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I first started shooting destination weddings about 6 years ago, since then I've been booked to cover weddings in 6 different countries, including Ireland, Spain, Italy, Belgium, France and Germany as well as covering what I call mini destination weddings in North Wales, Liverpool, London and Manchester, which in itself can be a 2 to 3 day wedding job once you include the travel and accomodation, especially considering the drive to North Wales from South Wales can take around 5 hrs!
Whilst the destination wedding shoots are always amazing to cover and work at, not many people realise that we as photographers often work twice as hard on these wedding days abroad than we do covering local weddings. It can be quite stressful and sometimes a logistical nightmare to travel and organise things like car hire, accomodation and ensure everything is all ready to go for a wedding in a different country. None more so than an ibiza wedding that I covered in 2021 during covid. Trying to juggle vaccine passes, covid tests, and adhere to Spanish wedding covid laws and requirements was extremely tricky as you can imagine, but the rewards for this sort of pressure are always phenomenal for us as wedding photographers once we finally arrive at the wedding venue for bridal preparations, once all the hard work and prep work is done we can then relax a little and just do what we are best at which is photographing weddings!
Destination weddings that are in warmer countries such as Spain and Italy often have late afternoon or evening ceremonies as to avoid the mid day heat. Quite often these ceremonies can be as late as 5pm or 6pm. This then means that we as photographers are working extremely hard to get our "normal" set of photos done within shortened hours. Whilst we are often blessed with stunning sunsets and dramatic Italian views we only really get 2 - 3 hours of daylight to work with instead of the normal 9 hours or so that we'd get in South Wales. Destination weddings often tend to have a more chilled out wedding vibe too. After all one of the reasons couples tend to get married abroad is that they do not want the fuss of a large traditional wedding at home, and often opt for a more relaxed wedding vibe with a smaller amount of guests which are usually around 40 people in total. Once you throw in the heat and the drink and the shortened hours it can be really hard work for us to capture the day to our usual high standards often meaning we are working twice as hard as a wedding at home. This is fine for me as I actually love and thrive on the pressure of destination weddings and under pressure is where I often deliver my best work. New venues and countries will also give me massive inspiration and whilst they are tricky to do I absolutely love doing them.
The rewards with destination weddings are that we often get photos that are just not possible at home such as the one above of Sam and Jess in Ibiza in 2021 !
There are no shortage of stunning countries and venues to choose from if you decide to get married abroad and go for a destination wedding! Quite literally the world is your oyster when it comes to planning a destination wedding! From beaches to mountain tops to lush Italian valleys and lakes. It can be really hard to decide where to start when you begin the wedding planning process. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Destination wedding photography can be extremely expensive and can also be a minefield with so many destination wedding photographers to choose from. Its important therefore to figure out how much you are willing to spend. Do some research and find out average fees for various locations and at different times of the year.
Whats your personal style? Candid with natural light? Traditional? Black and white? vintage? romantic? Do you like wedding photos with warmer tones and maybe sunset wedding photos? Consider what type of photojournalism you'd like to achieve.
Once you have a general idea of what photos you'd like, be open to exploring new locations. As a South Wales wedding photographer its quite common for us to go offsite for wedding photos and explore the nearby beaches and coastline for example. This allows us to capture sunsets with our bride and groom and create great looking silhouettes.
One of the great things about destination weddings is that its quite often not just a one day event but tends to blend into more of a holiday for close family and friends. This allows a more relaxed wedding experience which can massivley help your destination wedding photographer and can take your wedding photos to the next level as it allows more time than you would usually get on your wedding day. This is becoming really popular in Australia where couples are now scheduling their wedding photos for the day after the wedding day so that they maximise both experiences of the marriage day with family and guests but also get the correct time needed and space to create stunning wedding images with their photographer.