THREE FACTS: (1) Leah knew she wanted to convert to Judaism long before she met Zak. She feels that having a Jewish wedding is another milestone in her Jewish identity and is an opportunity for some of her family to experience new traditions. (2) Leah & Zak met on JDate (3) Leah and Zak are planning a beautiful black tie destination wedding in Barcelona, Spain
When Zak and I got engaged, we hadn’t really put a lot of thought into the details of our wedding beforehand. Immediately we were flooded with questions asking when and where we would be wed, especially since our family and friends are spread out throughout the country. One of our favourite things to do together is travel, so it didn’t take us long to decide that we wanted a destination wedding, but we didn’t realize how many small hurdles we’d have to overcome by planning a wedding from afar.
Finding an Officiant
Finding someone to officiate our wedding was harder than we originally thought. It’s important to both of us that we have a more traditional Jewish ceremony but finding a rabbi in a predominately catholic country proved difficult. Luckily for us, our wedding planner, Becky from Barcelona Brides, was able to help us locate a wonderful rabbi that we began working with to help us craft a custom ceremony that is meaningful to us. Thank goodness for modern technology as we are able to have Skype sessions with our rabbi leading up to our wedding. This was one of our top priorities after choosing a venue and I urge others to begin this process early if their options are limited.
Selecting vendors from a distance
Quite possibly one of the most difficult things about a destination wedding is not being able to see your vendor’s work in person. You really have to have a lot of trust in your planner and/or your vendor. Hiring a local planner was a crucial aspect of our planning as she has been able to send me constant suggestions and recommendations.
We’ve been able to nail down a florist, Lilart, and a videographer, Love Me Do Films. I made the decision early on that I would make an additional trip back to Barcelona to meet with my vendors but was especially bummed when I realized Zak wouldn’t be able to come with me. He’d be left out of all the fun parts of wedding planning like cake tasting and catering sampling.
I scheduled a hair and makeup trial and two menu tastings for November and crossed them off my ever growing list. When I told my bridesmaids about this, they completely surprised me by deciding to come with me! Now instead of choosing everything on my own, my best friends are getting some of their first stamps in their passports and joining in on the fun! Which leads me to my next point…
Choose your Bridal party wisely
Lately I’ve seen an increasing number of ultra large Bridal parties but we knew this trend wasn’t for us. We felt guilty asking friends to not just fly to Spain to attend our wedding but also to give up more of their own time to be involved in planning Bridal showers and a bachelor(ette) parties.
Zak and I ended up choosing three of our closest friends each and I also asked my brother to stand by me on my wedding day. I may be throwing tradition to the wind but my brother is attending all the bachelor festivities but as he’s one of my best friends, I wanted him in my side. Because I have a smaller Bridal party, I wanted to focus on “proposing” to them with gifts I knew they’d be able to use for years but come. To keep with my destination theme, they each received monogrammed leather passport covers and a bottle of Cava from the same region of Spain as our venue.
Save The Dates
Most wedding advice tells you to send Save The Dates six months in advance. This advice didn’t seem prudent for a wedding that requires a 8+ hour flight. While I scoured the internet for a guide on destination weddings, I found there aren’t as many resources for our situation.
We sent our save the dates an entire year before the wedding to give our friends and family ample time to begin planning and are happy we did. At nine months away, some friends have already booked flights and we haven’t even sent out our invitations! I used a photo from our engagement shoot in Florence that I edited (for free!) on Canva.com that I later had printed by a company I have a close relationship with for work. It allowed me to have the freedom to completely customize my design to my liking without paying an extra fee to a designer.
I’d love to hear from others! Are Bridal proposals an American “thing”? What were the hardest parts of planning your destination wedding?
Click here to read all Leah’s planning posts to date.
Leah & Zak’s Wedding Vendors booked so far: