I am all for some good old fashioned “real talk” but I also want to start by saying – this is in my experience but I am absolutely not talking about YOU. If you have been doing one of these things, and can see yourself if some of these situations, please know these are VERY common ways couples are things harder on themselves and I do not have one single couple in mind that I am using this blog post to “call out”. Promise you won’t take any of these personally okay? Okay.
Here are a few ways you are making Destination Wedding Planning Harder for Yourself.
#1 You want the resort coordinator to play by your rules
I get it. A month between emails does seem kind of crazy. But if you are getting married at an all inclusive resort and are relying on the resort coordinator, long response times are unfortunately VERY normal. A lot of times, they don’t even send you any wedding planning INFORMATION until about 3-4 months before your wedding. I am pretty sure this is in part, to avoid you asking them more questions before it is “your turn” to plan.
Closer to the date, they do tend to get faster at responding. It is just how they work and it is VERY unlikely they are going to make an exception for you and help you start planning your wedding early. It can be frustrating, but unfortunately, you are going to drive yourself crazy thinking they are going to change. Trust me – I have been there.
#2 Instead of using a travel agent, you heard it is cheaper to just let guests book themselves
This one causes me to break out in hives but I know it’s true so I have to address it. I can’t tell you how many times couples reach out to me AFTER they have started to book. Because they realize not only is it a LOGISTICAL NIGHTMARE (the kind that makes me break out in night sweats), it also doesn’t end up being cheaper. For the first few guests, sure. But after a few guests book in, the resort knows there is demand and yes, raises the prices.
Let’s talk about logistics first. If there is no travel agent, who do you think guests will call if they have questions? Let me paint you a picture. Does the resort you chose have a kids club? What are the babysitting services like? They are going to travel Saturday-Saturday instead of the Wednesday package you chose, is that okay? Is it possible for your to request a king bed? We don’t want two queens. What section of the resort is everyone booking into? We have a timeshare we bought five years ago, can we just come for the wedding day? What is the day pass? The resort is on sale for $1300/person for this May, so, I am sure it will be the same next year. Resorts don’t sell out do they? Oh my god the resort sold out! Where am I supposed to stay now?!
Not to mention, travel agents often let guests pay off their trip with payment plans instead of trying to pay the whole thing upfront like an online site. It might surprise you, but not all of your guests will have it all “upfront”.
#2b Okay, it is a logistical nightmare, but it is cheaper.
Is it? How many times have you booked a group this way? I have seen it go wrong so many times. Admittedly, these people contact me after there is a problem and not before so I am sure sometimes it works out just fine. But here is what usually happens. A couple approaches me looking to book their wedding for about 15 months from now (on average). The pricing for the month they want is out for 2019 but not 2020. Unsurprisingly, the 2020 price I am quoting is higher than the 2019 price – but why?
A few reasons. First, there is no guarantee they have 20, 30 or 40 rooms at the “cheap” price you see online. I am willing to bet you that they don’t. Second, often times when you are looking at 2019, many resorts have sold out already and the ones remaining have already started to go “on sale”. Most tour operators (airlines) offer a price drop guarantee with one very major catch – they have to have enough space left in their inventory to re-book the entire group. Often when you see a lower price online, they don’t! They have a few seats left they are trying to blow out. So can we stop spreading the rumour that it is cheaper to just book online? Yes, you might get a good deal but it is VERY risky.
#3 You believe Facebook groups more than your travel agent/wedding planner
I don’t want to brag, but I know a lot about destination weddings. And when I am hanging out in facebook groups, which isn’t often, I realize just how much I know about destination weddings. Oh my goodness – I can’t even BEGIN to start with all the misconceptions out there. I thought google was bad, facebook groups are WORSE. Please, please stop thinking the opinionated “know it all” bride’s word is true. It might be, but it might not be.
If you do see something in a facebook group you have questions about, just ask your travel agent or wedding planner (depending on the questions). And please, when they answer you, believe them. They (hopefully) know more than the random person on Facebook. And if you can’t trust them? That is a WHOLE other issue.
#4 You have convinced yourself that everything is overpriced.
Listen, I understand. Things add up for weddings. Whether you are planning a local wedding, an all inclusive destination wedding or a grand affair far, far away – it likely will cost more than you think it will (or should!). Have you ever heard that if you add the word “wedding” things will cost 10x as much? I know you probably think that it is because vendors are trying to rip you off but honestly? I disagree. Weddings make things more expensive because they are more work, require more staff/decor/attention, and have a lot more risk.
I know there is a rumour that “destination weddings are cheaper”. And honestly, it can be true. If you have 30 guests, you chose an all inclusive package with little to no “add ons”, it usually is cheaper than a local wedding. So when you compare that the average local wedding is near $35,000 and a Destination wedding is about $10,000 – it is quite a bit cheaper. Read more about money and destination weddings here.
ALSO, just like local weddings – the bigger your guest count, the more expensive it will be! Not only will your group travel rate be higher, you do tend to pay per guests for your destination wedding package after a certain number (usually between 20-30 guests). If you do want to keep things “relatively affordable”, your guest count is a good place to start.
#5 You aren’t willing to compromise what you want. (Hear me out on this one…)
On top of the point above, I just want to talk more about budget. I am sure you have heard of budget brides planning weddings for (a lot) less than $35,000. So of course you can have a destination wedding for less than $10,000. But here is the catch – it is going to require you to compromise! While I do not think you have to compromise your wish list if you don’t want, you do need to have a budget that supports your wish list. OR, we can stick to your budget (I completely understand and respect that people have budgets!) but you need to be willing to compromise.
Can I just be super honest? The most common thing I hear lately is “I want unique”, “I don’t want a typical beach wedding” – I have heard five different couples use the word “cookie cutter” this week. This is one of my favourite things to hear too because I LOVE being creative and researching new vendors and ideas 🙂 But I hate breaking the bad news. Cookie cutter is cheaper. You will pay for more unique. You might be thinking of even going off-site for the wedding, or choosing a location far, far away. And there are many, many pros to doing so. It just isn’t usually less expensive.
#6 The resort has an on-site coordinator so you didn’t hire a wedding planner
Listen, you may or may not need a wedding planner on top of the on-site coordinator. If you are unsure about the differences, head to this blog post where I talk about the difference between a destination wedding travel agent and a destination wedding planner. Depending on the planning experience you want, and the wedding vision you have, you may or may not NEED a wedding planner. That being said, your life will be easier without one.
Ready to make this a bit easier? I would love to chat with you about your destination wedding plans! Fill out the form below or contact me here to get started.