I wish I could say my days as a destination wedding planner are spent sitting on the beach, taste-testing cocktails and trying out massages at the spa. Not quite. However, I do get to travel to amazing locations to find new and exciting places to recommend to my clients. My days are also filled with a lot of emails and tons of research! I take stress out of destination wedding planning for my couples. It is what I love to do.
What does a day look like in the life of a destination wedding planner?
One thing is certain, no two days are the same. As I am writing this, I just finished researching a solo trip to Ireland (any other game of thrones fans out there?), a Destination Wedding in the Mayan Riviera, and a Baby-moon in Vegas. I can’t complain – I feel like I have one of the most amazing jobs in the world. I specialize in Destination Weddings and Honeymoons, but my goal is always to have long-term clients so many past clients contact me again.
My days range from a few hours to sixteen hours (especially if I have a wedding final payment due – your guests aren’t the only ones who wait until the last minute). No matter what, I am always working evenings and weekends. It is when my busy couples are usually free to chat! There is definitely never a shortage of things to do especially since I like to handle everything myself. When travel planning days are slow there is always social media, webinars and of course blogs to write (like this one!). Although no two days are ever the same day, most of my time is spend exploring, researching and triple-checking everything.
Exploring (and networking)
Yes, I do get to travel. It’s so exciting and fun, easily one of my favorite perks of the job, but also a lot of work! On my last trip to Mexico, I toured over twenty different resorts and several off-site wedding venues. I was with a group of other travel agents and the bus picked us up at 7:30 am and dropped us off at the hotel after 9:30 pm. When traveling to destination wedding locations, I try to hit as many resorts and hotels as possible to help my couples make the best choice for them. I also take a lot of photos so I can show couples what the resort actually looks like. Don’t get me wrong, I love resort professional stock photos. Sometimes it is a match and sometimes it is not! I would rather find that out so my couples don’t have to.
Let’s be honest, there’s only so much you can glean from a resort’s website. I love the beach but I’m also interested in the services, the amenities, the food, and the “feel”. Nothing helps you understand the vibe of a place more than actually being there. After the basics like great food and nice beaches, most couples ask me which resorts are more relaxing or more lively, kid friendly vs kid over-run – things you won’t know from reading the website!!
I also spend a lot of the time networking! I get to meet the wedding coordinators and sales managers from the resorts and these relationships are invaluable. These are the contacts that I can reach out to to make sure your trip is absolutely perfect. Equally as important, I always make long-lasting relationships with other travel agents. It is impossible for me to see every resort every year so having colleagues I can ask for unbiased, first-hand feedback is a huge priority.
Research. LOTS of research.
There are definitely some complicated parts of planning a destination wedding that I have to figure out for my couples. For example, most countries have a residency requirement of some sort in order to be legally married there – so I need to do the research. Then, I advise my clients if this is doable or if they’re better off doing a legal ceremony at home in Canada and a spiritual/symbolic ceremony in their destination of choice. Usually, it is better to do it at home. Something couples don’t consider as well, if you get legally married in Cuba (for example, since it is one of the easiest destinations for Canadians to get married in), you will have to get divorced in Cuba should anything so wrong!! Of course I hope none of my clients ever go through this, you still need to be aware!
On top of researching specific questions my couples might have, I am also researching “what’s new”. In this industry, there is ALWAYS something new. It’s my job to stay on top of which hotels are renovating, which hotels are brand new, and which hotels have the best wedding packages for 2018/2019 brides. I also spend too much time on pinterest looking at the latest trends – I promise it’s for work! (Psst: If You want to see what I have been pinning lately, you can follow me here)
Organizing, Following Up, Confirming, and Triple-Checking (and a LOT of Coffee).
I spend most of my days organizing, following up, confirming, and triple-Checking (and a some days a LOT of Coffee). Being organized and on top of the details is a HUGE part of my job. Four more guests were just added on last-minute, so I need to let the hotel know to add them to the guest list. My brides’ want their dress steamed before the wedding, so I make sure there’s a steamer on-site ahead of time. All those little details can be super stressful for a couple to manage,they are busy enough! My job is to make their lives easier by taking care of the little things!
Although I do help with the initial planning (choosing the resort and wedding package), I usually sit on the sidelines when it comes to the actual wedding. Usually couples work directly with the wedding coordinator at the property and just CC me on the emails. This way, if anything goes wrong, it’s me searching through emails instead of them while they are on their holiday. If I have the answer, I can also help answer questions a lot quicker than the coordinators. I do confirm absolutely everything with the wedding coordinator and handle the guest list and rooming list. I want to make sure your guests get everything they request as well!
So while my job isn’t all suntanning and sipping Mai-Tai’s (for research, of course), it is pretty great. I love being a destination wedding planner and helping my amazing clients plan the destination weddings and honeymoons. I make dreams come true 😉
Ready to plan yours? If you haven’t already, you should download my 9 Step Guide to Planning a Destination Wedding for Canadians.
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