Planner before Place, Please!

Most couples are anxious to secure their destination wedding venue, knowing many locations can fill up years in advance. Makes sense, right? Surprisingly, there are a number of drawbacks to taking this step before enlisting the help of an independent, custom wedding planner.

Most hotels and other wedding venues employ wedding coordinators and location staff who are responsible for handling wedding bookings. These individuals are dedicated and work hard at their jobs, but their priorities vary from those of an independent wedding planner. Hotel wedding coordinators prioritize ensuring the various hotel locations are booked and can offer their limited selection of rentals and suppliers, usually having to outsource for numerous items. Often the bride will realize the limitations of this situation late in the game and hastily hire an independent wedding planner.

The wedding planner now has to use valuable time that could have been spent advancing the couples’ plans to do the following:

  • Review plans the bride believes have been put in place when at times the said items didn’t end up getting booked for any number of reasons
  • Work to unravel dozens of emails to uncover who may have done or asked for what
  • Attempting to schedule new services and suppliers closer to the date when fewer are available
  • Looking for decor pieces when quantity options are more limited
  • Spending time trying to control the budget which now has to expand to allow for new, more limited choices that cost more

One of our planners tells of a client who booked the venue before hiring her as a planner. Three months into the process the couple were charged additional fees by the hotel for late payments since locations don’t typically send payment reminders. Had a planner been in place before any payment exchange the added costs would have been avoided, as planners pay very close attention to when and where payments are due and alert the couple promptly.

At times it can be challenging to understand room block and other contracts, especially in a foreign country. Having a planner involved in the negotiation and execution of contracts is critical, as they know what to ask for right off the bat and are also able to detect any red flags within the agreement before the client signs.

With the time-sensitive and “tentacled” nature of weddings, clear communication is an absolute must. Especially in a country other than your own, communication styles can vary, and things can appear different than they are. There usually isn’t any deceit involved, but merely communication styles. One client who hired a planner after she signed a contract with her hotel received zero communication from the hotel, resulting in a great deal of stress and ill will. Our staff who were called upon to investigate were able to contact the appropriate team at the facility and confirm things in minutes.

The bottom line is that the cost of using an independent custom wedding planner usually results in a lower overall wedding budget, and not the opposite. Let us help you navigate!

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