How attractive is your hometown as a wedding destination?
Sure, it's easy if you live in Hawaii or Puerto Rico, but what about those of us in "fringe" cities that might be popular tourist spots but aren't typically thought of as top wedding destinations?
Personally, I am a big advocate of playing "tourist" in your own hometown and there are plenty of ways to turn local weddings into a special "destination" celebration. Not only does this provide an unforgettable experience for out-of-town guests, but it also gives couples a day filled with special details that showcase their life together.
1. Think like an out-of-towner.
When you're driving to work every morning and picking up groceries around the corner, it can be easy to take for granted all of the amazing things your city has to offer. Thinking like an out-of-town guest can help you re-learn the things that make your hometown special and unique.
I grew up in New Orleans, and it is with great embarrassment that I admit I never took a swamp tour--one of our top attractions!--until recent years. It wasn't until some of my out-of-town family suggested it, so we took the tour, and it was a blast!
The same goes for weddings--think outside the box and make the most of your city or town--I guarantee every place has a unique experience to offer!
2. Work with unique venues.
Churches and gardens are great for ceremonies, but when you're looking to play up the uniqueness of your hometown, it's important to branch out and suggest new venues to clients that aren't “the norm.” Local museums and landmarks are a great way to showcase local architecture to give your guests a true feel of your beloved city.
3. Focus on food.
This is an easy one! Regional dishes are the perfect way to showcase a local delicacy. In New Orleans, we are very food-centric, so this is the standard at most weddings. If your city doesn't have a specific cuisine, don't worry--all you need to do is incorporate some locally branded snacks and drinks!
4. Welcome guests in style.
Destination couples love giving out welcome bags, so why not bring that feature to your hometown?
Encourage local couples to include their regional favorites--for example, in New Orleans, you simply cannot go wrong with a bottle of hot sauce and some delicious beignet mix. That way, local and out-of-town guests alike can get a good taste of what makes the city great!
As an added benefit, an emphasis on the local culture of your hometown can produce weddings that draw couples from other areas who are after that certain look--truly turning your hometown into a destination. Plus, you never know … you may even fall right back in love with your city!
Kim Sayatovic is the founder and chief creative officer of Belladeux Event Design, a full-service wedding and event design firm based in New Orleans.
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