Do you really need to hire a Destination Wedding Planner?

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Do you really need to hire a Destination Wedding Planner?

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We are loving the “let’s get things done” energy September brings! You too? Whether you just got engaged or have been engaged and are just feeling the “Okay, I should get started planning” energy – we are taking on a big topic today. Who has thought that they definitely DO NOT need to hire a destination wedding planner? After all, maybe you are choosing a destination wedding to save money!!

PS: If deep diving into destination wedding planning is on your September To-Do List, we have you covered:

But then, maybe a few tiny thoughts crept in your head: maybe this would be easier with a planner? Why don’t resorts post pricing online? Eeeeek, there is a lot of mixed reviews here… or Why is this resort pricing $1500/person for a month from now but $2500/person for next year? My guests are driving me crazy with all there questions! Yes, you need a passport Brenda…

Fall Colours, Ceremony Arch
Do you absolutely need to hire a destination wedding planner?

Being destination wedding planners, you probably think we are going to say a big “hell yes”. But no, you absolutely do not need to hire a destination wedding planner. A wedding planner is a luxury: they can save you time & money, they can make your life easier, but you absolutely don’t need one. In fact, a whole wedding really is a luxury. Whether you should make a wedding planner a priority in your budget though, really comes down to a couple of things!

wedding sign - wedding details
Do you actually want help planning?

Let me repeat: Do you actually want someone to help you plan your wedding? Do you have the time and actually LOVE to plan (and let’s be honest, hate giving up control)? If you are just hiring a wedding planner because you are hoping they will make sure the day of goes smoothly while you are getting married, consider hiring someone for partial planning or day-of coordination? We definitely still recommend using a destination wedding travel agent for your travel needs though! There is just too much that you don’t know to risk trying to DIY this on your own!

Let’s be honest, we have had clients in the past hire us for “full-planning” and then they end up planning the whole thing (because they love it) and we end up being very expensive cheerleaders. Although they don’t seem to mind, if you really love planning every detail and can’t let someone take the reins, you might want to consider whether or not you really do want a planner.

beach wedding cake - destination wedding planning
How many moving pieces do you have?

If you have chosen a resort and a wedding package, and you are not hiring any outside vendors, you might not need to hire destination wedding planner (in this sentence, I am assuming your wedding package includes an onsite coordinator). Similar to above, you might only need a destination wedding travel agent. Destination wedding travel agents will still help you find a great resort and travel package, and then you can continue working with the on-site coordinator and working within their wedding package!

 

How comfortable are you with the destination wedding planning process, really?

Most resorts actually start the planning process with you 2-3 months in advance. Are you comfortable with that? Do you want a bit more guidance throughout the year or are you fine waiting until 2-3 months because you trust the resort to execute your vision, and to be honest, you are pretty easy going anyway. If you really can be chill, save yourself the money! Still use a destination wedding travel agent so you know you picked a good resort and everything will be alllll right!

europe wedding
Where are you getting married?

In the questions above, we referenced several times to an on-site coordinator and a “wedding package”. We are kind of assuming you are choosing an all inclusive resort here! If you are dreaming more of a land far, far away (we have been seeing lots of Europe lately!), we would say you do *need* to hire a destination wedding planner. You are less likely to be working with something “pre-packaged” in Europe though so you should definitely consider hiring a destination wedding planner to help bring your vision together.

How much time do you have?

No, really. We spend between 100-200 hours “full-planning” for clients and we are professionals. Depending on the study, it is estimated that couples without planners spend between 200-550 hours planning their wedding. Over 14 months, that 200 hours (on the low end) turns into 14 hours A WEEK. If you love it, that might feel like 5 minutes. If you have time, that might not be an issue. But CERTAINLY, something to keep in mind!!

thank you favours
How does the planning work, really? Do we need to bring our planner with us?

Damn, you did your homework! Great question. For the planning, we really offer two different packages. The first part of our quotes are for full planning which we do virtually with you from Canada. We also offer wedding planning services for US couples but we do not offer travel services for US couples (we partner with some amazing US Travel agents though!).

We help you organize your vendors, negotiate contracts, and make sure your vision is cohesive and well-organized so when you show up you can “just enjoy”. As an additional option, we add on-site coordination which involves us flying out to make sure everything is executed perfectly and help coordinate both the ceremony rehearsal, rehearsal dinner and day of (and any additional events, of course). Depending on the wedding details, if you chose only the planning and not the on-site coordination, we may recommend you hire a local “day of” coordinator. Because of this, most clients end up just choosing the “complete” package.

Should we just hire a local wedding planner to avoid paying for someone’s travel since all the planning is virtual anyway?

We are based in Alberta so too matter where in Canada and the US you live, the planning would likely have to be done virtually – usually our couples love email but we are always happy to hop on the phone or zoom (video calling 🙂). If you are worried about whether or not we are the right fit, we would encourage you to reach out at weddings@loveatfirsttravel.com so we can schedule a time to chat and see if we connect. We want you to love your wedding planner after all. If you hire us, we will be working together for a long time!

Oops that didn’t really answer the question. In the above questions, we stressed that communication can be slow. In Canada and the US, we are VERY accustomed to 24 hour response times and get a little crazy after that. Depending on the destination you chose, you may need to expect longer response times if you hire a local-to-the-destination planner. Maybe not the end of the world, but definitely not to consider.

One last note – our on-site coordination packages are SHOCKINGLY affordable. Sometimes it feels like we are trading the on-site coordination for the travel costs. Which is actually, a very good deal. Don’t assume local is cheaper! 

destination wedding couple - relaxed and happy

So, do I NEED to hire a destination wedding planner?

It really depends. Ultimately, no, you don’t NEED a destination wedding planner. But you might love one. Especially if you want the “traditional wedding planning experience” despite not having a “traditional” local wedding.

Hopefully we have addressed some of your questions here but seriously, if you have questions just reach out or fill out the form below! You really DON’T need to commit either. We are happy to jump on the phone or answer your email with any questions you might have! So, let’s chat!

[PSSSST: So glad you found us here! It can be so frustrating to spend hours searching for wedding planning information when a majority of what you find online is either *so old* or completely geared toward all inclusive resort weddings. WE MADE THIS FOR YOU. In this 70+ page guide, there is information about all inclusive weddings (of course) but there is also PAGES & PAGES of budgeting, hiring vendors (when they aren’t all put in a nice little package for you), choosing a destination, arranging travel for your guests when you are planning destination weddings that are not all inclusive and so much more]

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