3 Tips to Avoid Shoddy Destination Wedding Planners

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It goes without saying that getting married is a ton of work!  Now, if you are like most women, it probably makes sense to do the majority of the wedding planning and coordination tasks yourself.  However, destination weddings are a different animal, and most times it DOES make sense to hire a planner for this type of ceremony.  But buyers beware: there are many shoddy destination wedding planners out there.  Here are 3 tips to separate the garbage from the gold.

First, you will want to avoid any planners that seem to be too busy or disinterested to cater to your needs.  How can you tell?  Well, one telltale sign is if he or she does not return your phone calls promptly.  Generally speaking, the expectation is that the planner will return phone calls the same day or at the latest first thing the following day.  If you go for days without hearing anything, walk away.  Similarly, when he or she does call you back, their overall tone and desire to answer your questions will go a long way toward determining if he or she will make the cut. What you’re looking for is someone who seems helpful and has a good attitude.

Second, sparse credentials are also a red flag.  For example, if the planner does not have a website, he or she is probably one you’d want to avoid.  Trust me, creating a website is cheap and easy these days – gone are the days from the 1990s when you’d have to have a degree in IT to figure it out.  If the planner does not have a website, you can only assume that he or she has something to hide, does not have good experience, does not make much money, or is doing the job on the side or part time.  In any of these cases, it’s not going to be a good fit for your wedding.

Third, the vendor’s ability to provide references is usually a good indicator of garbage versus gold.  For example, if the planner is reluctant to provide references, that’s obviously not a good sign.  Now, some planners will give you references – carefully screened references (or possibly fake ones) that he or she knows will offer good recommendations.  To get around this, first ask how many weddings he or she planned in the past, say, 6 months.  And then ask to speak to the planner’s prior 2 or 3 clients.  This is a good way to get the real scoop.

As you can see, whether you’re the bride, groom or even mother of the bride, hiring a destination wedding planner is no walk in the park.  There are a lot of bad ones out there, and it can be difficult to gauge competency from 1,000 miles away.  So do not take this decision lightly – there’s a good chance that you’ll regret it later if you do. Follow these tips if you are looking to hire someone, as they make it easier to identify planners that you would not want to work with.  Good luck and happy planning!

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