by Samantha Bowers
An expert’s advice can make all the difference.
From the moment you or your partner popped the question—or hey, maybe even before you got engaged—you’ve been dreaming of saying your vows on a beautiful beach. While there’s no denying the appeal of a romantic destination wedding, the thought of planning a big event far from home can be a bit daunting. After all, you’ll have to hire vendors in the area (and negotiate their contracts), figure out where your guests will stay, and get the scoop on the best activities to do and sights to see. That’s why hiring a destination wedding planner is key: These pros can help save you time, money and a whole lot of unnecessary stress. Here are nine reasons these well-traveled experts are a must-have for your planning process.
1. They know the locale.
Your destination wedding planner can serve as your personal directory of recommendations and reviews. When you and your soon-to-be spouse arrive with your guests, the last thing you want to do is waste precious time searching for the best authentic local restaurant or hunting down that famous photo spot. Your planner will be able to help you craft the ideal wedding weekend schedule that checks off everything on your must-do list.
2. They can end up saving you money.
Wedding truth: Vendors may try to price their services higher if they know you're coming from out of town, and that’s where your destination wedding planner comes in to play. Not only do they have a general idea of how much a service should cost in the area, but they may also be able to set you up with exclusive deals and savings. Look to take advantage of programs within planning services, which could score you room upgrades, spa treatments and more.
3. They have connections with local vendors.
They know people. More importantly: They know the right people. As a non-local, your connections with vendors at your dream destination may not be as strong as they would be back home. A destination wedding planner has experience booking florists, DJs, videographers, catering services and more—and has established a network of go-to pros in the area that they trust with their clients. After all, your planner’s goal is to make your wedding as successful as possible, so their recommendations are likely to be the best of the best.
(Cre: Thuyen Giay Wedding Planning)
4. They know what works and what doesn’t.
Trying to squeeze 100 guests into a venue that will only hold 50? Not on your wedding planner’s watch. It’s always a good idea to make an in-person visit to your location before the wedding (maybe even two), but your planner will likely be able to say “yea” or “nay” to a lot of questions you may have about your destination. From the seating arrangement and the position of the photographer during your vows to how guests should enter and exit the venue, a destination wedding planner has been there, done that and can advise you on what works and what simply doesn’t in a location you may be unfamiliar with.
5. They can do the heavy research.
The less back end work you have to do, the better. If you’re jumping into a location where you have zero connections, you may find yourself overwhelmed by too many options and unsure of where to even begin (decision fatigue is real!). Your destination wedding planner can do the heavy behind-the-scenes work and narrow each category of vendor down to the ones worth paying attention to. From there, you can determine which provider best fits your style.
6. They can give your guests travel guidance and advice.
Not only is your planner your right hand during preparations, but they’re also a huge asset to the guests that will be traveling to celebrate your wedding day. Chances are, not all of your guests have visited the location before and may need guidance on hotel bookings, airlines, places to eat and activities to do once they arrive. Destination wedding planners will be able to give recommendations or help you decide where to book your guests’ stays. If you’re trying to coordinate a large group of people, consider using a hotel booking service, which allows you to reserve rooms at a discounted group rate. (Bonus: The group coordinator may even get a room for free.)
7. They can help you set a budget (and stick to it).
Since prices vary so much based on location, setting a budget without any guidance can be tricky. A destination wedding planner can tell you if your proposed budget is realistic for the type of wedding you’re hoping to pull off, or steer you toward some options that will work better for your financial situation. To avoid over-splurging, ask your wedding planner what you can expect the necessities to cost before you start charging up extravagant décor and extras.
8. They’ll save you time.
From the endless online research and countless phone calls to the scheduling and booking process, your planner is the real MVP. If you’re working full time while trying to plan your wedding, finding a spare hour to try and get in touch with a potential vendor can be a challenge—not to mention when they’re in a different time zone. From the start, share your wedding vision with your planner and keep an open line of communication to make sure everything lines up to match your expectations.
9. They’re there to answer all your questions (and relieve some of your stress).
Destination wedding planners get it. Planning a wedding can be stressful (after all, it’s their job), and they are ultimately there to make the experience more enjoyable for you, your partner and your guests. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, seek their advice, and remain in close contact with your planner from start to finish. The peace of mind that comes with using a trusted adviser can make your wedding that much more memorable and meaningful for years to come.
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