Destination Weddings – how it works

Destination weddings are increasingly popular and becoming very common amongst newly engaged couples. Often when planning the perfect getaway wedding, there are many questions about photography and how the whole process works. Wedding photography is a very personal profession and there should be a lot to consider when choosing the photographer for your special day.  There are no re-shoots, it’s a once in a lifetime event…right?  To see a post I wrote about wedding pricing, click here.

Your wedding is coming…you will spend countless hours planning and coordinating your special day. Once you set the date and pick the perfect venue, you’ll put a lot of time and thought in the little details.  The picking of the dress, what kind of floral arrangements, the color and theme, the decor, the menu, the music, etc… When it’s all said and done,  the linens will be soiled, the flowers will have died, the cake eaten and the party over. The only thing you will have left to remember your special day is your images that were captured by your photographer. Remember, the photography will serve as a little time capsule for generations to come. That is why you should pay special attention when picking your wedding photographer. Destination or local.  If you love photos and memories… invest in a quality professional photographer. Trust me on this one.

Now, this post is about destination weddings in particular, so let’s focus on that. Find a photographer you love. Maybe it’s images you’ve seen on a wedding website such as: The Knot or Wedding Wire . Perhaps you’ve seen a feature in a magazine like Martha Stewart or Grace Ormonde.  Do NOT let the home location of the photographer deter you. Many photographers, including myself will do destination weddings and travel to your dream city. And, maybe it’s not a question about a destination city… in fact, maybe it’s YOUR city and the photographer lives somewhere else.  Whichever the case, ignore the home location of the photographer. It’s best that you find a photographer that has a style you like and is someone that you can trust on your big day. Referrals are big in the wedding industry. I met a few bridesmaids that lived in another state that asked if I would come to them for their wedding. My answer. Of course!  With Skype being so easy to use, phone conversations are a little more personal with the added video. I often do my consultations over Skpe with clients, even the local ones! It’s great. And, for those that don’t have Skype, you can always sign up… it’s free. Click here to sign up. If you are not that technical, then we always have the good old fashion telephone.:-)

Now the big question is: ” How much does it cost to get a destination photographer?”.  The truth is destination pricing will vary from photographer to photographer, so there is no universal answer for it. Some photographers primarily do destination weddings and it’s incorporated into their wedding collections or packages. Others are primarily local photographers and charge extra for destination weddings. Some do an equal mix of both.  It really depends.  The best thing to do is inquire more with a photographer you are interested in.  A general rule of thumb is the couple is responsible for airfare, hotel, rental car and meals. And with great travel prices and packages nowadays, it’s really not as expensive as one would think.

Some advice for those brides looking for a wedding photographer:

  • Ask friends or relatives for referrals and how their experience was. This a personal referral that will go a long way.
  • Look at wedding websites, blogs and magazines for inspiration and a style you like. Take note of the photographer.
  • Check out some of the reviews by past clients.
  • Do all your “window” shopping online… Visit photographers websites and blogs. See their work and read a little about them. Of course, find photographers whose images you love. But, try to find out a little more about them. What they like to do, hobbies, etc… Maybe they are a dog fanatic or love Modern Family.  Anything you can find out is always a plus.
  • Pick 3 photographers to call. C*A*L*L. You know, as in telephone! :-). I’m so big on this, just because I think it’s crucial to speak to the photographer. It’s more about the relationship…the connection. Set up an in person consultation. If they do not live near you… hop on Skype. Bottom line….speak to them.
  • Pick a photographer you love as a photographer AND as a person.

While I am based out of Los Angeles, CA, I am available to shoot in the city of your choice. I have a special bonus for my Hawaii brides.  Being that I am from Honolulu, I only charge for airfare and rental car for my Honolulu destination weddings. I stay with my family and always get fed with some great home cooked meals, which means Hawaii brides can save some extra $.  In fact, I’ll be heading to Hawaii tomorrow to shoot a wedding this weekend. Yay!  Well, I guess that’s my cue to start packing! Aloha…


  • J - Great information!

  • mommy - Well said….You are tops ….

  • lisa - This was a very interesting blog post. I didn’t think people used paper maps anymore. : ) Just kidding….

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