055: What is a destination wedding and how do you book them?
It's time to understand the destination wedding world
Many photographers aspire to have a few destination weddings each year. Some of them may not realize that they're either already destination photographers or they have no idea how to become one.
Once you understand the full meaning of a destination wedding, you'll be able to determine if you're a destination photographer or not. Also, there are a lot of details that go into working with a destination wedding, but it can be worth it if done right.
If you want to book weddings outside of your location, go for it! But please know that if you’re the only one traveling, it isn’t technically a destination wedding.
Knowing the definition
There can be some confusion around what exactly is a destination wedding. Hopefully this will be cleared up for you today!
It must be a destination for everyone attending the wedding for it to be counted as a destination wedding. If everyone, including you, is traveling to California, it's a destination wedding. If you're in New York and the whole wedding party is traveling to New York, it's a destination wedding. If the bride and groom fly you to their wedding in Seattle, where they live, it is not a destination wedding.
Definitions are important when you’re in business. You want to make sure when you’re talking about something, that you’re talking about it accurately.
Why is this important?
If you’re looking to shoot weddings outside of your typical location, that doesn’t mean you’re a destination photographer. Most brides and grooms aren’t looking for destination photographers, they’re looking for photographers who will travel. How you talk about it on your website matters - where do you shoot, will you travel, what are your travel fees, etc. It is important to think about it from the couple’s perspective, so keep your language easy to understand and be upfront with them. Some photographers even list their dream locations on their websites so couples can see if they are getting married in those locations. Also, if it is a goal of yours to shoot a wedding in all 50 states, you need to tell people.
Don’t forget your meta data
You need to think about this in terms of your SEO as well. If you’ve gone to certain locations, make sure to put all of the info into the blog post and photo data. This allows you to start gaining traction for those other locations.
Other things to think about
If you're traveling to a place that is accustomed to hosting destination weddings, they may require the couples to use most on-site vendors, so make sure you know who you'll be working with on the day of the wedding. Traveling with your equipment can cause complications and certain places require certain documents and visas. You’ll want to check any homeland security restrictions for the areas you’re headed to as well. When you’re calculating your pricing, you’ll need to make sure to factor in all the pieces in order for it to be beneficial.