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  • Destination Weddings

    I would really love to get into destination weddings. I'm at a place in my life now where I can travel more freely and I LOVE doing weddings. We are currently revamping our website to promote this, but other than that does anyone have any suggestions as to how we can get more business of this sort.

    I have a call in to a travel agency in town, thought that might be a good place to start.

    We started thinking about this a couple months ago after we booked a Vegas wedding for next March.

    Also if you have any suggestions about pricing for destination weddings, I'd love to hear them.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Hey Tammy hope this helps!

    Destination Weddings seem all fun but they are a lot of work and stress compared to normal weddings as a general rule.

    Leaving home and family which can be hard, especially if you have kids

    Airline rules change at every airport and well there is no way of winning if you feel they are being unfair

    Check in lines and layovers and bad weather delays, etc all take their toll when you do alot of them.

    Up to this point TriCoast has had every wedding a Destination this year with the closest being 4 hours away from home and the only one we did not fly too.

    We use ThinkTank International rolling bags (Outside the US) and Airport Security bags (Inside the US) to carry our main equipment. We also have a couple LowePro Backpacks which we carry inside the US as well.

    Anything that can be checked in we do but then you start getting into over weight bags (50 pounds as a general rule in the US) (as low as 33 pounds in Africa) and those fees can add up so make sure you think about that.

    From monopods, camera chargers, video light battery belt, plus your clothes, etc.

    Some airports want to charge you commerical fees when your not (again it goes back to you really can't win most of the time with them) and these fees really add up FAST.

    Also simple time away from the studio not making money you need to think about. For the most part we all can make more money shooting a wedding locally on a Sat and then senior or portrait sessions on Sunday, etc. so you need to think overall in your budget what you can afford in the area of being away from the office.


    Remember you can't carry all the same equipment as you do for local weddings, due to this we (TriCoast) use all wireless flash units, when used correctly it looks like sunlight and gives you light anytime in any place of the day or night. We carry two bodies each with 3 or 4 lenses with backup batteries for everything (usually rechargables) a couple battery chargers and other misc goodies. While our bags are heavy they are easy to carry onto most flights which is nice.

    Have a destination wedding package on your website and make sure you push your destination images if you have any of them, your clients will make the connection. As with any other aspect in business, when starting a new marketing plan it might take a while to get it fulling rolling but in time you will wonder (like us) how it might be to sleep in your own bed sometimes after a wedding

    If you have any other questions I would love to try and help out, we seem to have fallen into destination weddings over the last few years so much that I am finally paying for advertising for the first time in our business life for weddings, but only locally in Houston cause as I stated above, I really would like to sleep in my bed a few weekends out of the year
    Last edited by Mike Fulton; 07-13-2007, 02:26 PM.

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    • #3
      Thanks, Mike. I was hoping you'd respond to this thread. Very helpful advice. Many of these things I have considered, but you brought up a few I have not. I really appreciate your words.

      Would you mind sharing how you charge for these events? Like do you break down each additional fee such as airfare, hotel, meals, etc. And do you charge a per day fee? Do you travel w/ assistants? How did you end up doing so many weddings abroad? And how do you pay your assistants for destination events compared to at home weddings?

      This is obviously new territory for me and I have a million questions. Thanks again for taking the time to share your experience and wisdom.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Tammy Wolfe View Post
        Would you mind sharing how you charge for these events?
        Nope not at all

        Like do you break down each additional fee such as airfare, hotel, meals, etc.
        It just depends on the client and the location to be honest. Many times the client buy our airfare for us and pay for the rental car and hotels and give us just a set fee for meals and sometimes we do it all and just set up a total fee to the package up front. Remember if your going out of the country to check the exchange rate on money, most countries overseas our dollar is MUCH weaker so the daily cost of living is MUCH higher and this needs to be added to your overall cost. I personally try and just figure it out, charge a set fee and be done with it, easy for us and the client


        Do you travel w/ assistants? How did you end up doing so many weddings abroad?
        Honestly I don't know it just kinda has happened, we have not advertised it, or really directed our business towards it, it just really developed over the last few years. We show our work, we make friends first who happen to be photographers and we enjoy the trip with our clients. When I figure it out I will be sure and tell you


        And how do you pay your assistants for destination events compared to at home weddings?
        We do not have assistants, TriCoast is a FULLTIME TWO Person team (myself and Cody) so we hardly ever use assistants. Our packages include travel for two photographers (not one photographer and assistant) which included two airfare tickets with one hotel room with two beds :sh:

        This is obviously new territory for me and I have a million questions. Thanks again for taking the time to share your experience and wisdom.
        Not sure how much wisdom I have but I will share what I can, I am sure there are a ton of others here who could jump in also and help out with their business.

