Planning a wedding in your home town is not small task, even if it’s an elopement. Planning a destination wedding in Costa Rica or in another country is exponentially more complicated. As wedding photographers, we get to experience wedding from a unique perspective and have photographed wedding for couples who have and who have not hired a wedding organizer. The couples who didn’t did so to save some money, thinking they could do it themselves. In our experience, we can’t recommend strongly enough to contract a reputable, professional, capable wedding planner. It’s not a question of abilities, rather it’s one of what sort of experience you want on you wedding day and what sort of wedding photography you want.
In every wedding we’ve photographed that the couple’s not hired a wedding planner, it was a chaotic, disorganized experience, for the bride and groom, as well as the wedding guests and wedding vendors. The bride or groom found themselves running around with lots of cash to pay the DJ, the florist, the hair stylist, the makeup artist, the videographer, the baker, the caterer, the company furnishing the tables, chairs, table settings . . . (we require clients pay us a week before their wedding to not add to this chaos).
The bride would run about managing everything, from the placements of floral arrangement on tables and wedding ceremony location, where the DJ would set up, and more, instead of spending time with loved ones and having a memorable time getting ready. Without fail, this causes a delay, sometimes by 30 minutes, or 1.5 hours or more, resulting in the ceremony taking place at night given how quickly the sun sets in Costa Rica. It’s not worth the money that is saved.
If this is not reason enough for you to decide to not hire a wedding planner, hopefully the following reasons will convince you to hire a wedding planner. For tips on how to hire planner, our How to Choose a Wedding Planner post has some great tips.
1. Give Ideas & Set Realistic Expectations
Wedding planers should be plugged in to what’s going on in the world of wedding planning and will give you ideas for your wedding based on your input. They’ll also know what’s possible for your Costa Rica destination wedding or if it’s in another country given that they know what’s available locally, and if it’s not, they might even be able to source it externally.
2. Have Reliable, Reputable Vendors or Make Recommendations
A wedding planner should have a pool of wedding vendors they frequently rely on, from florists, bakers, caterers, furniture rentals, lighting, and more. Generally, when it comes to officiants, hair stylist, makeup artist, DJs, videographers, and photographers most wedding planners make recommendations for what they consider are their trusted providers, leaving you to choose.
*A note on the wedding providers recommended by wedding planners in Costa Rica. It’s common practice for wedding planners in Costa Rica to recommend providers – photographers, videographers, stylists, and DJs – who are best for the them, not necessarily couples. These relationships are usually based on friendships and financial self-interest. Most wedding planners charge providers 15-30% to recommend them. As such, it’s a good idea to take their recommendations with a grain of salt. Our How to Choose a Wedding Photographer page will help with you find the right photographer for your wedding.
3. Recommend Wedding Venues
In your home town, you can spend the wedding checking out venues. Most couples usually can’t visit venues in foreign countries. This is where a wedding planner comes it. Based on what you are looking for and one how large your wedding is, a wedding planner will be able to give you a list of venues that meet your needs and wants. It’s always a good idea to do your own research as a wedding planner might recommend some venues over others for personal or business reasons.
4. Recommend Guest Accommodations
It’s likely not all your guests attending your wedding will stay at the venue where your wedding will take place. There might not be sufficient accommodations thought they can accommodate large weddings. Your guests might not like the location. Whatever the reason, a wedding planner can recommend accommodations for your guests that are nearby.
5. Pay and Manage Vendors
A wedding planner will take care of everything on your wedding day, from the floral arrangements and table settings, to where to put the tables and how and when to decorate the location for your ceremony and reception. That way, you can let go and enjoy your wedding day as you should. The wedding planner will also pay all the wedding providers that work directly with them. If you contract a provider directly, that will be your responsibility. We recommend paying all providers at least one week before your wedding.
6. Arrange and Manage Transportation
A wedding planner can arrange and manage transportation to and from the airport. They can also do so on your wedding day in case a wedding-day event takes place offsite. For beach weddings, some venues don’t have direct access to a beach. In this case, it’s necessary to shuttle everyone to and from the beach ceremony site. A wedding planner will take care of this for you. Keep in mind this can take a bit of time, so plan your wedding day schedule accordingly. Our Ideal Wedding Photo Timeline for The Best Photos and How to Calculate Wedding Photography Coverage pages will help.
7. Manage Wedding Day Timeline
A good wedding planner will manage your wedding day schedule. It’s easy to get lost in the moment on your wedding day and lose track of time. Your wedding planner will make sure all goes to schedule. They’ll also find out how many bridesmaids you have and make sure the hair stylist and makeup artist arrive at the best time to make sure you all look great and ready to go when the time for the ceremony arrives.
Hopefully, these reasons will convince you to hire an organizer and not go it alone. You may save some money, but is it really worth it? Do you really want to spend this time on your wedding managing the details and vendors instead of having a memorable day with your loved ones in a gorgeous country?