If you have, then the following will sound quite familiar.
As soon as your furniture ad is up, you will be inundated with used furniture buyers. Some are just shopping for their homes while others are looking to resell in their stores. Regardless of the kind of buyer, they will both do one thing before they are ready to fork over the money.
They will stop by to inspect the furniture
Whether the furniture is a $10 end table or a $3,000 dining room table, they are going to go over every corner to make sure there are no scratches or nicks that they were not aware of. Many will inspect to make sure they know what they are buying and others will do it so they can lower the price. But inspect they will.
So if a craigslist buyer will inspect furniture worth a few dollars, why do destination wedding couples book their entire event without actually visiting the site or the seeing the vendors?
The average destination wedding is about 23k and yet most couples will do the bare minimum. They will read online reviews, talk to a few people and book without ever having taken a trip to see the place.
So what’s wrong with that?
Well, for one thing, they have no idea how good any of their vendors really are.
Not visiting the site would mean you have no idea whether the vendor even has a studio (in the case of a photographer), or whether they bake their cakes in a real commercial kitchen or out of their home.
The last thing you want is a terrible and unprofessional vendor that shows up late to the wedding, if at all. Many a bride has placed a deposit with a vendor only to find out that they went out of business a week a two before the wedding and are no longer operating.
So how can you avoid being scammed?
By going on an advance scouting trip to your destination wedding location.
Doing so will allow you to inspect multiple wedding venues, and tour the hotel/resort for yourself.
You can meet multiple vendors and negotiate right with then on the spot. Not only will this make the process of ironing out contract details faster, you will also get an idea of how personable the vendor really is.Read “Vendors To See During Your Destination Wedding Site Visit”
You can also arrange for a block of hotel rooms, book group activities, and check out the best locations for a sunset ceremony.
In addition, going on the trip yourself will give you an idea of how practical the trip really is for your wedding guests. In making your own reservations, you will get to know flight schedules, how long each flight is, how many connections are required and how long it takes to get to the hotel after landing.
Having taken the trip yourself, you can communicate some great tips when sending out the invites.
So if there are so many advantages to going on a destination wedding scouting trip, how come most people don’t do it?
Because they think of the cost as being unnecessary. They think that conducting research online and reading a few reviews will get them exactly what they are looking for. And they don’t know how wrong they are till the day of the wedding.
Not going on an advance trip because of the cost is just plain foolish when planning a destination wedding. How can you put a price on knowing that your wedding venue looks exactly as the photos online. That your wedding cake baker is really as masterful as they say he is. That your beach wedding will not be overrun with tourists.
You can’t put a price on those things. And yet many do.
So what does it cost to go on scouting trip?
Not much at all. Your airfare for the two of you will be less than a $1000 in most cases, hotel stay for a weekend will be another $300 and food and miscellaneous will be another $500. That will be the best $1,800 you will ever spend on your wedding.
Considering that the average destination wedding is close to 23k, spending $1,800 to ensure that you are getting what you pay for seems like a small price to pay.
And in many cases, you will pay nothing.
By going on a scouting trip, you will be able to save money because you can negotiate better deals with vendors face to face.Moreover, you can comparison shop with other vendors, and ask around for local recommendations not available online.
Having more choices will lead to better prices. In most cases, you will save more money than you spend on the trip itself. And even if you don’t save money, at least you will have the peace of mind of knowing what to expect when you go for the actual wedding. And you can’t put a price on that.
While going on a scouting trip is extremely advantageous, there are two exceptions where it is not an absolute necessity.
The two exceptions to this rule
The first is if you are getting married at a well known all inclusive resort like Sandals or Riu. These companies have destination wedding down to a science so the chances that they will screw up something is minimal.
The other instance is if your wedding is less than 10k. At that price point, the dollars spent on the scouting trip can be better spent on the wedding itself.
As you can see, a scouting trip is an absolute necessity when it comes to planning a destination wedding. Just the peace of mind of knowing that you have selected the wedding venue of your dreams, and seen every vendor for yourself will make the trip worth the time and effort.
And with the money you save, you can go out and buy some furniture on Craigslist. Just make sure you inspect it.
What should you read next?
Planning a destination wedding? Take a look at some of the most popular destination wedding locations to see which one would be ideal for your wedding.