Planning a Destination Wedding with Celebrity Stylist Jess Pecoraro

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Jess Pecoraro is the styling powerhouse that all of the chicest celebrities seek out for fashion guidance. It's no surprise that as a result we were dying to see her wedding. Despite her busy roster of glamorous celebrity fittings and photoshoots Jess managed somehow to plan and execute an incredibly chic (and large) overseas wedding.  Since this is no small feat we thought we too would seek out her guidance and learn a thing or two about planning a destination wedding.

Jess how many guests did you have at your Sicily wedding?
We had 120 guest in total with more then half traveling from Australia.

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Your family is from Sicily, did that make finding this venue easier for you?
Yes, it definitely did. Both my sister and I were born in Sicily therefore Taormina became one of our favourite destinations to go to on family holidays. On our last family holiday about two years before Steven proposed, I remember seeing so many weddings and thought Taormina would be the perfect place to get married.
The day after Steven proposed, we booked the venue and set the date. We wanted to choose a location that not many people had been to before and one that was central for our extended families. Steven's mum's family are also from Sicily so Taormina made perfect sense.

Do you feel taking a trip to the destination is imperative before the event?
If possible then yes, I think it is. Even though I knew Taormina very well I still took a trip there the year before to plan it all which I'm sure really helped.

How did you find dealing with overseas suppliers? Was it hard to do?
We had our reception at a hotel which had a great events team and they thankfully recommended the best florist, entertainment etc. Speaking the language also did help with explaining my vision.

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Are there many resources available to find overseas suppliers? Where should brides begin looking?
I was lucky enough that through my job I had met lots of people who had been married in Italy and they passed on all of their information. However, my best advice came from the hotel where we hosted the wedding.

Is a planner essential for an overseas wedding?
 Yes, it is essential if you don't speak the language. I did have one but if I had to go back I would do without as the hotel events team was great. I think if you are looking at a hotel for a venue then you can go without a wedding planner.

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How did you communicate with your planner? How often did you need to chat?
Our first chat was via Skype which allowed me to show her my references and really get a feel for the type of wedding we wanted. After that we would email and text and then we probably had a few phone calls towards the end.

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How many days before the event should the couple arrive at the venue to start setting it up?
The time before the wedding is actually a really special time for everyone so I would recommend 3-4 days before so that guests can meet and you can really enjoy that lead up.

How did you travel with your gown? Any tips for brides?
My dress was in a bridal garment bag which I took with me as carry on and had it hanging for the flight. I also packed my shoes and accessories just incase my suitcase did go missing.

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How much entertainment did you feel responsible for for the guests on the days before and after the wedding day?
We organised our bucks and hens weekend in Mykonos the weekend before with our friends. It was a great way for everyone to meet. Once we got to Taormina we had welcome drinks 2 nights before the wedding at a local bar. It was very casual so that guests didn't feel like they had to attend but most did pop in throughout the night which was great.  We had an intimate dinner the night before the wedding with our close friends and family and then met everyone else in the Piazza for Gelato. It was perfect!

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In your opinion do couples ever need to pay for accommodation of the bridal party?
I think it depends on the location and also how big the bridal party is. It is a nice gesture though.

How much notice do you give guests for an overseas wedding, in other words how early do you send the invitations?
We sent out the Saves the Dates about a year before the wedding and official invitations 6 months before. We had everyone RSVP 3 month before the wedding. 

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