While it’s becoming increasingly popular for couples to leave the phone calls, emails, and shopping around to professional wedding planners, occasionally the excitement of a hands-on approach or a strict budget can lead couples choosing to plan their destination wedding without the additional cost of a wedding planner.
If you’re one of these gung-ho grooms or brides-to-be, you should understand the most efficient ways to get the best bang-for-your-buck from your resort wedding coordinator. Assuming that you've chosen to leave the travel portion of the wedding in the hands of a trusted travel advisor, he, she, or they, should put you in touch with the on-site wedding coordinator, overseeing introductions and ensuring that you feel comfortable and ready to plan your dream wedding directly with the coordinator.
There can be a few hurdles when you are so many miles apart – particularly to those who are getting married in another country! Read on for my best tips and expectations to keep in mind when planning your wedding with a resort-provided wedding coordinator!
- "Island Time" Still Exists When You're Not On the Island! -
Copy yourself on all correspondences and keep a digital folder with all communications just in case you need to refer back to anything at a later date. And yes, this includes text messaging or direct messages on social media, like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!
Take a screenshot of the discussion and forward that to yourself to reference later, so that everything is contained in one place.
Sending a paragraph with 15 questions run together makes it harder for the recipient to decipher your email and they could miss important information or questions.
Keep in mind that destination wedding departments deal with hundreds of couples, as most reputable resort venues will realistically have at least one wedding per day (and often times 2-3 weddings per day during peak season), which means that they have limited time between meetings and facilitating events.
If you want timely responses, make sure your query is easy to read and understand – otherwise, they may move on the next email that they can quickly respond to and wait until they have more time to comb through your content.
In day to day affairs however, “island time” still exists and it can be somewhat conflicting with what we expect, as our culture on the mainland tends to be more fast-paced with instant responses or gratification.
The different culture plays a key part for many unhappy couples who feel as though they’re being ignored during wedding planning proceedings, however it is standard for resort wedding coordinators to take some time to reply to emails or return phone calls. If you have a matter that is time-sensitive it’s best to reach out sooner rather than later.
Additionally, resort wedding coordinators are simultaneously working on hundreds of weddings every year, so those weddings within the coming weeks and months will take priority over weddings scheduled 9 months out. Therefore, response times will typically be 2-5 days depending on their current wedding schedule.*
*Please note that due to the impact of COVID-19 (novel Coronavirus) worldwide, current response times from resort wedding coordinators may exceed the average 2-5 days.
planning stages and when you start, as most components are priced based on the exact wedding guest headcount, which you won’t know until your guests secure their travel arrangements, and have paid in full certifying their intentions.
Within 60-90 days prior to your wedding date, the resort coordinator will reach out to start the planning process. Depending on your resort, you may expect to receive a long list of questions they will need you to answer so they can understand your unique wedding vision. This process varies by resort brand, and your travel advisor should be able to confirm the expectations and stages based on your plans.
These questionnaires provided can feel overwhelming at first, but I find it easier - for those resorts that may have an unorganized structure of questions - to transfer those questions or requested items into a Word type document. Arrange them in an order that works best for you and add a completed box next to each item to help keep you on track of what wedding questions still need to be answered.
Using the same concept about having good email structure as mentioned above, answering the questions in CAPITALIZED LETTERS and in another color, is a great way, not only for the wedding coordinator to view effortlessly, but for you to stay organized and efficient about what you need to complete.
I personally recommend completing the questionnaire with everything you WANT for your wedding to get started. Your answers won’t be set in stone, but will allow you to see what your dream wedding vision might cost as the wedding coordinator puts it all together. From there, after you see the price, you can work backwards if needed and alter the details to fit within your ideal wedding budget and determine what you can or can’t live without.
What most couples don’t realize is that resort wedding coordinators are onsite from morning until midnight most days facilitating weddings during the day/evenings, attending meetings, preforming site inspections with prospective couples and travel agents, in addition to their daily work load and answering emails.
The overwhelming majority confirmed that most of the questions they receive have the answers readily available to the couple within the documents they were provided with upon inquiry, or after a wedding is booked. Yes, I’m referring to the 28 page attachments that are probably festering somewhere in your email right now, but if you heeded the very first point in this article, that info should now be filed away in a neat wedding planning email folder in your inbox. 😉
While searching through documents isn’t every couples idea of a good time, you’ll find that it’s often much quicker to get it out of the way yourself rather than stress out wondering why the wedding coordinator hasn’t gotten to your question yet.
TIP: I recommend using a laptop/pc for this task – it’s easier to view small print on a larger screen AND you can utilize the handy little “find on this page” feature so that you can jump right to the section that you’re looking for without any squinting!
The documents and FAQ’s that you’re provided with, have been compiled to create as smooth as possible experience for you, so if you haven’t gone through the information prior to sending an email with allll the questions – check it out! Your coordinator will be grateful, and it never hurts to earn relationship brownie points by being resourceful and respectful of their time!
While the FAQs and documents can be quite extensive, the more couples who utilize them, the quicker the coordinator can get back to working on items and questions that are not everyday occurrences – which in turn, will ensure a quicker response time for those specific questions that do require a direct response!
With my pre-planning personality, organizing my wedding in Puerto Vallarta in my pre-travel agent days, started off a little stressful because I wanted everything outlined and finalized way in advance. As I continued through the process however, I quickly learned that my anxious and controlling nature needed to take a back seat to the laid-back structure of planning a beach wedding. Understanding the stages and expectations allowed me to relax and go with the flow.
Just remember - resort weddings don’t require a ton of advance planning like traditional weddings where you need to lock in caterer, florists, cake designer, photographer, etc… over a year in advance. (Yet another perk of planning a destination wedding!)
Your onsite wedding coordinator will provide you the guidance needed when the time is right. Understanding that and trusting in the process before confirming your destination wedding will assist in creating a stress-free planning experience.
When my freshly manicured feet hit in the sand in Mexico and I finally met my wedding coordinator, I relaxed instantly seeing that she had everything covered and even knew my family’s names already! Since wedding planning was new to me, I instinctively wanted to know all the things right away and get it done, but after meeting in person, I realized that I was dealing with professionals who plan wedding events almost EVERY DAY, and know exactly what they’re doing.
They have it down to a science, so my best advice is to trust in the process, order in some Thai, and toast with your favorite drink that someone else has it all under control!
I hope you found some valuable insight to get you started. If you feel overwhelmed or would like assistance to narrow down the perfect destination or resort, we are here for you! This is what we do every day!
We spend most of our vacation time touring resorts, meeting with the wedding coordinators and training for destination weddings, so we can make it very simple for you. We save you time by filtering out all the bad advice and countless options for you. Let us take the guesswork out and match-make you to the destination and resorts that fit your style, vision and budget the best.
Together we will find the perfect resort for your destination wedding and take care of the logistics after that. All you have to do is the fun wedding planning and creating an unforgettable event your friend and family will remember for a lifetime! Schedule your free consultation to see how we can assist and learn more about our services!