Monday, May 7, 2007

Covering the basics – Hiring a local wedding planner

Planning a wedding, especially a destination wedding, can be very difficult. Usually, you are not familiar with the location and local vendors, so having someone to assist can make a world of difference!

By wedding planner, we don’t mean a wedding vendor or tour operators—these folks usually just package hotels, airfare, and ground transit. We mean a true wedding planner who will help with flowers, cakes, logistics, negotiating and securing contracts with hotels, arranging music and handling all your needs.

Some hotels and resorts have their own on-site planners, some don’t. In general, we found these on-site planners to be only moderately helpful. They were responsive to get you to sign a contract, but not helpful to answer your detailed questions. We started to feel like just a number—something we definitely didn’t want for our special day.

We quickly learned that there are a number of independent destination wedding planners in several locations. These folks are local and know the good, the bad and the ugly about local vendors. Since they are not affiliated with the hotel/resort directly, they have more freedom in recommending good vendors, not just the ones that have contracts with the resort.

We also learned that finding these independent wedding planners is a bit of a needle in a haystack. We found our planner, And the Two Become One in the Bahamas, through a review that someone had posted in the Knot Bios. Seeking out reviews or friends who have utilized their services can be very helpful.

To get an idea of all of the things that an independent wedding planner can do for you, check out the website for Ceremonies of St. John. They help with everything from coordinating the marriage license to making sure the color on the cake is right.

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