Making the right choice!
What do you need to know?
So your decision is made! You’ve chosen Thailand for your wedding destination, and having weighed up all of the locations and options, Koh Samui is definitely the place for you.
Choosing your planner is the next step. Below are some questions you should be asking and how, as a Koh Samui based wedding planning company, Faraway Weddings deals with these issues.
1. What available lines of communication are there?
When trying to plan a wedding from another country, and usually another continent, it’s vitally important that the communication aspect is not a concern. The communication is important in three ways. Firstly it’s the availability of ways in which to have communication with your planner. Secondly it’s the speed in which your questions and concerns are answered and dealt with. And thirdly, it’s knowing that there is a mutual understanding and that there are no barriers to explaining your requirements. This can be a problem if dealing with a different nationality. You can’t afford to have anything lost in translation.
Richard Hartigan, General Manager of Faraway Weddings states, “With Faraway we have email, online interactive wedding planning tools, telephone (including a toll free number for UK and Australian residents) and of course social media and Skype. Our planners are also all native English speaking”.
2. What does the planner actually do (are there things that you still need to organize)?
Different companies offer different levels of service. It is always best to clarify the parameters of what the planner will actually do for you.
Richard states,“Our wedding planners can organize everything other than the flight, including any pre-wedding activities, all aspects of the wedding day and reception, accommodation for you and your guests, trips, tours, pre and post-wedding parties and even your honeymoon”.
3. Will the planner attend the wedding?
Believe it or not some destination wedding planners do not actually attend your wedding day. They act more as facilitators and pass on the details to resort or villa staff at the venue on the wedding day.
Richard confirms, “Yes, your personal Faraway Wedding planner will be there on the day to work alongside the Faraway Team and coordinate your wedding”.
4. What back-up is in place if your wedding planner is sick or unavailable?
If you have one planner and something happens to them, what contingency plans are in place. Remember, anyone can be sick or have an accident but it’s important to know what bearing this would have on your big day.
Richard clarifies, “We only ever arrange one wedding per day, so the wedding planner will never be unavailable through other work commitments. In the event of sickness or accident, our wedding planners work very closely and all emails and information are shared via a unique online tool system which ensures that all the minute details of your wedding are recorded and available for another planner and the whole wedding planning team to smoothly pick-up the reins”.
5. What staff does the wedding planning company have and do they rely on outside agencies?
Again different companies have varying resources and staff available to them. You want to know about reliability and what staff will be at the venue on your wedding day. If your planner is relying on resort or villa staff with no specific wedding experience this may affect your decision making.
Richard states, “Faraway has a permanent team of 20 full-time, dedicated wedding staff. These each have a specific role to play and all attend every wedding to ensure consistency in quality and service. In addition to our own permanent wedding staff, Faraway also has its own floristry team, and our bar and catering teams have been with us for the last ten years. The only outsourced people would be in terms of photography, videography and entertainment “.
6. What experience do the staff have?
In addition to the above question, as well as knowing who the staff are and who they work for, you also want to know what specific wedding experience they have or if they are usually employed in other roles.
Richard says, “You can have the greatest wedding planner in the world but if the staff they work with on the wedding day lack wedding experience then you will undoubtedly encounter problems. Faraway Weddings arrange over 100 weddings per year and the whole team attend every wedding. Weddings are what we do and nothing else.”
7. How do you know that the company exists?
We all know that with technology today anyone can make a good looking website and make claim to be the biggest or best company without any real substance or evidence to back this up. If you’re going to be sending money to a foreign country to pay for your wedding then you want some physical assurances.
Firstly, you will be aware of the reliability and credibility of the company by the speed and the detail of any responses you receive to emails or telephone calls.
Secondly, there are numerous forums such as Trip Advisor and Facebook where you can find out from other people about the services offered and whether the company is real or not.
Richard says, “This is not such a big issue for Faraway Weddings as the company has been on the island for over 10 years and has an established brand. This has been further enhanced by appearances and features in a number of worldwide wedding magazines as well as from exhibiting at The National Wedding Show in the UK each year since 2009. This has provided many existing clients the opportunity to come and meet the team in person and dispel any fears. We have also recently been named as “Thailand Wedding Experts” by the soon to be launched Destination Weddings & Honeymoons Abroad magazine.
8. How secure are the payment systems and what guarantees do you have?
When sending money abroad it is wise to seek secure and reliable payment methods.
Richard states, “We use a secure payment system whereby you receive a payment request which can be paid by credit card directly to the bank. We never actually receive any credit card details. Other methods are also available such as bank transfers etc”.
9. Will my day be unique?
The bottom line is that every bride and groom deserve a wedding day which is not only special to them but also uniquely planned to meet their personal needs.
Richard says, “Faraway Weddings has a totally unique interactive wedding planning tool section of the website which allows clients to build a scrapbook of ideas and choose from numerous examples or flower designs, colour schemes, music, vows, wedding favours and so on. And it allows you to send in your own pictures and designs etc. This tool enables each client to personalize every aspect of their wedding and make their day truly unique. With wedding packages there are obviously some restrictions on flexibility depending on the client’s available budget. Koh Samui is still a small tropical island and sourcing some items can be more difficult and more expensive than you may imagine”.
10. How much control does the wedding planning company have over the venue?
Will your planner be able to make decisions on the day to aid your wedding without time consuming negotiations with resort or villa staff? It’s a question worth asking as many resorts will put their general customers first which could restrict some of what you would like at your wedding.
Richard states, “Faraway Weddings has its own dedicated wedding venue, the Faraway Villa and therefore has complete control over this wedding environment. And, in relation to luxury villa weddings, Faraway only works with its partner venue, Pawanthorn Villas where all weddings are exclusively organized by Faraway Weddings and the Faraway team have total control over the venue and any staff working there”.
Closing comment from Richard, “Faraway Weddings strongly advises that anyone considering an overseas wedding should dig a little deeper than the obvious advertising information before making a decision.
After confirming the above considerations and comparing companies you should choose the company who not only seems capable of arranging your special day, but also with whom you feel most comfortable”.