Three Tips For Working With An Onsite Wedding Planner

by Rocio Cervantes
Three Tips For Working With An Onsite Wedding Planner

Photo: earl.subejano | photography


When a client decides to book a destination wedding thousands of miles away, a team is instantly formed between the agent and the onsite wedding planner. As weddings manager at the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen Resort, I’ve worked with a variety of agents to help our mutual clients enjoy the event of a lifetime.

Here are three tips for our working relationship:

1. Focus on open communication.
This will set the tone for any working relationship between a wedding travel agent and resort wedding planner. Whether via email, phone call or an in-person site inspection, it’s important to set guidelines and assign roles and responsibilities for working together moving forward, including weekly status reports with news and updates tailored for each couple.

There also are plenty of digital innovations that can be implemented nowadays, from 360-degree tours to Skype or FaceTime calls, for additional communications. Still, there is nothing quite like visiting in person and most resorts are happy to work with clients (and agents) to accommodate them with special rates and discounts if there’s a cost barrier to a preview trip.

2. Take advantage of local expertise.
Consider the hotel’s wedding team as an extension of your team. You can count on them for specific local knowledge and tips, such as laws and regulations as they relate to the country, state and city where the hotel is located. For example, in our home of Playa del Carmen, specific permits are necessary for beach weddings. You can also count on the hotel staff to recommend local, regional or national vendors and providers. Since you’re working remotely, they also can help clarify any questions or concerns, resolve any issues, and source favorable rates and contract terms.

No destination wedding or onsite wedding planner should ever block a client’s vendor from coming in and joining the team or from using them as a comparison for competitive pricing, however. If the couple wants to bring in a florist or makeup artist or DJ, it should be a seamless addition.

3. Remember that it’s all about peace of mind.
When helping your clients select their destination wedding venue, peace of mind is important for both the couple and the agent. Among all the venues in which you can host a wedding – from international resort brands to small, independent hotels – how do you know which to choose? Look for specialized staff support and the flexibility to truly help your couples design their dream wedding. 

The second major aspect of peace of mind incorporates planning, having a “Plan B,” so should the need occur, the agent and client can just implement the back-up plan instead of scrambling to find a quick fix. Look for a property that will pre-stage the “Plan B” set up , so in case of inclement weather, or any other emergency, literally all that will need to happen is to move the guests to the back-up location and the party can continue.

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Tip of the Day
The suppliers I can tell appreciate the patience and kindness as well, as we have all been working very hard to manage the influx of work. I see the travel agent community and the suppliers working in harmony.

Emily Rawlins, Merriway Travel
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