How to Hire a Destination Wedding Planner

Planning a destination wedding? A local expert can help. In this article, we’ll help you find out how to hire a destination wedding planner!

By Jennifer Prince

How to Hire a Destination Wedding Planner
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

  • Destination wedding planning can be difficult, but hiring a destination wedding planner ensures that you have a local advocate to help implement the details of your day.
  • The benefits of hiring a destination planner include peace of mind, vendor recommendations, and wedding planning activities beyond the big day.
  • When searching for a destination wedding planner, search the web, scour their websites, and plan a video conference to ensure they’re a good fit.

For some, the thought of a destination wedding brings Mamma Mia lyrics and views of the Greek seaside to mind. Whether or not that sounds like your big day—we’re jelly if it does!

Having a point person in your location is essential. Choosing a local planner will help you in ways you may not have even considered. Here’s how to hire a destination wedding planner to set your faraway big day up for success.

Why Should I Hire a Destination Wedding Planner?

A destination planner is already in your wedding location. Emails, websites, and Trello scheduling are all helpful; however, having a point of contact at your location is a huge perk. A local wedding planner knows his or her area well, and he or she can field questions and avert problems without skipping a beat. Hiring a professional planner in your destination is critical, especially if you can’t do a site visit beforehand.

They’ve got a vendor for that. Experienced planners should have a curated vendor list. Not only are the pros in his or her little black book vetted, but chances are that they all work well together, too. Your destination wedding planner can recommend wedding venues, florists, and offbeat local vendors—such as a flamethrower or live artist.

You can’t put a price on peace of mind. Trying to secure wedding vendors and tour venues over the web or Zoom—aren’t we all burnt out on that yet?—can prove daunting. Also, what will your backup plan be if a colossal snowstorm or hurricane is headed towards the area on your big day? Communicating with your planner throughout the planning process and having him or her take care of the schedule, implementation, and last-minute changes significantly alleviates stress.

They can help eliminate faux pas. As an area expert, a vetted wedding coordinator will be able to brief you on any unique laws or protocols. In some countries, churches and venues have strict dress codes, such as requiring a head covering for females.

They will also be able to help secure an appropriate officiant—religious or not—for your ceremony. Destination wedding planners also know where, how, and when to secure a marriage license for a couple. After all, being legally wed is an important detail that you don’t want to forget.

Have someone else keep tabs on your destination wedding budget. If you go a la carte with your wedding vendors and serve as your own planner, you may not know what costs to expect. A photographer who charges $5,000 may be a steal in some locations and on the high end in others.

Qualified planners will know what is reasonable and help you stick within your budget. They can also help you prioritize what vendors are important to you and your partner, such as a high-end florist. That way, you can save in some areas and splurge in others, while not going overboard.

A planner can orchestrate the schedule beyond the big day. Quite often, a destination wedding is a lot more than just a wedding ceremony and reception. Many couples treat their guests to a weekend full of fun, from welcome bags to a farewell brunch. Time together may also include excursions, a rehearsal dinner, and an event with your wedding party. Utilize your planner to help implement all of the other big ideas surrounding your wedding day.

Steps to Hiring a Destination Wedding Planner

Do your research. We live in the Internet age, which provides a wealth of knowledge. Do a Google search of destination wedding planners in your location, and make a punch 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 his or her style. Read testimonials and reviews to see what others have to say, too.

See if your venue provides a dedicated wedding planner. Suppose you have your heart set on a specific wedding venue in your perfect destination. In that case, you may be partway to having a fabulous planner… or maybe not. Check with your venue to see if you have a dedicated planner—one single point person for your special day—or a rotating team of people.

Also, see what services are provided, as many times a site planner only works with venue-specific things. Often, he or 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.

All I gotta do is a Zoom, Zoom, Zoom… Yes, we realize that some of you may not have been around in 1992 to get the Rump Shaker reference. And yes, we did say that we are all tired of online conferencing, but it’s a must in this case. 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.

Lay it all on the table. Be honest with your destination wedding planner about your wedding details. What is your budget? What is your wedding planning timeline? Tell him or her your favorite flowers, must-have music, and what the day of your dreams entails. Let him or her catch the vision to be fully invested and understand what you and your partner envision. The more he or she knows, the better that he or she can help you have a stress-free day.

After you hire them, give them your trust. Trust is probably one of the most crucial factors. You’ve done your homework, vetted your planner, and finally signed a contract. He or she will reach out to you with questions, but of course, email him or her if you forgot to include a few details. However, it’s essential to give him or her the freedom to plan, so let him or her know that he or she has your complete confidence.

You and your SO are set on your dream location, but what’s next? Hiring a qualified planner can set you up for success. Having an advocate to help plan your big day will let you concentrate on other things. That way, you can feel like a guest—and feel as free as a Dancing Queen—at your fabulous destination wedding.

Find Your Wedding Vendors at Zola, All Pre-Screened for You