How To Select A Planner For A Destination Wedding

New York Wedding PhotographyPlanning a destination wedding is a complicated process and is not something that everyone can organize.

Some don’t have the time for it, while others don’t have the patience to deal with vendors that may be thousands of miles away. In fact, the number one complaint that brides have about planning a destination wedding is that it is no longer fun.

The planning itself takes up so much time that they don’t have a social life, a family life, or even a work life. The wedding planning often leaves them pulling their hair out of frustration.

If this is how you feel, then you need a planner for your destination wedding.

In this article, you are going to learn:

  • What you can expect a wedding planner to do for you
  • What to look for in a wedding planner
  • How to go about finding a reputable one
  • What they cost (they are affordable)

By the end, you will realize that hiring one will not bust your budget, and, in some cases, may even lower it.

Let’s start by going over what a wedding planner can do for your wedding.

What does the planner for a destination wedding do?

  • They know the area and can recommend beautiful resorts, hotels, and ceremony locations within your budget
  • They will help find vendors that are reputable and avoid the ones that are difficult to work with
  • They can get better deals from vendors because they are repeat business as opposed to you being a one time bride.
  • They can help select the theme, colors, and the general design of the wedding
  • Act as a liaison with vendors and resorts to ensure that everything is going according to plan.
  • Finalize details with all the vendors a few weeks before the wedding
  • Be at the wedding to coordinate all the vendors, guests, and to take care of last minute details.
  • Help get your marriage license by navigating through the legal requirements of your destination
  • Plan activities and entertainment for destination wedding guests
  • Get group discounts for activities.
  • Block hotel rooms for wedding guests at discounted rates
  • They know your destination wedding budget and help you stick to it.
  • They can help you catch mistakes that can cost you dearly (ordering too much cake, ordering too many floral arrangements, not reading the hotel room block contracts are common ones)

How to find a reputable planner for a destination wedding?

Finding a reputable planner for a destination wedding does not have to be tricky. Since you are planning to wed afar, most of your research will have to be conducted online.

To start with, we would look at planners that are part of a reputable association. Here are three websites where you locate a wedding planner that works in the destination where you want to get married.


In addition, you can also do a search on Google or Pinterest to find a planner for your destination wedding. Simply add the destination along with the words wedding planner. For example, if you are looking for wedding planner for a destination wedding in NYC, then search for NYC wedding planner. Within the first 10 results, you should be able to find a planner that specializes in your destination.

What are some of the qualities to look for in a planner?

Based in the area where you are getting married

Select a planner that is either based in the area where you are having your destination wedding or has extensive experience planning weddings there. In doing so, you will have someone who will know the best ceremony and reception locations, the most romantic sunsets, and the best resorts.

Moreover, they will know which vendors are reputable and professional and which ones are difficult and irresponsible.

Selecting a planner that is new to the destination does not afford those advantages and you are basically just paying the vendor to learn on your dime.

No conflict of interest

Your wedding planner should be working for you, not for any resort or a travel agency. In addition, the only compensation they should be getting is what you pay them. Under no circumstances should they be getting commissions from any vendors for sending business.

They should have a calming effect on you

The last thing you need is a planner for your destination wedding that is high strung, loud, and over the top. What you need is someone who you can get along with, someone who can keep you calm, and someone who will listen to you and understand your needs.

What you don’t need is someone who you are intimidated by or someone who makes you feel like you don’t know anything.

They should always be one step ahead

Destination weddings are tough to plan, even for a planner. So you need someone who is organized, and always one step ahead. Someone who responds to emails quickly, solves your problems without you having to follow up, and answers questions before you have thought of the question.

How much does a planner for a destination wedding cost?

Planners for a destination wedding can be hired hourly, by the day, month or for the entire thing. It really depends on your needs. So if you have most everything planned already and just need a planner to help you on the day of the wedding, they can help (usually for a flat fee).

Or if you need help planning the entire wedding from beginning to end, you can hire one for a percentage of the total wedding cost (usually 15-20% depending on the planner’s experience).

For more on how much a wedding planner will cost, read this article.

But won’t the wedding coordinator at the hotel/resort do the same thing

Not necessarily. Remember that the coordinator at the resort works for the resort so their first priority will not be you. They will be handling dozens of weddings, and won’t be able to dedicate the time required to help you with your.

In addition, wedding coordinators will not finalize details with other vendors, negotiate on your behalf, manage transportation, handle your rehearsal, or help with the invites. And truth be told, that is not really their job.

If you need a small wedding, and are not very particular about the details, then the wedding coordinator will do. But for anything larger, a certified wedding planner is the only way to go.

If planning is getting to be less and less fun and you are getting more overwhelmed by all the details, it may be time to look for a planner for your destination wedding. With the advice in this article, you should have no problems identifying a great planner for your destination wedding.

What should you do next?

Read 10 Questions To Ask A Destination Wedding Planner.

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