Tips for Hiring a Wedding Planner for Your Hawaii Wedding

Planning a wedding requires attention to detail – to thousands of details, in fact. Some couples decide to take care of everything themselves, from making the table decorations to coordinating with vendors. Other couples prefer to delegate as much as possible, so they can focus on themselves in the weeks and months leading up to the big day. This second approach is especially helpful for couples who are planning destination weddings, since managing all the little details is difficult when you add distance to the equation. A wedding planner can be an absolute life-saver in this case, since they’ll know exactly how to navigate the ins and outs of long-distance wedding arrangements.

For example, let’s say you’re planning on getting married on Hawaii’s Big Island – and you have no connections to the area. A wedding planner would not only be able to put you in touch with all the right people, but they might even be able to personally recommend vendors they’ve worked with before. With the right wedding planner, you could have confidence that you’re only considering the best caterers, DJs, or wedding venues on the Big Island.

However, if you want the best experience possible, it’s important to pick the right wedding planner. The question is, how do you make sure you end up with someone who’s a good fit? Here are some tips to help you do just that.

Decide what you want from a wedding planner

The average wedding planner offers a wide range of services; you can get them to help with just a few big tasks, or you can ask them to take care of every single aspect of the wedding. You can also find wedding planners for every budget, from big to small. 

Plus, it’s possible to find a wedding planner who can contribute to the aesthetic side of things if needed. Many couples already have specific ideas of which colors, flowers, and decorations they want, but others prefer to start with a general idea, and let an expert come up with some options. 

Before booking a wedding planner, make sure you and your fiancée have hashed out all these details, and know exactly what you want.

Look for someone you really connect with

Many couples want their wedding to be a celebration of who they are as people, not just an especially beautiful party – although that’s an important aspect of the celebrations! For this reason, it’s vital to find a wedding planner who “gets” you and your significant other. They should be able to understand what makes you tick, as well as being able to satisfy all your technical requirements. A wedding planner isn’t just someone who gets paid to do all the busywork for you. Really great wedding planners are also cheerleaders, confidants, and mediators, who can put your mind at ease throughout the entire process.

Find someone who lives in the area

Destination weddings are tricky to plan because of the distance between you and the countless vendors that you’re hiring for the big day. However, another potential complication is the fact that you don’t know anything about the area, or what your options could be. A wedding planner would help you bridge that gap, but only if they were actually local to the area where you’ll be getting married.

At minimum, they’d already know about the most popular venues, vendors, locations, etc. What’s more likely, though, is that they’d already have working relationships with multiple venues and vendors, who they could personally recommend to you based on your specifications. Hiring a local wedding planner could also work out well if last-minute adjustments are needed – they’ll know the best places to buy umbrellas for surprise rain showers, where to get supplies that the caterer forgot, or who to call if a vendor backs out at the last minute.

Interview a few candidates

If you’ll be working with a wedding planner for (probably) a few months at minimum, you shouldn’t just go with the first person who ticks all the boxes. Instead, narrow down your top picks to two or three people, and then schedule interviews with them. Ideally both you and your fiancée should be present, so you can both add your input to the process. Here are some good questions to ask during the interviews; they can be modified as needed.

- Will you be available on my wedding date? 

- How much experience do you have?

- How many levels of planning services are available, and how much do they cost?

- What’s your preferred mode of communication?

- What’s included in XYZ package? What would count as an add-on or upgrade?

- Will you be available to introduce us to the vendors when we arrive in Hawaii?

- How many Hawaii weddings have you planned?

- Do you have a portfolio that we could check out?

- How much time could we expect you to spend planning our wedding each week/month?

- What will your role be on the big day, and how long will you be there?

- Do your services extend to planning the rehearsal dinner and/or post-wedding brunch?

Ask for client testimonials or referrals

Any wedding planner can talk themselves up, but do their former clients agree? It’s easy to find out; simply ask for a few referrals. This will not only help you confirm the quality of the end result, but how easy the wedding planner is to work with. Do their former clients say that they never had to worry about a thing, or were there multiple errors that had to be caught and corrected along the way? This step is crucial, not only for weeding out unreliable candidates, but also for confirming that you’ve found an amazing wedding planner.

The takeaway

Having a destination wedding in Hawaii is a big deal, whether you’re aiming for a laid-back beachfront ceremony, or an all-out celebration in a luxury resort. The good news is that hiring a wedding planner for your big day isn’t as complicated as it might seem. Once you know what to look for, the details should fall right into place.