Vetting your destination wedding planner is an absolute must.
It isn't enough that your destination wedding planner know how to coordinate a wedding. They'll also need to be well-versed in the culture and laws of the country you're getting married in. And, of course, finding someone whose personality clicks with yours should definitely be a top priority. Overall, a great wedding planner will not only make you feel like they've got it all under control, but also make you feel at ease. And if something just doesn't feel right, it probably isn't; don't be afraid to search elsewhere. These six questions will help you gauge whether your potential planner is right for you.
What's the typical budget of couples you've helped plan weddings for? Do you charge a flat fee or do you take a percent of our budget? And are rates affected by our guest list size or destination?
Why You Want To Know: You should know that some planners will only work within a particular range. That could be weddings over $50,000 or it could be weddings over $500,000 (yes, you read that right!). Either way, this should be at the top of your list of questions. For a destination wedding, there will probably also be other fees involved. You'll most likely have to factor in travel and hotel rooms for your planner and his or her team. If you're not able to find someone that can work within your budget, ask your venue about hiring extra help locally. Maybe you find someone to organize the escort card table, programs, and other little details that you would otherwise have to take care of.
Have you planned weddings at my destination and venue before?
Why You Want To Know: A planner who knows the area, local customs and language will probably have an easier time pulling together all the details. And it's not necessarily a major red flag if they haven't done a wedding at your particular resort but it's a bonus. Other questions to get a feel for how knowledgeable they are: Do they know the marriage license laws? Are they familiar with popular area vendors like florists and makeup artists? And do they have any local ideas (like a steel drummer in the Caribbean or a mariachi band in Mexico) that would make your wedding day extra special?
Can I see photos from weddings you've done at my destination? If none, do you have photos from weddings that look similar to what we're going for?
Why You Want To Know: Photos will give you the best sense as to how your planner's weddings really turn out. And of course, you want to be sure that you and your planner are one the same page style-wise. You never know: your planner's idea of an elegant wedding might just be your idea of shabby chic. Asking for references of other couples they've worked with in the past and read reviews online.
What other wedding vendors do you like to work with?
Why You Want To Know: This question will help you gauge their knowledge of the local industry, too -- having go-to sources for things like local transportation and food is pretty much a no brainer in this industry. Your wedding planner may or may not give out specific names (don't fret -- they're trade secrets!) but you'll want to be plugged in to their enthusiasm about their colleagues.
Can I hire you to help me with my honeymoon arrangements?
Why You Want To Know: Many Stateside destination wedding planners will also offer honeymoon prep services because are already familiar with area luxury properties, excursions, and other insider tips.
How does the contract and deposit process work?
Why You Want To Know: Everyone works a little differently. Some planners will have you put down and sign a contract before you start talking vision and logistics. Others will present a plan to you before you sign. For full-service planners, you might end up giving them your credit card to use to pay for all the details while others will guide you through the process but won't make payments for you. There are pros and cons to each. Either way, it's important you know how your planner works before you sign a contract.