When I provide wedding tips, I’m speaking from either my own experience as a destination wedding and elopement photographer, or from the expertise of others in the wedding industry. This time, I’m speaking from my own experience on the other side of the lens after an Italy vow renewal trip with my husband, Patrick. This trip was another reminder to me of how important it is to experience traveling and being photographed first hand so I’m enabled to better serve you when it’s your turn in front of the camera. It just so happens that this trip taught me far more than I ever bargained for. I’m sharing all of my best destination wedding photographer tips from our own crazy experience so yours can be so much better!
Your flight will more than likely be canceled if you fly Air Canada as of this writing (August 2022). This airline is canceling flights all over the place and losing luggage. Although all airlines are pretty bad these days due to understaffing issues, Air Canada is having a particularly hard time. If you end up on an airline like this one, here’s what we found handy when we were stranded and dealing with canceled flights:
You will NOT check your wedding attire! It’s too precious an item to chance losing it. This wasn’t even my original wedding dress but I still didn’t risk it! I was nervous that our standard-sized carry-on rollers that held our wedding attire wouldn’t fit on our first flight. There was a sign posted saying rollers would be placed under our seats and backpacks above–the opposite of standard American airlines.
I bought two $8-a-pop DC souvenir plastic tote bags in the airport (yes, the bags were covered with DC monuments) as a precaution to carry our wedding clothes if the rollers didn’t fit under the seats. Fortunately, thanks to Patrick’s shoving abilities, we were able to fit our bags, we just didn’t have any room for our feet!
Despite a few delays, we arrived in Venice, Italy with all of our luggage! We picked up our pre-booked car and drove to the Dolomites! I always recommend planning for at least two buffer days at the beginning of your trip to allow for flight cancellations.
Another big piece of advice is hiring one of the best elopement photographers who is either local to your area of travel (Washington, DC anyone?) or has experience traveling (here’s my Iceland story!).
Our photographer, Henry Tieu, is a seasoned destination elopement photographer with plenty of travel experience. He also allotted two extra days before our vow renewal for possible travel complications which he did experience! Your photographer should scout locations in advance when possible and have backups in mind. Having both you and your photographer arriving early for a destination wedding or elopement gives us time to do day-before or even day-after sessions!
Even though we planned out the details of this trip so far in advance, there was no accounting for unexpected changes along the way. This is when my quick-thinking destination wedding photographer skills activated! I thought the worst was behind us but getting back home was a totally different story…
Our first flight back was only delayed by an hour but it was our layover in Montreal that was the nightmare. Air Canada strikes again! Our flight was canceled and we were stuck in Montreal with no alternatives, not even taking a bus. Everything was immediately sold out including rental cars because so many flights were canceled. It was difficult, but we at least found a hotel room for the night.
If your flight is canceled, make sure you retrieve your checked bags. We had to go out of the terminal and collect our bags from the arrivals carousel. If we hadn’t been told, our bags would have been lost in the rows of luggage placed around the airport.
It was then necessary to change our newly assigned flight from one with a connecting flight we wouldn’t catch to a direct flight back to DC (both of which left two days later). Remember the tote bags? I placed our wedding clothes once more in the totes on our return flight. We also used them during our vow renewal to carry things like our speaker, jackets, vow books, etc. They definitely became the stars of our trip!
After some long travels and many lessons learned, Patrick and I made it back! We just returned with more stories and amazing memories than we know what to do with!
Despite all that craziness, I’m so ready for my next destination elopement adventure (just not via Air Canada)! Need any help planning yours!