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        • #5
          great ideas mike Thank you for sharing!
          Beth

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          • #6
            Mike, lots of great advice! We recently traveled to Detroit for a family wedding, which I was asked to photograph. I was not completely stress free untill I was home safe and sound. I am not built to photograph desitination weddings. I would be a wreck the whole time and it would show in the portraits.

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            • #7
              Bump,

              I'd like to Bring this back up Because I'm restructuring My DW's
              so lets see where this goes

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              • #8
                Thanks for bumping Derek. I have been thinking and researching about destination weddings. Instead of adding a new wedding package we are building a new website dedicated and marketed to destination weddings. As Mike mentioned it takes time to build a from scratch and that is fine with me. My intention is not to fill next years schedule with destination weddings, but a few at the right price would be nice.
                At a seminar recently, Mike talked about making sure you understand what your time is worth. We need to make sure that the destination wedding package covers or pays for ALL the days we are gone. I think that is the most important fact. If we fly out on lets say Thursday and back home Monday, I need to factor in the hours for Thu, Fri, Sat and Mon. Maybe Sunday but depending where we are, that may be our day to play!
                We have traveled to photograph events before. The work can be brutal with long days. Not much time for site seeing! However I enjoy meeting new people and different cultures. More so then just seeing the touristy sites.
                At this point I think I am going to direct our destination marketing to certain markets, not the world. With services like Vonage, I can get a local number in my targeted cities.
                Anyway enough of me babbling. I will be curious to hear what others have to say about their interest and why they want to do destination weddings.

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                • #9
                  Chad Thanks for Jumping in !

                  I have 3 Wedding in Mexico this year and would love to see how other Package this.

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                  • #10
                    I have I think around 8 destination weddings this year and I personally LOVE doing them! The key is to make sure you CHARGE your client so that it is profitable to do them! I can understand if it's your first or second one and you want to do it for cheap or even free just to get a portfolio or the experience. Hey, we all had to start somewhere!

                    What I do is charge my normal collection rates and then have the clients pay for airfare, hotel, and car rental for at least 3 days for me and my second shooter. If it's a really cool place, I may stay an extra few days on my dime, etc...

                    OK, as for marketing, it is all from word of mouth and my blog! Seriously, this year alone, I have booked couples who live in New York, California, etc... juts because of the blog. Another source is the folks at the particular destination. I try to get in really good with the island coordinators and they have started to refer weddings to me as well.

                    In the next few weeks, I will be shooting weddings in Anguilla, Hawaii, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica amongst others so I'll have a lot to share soon!

                    kj

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                    • #11
                      Here an interesting Question,

                      What is a destination Wedding To You!(not just you Kevin)

                      anything overnight?
                      One you have to Flight to?

                      More than 4 Hours away?


                      Thanks Kevin , now this ? is for you
                      Do you Shoot the couple the day before? kinda like a destination Engagement session!

                      If so is that part of your Collections?

                      I think this is the Part most have trouble with
                      For me I do not shoot rehearsal and I do not have unlimited time on the Wedding day
                      But My DW collection starts at $8500 and does cover the day before
                      but not airfare or Hotels

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                      • #12
                        We are trying to get into the destination wedding thing.

                        Here is how. We are networked with a very large travel agency that headquarters here in Findlay and we will give them a book promoting destination weddings for THEM.

                        They then refer brides to us.

                        My rules. I don't leave my kids behind. SO we take along staff or my parents to take care of them. That is built into the fee.

                        We are going to have them cover expenses on top of the fee.

                        (Frankly I would do an Italy wedding for free- just get me there )

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                        • #13
                          Thanks Kevin , now this ? is for you
                          Do you Shoot the couple the day before? kinda like a destination Engagement session!

                          If so is that part of your Collections?
                          Yes, it is built into the fee if they want such a session. Like Mike said, each client is different, as some I'll just charge them an upfront fee for everything, say $16,000 and that would include everything including travel, etc... while others, I would just charge them the regular collection fee and they will pay travel and expenses themselves.(Some clients have hookups that give them good deals, etc....) The one I am doing in a few weeks is taking care of all travel and expenses for us since they are renting out all of the penthouse suites at the resort in Anguilla and that is where we will be staying as well. Since the rooms are $1500 a night, I said they could handle the arrangements!

                          kj

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                          • #14
                            Gotcha ,
                            Thanks Kevin great info.
                            We let the B&G book the hotels because as you said they get better rates
                            for block rooms than if we book.

                            How do you handle airfare?
                            I generally give the B&G my preferred airlines and just let them book

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                            • #15
                              How do you handle airfare?
                              I generally give the B&G my preferred airlines and just let them book
                              It depends. I will only let them book the airfare if I give them the times and dates, etc... If not, I will book it and send them the invoice if applicable. The main reason is that I want to make sure I am not stuck on a flight at 4am or something just because it is cheaper for them!

                              kj

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