How to Find (and Choose) the Perfect Costa Rica Wedding Planner
If you’re planning a wedding in Tamarindo, one of the most important first steps take? Finding, interviewing, and ultimately hiring a local, on-the-ground, right-here Costa Rica wedding planner.
For all those questions you have about your venue, for all the Costa Rica-specific details you don’t know, for all the Spanish-to-English communications you may require, for all the big picture and tiny detail items – a local wedding planner and/or wedding coordinator will make it easier (and actually doable) to plan, organize, and ultimately execute your absolute perfect day.
Because you should have a perfect, exactly-what-you’ve-always-dreamed kind of destination wedding. You’re in Costa Rica. This is paradise. And you’re finally, finally saying your I-dos.
*Side note: We’re not wedding planners. We don’t get kick-backs from wedding planners. We receive absolutely no remuneration for this post. But over the years, we’ve worked with many couples planning a destination wedding in Tamarindo; we know from experience (time after time after time) that a local, Costa Rica wedding planner can mark the difference between your Big Day and a Big Day of Stress.
Lucky Seven: 7 Reasons to Hire a Costa Rica Wedding Planner / Wedding Coordinator
They Really Understand Tamarindo (or Costa Rica)
Costa Rica is one of those destinations that can be deceiving: A mile is not always a 5-minute drive. That beach could be rocky. And that key ingredient for your signature wedding cocktail? It might not be in season during your wedding season.
Bottom line: A destination wedding planner knows Costa Rica. Intimately. You share your wish list, they’ll make it happen. Because they know which restaurants offer the best catering. They know which locales allow late-night music. They know where to source your favorite fish and which bakers are the best in town. They do the legwork, when your legs are in another country.
They Can Make Shoulder- and Low-Season Weddings Shine
Ask anyone who lives in (or frequently vacations in) Costa Rica, and we’ll tell you how much we love the green season. It’s cooler, it’s fresher and man, are the landscapes and sunsets a special kind of spectacular!
But. (Because of coursethere’s a “but.”) From May through November, you run the risk of your rehearsal dinner, your wedding ceremony, or your wedding reception getting rained out. But, not with a professional: An experienced Costa Rica wedding planner knows the best roofed party spots and, when there’s no roof, knows exactly where to go for the best rain-resistant event tents.
What’s more, a wedding during the green season offers huge negotiating power. Or, let’s put it this way: There’s little competition for accommodations, venues, and other wedding services, so you’ll not only have your pick of everything (even if you’re on a tight countdown schedule), but your wedding planner is a pro at negotiating incredible prices, to boot. And, did we mention? There are no event fees to pay during the green season! Talk about a great deal.
They’ll Save You Money
Whether you’re exchanging vows during high tourism season or saying your I-dos during the green season, an experienced Costa Rica wedding planner will save you money. When you hire a Costa Rica wedding planner, you ensure you’re getting the in-the-know local price, not the out-of-towner markup. What’s more, a professional worth his or her salt will have an in with local vendors, helping you secure exclusive deals, discounts, and other savings.
Really, truly – Costa Rica is spectacular and wonderful and scenic and all the other things you’ve dreamed, but it’s also not quite as tech-forward as you may be accustomed to. No, you won’t find all the details of your locale online. (Who knows whether your venue could accommodate an extra 5-10 “maybes”? Certainly not the website!) That catering email included menus but not all the possible variations on your menus. And sorry, your florist is away from the computer for one of Costa Rica’s many official holiday weekends, so no, you’re not getting an answer until Monday afternoon, at the earliest.
Again, we love Costa Rica and a Tamarindo wedding is a truly magical thing. But, the long-distance planning and logistics are not always magical. A wedding planner makes the whole thing enjoyable again: S/he is present, knowledgeable, and responsive. And s/he understands that this is your wedding and to you, the details are almost important. Hire a planner, erase your planning anxiety.
And They’re Onsite
One of the single greatest hurdles to any destination wedding is planning from afar. Even if you do a reconnaissance trip (and you should, please heed this advice!), you won’t remember every last detail. And you won’t be close enough to pop by to check.
Enter your Costa Rica wedding planner, who not only understands your concerns and questions, but has answered them before – and handled details, put out fires, and taken considerations that wouldn’t occur to you. This is a wedding pro’s job, after all. S/he’ll know exactly where the bride should make her entrance, so the light hits her just right. S/he’ll know the best seating arrangements for incredible photos. S/he’ll know where to place your ceremony altar, to avoid high tide washing you away mid-“I do.” Etcetera, etcetera – a million times.
They’ll Take Care of your Guests, Too
Think your Costa Rica wedding planner attends only to your needs? Not so. S/he’ll make your guests happy, too.
