Lisa Vorce On Cultural Immersion & Producing One-of-a-Kind Destination Wedding Experiences
Each time I go to work in a new location, I recognize the good fortune I have to collaborate with clients worldwide. Wherever I go, from Japan to Vietnam to St. Bart’s to Spain, I begin by immersing myself in the country’s culture, in an effort to find unique aspects of that community that complement the style of my clients and their guests. I’m convinced this is the secret to successfully transporting guests to a new world through a one-of-a-kind wedding experience. Before producing any destination event, I take one or two trips there to do “reconnaissance.” I meet as many people as possible, from hoteliers to artisans. My team and I source textiles and custom pottery, eat plenty of traditional cuisine and forage markets for native florals and signature products like honey, oil and sweets that may make for a beautifully curated welcome bag or guest favor. Letting those influences saturate the design of a wedding, while staying true to the couple’s style, leaves guests with a profound and long-lasting memory.
It may seem so simple, but you would be amazed how tempting it can be for clients to want to recreate a “Hollywood Wedding” in Italy or a “New York Gala” in France, etc… While I have my core team of vendors from the States whom I never leave home without, the additional prospect of working with local creatives and embracing their specialty is a welcome challenge, and one I’ve yet to regret in over 20 years of planning. It’s incredible to embrace the unknown – that is my favorite part of destination planning. Just last month I happened upon a vintage bookstore in Milan. The owner took time to show me books on love, books about historic villas etc. I ended up adding bookmarks to a vintage history book that was displayed on a table for guests to use as the “guest sign in” for a wedding. It was such a lovely way to couple the beauty and history of Italy with the celebration of my clients’ marriage there.
While in Mexico on another mission, I was in a restaurant outside of Guadalajara, Mexico where I noticed the menus on the wall were beautifully hand-calligraphed. I inquired with the restaurant and they introduced me to a local gentleman who could only be described as a renaissance man – he was a professor, a calligrapher and sang in a mariachi band! He was amazing and ended up playing a very important role in the design aesthetic of that wedding.
From architecture and history to cuisine, art and music, embracing the rich cultural attributes of any community helps people build a unique interpretation and identity for that destination. If you take the time to explore, you are bound to find flavors, sounds and sights that resonate with your personality and your style. It’s those rare and treasured details that our clients and their guests remember long after the wedding day is over.