Weddings

The Best Planners For Your Destination Wedding

From sophisticated tropical soirees to elegant European fêtes, we talk to the wedding planners who can make your destination wedding happen.
IMAGE FACEBOOK / PROUDRAD (COURTESY OF MICHELLYN AND IGNACIO DOMINGO), ANDREA KELLAN (COURTESY OF JENNY ROCKETT-SCRANTON)
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Love knows no borders, so why should weddings be constrained by geography? When it comes to these gorgeous celebrations of eternal devotion, modern couples are choosing to go the distance just to say their I Do’s. Some gravitate towards the warmth of the familiar, favoring places that were meaningful in their relationship to honor the journey they’ve traversed. Others opt for the unknown, heeding the call of wanderlust and adventure as they head towards marital bliss. And if you play your cards right, taking the plunge a bit far from home is sure to make your wedding feel more like a vacation, complete with sunsets and drinks, of course.

Wherever and however one may choose to get hitched, it’s key to have the right people around to make sure everything is blended together seamlessly. Needless to say, an amazing bridal coordinator, with their creative vision and years of experience, would be indispensable to any couple. To get you inspired for your own destination wedding, we get stylish lovebirds to reminisce and get bridal planners to dish on what goes down at these sophisticated out-of-town soirees.

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SOUTH AFRICA

The Planners: Blank Canvas Event Design (@blankcanvaseventdesign)

The Couple: Jenny Rockett-Scranton and Joseph Scranton

The Bridal Backstory: Blank Canvas Event Design is an events company based in Cape Town, South Africa and helmed by Margaux van der Berg and Sunelle van der Berg. The two friends set up their company in June 2010 after planning their own weddings, which had unleashed an unexpected passion for the craft in them. It had also acquainted them with the thriving bridal industry in Cape Town, which had no shortage of venues and suppliers to make any dream wedding a reality.

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Photo by ANDREA KELLAN (COURTESY OF JENNY ROCKETT-SCRANTON).

And while this may be off-the-beaten-track for most couples, it wasn’t the case for Jenny Rockett-Scranton and John Scranton who got wed there last year. “When we were deciding on destinations, we knew we wanted to get married in Africa… South Africa soon became our first [option] when we learned how well-equipped the country is for planning a wedding,” muses Jenny. “Also Cape Town is truly one of the most underrated culinary and wine destinations in the world. Our wedding was at a wine estate outside Cape Town (Nooitgedacht Wine Estate) and the food and wine definitely took good care of our guests during their stay.”

Jenny’s excitement about this country’s gastronomic delights is a sentiment echoed by Sunelle, who is likewise just as thrilled about its geographical diversity. “There is something for everyone, we have mountains, vineyards, forests, beaches, fields of yellow canola, and the most amazing views. Plus, the people are friendly and creative, and always willing to push boundaries”.

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Photo by ANDREA KELLAN (COURTESY OF JENNY ROCKETT-SCRANTON).

“My husband and I believed a local wedding coordinator would know South Africa best,” Jenny shares. When the couple was searching for venues, the Blank Canvas team was able to suggest several properties. “It was helpful that they had worked in most of these venues before and could tell us the pros and cons of each,” she enthuses. She also loves the collaborative planning process she had with the girls.

Wedding Mantra: “We firmly believe that every wedding is and should be as unique as the couple, and for each of them to feel like their wedding is their own. We want them to be able to look back on the pictures in the years to come and feel like they were represented well,” shares Sunelle.

Haute Hotspots: The duo has been tapped by many stylish couples to plan weddings all over South Africa, in locations such as Gauteng, Mpumalanga, the Garden Route, Free State, and of course, Cape Town. They also planned a lovely wedding in Seychelles in 2018.

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For more information visit blank-canvas.co.za or facebook.com/BlankCanvas.WeddingsEvents/

PARIS

The Planners: Yaparazzi Events + PR (@yaparazzievents)

The Couple: Dr. Vicki Belo and Dr. Hayden Kho

The Bridal Backstory: Yaparazzi Events + PR is the brainchild of power couple Tim Yap and Javi Martinez. Yap, who was perhaps an influencer even before the term was even coined, manages the PR side of the business working with corporations and prestige brands. On the other hand, planning savant Martinez is in charge of the events division curating special experiences and private events for discerning clients.

How Yaparazzi ended up planning one of the most lavish nuptials our country had ever seen began when Vicki Belo had chanced upon an event in Valkyrie that Martinez had planned. This led to an invitation for him to join them in Bangkok for a polo cup, as the beauty magnate had her heart set on such a theme for Belo Medical Group’s 25th Anniversary. Following this, Yaparazzi continued to plan events for the Belo Group, as well as the wedding of Cristalle Belo to Justin Pitt in Lake Como, Italy.

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Months prior to the big day, Belo and Kho, along with Martinez, had all flown to Paris to look at ballrooms and hotels. But Martinez really wanted a venue with an extra oomph for the couple, something truly spectacular that one couldn’t find in Manila. Thus began their quest to host the reception at the iconic Palais Garnier. Owned by French government, it was no easy feat due to the many rules involved. But with lots of creativity and some wedding magic, they were able to pull off what could only be described as a fairytale of magnificent proportions.

