10 must-ask questions for your destination wedding planner
A lot goes into planning the perfect wedding, I’m sure we can all agree on that. But what if you’re planning a destination wedding? From a distance, everything from choosing the right venue to finding that perfect wedding cake can feel overwhelming. Enter your destination wedding planner, aka your fairy godmother and maker of wedding dreams come true. She or he is absolutely indispensable when it comes to having the perfect destination wedding and having peace of mind while planning a hundred miles away. We’ve sat down with some of the best event planners on the island and they dished on what the top ten questions are that couples need to ask when planning a destination wedding.
About the planners
Avani Ambrister, co-owner and event planner at 4 The Love of Events has 15+ years of experience under her belt of planning anything from birthday parties and bar mitzvahs to charity events to of course weddings. Together with partner Alphanique Brooks, this dynamic duo has put together some of the most original and breathtaking events in the Bahamas.
Monique Glinton of Bahamas Dream Wedding specializes in destination weddings and has been working with destination wedding couples for many years and on several islands of the Bahamas.
1. How many weddings have you planned and can I see some of your work?
Just like any product or service, before you fully commit, it's a good idea to get an idea of what (and who) you're working with. Ask your potential wedding planner for photos of their last events and maybe even one or two recommendations from past clients. This will help you to figure out if your style and vision matches that of the person you're choosing to create your dream wedding.
Event planning by Bahamas Dream Wedding
2. What time of year is best to plan a wedding in the Bahamas and are you booked on my preferred date?
Once you've perused that portfolio and have found what you like, make sure the wedding planner is available on your preferred date. If you're really set on a specific planner, it helps to be flexible with date choosing if you're in the beginning stages of planning. But if you're set on a special date, it's best to know up front what the wedding or event planner's availability is so you don't waste any more time.
*Monique’s expert tip: “You'll not only want to consider the time of year you want to get married, but also the time of day. If you’re choosing an outside venue, keep in mind that temperatures can be steep at certain points of the year.”
3. What is the process of us working together?
So far, so good. You like what you see and your planner is available for your wedding date. Another very important aspect of choosing a planner however, is making sure your personalities click. Schedule a video call and have a chat about your vision, your expectations and your budget. This will give you, your partner and the planner a better idea on how to move forward with planning.
*Avani’s expert tip: “Find yourself a reputable wedding planner whom you are able to connect with. Make sure that you are their priority and they have the vision you are going for.”
Event planning by 4 The Love of Events
4. What can you do for me based on my budget?
Speaking of budget, make sure you have yours on lock and key. This is one of those questions you'll want to ask during your first call. As we know, money talks and the more your planner knows about what you're willing to spend, the best he or she is able to help make your dreams a reality (or give you a reality check if that's needed, too).
*Monique’s expert tip: “Make sure you know your numbers and try to stay on budget. Keep in mind that local prices differ from the prices in the US as well, which might influence some of your decor decisions.”
5. Do you have any experience at my preferred venue and is this venue available for my wedding date?
Having experience with a particular venue is important. Why? Your planner will be better able to visualize and plan once they have worked at a specific location and with a specific team before. This is also a great way to get inside information about the quality of the service at your preferred venue, possible perks and discounts and what spots are best for the picture-perfect wedding photos. Flexibility is key here as well; have a few venues that you’re looking at in case your date isn’t available.
Event planning by Bahamas Dream Wedding
6. Will you plan and be there at all my pre and post wedding events?
A destination wedding isn’t complete without all the pre-and-post wedding festivities you and your family and friends can join in on. If you (or your maid of honor and best man) need help planning wedding showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties and/or a farewell brunch, ask your planner if that’s a service that they offer and how involved they will be in that process. It is always better to have someone who is boots on the ground help plan these events instead of trying to plan them long distance.
*Avani’s expert tip: “Since the couple will have to be on island a few days prior to the wedding, we recommend a weekend full of activities. So, when they land, we can do the rehearsal dinner; think low key with steel band, buffet, seafood and all kinds of fun things. Then you’ll have the wedding of course. After that you’ll move into having a brunch, where local Bahamian delicacies can be included. We can even organize beach Olympics, tours or other activities to make sure everyone is having fun. We will be there every step of the way.”
Photo Credit: Braxton Gardiner Photography
7. Which vendors do you recommend and usually work with?
Wedding planners usually have a preferred list of vendors they work with and trust to get the job done right. Ask for their names and possibly do some social media checking to see their past work. If you are thinking of bringing in a particular vendor for your wedding, make sure to ask your planner what all is required in order to make that happen.
*Avani’s expert tip: “Keeping it local will also help to keep your cost low. Our Bahamian local vendors are extremely talented and more than capable of making your wedding dreams come true. A lot of decor elements are available right on the island as well, which eliminates the need to import a lot of things.”
8. What makes the Bahamas special and how can I incorporate that into my wedding?
You’re choosing to get married in one of the most beautiful and culturally rich countries in the world. The Bahamas definitely does not disappoint and is a great time for you and your guests to experience the true Bahamas. Ask your planner for ideas on how you can make that happen.
Photo Credit: Braxton Gardiner Photography
*Avani’s expert tip: “This is a great opportunity to allow your guests to experience the authenticity of the Bahamian culture and all that the Bahamas has to offer, from Junkanoo and Rake ‘n Scrape to welcome bags with all of the local treats like rum cake and pineapple tarts. This is a great time to get creative and make great magic and memories.”
9. What are the documents I need and requirements I need to adhere to when getting married in the Bahamas?
When it comes to collecting all the necessary official documents, your wedding planner is the best person to ask about the requirements for you and your spouse-to-be, so you’ll want to add that question in there.
10. How do we handle a back-up plan for the day-of?
Whether the weather doesn’t hold up or someone gets sick on your big day, make sure you hash out your plan B (and possibly Plan C) with your planner. This will help to give you a sense of peace, knowing that if anything doesn’t go as planned, your planner knows exactly what to do next.
Event Planning by 4 The Love of Events
*Monique’s expert tip: “One of the best reasons to have a wedding planner is to make sure that all your vendors are on the same page. This way, you have one person leading and everyone knows who they should go to if there is a glitch in the plan. As a bride, you should never feel stressed or pressured to make last minute planning decisions on your big day.”
A big thank you to the ladies of 4 The Love of Events and Bahamas Dream Weddings for giving us the inside scoop on how you can choose the right destination event planner and be prepared for your dreamy Bahamas wedding!