The Two Types of Destination Wedding Planners and Which is Right For You
As you’re planning your destination wedding and finding it hard to not only plan your wedding, but plan it from afar you’ll likely start thinking about wedding planners. And more specifically destination wedding planners.
And as you start researching it can get really confusing really fast! Because the term destination wedding planner is used for multiple different types of people. It can be hard to know what the difference is and who is right for you.
So, there are really only two types of destination wedding planners. And when I say destination wedding planners, I mean professionals who will actually help you plan your wedding from start to finish. These professionals help you navigate the ins and outs of planning a wedding and help you with all the details.
Destination wedding planners are not travel agents and not venue coordinators. Those are two separate jobs completely.
Now that you know what destination wedding planners are, let’s dive into the types.
The Two Types of Destination Wedding Planners
(Photo credit: Kate Webber)
As I mentioned earlier, there are only two types of destination wedding planners.
1. A local wedding planner – This is a wedding planner who lives in the area you’re getting married in whether that’s the town, city, state or country. They typically specialize in destination weddings in their location and helping those who are coming from another location. This type of wedding planner does not travel.
2. A destination wedding planner – This is a wedding planner who lives where you live either in the same town, city, state or country. They typically specialize in destination weddings in many locations and helping those who live in their location. This type of wedding planner travels with you.
So, the next question you’ll inevitably have is what is the difference? And who is the better wedding planner to work with?
No matter which route you go, a wedding planner will be able to make your life and planning your wedding less stressful. But if you pick the right wedding planner, it can change your entire experience.
Your wedding and the planning of your wedding can be way more awesome, fun and happy then you even imagined possible!
But, it all hinges on picking the right wedding planner. And part of that decision is about picking the right type of wedding planner for you.
Three differences between a local planner and a destination planner
Each wedding planner will be different not only based on personality (which is huge), but style and budget. But beyond those specific differences, there are three main differences between working with a local planner vs. a destination planner.
1. Design style
(Photo credit: Danielle Coons Photography)
Many times (but of course not all) local planners tend to design in a very specific way to what is considered normal in their area. They many times tend to do the same thing over and over again which can sometimes feel very touristy and not very unique. But, if what they do is what you’re looking for, then it’s perfect.
Destination planners on the other hand have a wider perspective because they do weddings in different places. And they’re based where you are so this results in more exposure and they can infuse different styles and ideas into a design. If you want a wedding that is more unique, a destination planner is usually the way to go. So, it just depends on how important the look and feel is to you.
Now the difference of course varies much less if you’re talking about the same country or state. And if you’re talking about major destinations. For example, if your local planner is in Napa, and your destination planner is in Los Angeles, the difference in design capability will be smaller or not at all. But, if your local planner is in a small town like Monte Rio and your destination planner is in San Francisco, there may be a larger difference.
Additionally, the difference will be even larger if you’re having an international wedding. If your local planner is in Thailand and your destination planner is in San Francisco, that will be a big difference.
2. Local knowledge
(Photo credit: What a Day! Photography)
Local planners based in the town or area of your wedding will know more people and more about how a wedding works in that area than anyone else. They’ll have some relationships built over a long period of time that you’ll get to utilize.
Destination planners on the other hand naturally know less about the area (unless they’re originally from there). They rely on their partners and contacts in the area to help them out. So you’ll be utilizing their connections.
If you’re particularly concerned about the area or you can’t make a trip out at all, then a local planner is usually the way to go. It just depends on how important it is to you to have someone based there with boots on the ground.
Similar to the design style, this difference is much less if you’re talking about the same state or country. If you’re having an international wedding, that difference will be bigger as there are cultural influences as well.
3. Working with them
(Photo credit: Emily Piraino)
The last difference is all about you! And how you like to work and want to work with your planner. A local planner will not be in your area which means you won’t be meeting with them in person. On the flip side a destination planner will be in your area and can sit down with you.
Technology is great in that we can do video calls and share documents and screens easily. But, if you like having face to face time to be able to look at things together and be on the same time zone, then a destination planner is the route you’ll want to go. It will be easier to communicate and work together.
Which leads me to the other piece that affects how you work, the culture. Cultural differences can sometimes be hard to work with. If you want someone who understands your culture or the US culture of weddings and responsiveness, a destination planner is likely going to be the route you want to go.
And this can make a difference even between states. For example, I plan weddings often in Hawaii and the pace and how things work in San Francisco is not the same in Hawaii. So, it just depends on how you like to work and what will be effective for you.
In the end, a destination wedding planner will be able to help you no matter which type you choose. You just need to think about what matters to you. Make sure that your planner gets you and creates the kind of wedding you want. And then go with the one who you feel most comfortable with because that is who is going to put you at ease.
(Photo credit: Christie Pham Photography)
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