographer? Becoming a photographer felt like a natural progression for me. I grew up with a Mother who was constantly documenting milestones and lugged a camera around to just about every event. She kept a record of our childhood that some might call excessive, but one that I am eternally grateful to have now. Photographs are what you keep with you when the memories fade. I began my artistic career as a painter, something I still do to this day. After I got my painting degree I went back to school for photography. Being fluent in one artistic medium really helped me transition into another and gave me a different perspective where I composed my images from a painters standpoint. If I take the time to paint a portrait, I want it to have a level of emotion that makes each stroke vibrate with feeling, I like to feel that kind of connection to the subject. This is the same mind set I approach photography. Documenting special moments that are valuable enough for someone to pay me to keep my eye to the shutter is such an honor. I feel in love with the human connections I see behind the lens, and that is why I am a photographer.
Anyone else our there ready to hop on a plane and plan their wedding at the beach?!
The "bride" & "groom" in our styled shoot are a real couple in life and at the end of the shoot, there was a surprise proposal that we helped coordinate with the "groom", Andrew. Here is their love story:
Danielle decided to hop in her car and move her life down to Charleston without knowing a single person or much about it at all.
Andrew did the same thing 6 years earlier.
Danielle decided that since she had zero friends in Charleston, she would try out this app everyone was talking about called Bumble where you can meet friends in your area with similar interests or potential people to date. She found this man with a profile that said he was Italian, from Pennsylvania, played the piano, loved theatre and arts, and liked to rap battle....
So she OBVIOUSLY had to send him a message. She told him she had just moved here and had no friends and he asked if she wanted to grab a drink at Shem Creek the next day. That date ended up lasting 4 1/2 hours because they couldn’t leave each other after that drink. So it also turned into a walk on the boardwalk, sprinting back to pee, dinner, and a night walk on the beach where he held her hand and they shared a sweet kiss. This was exactly one week after Danielle moved to Charleston. On a Tuesday.
From that moment on, they were inseparable. They always say that Andrew was here waiting for Danielle, and when the time was right, Danielle unknowingly drove straight into his arms.
Fast forward to now!
Andrew wanted to make Danielle’s proposal as memorable as possible and also wanted to make sure the moment was captured.
Danielle and Andrew were asked to be last minute models in a photo shoot in North Carolina that his best friend’s wife was shooting. They had a live painter there who spent the day painting them and their fake wedding party in the scene where this shoot was set. Danielle had walked by and looked at the beautiful painting multiple times throughout the day. Little did she know that Andrew had hired her to be a part of his master plan.......
There were many hours of “acting” and “modeling” for a fake wedding and ceremony. Danielle actually teared up while she was holding Andrew’s hands and looking in his eyes during their fake ceremony on the beach. Andrew and Danielle were the last two people left to shoot once all the fake bridesmaids and groomsmen left. Andrew asked the painter to show Danielle what the final painting looked like and when she turned it around, it was a picture of Andrew on his knee proposing to Danielle. Very taken aback, Danielle turned to Andrew in confusion and he was down on one knee and asked Danielle to marry him with tears in his eyes, along with many other beautiful words that neither of them can clearly remember because they were both lost in the moment. Danielle didn’t even see the ring he was holding out at all until it was on her finger! Danielle said “OF COURSE” and then kept saying over and over that this was like a magic trick!
Photography Common Dove
Venue & Food Celebration Cottage
Style + Design & florals Knot a Second Thought
Concept Whimsically Wed
Chairs Crystal Coast Tent & Event Rental
Dress The Wedding Dress Shoppe
Invitation L. Rae Design
Mini cakes Famous Baking Company
Hair and Makeup Silverceiling Beauty
Rental Company Charming and Quaint
Bridesmaids Dresses Haley Paige Occasions
Live Painter Salty Girl Designs
Ring Suzanne Kalan Jewelry