Planning a wedding comes with a lot of questions, but don’t let it get to you because you’re not alone. Most couples have the same questions you do. The majority of couples don’t plan weddings for a living, so all of this is brand new. We’ve put together a list of commonly asked questions to share with you. More important, we’ve answered them!
1. Do I really need a wedding planner?
Um, yes. It’s not even a question. If you’re planning a destination wedding, particularly in a foreign country where they don’t speak the same language as you, you need a planner. You can be extremely organized with a knack for planning, but you haven’t already worked with every vendor in town to know the little nuances that make a difference. You also haven’t referred them endless business over the years, resulting in them offering you their absolute lowers possible prices. But we have! I can say with confidence that I can save my clients more than what they will spend to hire me, and I know that’s true for other planners, too. Even if that wasn’t the case, the ease of things makes it well worth the investment. Your planner knows answers to the questions you have for venues, hotels, and vendors, and can answer them easily without making you wait days or weeks, which is not uncommon when dealing directly with foreign hotels and vendors. If all that isn’t enough for you, ask yourself who is going to be setting everything up for you while you’re getting your hair and makeup done. You don’t want to spend your wedding day worrying about the timeline, the vendors, the setup, or anything that isn’t celebratory. Let someone else do the dirty work, and spend the next six months to a year making your life easy!
2. How much will all of this cost?
Maybe this should have been question #1 because budget is usually pretty high on everyone’s list of ‘things to worry about’. But it doesn’t have to be, especially if you’re working with a planner who is proficient in budget management (qualifying question for your planner: how are you with budget management?). The better question to ask than, “How much will this cost?”, is “How much do I want to spend?”. Start with determining your ideal budget. Destination weddings come in all shapes and sizes with budgets across the board, so within reason, there is usually something for everyone. Your planner can tell you if your ideas are reasonable given your budget, and offer you alternative ideas that may better suit you if necessary. Once you settle on a budget, ask your planner to provide you with a sample budget so you can get an idea of what things cost. I don’t recommend booking anything until you determine you event budget, and allocate a portion to each category of spending. It’s a good idea to keep a portion aside for unexpected expenses, too!
3. Do I need special documents?
Yes! If you are going to a foreign country to tie the knot, you’re going to need to decide if you want to get married in your own country first, and then have a symbolic wedding at your chosen destination, or if you want to wed legally at your destination. If you decide to get married at home first (the majority of couples opt for this option for the ease and the savings) you’ll need a lot less paperwork. In the US you can apply for a marriage license easily, and get married at your local courthouse or by any ordained officiant. If you want to get married legally at your destination wedding, you will need to be very organized and prepared. In Mexico, for example, you are required to have a blood test done one week before the wedding, and to have the ceremony performed by a judge, who will require you to fill out several forms well in advance (and then translated officially into Spanish), as well as a possible interview. Every country is different, but your planner will know exactly what you need to do, and what the costs will be.
4. Where do I start?
Stressful, isn’t it? I know it can feel overwhelming, but the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time (No elephants were harmed or eaten during the writing of this blog). On our team, we like to create a planning strategy for each couple and their specific planning needs. In general, we start with identifying budget, then move on to choosing a venue and a host hotel. Typically, choosing your venue and finding and booking your room block are the longest part of the planning, so don’t let it get you down if things feel like they are dragging. Once those contracts are underway, you’ll feel a tremendous relief, and the rest of the planning will be a breeze in comparison. The next steps will be booking your vendors, planning your wedding day timeline, and the event design. Our strategy is always to have all of the planning completely finished a full 30 days before the wedding, which allows plenty of time for any last minute details that need your attention.
Have a question that we didn’t answer here? No problem! Send it our way. We’re happy to answer any questions that you have.