Almost every girl dreams about her perfect wedding day. It’s like all of your dreams come true, and everything has to be just the way you have imagined. Dubrovnik is one of the top locations for destination weddings. People from all over the world come here to enjoy their special day surrounded by the beauty of the city and the great energy this town breathes.
I have met an interesting wedding planner from Dubrovnik. Even though she has been in this business for a very long time, she is still in love with her job. She started this romantic and exciting profession in 2006 “Back then I was working at a 5-star property, and we created a competitive advantage over other hotel weddings by offering full-service wedding planning. It was also a start of destination weddings in Dubrovnik, back then only a handful of couples got married in Dubrovnik. In the last couple of years we are talking about hundreds of couples from all over the world”, says Ines and continues “Opening our agency was a logical step- my husband Marin was a Banquet Operations Manager and I was Event Sales Manager, so we covered both aspects of successful event planning. We loved what we did, and we put all of our passion and efforts into opening our own family business. That was in 2008. We’ve been rocking weddings ever since”.
Besides being incredibly beautiful and a perfect backdrop for weddings, Dubrovnik has excellent connectivity. The airport is close by, there are many different hotels and accommodation options, venues are numerous and versatile, and it’s a relatively new destination for weddings. “It developed over the past decade, but our clients love that most of their wedding guests come here for the first time in their lives for their marriage,” says Ines. There are some unusual places in Dubrovnik that couples love and they want to be married there. Those places are City walls (Lovrijenac fortress especially, despite over 200 steps), Hotel terraces (due to convenience and quality of service + backups for inclement weather), Sponza Palace and local churches. “It is hard to quote people – we meet so many every year, and they all stay in beautiful memories, of course, they are all overwhelmed with the city’s beauty, history, culture, local character, and nature…wine and food too”, says Ines.
“I will never forget one groom’s father who was a pilot with 30 years of experience. He said he travelled the entire world but has never seen any place like Dubrovnik. We heard this more than once. People are mesmerized with Dubrovnik. It truly is one of a kind. They now know it, and we shouldn’t forget it”.
She has been in this business for a decade, so I asked if she has her favorite story or anecdote: “Every year I say I will start writing a book. And then the season starts, and I get so madly busy I have a hard time finding time to do anything but work, let alone writing a book”. I do have a few anecdotes though. I always mention the one with the horse. We had this huge Indian wedding on top of Srđ mountain, and the Groom wanted to arrive at the ceremony on the horse. On its way up , the truck with the horse broke and was left stranded in the middle of the road. The horse had to climb its way up, so the guests got a few extra rounds of drinks while waiting for the Prince on the white horse. Seriously, the groom’s name was Prince”, she commented with a smile.
“Being a wedding planner is a way of life. It’s such a huge part of my life, and it’s a calling. It is so much more than just a job” says Ines. Of course this is one of those professions you just have to do with 100% dedication, and you shouldn’t do it unless you love it. “I always say that- When I wake up on someone’s wedding day, it doesn’t matter if it’s a 10 or 200 people wedding- if I don’t get butterflies in my stomach, it will be a sign time has come to think about a new career”.
Destination weddings are a hit worldwide for couples of different nationalities. “For example, it’s an enormous part of the culture for English and Irish people; weather is a huge factor for them. They don’t live in sunny places so they go with the sun as one of their priorities in choosing a wedding destination”, describes Ines and continues “And Dubrovnik’s history, culture, beauty, and nature are incredible assets. In general, Dubrovnik is more expensive than most of the popular European destination wedding locations, but it has so many advantages that most of the clients don’t mind, though they do ask how come an average menu costs more than at a 5 star London venue. We tell them what they get in the experience is without a price tag “.
This is a job where you have to work with lots of different people, and of course, they sometimes have challenging requests. “The reason being is that the crazy demands ten years ago and now are an entirely different level of crazy. I would say the craziest request was from a recent client – an extremely wealthy Indian businessman who came here to meet Marin and me to discuss the wedding of his only son. It was to be a five-day affair with over 1000 guests. Private charters, exclusivity of most five stars Dubrovnik hotels, the whole nine yards. We honestly struggled with finding five different venues for this number of people with all the parameters they set, and after a full day of sightseeing and place hunting, we entered Stradun, and he screamed: “This is it! This is where I want to make the wedding dinner of my son! How much does it cost to rent this entire old town?”. It’s priceless darling. He still can’t understand that part- the fact money can’t buy everything”.
In general, Dubrovnik is still getting used to the wedding guests. It is a significant proportion of the tourism cake, and Ines says that it would be useful that city has a way of finding out how much wedding guests spend in one season. “I guarantee you people would be in utter shock. Biggest challenges are music curfew that is extremely short, mostly until midnight (do you want the wedding you attend and travel for to end at midnight? Didn’t think so). Then there are changes in terms and conditions of public spaces, changing prices after agreed dates and lack of communication with local authorities who unfortunately still ignore the “cash cow” of Dubrovnik destination wedding guests.”
I asked her what is her favorite part of organization, and she gave me an interesting answer “The wedding day itself. Seeing it all happen after all that work and organization. Most of my weddings are planned 18 months or more ahead. Once you see it all unroll, the happiness of the couple, people coming up to you and congratulating you on the job well done, the chills that go with that- you’re sharing the most special moments with these people. Nothing beats this”.
Before we finished chatting, Ines said something important for all those who want to get married here in Dubrovnik “Well, first of all, there is the bureaucratic part which is almost impossible to be done unless you have a local help. This is why you should get a wedding planner. But in general, by hiring a wedding planner you “buy time” in a way. We can save you so much time and money with our local knowledge and direct approach. This is very appreciated by our couples who understand the value of hiring a wedding planner. We often get contacted by local couples and we always tell them the same thing- locals don’t need a wedding planner. It’s such a small town where everyone knows everyone and simply by making a few calls they can get the best deals. In all honesty, a wedding planner in Dubrovnik is ideal for international couples to help them make their day perfect and still get the best value for money”.
Photos by: Svadbas Photography, Foto Adria, Studio Joy in Design, Mihoci Studios, DT studio, Silvije Volaric Photography.