Most hotels and wedding halls have their own catering where everything is locally prepared.

If this is not the case, an external catering company must be hired and there may be considerable differences in the quality.

Most catering companies have a central, industrial kitchen that prepares all the dishes, to be transported after being vacuum packed to the wedding venue and to be heated once there in a steam oven. It is obvious that this impacts the quality.

It is therefore advisable to do you research well in advance and to request, if possible, a tasting menu, although this does not offer a completely reliable guarantee, since the rehearsal menu usually takes place in the same place as the location of the central kitchen, preventing pre-preparation, vacuum packaging and heating.

Professional wedding planners know the different catering companies, their way of working and their quality and can advise on this topic.

Flowers and decorations

 The decoration of a wedding takes on great importance for many brides and it is something they have been dreaming about for years, often to the last detail.

 But converting these dreams and wishes into reality is often a much bigger problem.

Naturally, a good florist can take care of flowers, but the decoration of a wedding goes a lot further than that.

After all, everything becomes really nice when everything combines, according to a chosen theme and colours to which the scenery, the carpets, the flowers and the decorations, but also the bouquet, the buttonholes, etc. are adapted. 

Dress code 

The dress code is also often adapted to the subject and the colours, and the bride and groom are the ones who have to ask their guests, or not, to respect a specific code when it comes to their attire.

Of course, it also depends on the style of the wedding, very formal, religious, or informal, as is usually the case when it is celebrated on the beach. Sometimes guests are simply asked to respect a particular colour or a specific combination of colours, and this of course goes very well in the photos. 

Photo and video

A day so unique of course also has to be the inspiration of some fond memories, the most beautiful of which will remain in the memory of the bride and groom and their guests, but unfortunately end up becoming more blurred over time.

This is not the case with the photos and the video of the wedding day, these images are eternal and are ideal to refresh the memory both briefly and many years after the wedding and create a retrospective on what was definitely an unforgettable day.

The choice of a photographer and/or camera operator is not so simple, as he or she will not have a second chance.

Also of course, family and friends will take pictures and perhaps also tape the celebration, but they are the guests first of all and the best way to enjoy a ceremony and a party is not through the lens of a camera.

In addition, the photographer must know the environment, the circumstances as far as the light is concerned to the detail and be aware of the agenda, both the ceremony and the rest of the day. This way the photographer/camera knows exactly where, when and how s/he can take the best shorts. 

Planning your wedding

Preparing your wedding in depth requires a lot of time and if it is already a difficult and stressful experience in the country of origin of the bride and groom it is also the case, abroad.

Not only should the distance but also cultural differences be taken into account and, of course, there is also the language barrier to consider. If the bride and groom, the locations and the providers cannot or are barely able to communicate in the same language, the task of planning the wedding becomes very difficult and the possibility of producing a misunderstanding with all the unwanted results that this may cause becomes very high.

Of course, this differs from one wedding to another.
Planning an ecclesiastical wedding, officiated by the local priest, with a florist who prepares the flowers for the church, followed by a reception, a dinner and a party in a hotel or wedding hall, is still relatively easy.

The florist, of course, will advise you about the flowers, the photographer about her/his possibilities and rates and most of the locations have an events manager available who can take care of the reception, dinner and party.

But the fact that all these people and organizations do not know each other and that there is no communication between them renders the task of ensuring that everything goes without a hitch a very difficult one. 

There is also the possibility of misunderstandings, such as what is included and what is not, people with food intolerances or specific nutritional requirements, the placing of people in the seats in the church and during the dinner, speeches, etc.

If you really want to celebrate your marriage dreams and your dream wedding exceeds that little bit more than just the celebration of a simple ecclesiastical or civil ceremony, then the story changes completely.

If you want to celebrate your wedding day without any incidents and in a ‘ natural ‘ way, so that as a couple you do not have to suffer any stress and so that the guests also know when they have to be there and what is expected of them, then you need an expert person to take care of everything.

If you want a personal ceremony, maybe with musicians playing live, you care about the decorations, or you just want in general that something more than the average bride, or you have specific desires, then planning your wedding becomes very difficult, and the chance of success limited.

In such cases it is advisable to hire an experienced and professional wedding planner, who can act as a liaison between the bride and groom, the places for the celebration and the suppliers and who will be responsible for translating your wishes into a detailed plan for your wedding.

The costs of getting married in Spain

The costs are usually very close to those of a wedding in the country of origin, with the difference that prices in Spain tend to be lower than those of most other European countries.

We can subdivide the expenses into three categories: 

The ‘ fixed expenses ‘, such as the photographer, the camera operator, the musicians, the wedding vehicles, the flowers and decorations, the DJ, etc.

Some couples opt for a very tight budget, while the glam and glitter of a dream wedding usually come at a very high asking price. 

The ‘ catering expenses ‘ such as reception, dinner and drinks, which of course vary depending on the number of guests, the place and the menu chosen, can sometimes be from €69 plus VAT per person.

Finally, there are also the travel and accommodation expenses, which as mentioned above frequently have to be assumed by the guests themselves. 

Is it cheaper to prepare your wedding on your own?

