Do I choose an Independent Destination Wedding Planner or a Resort Planner?

Do I choose an Independent Destination Wedding Planner or a Resort Planner?

As a Wedding Travel Specialist I get asked this question a lot – in fact it may be one of the first and most important decisions to make as it has a big bearing on how the rest of the travel and wedding bookings will be handled. The reason for this is that if you choose a Resort Wedding Planner many of the decisions about the actual wedding package and what is covers are often made for you. I’m certainly not saying that all resorts are inflexible but in my experience many of them have a “take-it-or-leave- it” policy.
Especially if they do a lot of weddings they need to have a seamless procedure in order to provide the best service and by having specific wedding packages they can do this. However, not all brides want a ‘cookie-cutter’ wedding.

This is where an Independent Wedding Planner can be exactly what you are looking for. Let’s face it the majority of couples marrying want a wedding to be unique – an Independent planner can accommodate most requests and you are really only limited by your imagination and your budget!

If you book through a resort they often include accommodation for the Bride & Groom, at least, in their packages.  Some even have packages for larger numbers. A resort is likely to hold an allotment of rooms for your friends & family if you are holding the wedding at the resort. Whether you are using a Resort planner or an Independent planner your Wedding Travel Specialist can negotiate a stay/pay accommodation deal on your behalf for your whole group and an allotment too.

You just need to be aware that if you are not holding your wedding at the resort you may not get priority over a couple who are. Many of the South Pacific islands are popular now as wedding destinations so it is not unusual to have a wedding every day of the week at a resort. This adds to the urgency for everyone to book early so you can be together as a group. An Independent wedding planner has many contacts such as hair & makeup artists and DJs and can negotiate prices on your behalf also. Remember, they have dealt with these suppliers before and wouldn’t recommend them if they’d been let down! Often, it is their own business so they have to be professional themselves otherwise they wouldn’t survive.

A Resort planner often has a large team of professionals working alongside them. They are responsible for planning and executing the wedding so also have a team of external suppliers they can call on.

As you can see there are pros and cons for using a Resort vs an Independent Wedding Planner. One thing is for sure that this main point-of-contact can make or break your wedding day so having a good relationship with them is imperative. Your Wedding Travel Specialist should have a good relationship with this planner too and can act as the go-between if you have any issues. Remember, your wedding may not be for several months but they will be organising other couples big days in the meantime. Your Wedding Travel Specialist can often answer questions and part of their job is to help if they are able – they want it to be the best day it can be too!

As a Wedding Travel Specialist I am not obligated to recommend specific resorts or independent planners but of course I do have my favourites as I’ve worked with them and find them incredibly professional and have ended up with very happy clients!

My favourite independent Wedding Planner is Trish Tau from Rarotonga – check her out at

My favourite resort planner is Lavenia (La) from Treasure Island in Fiji checkout her awesome work at