Should I Hire a Wedding Planner for My Destination Wedding at an All Inclusive Resort in Mexico?

Bridal background with planner checklist

You’ve decided on a destination wedding at an all inclusive resort in Mexico and your wedding package includes a “wedding coordinator”. Since the resort provides this, do you really need a Full Service Destination Wedding Planner? This is the question that almost every couple asks our team when they start planning their destination wedding. And you’re in luck – we do have some criteria of when/why we would recommend a wedding planner

Your resort’s assigned wedding coordinator is NOT like a wedding planner, or at least not what we would expect in the US. They are a coordinator, and as such, will coordinate the resort wedding package details (not plan and design the whole wedding experience with you). They are not there to dream and plan with you about your wedding day. They are there to finalize the details that YOU have planned and to finalize the items included in your wedding package and will likely only be assigned to you in the last 60 – 75 days prior to your wedding. So you need to have completed the bulk of the planning on your own before this point – decided on a photographer, lined up wedding hair and make up, planned floral and decor, etc. Remember that the “wedding coordinator” assigned from the resort works for the resort and is looking out for the things that the resort needs to do for you and for the interests and welfare of the resort. They will typically send you some planning documents appx 60 – 75 days prior to your wedding and will have you complete all of this and send it back to them so they can finalize your wedding day details. An outside/local wedding “planner” helps you plan your specific wedding day details and is there for you, looking out for your interests first and is with you from the moment you decide – a year prior, 6 months prior, 90 days, etc. 

border background with Mexican wedding couple

When is a wedding planner not an absolute necessity?

For destination weddings where the guest list is small (under 40 – 50 guests) and you will be choosing just the resort’s offered wedding package and not a lot of extras, you’re probably fine without a full-service destination wedding planner. Especially if you’re working with a destination wedding travel planner, since they coordinate so many of your guest’s travel details. Additionally, if you’re the type of couple where the wedding & ceremony itself are not your main focus – like, you just really want to show up and have an epic weekend party with your friends, make life long memories (and maybe go home with a few stories to tell), and you just happen to be having a wedding ceremony while you’re all together – you’re probably fine without a full service wedding planner. These are normally our couples that can just roll with things, aren’t easily stressed, or are pretty chill with just showing up and making the most of the days with their friends and family.
border background with Mexican wedding couple

However, if you can say, "Yes, that's definitely me", to any of the following:

  • You are a busy working professional that works a lot of hours each week, making it difficult for you to stay on top of the wedding planning details (and you actually care about those little details)
  • You are totally freaked out about planning all the wedding details and finalizing wedding vendors in the last 60 days or so prior to your wedding (the typical time when your resort coordinator is assigned and starts working with you on your final wedding details)
  • You want more specific details for your destination wedding that are not part of the standard wedding packages offered by the resort and/or you really care about the small details and decor vignettes.
  • You get easily stressed out (and possibly even tend to take out this stress on your significant other – no judgement!)
  • You’ll have more than 50 guests.
  • You’re planning multiple days of events and excursions.
  • You know that you’re the kind of person that needs someone else leading the event (as in, you tend to procrastinate or put off making decisions)
  • You generally do not want to be the “point person” for your destination wedding and the weekend’s activities

Then you should absolutely consider hiring a full-service destination wedding planner, in addition to your destination travel planner. At the very minimum you will feel much better about the entire process and your wedding day experience if you secure a local wedding planner for the last 90 days or so, with the planning team being onsite for your rehearsal and wedding day. 

border background with Mexican wedding couple

When should you hire A Wedding Planner?

We recommend hiring a destination wedding planner as soon as you have your resort selected if you plan to have help from the very beginning and throughout the entire planning process, from day 1. Otherwise, securing a wedding planner 9 – 12 months in advance is the best choice, as the great local planners tend to book up quickly. 

Day Of, Partial Planning, and Full Service Planning Recommendations

Medelin, with Magic Dream Weddings. She used to be a planner for Hotel Xcaret so she knows everything about HX weddings. She is very sweet, thorough, easy to work with, and works hard for our couples. Her rates are also amazing for what she offers! 

Joyce, with Dream Weddings Riviera Maya. We love her! She is so great, has a big fun personality, and really fights to protect her couples’ wedding day experience. 

*Joyce’s rates start at $2,800 for modified planning and $4,500 for full service planning and design.

*As always – I do NOT ever receive or accept any referral fee or commission from a wedding vendor that I refer. I only refer wedding vendors that I know will take care of my couples and make your wedding day amazing.*