Tips for Choosing a Destination Wedding Planner

In choosing your wedding planner/officiate for your Destination Wedding, be sure to think of these few important tips.

Firstly, you will want to work with someone who is local and has their business based where you wish to go. “Non- local, Off-island” or “mainland” coordinators are mostly middle-men and this can be a drain on your budget. Some non-local coordinators tend to undercut the vendors, taking a big cut of the Wedding Package price. This economically hurts the local vendors and makes for a somewhat impersonal wedding when you are not working with the actual officiate/planner yourself. Being able to plan your wedding directly with the Ceremonial Minister (there are many who do the “one-stop shop” with photography, ceremony and floral arrangements) ensures your personal desires are fully understood and carried out by the same person. By the time the wedding comes around, you are already good friends and your ceremony will have that “personal” touch.

Secondly, be sure that your ‘minister’ will actually be the one officiating the ceremony. There are many planner/ministers who farm out their work to other ministers, doing the double booking thing. You show up to your wedding thinking you have a certain minister, and then you are surprised by another face. Has this minister actually given you a copy of their ceremony so that you can review it and add or delete any phrases you wish? Did they ask about your “first date” so they could know a bit more about you and take those special moments and mention them in the ceremony? Go for a planner that actually does the ceremony; wedding planners that do nothing but nervously pace around the wedding site grasping a clipboard are really an unnecessary expense unless you really do have a huge budget for a very complex wedding. If you want it simple, keep it simple!

As you choose your planner/officiate, learn a wee bit more about them first. Do you want someone friendly who personally answers the phone or someone who has assistants and double books so many weddings that you await your turn on a crowded beach? Some wedding operations will do up to 12 weddings in one day before handing them over to a backup ceremony officiate. These types of planners are brilliant at marketing, but that “Big Brother” market domination tends to create a strain on how personal they can be during their marriage marathons.

Watch out for the “dark side!” Be aware of the “mysterious” wedding planners that seem to hide their true identity. A wedding planner should read like an open book: who they are, where they live, what have they accomplished, and what are their interests aside from just booking heaps of weddings. For destination weddings, it would be particularly helpful if the person had somewhat of an interesting lifestyle or special connection with that destination. For example, for a destination beach wedding on a tropical island; have they been to other islands or perhaps spent some time sailing tropical islands? Can they be crew on your sailing sunset wedding voyage? Do they resonate with the spirit and personality of that island that makes you feel comfortable? What are their tropical island wedding experiences?

Inquire about the photographer; ask for their websites & galleries. Most photographers can come up with a few stunning shots to showcase, but look further into their galleries; you should see a fairly consistent level of quality. Find a photography style that works for you. Most photographers have developed a style they like to portray in their portraits. Some go for the old-fashioned look, some are trying new tricks, and some rely heavily on multi-layered & time-consuming editing to create a masterpiece, while some purists don’t digitally edit their pictures at all.

Most photographers spend at least 3 to 8 hours editing a 1 hour photo shoot so be aware if a wedding planner is suggesting a bargain wedding package that does not include edited pictures. This could be a great deal for the competent amateur photographer which can save some money on the photography by getting un-edited picture files, but if your talent really lies somewhere around ‘slightly above below average’, then you should spend the money & let the photographer do his editing magic. Since prior to booking with this particular wedding planner with this photographer, you must have liked the pictures you saw in their galleries if you have chosen this planner’s package. The pictures you saw were most likely highly enhanced with an industry standard photo editing software. If you are not fully confident that you could edit as good as the pro but still want to try, buy the fully edited high-resolution digital images & then inquire about purchasing (at a good deal!) the ‘RAW’ uncompressed & unedited image files. Then you can take advantage of the professional photographer’s finely refined photography and digital editing enhancements and then compare your best editing efforts.

Consider a simple destination wedding for just the bride and groom, perhaps with very close family. Have your simple dream wedding at your awesome destination location and enjoy an easy laid back, stress free wedding and honeymoon that will cater to your romance and your precious time together. Sometime after you get home, have your big reception! Not only will you be saving heaps on both the wedding and reception, you will certainly enjoy them much more as well.