In the light of some very sad recent events here, I think it is important to offer some wise advice to couples looking to get married abroad and what to think about when parting with large amounts of money to book suppliers and organise your wedding in another country.
Let´s face it, it is not every day you sit down, decide you are going to get married in another country and then be expected to know all the pitfalls you will come across.
As I run this blog, not only for inspirations, but occasionally some wedding advice, I thought I would share some with you, it really is just common sense.
It is very easy to get swept away with the whole romantic notion of tying the knot abroad and often good old common sense flies out the window as the wedding whirlwind descends and organising your special day abroad takes over.
Organising a wedding abroad usually requires hiring a wedding planner located in the country to wish to host your wedding in.
So a very simple question for you to ask them.
Does your planner insist your entire wedding budget is to be paid into their account in order to book all the suppliers for you on your behalf or do they organise your payments to the suppliers directly?
If you are paying money for all the suppliers directly to the wedding planner and trusting them to pass the money on, there is only really one reason for this, that they are covering up the true supplier costs and marking up the prices.
By paying the planner your wedding budget directly gives them the opportunity to mask the mark ups and not have to divulge any real costs to you apart from what they choose to share with you.
I will go on to tell you another story about planners operating in this way in a minute.
It is a huge risk to hand over your entire wedding budget to one person, regardless of how much you trust them.
Unless a wedding planner can set up a separate ´client account´they, as a company, have the headache of constantly justifying large amounts of money being passed through their bank accounts to the local tax authorities.
The paperwork to operate a business in this way would be huge and take up a lot of time.
Perhaps they are not declaring accounts to the authorities, if this is the case, this sort of activity in bank accounts will be noticed and particularly here in Spain will be seized or frozen, unless it is being conducted properly.
If you are paying the suppliers directly, overseen by your planner, then you know the actual costs involved and your wedding planner will obtain individual receipts and confirmation of booking from every supplier involved.
They will inform you when you have to pay instalments, deposits, etc and send you receipts for every payment you make directly to that supplier, whether it be the catering, venue, dj, florist or photographer.
These past months we have heard of some awful stories emerging about misconduct and misuse of clients budgets, being told they had certain suppliers booked, whether it be a particular DJ, Hair and Make Up Artist or Cake Designer requested by the couple, the planner was apparently taking the money and finding cheaper, not so good suppliers, booking them and pocketing the difference.
The end result is a sad one with some couples showing up here recently to find nothing had been booked or organised.
Do keep your head firmly screwed onto your shoulders when planning your wedding, ask the same questions that you would if you were in your own country.
It is important to highlight it is only one instance here but like all these situations, it casts a horrible shadow here over wedding world just because one person got it so wrong.
The wedding industry here goes from strength to strength with many fantastic wedding planners, caterers and suppliers here all operating very professional businesses and all supporting each other and we all continue to offer clients a fabulous range of services in a beautiful sunny country, well not tonight actually as it is raining!