Coordinating a destination wedding, and a VVIP one at that, was truly a challenge and a testament to the talent of the entire Yaparazzi team. “We organized everything, from concept to the logistics, from the welcome dinner to the wedding. The client can just relax and enjoy their special day,” declares Martinez. He likewise emphasizes the importance of imbuing local flavor into these celebrations: “Creating a wedding for a Filipino couple in Paris, all their guests will still be Filipino and you still need that trademark Filipino hospitality, and that warm touch coming from home.”

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And while this may be against the current grain, Martinez prefers weddings with the human touch, with a focus on the here and now. “In ten years, no one will remember the picture, but what they will remember is the experience,” he says.

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Wedding Mantra: One thing that truly sets Yaparazzi apart is how it has endeavored to export Filipino planning talent with each and every project. “When doing an event abroad, we bring our own core management team along. Being able to work with them in Manila every day [during the planning process], and seeing all these familiar faces at the wedding, is an added value to the clients,” shares Martinez. He also adds how being able to have his teamwork and coordinate with the best suppliers around the world adds to their knowledge and expertise.

Haute Hotspots: Yaparazzi is based in Manila but is just as comfortable planning weddings all over the world. They’ve organized nuptials in France, Italy, and Morocco, as well as many events in luxe spots like Amanpulo and Cebu.

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For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/yaparazzievents/

MEXICO

The Planner: Mario Olverac (@mario.olverac)

The Couple: Paulina Paige Ortega and Clark Kent Koga

The Bridal Backstory: Mario Olverac had been working as a hotel manager for boutique hotels in Tulum when the planning bug struck him. He had met so many people who had wanted to get married in Mexico that he started to help, ushering them to the best local vendors and locations. “I have been living in Tulum for the last 11 years and had the chance to collaborate with an incredible community or professionals: artists, florists, musicians, chefs, and the like. My unique experience has allowed me to personalize every wish and create unforgettable memories for my couples,” he declares.

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Photo by JOSEPH PASCUAL (COURTESY OF PAULINA PAIGE ORTEGA).

It is this wealth of regional knowledge that Olverac brings that had proven quite vital to Filipino couple Paulina Paige and Clark Ortega. “Mario’s contacts in the Yucatan region are vast, and he was one of those people who came to live in Tulum before it blew up and became this world-famous destination. He went so far as to find us a parade stallion in the tiny little town we had our ceremony in, which, you can imagine, would have been very hard to find as a visiting foreigner,” shares the bride. The happy bride also recalls how Olverac was able to help them with their mariachi band who only spoke Spanish, as well as fixing permits with the local government for their callejoneada (traditional Mexican street parade).

Olverac adds that he enjoys meeting people from different cultures and blending all these global influences together. “[In Mexico], weddings are probably one of the biggest celebrations in one’s life, and I really want to give my clients emotions that [will last them] a lifetime.

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Wedding Mantra: “To me, a bride is more than a client, and a lot of them become my friends after their wedding” he gushes. “There’s nothing more beautiful than the eyes of a bride walking down the aisle and realizing that she is now living her dream.”

Haute Hotspots: Olverac and his team specialize in weddings on the Caribbean and Pacific Coasts of Mexico. He also enjoys the beauty of Mexican cities like Valladolid, Merida, San Miguel de Allende, Valle de Bravo and much more. 

For more information visit marioolverac.com

ITALY

The Planners: Chic Weddings in Italy (@chicweddingsinitaly)

The Couple: Stacey de Leon and Jeffrey Boyce

The Bridal Backstory: Chic Weddings in Italy was founded by partners Eva Trevisan and Clara Boatto with a passion and desire to organize parties for an international clientele. With Eva having worked for the United Nations, and Clara for a PR firm, they were always surrounded by foreigners and expats. Their business model is likewise catered to the global audience, with the company situated in London, but with the founders traveling to Amsterdam and Venice, and the team based in Milan and Tuscany.

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The planners who are both Italian, take pride in the unique culture of their heritage. “We love the warmth of the people, and the fact that vendors go the extra mile to achieve great results,” shares Trevisan. She also gushes about how each region is defined by its unique idiosyncrasies. “Our land is different from north to south, the ingredients of the food change completely, and the color of the sea is different depending on where you are.”

When organizing weddings in this sumptuous locale, the girls make it a point to incorporate a bit of Italian flair, really giving couples the feeling that they are immersed in the local culture. “Our clients love Italy for the atmosphere they breathe, for our style, our colors, our architecture...They choose Italy for Italy."

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Stacey de Leon and Jeffrey Boyce, two Filipinos now based in California, were drawn to the beauty of this sumptuous locale. “I love the family-oriented culture, the home-cooked meals, the vibe. I wanted something different for my friends and family to experience,” she declares. She had traveled with her sister to visit venues all around Italy that her planner had recommended, and fell in love with the homey and warm vibe of Puglia. She and her husband had gotten married in Masseria Potenti, a masseria or fortified farmhouse that is common in the South. She loves how her planner had helped her navigate this rustic region, especially by finding and coordinating local vendors she wouldn’t have been able to vet or communicate with online.

