There’s nowhere in the world quite like the United States. Mountains, deserts, snow-dappled forests, sunny beaches – it really does have it all. And with the language barrier posing no problems, it’s no surprise that it’s such a popular choice for a destination wedding. American wedding planner Jason Mitchell Kahn, shares his advice on how to plan a wedding in the US of A.
“This country is diverse in so many ways, so the options are truly unlimited for any couple wanting to wed here. You can marry in classic ballrooms, historic churches, on city rooftops, desert estates, and even on top of a mountain.
“The cost, of course, varies greatly depending on location; and with the Supreme Court ruling in 2015, the rights of same-sex couples seeking marriage became legal in every state.”
Jason, who is predominantly based in New York, has recently started living part-time in California. “Both are phenomenal places for the best of the best in terms of cutting-edge catering, top-notch service and brand new venues opening all the time.”
Who to Hire
“Being knowledgeable about variables like individual State labour laws can save money and stress.”It’s always tempting to hire a wedding planner from the country you live in, but unless they have experienced planners in the US, will they really have the contacts and inside knowledge a US wedding planner has? It’s unlikely.
“There is tremendous value to the relationships we develop with local vendors” Jason says “in addition to the knowledge we have about the specific region of the wedding. From individual State labour laws to how public transportation is affected on the weekends, being knowledgeable about variables like these that can really affect a wedding and can save money and stress.”
Is America Welcoming?
America has, like any other country, far more conservative areas which are less accepting of same-sex marriage than others – and you can’t always categorise by State.
“Technically they all are supposed to be accepting in regards to the legality of marriage” says Jason “but sadly we see discrimination in pockets all over the country. It’s difficult to qualify this on the State level.
“While New York City and the surrounding areas are extremely liberal and accepting, you can visit a more rural part of the state and witness extreme homophobia. Similarly a State like Texas is known as a very conservative one, but cities like Austin and Houston have large gay and gay-friendly populations.”
Where to Marry
Of course, America is incredibly diverse as to what you can do with a wedding, but what area is the most, at least in terms of wedding types? “In my view, California has the most diversity as to the types of places” says Jason “and the ability to use most of the them year round, but it’s also one of our largest States.”
What you spend on your destination wedding in the US depends on your venue and what you want to include in your wedding and reception detailing.
“My job as a wedding planner is to learn each couple’s priorities” Jason says “and it’s what I would encourage anyone getting married to do. For some it’s the food, others the music, venue or date. I’m currently working with a furniture-obsessed groom, so for him it’s having designer chairs.
“A couple needs to assess what’s most important to them. When it comes to decor, I often think it’s better to prioritise lighting over flowers, as it has a bigger impact. I think stationery is an easy place to save, as other than the couple getting married and maybe their parents, most guests dispose of their invitation and menus.”
Which State you marry in, can also affect your budget.
“This depends more on the city, but I’d say New York, California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Texas and Colorado are the States with some of the most expensive events; but they all have very cost-effective areas, too.
“States that more commonly have less expensive weddings are Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia.”
Jason Mitchell Kahn is well known within the wedding industry for good reason. He has worked for many big names including Soho House New York, where he was the Events and Banquets Manager, and Shiraz Events, where he headed up wedding planning and co-ordination. He now not only runs Jason Mitchell Kahn and Co, but is the in-house expert for Men’s Vows magazine. He has a background in playwriting and uses this in his wedding planning approach to ensure each couple’s story shines through. Discover more at jasonmitchellkahn.com