June 9, 2022
If you are wanting to get into the destination elopement industry, today is a treat for you!
Today’s podcast guest is a past long-term coaching student of Evie, Sydney Kuhne of Wildly In Love.
Today with Sydney we break down the myths around the destination wedding + elopement industry. Sydney also shares the behind the scenes of her process of location scouting in locations you don’t live in, and how to scout virtually ahead of time as well as in-person before the session or elopement. (Tons of tips packed in here) Sydney also breaks down ways to cultivate relationships with vendors and your clients when you don’t live near them, what she as a wedding planner looks for in other vendors, and how to convince couples to hire you over someone local. She shares her journey of breaking into the destination wedding industry and how you can do the same.
So if you’re wanting to learn how to break into the destination elopement industry, whether you’re a planner, photographer, videographer, florist, or any wedding vendor… don’t go anywhere.
If you aren’t already familiar with her, Sydney is a destination elopement planner partnering with wildly in love couples to create adventurous, elopement experiences around the world. She’s constantly traveling, exploring new places, and finding peace in the most adventurous moments. She’s passionate about sharing her travels in the hope of inspiring others to live a WILDLY adventurous life.
Planning destination elopements and weddings are hard work. It is so much harder than working locally in an area where you live. The difference is unreal. Prepare that it will be hard work.
The biggest advice: Research research, research. You can never research too much. You want to be overly prepared. Something will go wrong or not as planned, whether it’s the weather, or the location looking differently. Sydney spends hours and hours researching on Google maps, travel blogs, and all the things! You always want to have a backup plan. For weather, if it’s going to be too windy or a rain plan. Maybe something is closed or super crowded. You should get to the location at least a day maybe 2-3 before, so you can properly scout.
Put on your CIA agent spy cap and go to work. A lot of elopement, travel, or wedding blogs are a major resource. Do not read just one blog, that is only one person’s opinion. Look at multiple blogs, you are trying to make a puzzle with tiny pieces of information you are finding all across the internet in various ways.
Also, look at Google maps. If you are looking at a cliffside location, go to Google maps and go to the satellite version. Zoom in and go to the street view and try to walk where you want to go.
Another resource for hiking trails is All Trails. It’s a web browser that is Google reviews for hiking trails. There are tips and tricks added in the reviews as well.
How to find blog posts:
Start super general, like “Best places to visit in California”. See what keywords keep coming up and then go more specific. Search on Google and on Pinterest. Depending on the location you may find more information on one of the other depending on the location.
Do not risk your life. If you get to a location and you see a new sign that says “Do not cross”, don’t cross it.
When she started her company she knew she wanted to do destinations. Her entire focus on marketing was to build out destinations. She started planning styled shoots, all over the country. Every opportunity she got she was in a different state. Upfront you’ll spend a lot of money instead of investing in other things that people might invest in, in their first year. Sydney spent it all in styled shoots. The reason that she is such a big believer in styled shoots, is you go to that location. When you have a couple that says they want to elope in Utah, you can say “I’ve been to Utah and have been to those locations and have the knowledge”. You have the content for that area, you can show their work from those places.
Try to work with local vendors. Then they will recommend you to their clients or couples.
One big mistake is people not sharing about their styled shoot, you need to show people that you have traveled. Don’t just tell people, show them.
Do a lot of research on Instagram. You can search keywords. If you find a photographer you like, stalk their vendor tags.
Again if you find a blog for international stuff, you can find credits at the end of the blog to find vendors.
Sydney rarely Google searches, you find a lot of it through vendor connections on Instagram.
What she looks for:
It varies by couple and location. It is also very dependent on the couple’s ascetic and style. Make sure it is a good fit for your couple. And then the overall vibe of the vendor. Look into everything about the vendor to see if would be a good fit. Another factor is local or having to be flown in. Trying to keep it local to save the couple money is always a priority.
Becoming friends with your couple should be a priority. One of the ways you can foster the relationship from the beginning is by making it clear in all your branding and wording that you ever see before you sign a contract “I want to be friends with you”. That might be a deterring factor for some people but that is okay.
Naturally, if you are showing stuff about your life that is personal then it opens that door for them to feel comfortable as well. It’s like when you follow your friends on Instagram, make sure you interact with them.
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WASSUP FRIENDS. We’re Evie + Lindsey, co-founders of this wild partayyy called The Heart University. Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs to kick freaking BUTT in their businesses, dive down into the heart of their why and how, and serve you with all possible tools you’ll need to up-level your business game and CRUSH those goals of yours.
Whether you’re coming to an in-person workshop, joining our online course, or soaking up all the strategies via this blog or our podcast, we’re STOKED you’re here + can’t wait to see you out there kicking butt.
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