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Wedding Mantra: “We have always tried to treat our business like a boutique hotel; it is a small business that can create glamour and fantasy. We [create] each event as an event never done before, and we try to push our brides to think outside the box,” shares Trevisan.

Haute Hotspots: The stylish duo and their team have planned celebrations all over Italy, and in their many years have explored even the most uncommon and private locations, “from the tip of a wild island, to private gardens and secret villas”.

For more information visit chicweddingsinitaly.com 

The Planners: Weddings Italy (@weddings_italy)

The Couple: Michellyn Domingo and Ignacio Domingo

The Bridal Backstory: With a passion for parties, Weddings Italy has organized more than their fair share of splendid celebrations. An international company with many experienced planners, a wide network of venues and suppliers, its own music and lighting departments, it is easily able to adjust and cater to couples from all around the world.

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Photo by FACEBOOK / PROUDRAD, COURTESY OF MICHELLYN AND IGNACIO DOMINGO.

When sweethearts Michellyn and Ignacio got hitched, they turned to Weddings Italy to help them plan their unique affair. The groom had been the more hands-on of the two and chose to get married in Florence because it was something that his wife had found most romantic in their travels. Ignacio loves that venues abroad need very little decorating to be breathtaking, as is evident in the location they chose: a medieval castle in Florence which dates back to the 11th century. Ignacio loved that the Castello di Vincigliata wasn’t a tourist spot and allowed them to have an intimate wedding with their nearest and dearest.

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Wedding Mantra: Weddings Italy marries its knowledge of Italian culture and wedding traditions with a couple’s unique culture, background, and taste to come up with truly elegant affairs.

Haute Hotspots: Weddings Italy specializes in destination weddings all around the country, in romantic settings such as Venice, Florence, Tuscany, Rome, and the Amalfi Coast.

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For more information visit weddingsitaly.com/wedding-planners-italy/

The Planner: Brenda Babcock Celebrations (@brendababcockcelebrations)

The Couple: Vianca Anonuevo-Favila and Julian Favila

The Bridal Backstory: Having come from a fashion background in New York as former vice president of Vera Wang, Babcock had stumbled upon the planning business quite serendipitously. She had followed her dreams and found herself in Italy, where she established Brenda Babcock Celebrations in 2004. Since then, she and her team have crafted many exquisite weddings for lovebirds all around the world.

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Photo by ROCHELLE CHEEVER (COURTESY OF VIANCA AND JULIAN FAVILA).

One such happy couple is Vianca and Julian Favila, who wed in Rome in 2011, a time when it wasn’t common to get married there. “I thoroughly enjoyed working with Brenda. She was always so accommodating and would also answer all my questions via email, which made me feel more confident in my decisions. Being a designer myself (Vianca is an Interior Designer), I appreciated how detail-oriented she was, and how she took the time to really look at everything.”

Aside from helping the couple with both the artistic and logistical aspects of the celebration, one of the most crucial things Babcock did for the Favilas was facilitating the documentation needed for them to be wed in Rome (required by both the Catholic Church and the Philippine Embassy in Rome). With her help and that of then-vice consul of the Philippines, they were able to have both their civil and religious weddings in the church at the same time.

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Wedding Mantra: Having worked with couples and their families who have come from far away, Babcock makes sure that the celebration they have is one they will not easily forget. “The experience needs to be special, something they couldn’t get back home and that feels exquisitely Italian.”

Haute Hotspots: Elegant weddings all around Italy are the specialization of this luxury boutique planning agency.

For more information visit brendababcock.com

BALI

The Planners: Hitch’d Weddings Bali (@hitchdbali)

The Couple: Kate Lim and Francis Uy

The Bridal Backstory: Hitch’d Weddings and Events is a creative planning team established by Kira Burchett in Bali. Hailing from Perth, Australia the energetic entrepreneur aims to create “tailored events with an imaginative and quirky edge.” That seems quite perfect for the vibrant tropical locale they now call home.

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Let me take a picture, before the tears start to fall. ???? . . . ???? @bonjoabadi @terralogical

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For their magical celebration, Kate and Francis Uy enlisted Hitch’d to help them plan a non-cookie-cutter soiree. Being avid travelers, it was quite natural for the adventurous couple to look beyond the horizon. As most of their suppliers were Balinese, Hitch’d helped the couple book them early on, as well as coordinate the flow of the ceremony and reception during the big day. It was an intimate wedding at Morabito Art Villa, with lots of personalized touches by the bride. They said their heartfelt vows overlooking the Indian Ocean, bonded with their nearest and dearest, and capped off their wedding by dancing the night away.

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Wedding Mantra: Hitch’d endeavors to deliver to their couples not just any event.We will weave your personality and life stories into a unique experience for you and your guests.”

Haute Hotspots: With their flair for the unconventional, Hitch’d aims to “bring something new, fresh and quirky to the ever-growing events industry in Bali”, which is their specialty.

For more information visit hitchdbali.com

 

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