Casa Cody in Palm Springs.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MATHEW DAVID STUDIO
After you’ve determined your budget, timeframe, and wedding-day priorities, it’s time to look at locations. Keep in mind, venues may come with limitations that could affect other aspects of your plan.
For example, some properties work exclusively with certain vendors, including wedding planners and caterers; and many private estates are not permitted to have amplified music outdoors, which rules out a DJ and dancing.
If one venue won’t cut it, consider multiple locations, proposes Kip Serafin, owner of The Kip Group and Locations 760, which manages prestigious properties including the Dinah Shore Estate in Palm Springs. “Have your rehearsal dinner at a private estate and wedding elsewhere, or have your ceremony at a desert location and reception and dinner elsewhere.”
If there’s one thing to avoid, Serafin says, it’s this: “Picking a venue that’s too small. You will most likely add extra guests and probably don’t realize that the RSVP is higher with a Palm Springs wedding destination.”
“Since COVID began, we’ve had a number of couples opt to downsize their guest list but include them in a virtual way, such as toasts over Zoom or video compilations of friends giving encouraging words,” says Megan Kantor, a Joshua Tree–based photographer who shoots destination weddings with her husband, Nate, under the moniker Cedar & Pines. (If you follow celebrity engagements, you’ll recognize their work. In September 2021, the pair traveled to Colorado to document the intimate and ultra-dreamy marriage of actress Lily Collins and director Charlie McDowell.)
When it comes to setting up a video call, Kantor emphasizes the importance of planning — and troubleshooting — in advance.
“It helps to have someone in charge, almost like an MC, to direct the toasts and fill the silence. That way it doesn’t feel like the couple is having to host it themselves,” she says. “Make sure you’ll be in an area with good Wi-Fi or cell signal to avoid pauses or lags. Have a pre-planned amount of time, say 20 to 30 minutes; that way you don’t cut into other parts of your day with the call going long.”
Not into the idea of a group chat? Invite remote guests to tune in for a special moment like a unity act or your first dance instead, Kantor suggests. “This can feel a bit more dynamic and engaging than sitting and chatting with everyone.”
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