This of course depends on the type of union, the number of guests, the place, the catering, etc.
If your budget is very limited, it may be cheaper to organize your wedding yourself, if you have the necessary time to spare and you are willing to accept the stress this entails, that is.

On the other hand, a professional wedding planner, who manages many weddings a year, can negotiate prices and conditions with the locations and providers that will never be within the reach of the bride and groom when handling things by themselves.

Each year more and more couples entrust the planning of their union to a professional, and locations and suppliers are increasingly linked to this trend, with a price list for couples and a lower price list for the professional wedding planner.

Compare this to a travel agency that has previous agreements with hotels, and where the price per night is lower than if you were to book directly with the hotel.

Some professional wedding planners are thus capable, under specific conditions, to considerably reduce their charges so that preparing the wedding yourself truly is not worth the time, effort and stress.

When do I have to make payments? 

The terms of payment differ depending on each place and supplier.
Many request an advance of up to 30% of the total amount expected; others request a deposit.
In general, the second payment is usually paid three months in advance, and the balance one month before the wedding.

After the wedding there are only unforeseen additional expenses to pay, such as the extension of the open bar.

What happens in the case of changes or cancellations?

Canceling or postponing a wedding is never pleasant, but it still happens every once in a while.

For example, because the bride and groom decide to cancel the wedding, or because of an illness, the accident or the death of the bride or the groom, or of one of their close relatives.

In the event of a cancellation of the wedding most locations and providers do not usually return the advances paid and some insurances only refund a portion of the amount in the case of rain on the day of the wedding.

The couple may, however, opt to pre-subscribe a wedding insurance that would cover that event’s expenses. The premiums for such insurance are often surprisingly advantageous. 

The responsibilities of a wedding planner

As we have described, a professional wedding planner can take care of translating your wishes and choices into a script and budget. 

That seems like a simple task, but it is often a very considerable task.

Consider the timing, for example. The larger the number of guests, the more time they need for taking their seats for the ceremony or dinner. This seems logical, but the bride and groom often underestimate it.

You also need to consider the food intolerances and dietary requirements of the guests so that they receive an adapted menu if necessary, and the waiters know what they have to serve to whom.

This, and so many other tasks, are part of the responsibilities of the wedding planner, who is responsible for ensuring that everything is well planned in advance and that all locations and all providers know exactly what is expected of them, when and how.

The difference between a wedding planner and a wedding coordinator 

The responsibilities of a wedding planner end the night before the wedding. By then everything must have been perfectly organized and all the locations, all the suppliers and collaborators must have received their instructions.

The coordinator’s mission is to prepare in advance to perfection and to know the specific desires of the couple and know the script elaborated by the organizer to the last detail.

He or she has the contact details of the venue and the providers so that they can be contacted if necessary.

The wedding coordinator (s) is responsible for ensuring that the wedding day takes place without any incident, that the organizer’s planning is executed to perfection, that all places and suppliers act as agreed, in summary that the bride and groom and their guests truly enjoy a perfect and unforgettable day.

Ideally the organizer and the wedding coordinator would be one and the same person, because the couple, the venues, the providers and the organizer have come to know each other well during the weeks and months of preparation, which of course, facilitates communication.

But many wedding planners do not offer this service, and sometimes it is not possible, for example because the organizer does not speak the language of most of the guests. 

The fees of a wedding planner and those of a wedding coordinator

The fees of a wedding planner are very different. As in so many sectors there are non-professional organizers who take on this role as a second job besides their regular employment.

They tend to be cheaper, but they lack the experience or contacts of a true professional.  A professional wedding planner figures out an estimate of the number of hours he or she believes is needed for services the wedding requires and prepares a price quote accordingly

Most of the organizers ‘ associations advise their members to provide a base of 60 working hours in their price quote, resulting in a fee of between 2,000 and €2,500 plus VAT.

Some professional organizers work on the basis of a firm amount for which the tasks to be fulfilled were previously clearly defined.

The fees of a wedding coordinator vary, but average between 450 and €600 per coordinator per day.

How to choose the wedding planner

Unfortunately so far it is an unregulated profession, which makes it possible for anyone, without any prior training or experience, to call him or herself a wedding planner.

An increasing number of people have started to work as wedding planners, sometimes as a second professional activity and, of course, also with no experience worth mentioning.

 Also, frequently related expenses and tasks are often not transparent, even in the case of professional wedding planners.

A specific number of hours are often calculated, without the couple being married having the opportunity to know the hours actually worked, which makes it quickly become an overtime bill.
All this, of course, does not guarantee a good and smooth collaboration, and horror stories abound on the Internet.

It is therefore advisable to first examine the website or the wedding planner’s brochure in depth.

The more information they contain, the better, as they usually provide a good indication of the wedding planner, the transparency of information and how they work.

It is also important to search for references and to examine the total and quality of the likes and reviews on social media.

 Of course, it is also very relevant to have the possibility of conducting a personal interview, and if so, ask to visit the venues proposed.

It will thus be clear from the beginning what the difference would be if you were to increase or reduce the number of services or guests.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the personal ‘ click ‘, the connection between the bride and groom and the organizer, which has to ensure that communication and collaboration is fluid and enjoyable during the months of planning and preparation. 

You will only know that you have a competent wedding planner when all these requirements are fulfilled!