When our couples start planning weddings across the globe, the first thing on their mind is “how do we find a team/venue/florist/etc. to work with?” And unless you’re taking your chances with google, it’s definitely not easy. Thankfully there are a lot of resources out there to help you get your research started. When we’re working in a new destination, here are a few of the ways we find the best of the best:

As you start searching for venues, we often start with the higher end hotels in the region to understand their offerings. As we explore their wedding venues, we take the opportunity to ask who their favorites are as it relates to florists, production companies, lighting and more. There’s nothing to say we will work with those vendors, but it’s nice to get a referral from reputable sources. Depending on the regions, we rely on higher end brands such as Aman, Rosewood, Four Seasons, Auberge and of course that great little boutique hotel in the area that falls just under the radar.

Best of lists are a great resource as most magazines, blogs and other websites are doing their due diligence before making such a bold statement of claiming someone is the best. Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Bride’s Magazine, Martha Stewart and more all have a list they publish each year for planners, photographers, florists, etc. Find those vendors whose style and experience you connect with and reach out. Even if you find their not a perfect fit for a variety of reasons, don’t hesitate to ask those vendors for referrals. What are their favorite venues in Tuscany? Is there a florist or photographer they really enjoy using? And so on. The wedding industry is a small network and most of us love an opportunity to plug our favorite vendors even if the event isn’t the right fit for us, personally.

Instagram is a great place to research vendors because most planners and venues will tag the vendors they know, love and more importantly, have worked with. Identify a venue you adore or a planner who’s work aligns with your vision. From there, do a bit of IG stalking. See where they’ve worked. Who they’ve worked with and more. And when in doubt, slide into their DM’s and even ask. Again, most vendors are happy to share knowledge if it means saving a couple from a disastrous situation.

In short, referrals are almost always the way to go. Get them from your friends, potential venue reps, vendors and even just those vendors you admire and go from there.