If you’re considering a destination wedding, or even a destination vow renewal, the planning will often go a little something like this…

You’re online, full of excitement, drooling over images of gorgeous resorts, breathtaking beaches, and daydreaming about the wonderful and exciting vacation that lay ahead.

Then out of the blue, BAM, reality crashes in, and you become overwhelmed as you try to wrap your head around the logistics of trying to pull off the planning and decision making for one of the biggest events in your life, from such a long distance away. You will start to wish you had one of those coconut drinks in your hand to make you feel better.

Unless you are planning to DIY, it will really come down to two options; you could go with the all inclusive wedding packages offered through the resorts, or you could try to hire a local wedding planner.

It’s a difficult decision for sure, and there are pros and cons to both. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

All Inclusive Wedding Packages Through a Resort

Keep in mind that all Inclusive wedding packages come in all shapes and sizes, and will differ slightly from hotel to hotel.

Pros

  • Resorts will have their own vendors and suppliers, and these plans may make it easier if that is what you prefer. Most all inclusive wedding packages include the flowers, music, cake, sparking wine/champagne and the location and decorating. Some may also include the judge and license as well. In addition, many resorts and venues can provide the service of a wedding coordinator too.
  • When you schedule an event, your guests will receive a block/discounted room rate that they can use to book by identifying themselves as a guest for your wedding

Cons

  • The costs may quickly add up above the all-inclusive price. Expect to sign a venue contract with that will identify your estimated attendance and room reservations. The per person cost for everything will be based on this number, and whoever signs the contract will likely be responsible should there be a shortfall in attendance.
  • All inclusive wedding packages tend to be a bit “cookie cutter,” and usually offer fewer choices about the details. If it’s a popular time of year, there may be several ceremonies, one after another, making you feel rushed from your location.
  • Some packages may have a limit to the amount of guests you may have.
  • Communication could be an issue. It may take awhile to get answers to your emails, or there may be language difficulties over the phone.

A Local Wedding Planner in Your Chosen Destination (AKA à la carte wedding planning)

As with resort packages, local wedding planners will offer various levels of involvement for their services, whether they are a consultant, a coordinator, or planner from start to finish. Choose the right planner for your needs.

Pros:

  • If you feel overwhelmed by all the choices, or if you don’t want to make choices or contacts on your own, a local wedding planner can help. Alternately, you are free to choose your own vendors, and a planner can help you with the local area contacts.
  • A local planner can help you experience unique island cuisine and culture.
  • Your wedding can be customized with details to match your personalities.
  • A wedding planner will work within your budget. There will be no surprises with “Value Added Tax” (VAT) or other extra fees.
  • A local planner can handle as many of the details as you want, including, but not limited to:
    • Location scouting (on or off a resort)
    • Assistance with marriage license
    • Photography/Videography
    • Licensed Officiant
    • Floral design
    • Assistance with Beach Permits if necessary
    • And much more

Cons

  • You have to have trust and relinquish some control and allow someone else to sweat the details
  • With the local insider track your planner can usually get you deals, however this is not always the case.

When choosing between all inclusive wedding packages versus hiring a local wedding planner, it’s in your best interest to know what’s included, and decide how those things will meet your expectations. If you look at a package and are already thinking about the changes you’ll want to make, perhaps a wedding package is not the right choice for you. Sometimes paying for exactly what you want upfront will save you money in upgrades later on.

As always we’d love to know what you think. Let us know in the comments section below if this post helped you, if you have further questions, or if you have anything to add.