5 tips to hire a great destination wedding planner
A destination wedding is a big affair. Even if you opt for an intimate celebration, planning from a distance brings extra challenges so we always advise hiring a destination wedding planner. Wedding planners are especially valuable when planning a wedding overseas, offering venue scouting, vendor recommendations, budget help and that all important peace of mind during what can be a very stressful time.
So how do you choose the right destination wedding planner for the job? We asked California wedding planner and Fine Art Curation member Lorie Lau from H & L Lovely Creations to share her top tips to help you make this important decision.
1. Do your research
Do a Google search of destination wedding planners in your location, and make a list of ones you think will make the cut. Quite often, a planner’s website and social media pages (Facebook and Instagram, specifically) will give you an idea of their style. Read testimonials and reviews to see what others have to say too.
Nonetheless, you shouldn’t solely trust social media for hiring vendors. Always arrange a video call to understand what they can offer and how they can best help you with your vision. It’s also not advisable to hire any local vendor just to fit your budget. Weigh your options before making decisions. Make a thoughtful decision and hire those that check the majority, if not all, of your boxes.
Also, do as much research as possible before finalizing the destination location, research any legal laws, licenses, permits, or specific rules you need to be aware for your destination wedding BEFORE booking anything.
2. Ask if your venue provides a dedicated wedding planner
Check with your venue to see if they have dedicated event planner (either a single person for your special day or a rotating team of people). If they do, confirm what services are provided, as many times a site planner only works with venue-specific things. Often, he/she will coordinate locations, lighting, and sound, but you may have to find your own florist, musicians, and photographer. If that’s the case, doubling up by having a planner not associated with the venue can help immensely.
3. Get ready to ZOOM
If you can't meet potential planners in person, online conferencing is a must. Video meetings are a fabulous way to interview destination wedding planners once you cull down your list. Compatible personalities and positive interactions will go a long way as you work closely together on planning the perfect big day from afar.
4. Share all the details
Be honest with your destination wedding planner about your wedding particulars and wish list. What is your budget? What is your wedding planning timeline? Tell them your favorite flowers, must-have music, and what the day of your dreams entails. Let them catch the vision to be fully invested and understand what you and your partner envision.
The more the planner knows about your and your ideal wedding celebration, the better that they can help you have a stress-free day. Communication is so important. Honest and frequent discussion about all the details and financials is key to a good relationship, so be open about what you can afford to invest and what your expectations are from the outset.
5. Trust the process and trust the planner
Trust is probably one of the most crucial factors in having a great relationship with your planner. You’ve done your homework, vetted your planner, and finally signed a contract. They will reach out to you with questions, but of course, email them if you forgot to include a few details. However, it’s essential to give them the freedom to plan, so let them know that they have your complete confidence. Hiring a qualified planner can set you up for success. Having an advocate to help plan the best wedding for you will let you concentrate on other things. That way, you can totally relax and feel like a guest at your own fabulous destination wedding.
Wedding planner: H & L Lovely Creations | Venue: Sunstone Winery | Photographer: Pattengale Photography | Floral designer: Solstice Bloom | Videographer: Peter Ascalon | Dress: Berta and Berta Privee | Hair stylist: Domonique Baez | Make-up artist: Patricia Castro Make-up | Rentals: MTB Event Rentals | Cake: Cocoa Berry Cake Co. | Mixologist: Mias Martini | Calligraphy ribbons: Handwritten by Cat | Stationery: Claudia Strenger Calligraphy | Shoes: Bella Belle | Grazing tables Damaris