No, we’re not saying that your pro will plan every detail of your guests’ flights, accommodations, and vacations – but s/he’ll help. Often, that means putting your and/or your guests in touch with a wedding-adjacent travel professional (like our travel concierge, Cris) but again, it all comes down to local expertise: A great planner will only connect you with other great planners. Rest assured that if your wedding planner refers you to another professional, your planner has already vetted his or her recommendations. You and your guests are in good hands and it’s going to be smooooooth sailing from here on out.
They Minimize Stress and Anxiety
If there’s one, single theme that unites the above six reasons – one, single reason to hire a Costa Rica wedding planner – it’s that a reliable, experienced and professional planner’s real job isn’t wedding planning; it’s stress reduction.
You macro-manage. Let your wedding planner sweat the small stuff.
Planning the biggest event of your life isn’t easy when you’re an ocean, a country, a continent away. Whether you’re feeling the anxiety over sticking to your budget or want to be sure that your photographer has perfect light, your wedding planner will take care of it. Because again, that’s his or her job. They are you, in absentia. They are as detailed-oriented as you wish you could be. They are in communication, when you need it. And they understand that every wedding question feel urgent, to you. A great wedding planner’s goal is always, always to be sure your Big Day, and all the days before it, are as enjoyable as possible.
Tips on Finding the Right Costa Rica Wedding Planner for You
If you think a wedding planner will save your sanity, now you’re probably wondering how to find the right one. We have a list for that, too!
Tip #1: Ask for Recommendations
If you’ve already booked your venue, or your caterer, or your wedding vacation rental (ideally suited to your wedding ceremony, wedding reception, wedding party, or honeymoon – natch!), then ask. Chances are, your pros know other pros. At Stay in Tamarindo, we sure do. So, go ahead – just ask us and we’ll be happy to recommend a few trusted pros in the Tamarindo area.
Tip #2: Work with a Planning Team
If at all possible, interview Costa Rica wedding planners who have a team behind them (or at least an assistant). The truth is, even the most wonderful, most personable one-person show is still a one-person show and it’s easy for that show to get overwhelmed and overworked, especially if you’re getting married during high season (December through April).
Tip #3: Demand a Bilingual Planner
Yes, absolutely – most Costa Ricans involved in your wedding will be bilingual. But there’s also a good chance that you’ll be in contact with Spanish-only speakers (or Spanish-strongly-preferred speakers). After all, this is Costa Rica and Spanish is our national language! So, do yourself and your communication possibilities a favor and be sure your wedding planner and/or coordinator is bilingual. It may save you a catering snafu down the road.
Tip #4: Choose Someone Who Encourages an Exploratory Trip
The difference between a good and the greatest Costa Rican wedding planner? The greatest will strongly recommend you fly down for pre-wedding reconnaissance. And that’s because, s/he knows that brochures and websites and flowery language are never a substitute for first-hand seeing, touching, tasting and experiencing the romance and wonder of Costa Rica.
Tip #5: Interview over the Phone
Scheduling a phone interview ticks a few boxes: First, it’s a great way to gauge a planner’s professionalism: Does s/he communicate well pre-consultation? Does s/he call you on time? Are you able to communicate well?
But, more importantly, when it comes to your wedding and surrounding celebrations, we know that it’s important to likeyour planner. You will vibe off each other over the coming months. You’ll have shared visions, goals, and plans. You must not only like each other, but feel connected. And that connection will almost always happen by phone (or email), so a phone interview is an important benchmark.
Tip #6: Request References
Okay, so you think you’ve found The One – the Costa Rica wedding planner who understands your wedding vision. Congrats! But, don’t send the deposit check quite yet. First, it’s important to get references from previous couples your planner has worked with.
Because again, s/he can be the nicest, most wonderful person in the world but at the end of the day, you’re hiring for a job. A really important job. And you want someone who will be punctual, and professional, and problem-solving, every step of the way.
Beyond goggling until you can no longer see straight, what’s the next step to take?
To begin, you may want to peruse our Tamarindo wedding guide, which should provide both inspiration and cold, hard facts: the venues and views to fuel your dreams, with the who, what, where, when kind of details that will make those dreams come to life.
We’d also – and, we know, this is a blatant plug – have a look at some of our top choices for Tamarindo wedding venues, including seven of the country’s most spectacular vacation rentals that double as wedding venues. Bear in mind, many of these venues book up fast, especially if you’re getting married in high or even shoulder season. Booking 12-18 months in advance is not uncommon, so it’s a good idea to start this research early.
If you have any questions, know that we’re here to help – no strings attached. We’re happy to offer advice and link you to everything we know, and we can even hook you up with a few of our favorite Costa Rica wedding planners. Don’t be shy. This is your day and we’d be delighted to have even a small part in it!