Do couples need a wedding planner for a destination wedding in Vietnam?
Updated: Jun 2
Updated June 2023
A wedding planner for a destination wedding in Vietnam is important if
You aren't familiar with Vietnam
You're a busy couple with no time for wedding planning
You need help choosing the suppliers who best fit your budget and style
You don't speak Vietnamese or you're concerned about language barriers
You want peace of mind in the lead-up to your wedding day
You want someone else to do it for you
You don't need a wedding planner if
You're eloping or having a small celebration with only a few friends
You're willing to spend time looking for local suppliers and arrange the services yourself. (In Vietnam, the best suppliers all speak English.)
You're organised and enjoy planning (and have experience arranging events)
You're getting married in a hotel that supplies an on-site wedding coordinator. And the wedding package includes everything you need.
But if spending your spare time planning your wedding in Vietnam doesn't appeal, a wedding planner will oversee the organising for you.
And you can enjoy your wedding as well as your holiday.
What does a destination wedding planner do?
A destination wedding planner will manage the wedding planning process from start to finish.
But if you don't need end-to-end help, there are other options too. We cover those below.
Using their extensive knowledge of Vietnam and weddings and events, a full-service wedding planner in Vietnam will make sure nothing is left to chance and planned to the minute, in writing. And they'll always have a plan B.
A professional planner will be organised and ready to communicate across time zones and tailor a planning package for you that meets your needs. Using your brief, they'll recommend options that fit your style and budget. They're also professionals who'll tell you if your ideal wedding is outside the scope of your wedding budget and provide alternatives for you to consider.
I've worked with couples who fly in their destination wedding planner to Vietnam. But it doesn't happen often. In the 10 years, I've been working in the wedding industry in Vietnam, the level of service and understanding of Western-style weddings has risen rapidly.
Unless your budget caters for it (and you have your heart set on a particular planner) you don't need to fly in a wedding planner.
Most of all, a destination wedding planner in Vietnam allows you to enjoy your wedding holiday without worrying about the details.
Everyone wants to remember their wedding day as a wonderful day, right?
That's what a destination wedding planner does.
How do I find the best professional destination wedding planner in Vietnam?
The best place to start is Google. Professional planners will have a website (usually in English and Vietnamese) and a strong social media presence. Check out the reviews. Google Lens is great for translating reviews from couples.
Book a consultation and ask all the questions you have. You will notice:
The best professional wedding planners have exceptional interpersonal, organisational and coordination skills.
But it's not only organising and coordinating people. The best planners I've worked with have hospitality and service in their DNA.
They have brilliant people skills and navigate cultural nuances with ease. They understand different wedding customs and traditions and can tailor your wedding to suit them.
Best of all, they have a comprehensive understanding of Vietnam
The weather conditions: The weather in Vietnam varies in the North, the Centre and the South. They can tell you the best times of the year to get married in your preferred wedding location.
The suppliers in each area: The suppliers who are professional, reliable and deliver the best outcomes
The wedding venues and activities that will suit your budget (and recommend superb alternatives)
They follow wedding trends, decor ideas and new wedding ideas so you get the best advice in the market (and because they're creative, they'll come up with ideas you may not have thought about)
They are organised, and pedantic and cover every detail in writing and on a timeline so no detail is left to chance
What are the different types of wedding planners?
Full-service wedding planner
Couples usually hire a full-service planner before they hire anyone else. A full-service planner arranges the entire event from beginning to end. They'll manage seating plans, the menu, stationery, and timetables, and measure and sketch venues to scale to ensure all the tables and decorations fit.
A full-service destination wedding planner in Vietnam can organise everything for you
Pre and post-wedding activities
Choosing and recommending potential venues
Bringing your theme to life
Giving you food and drink options
Arranging your wedding cake (yummy) and tasting
Helping you with your seating plan and guest list
All the suppliers: Wedding photographers, florists, officiant, hair and makeup artists and entertainers.
As well as coordinating all the weddings vendor so your wedding day runs smoothly
Your suppliers arrive on time
Your wedding ceremony starts on time
Your reception starts on time and runs to schedule
They can even create your wedding website.
You'll get a detailed run sheet for your wedding day (and pre and post-wedding events including the wedding rehearsal) so every minute is on a timeline.
After the party, they'll start removing the decorations and loading up the trucks to return the equipment to their business.
I've seen wedding planners setting up for weddings at midnight the night before a wedding. And packing up well after midnight when the reception party is over.
It's hard work.
And if you're having a big wedding with lots of different suppliers involved, you need help.
How much does a full-service wedding planner cost in Vietnam?
Allocate 10-15% of your wedding budget to a full-service wedding planner in Vietnam.
Partial service wedding planners are for couples who arrange their wedding but need a little help with the logistics and finalising details in Vietnam. The partial service planners can get involved six months prior to the wedding day, but typically take control of the wedding planning the month before the wedding day. They will finalise timelines, confirm vendors, manage any rehearsals and provide on-the-day wedding coordination.
This gives the couple peace of mind they've got a professional planner on board who will coordinate everything in the final month. The couple can enjoy their holiday and look forward to their wedding day.
How much does a partial-service wedding planner cost in Vietnam?
Expect to pay around 5-7% of your wedding budget for partial wedding planning services in Vietnam.
Day of Wedding Coordinator
These wedding professionals manage everything on your wedding day, so you can relax.
The couple arranges everything and hands all the details to the day of the wedding coordinator a month before the wedding day. This planner is all about logistics. The couple does the organising and gives them the timeline and supplier details and the co-ordinator ensures it rolls out without a hitch.
They'll make sure suppliers do what they need to do, maintain the schedule and take care of any unforeseen issues on the day.
How much does a day of wedding coordinator cost in Vietnam?
A day-of planner cost an average of $700 - 1200 USD in Vietnam. They'll take the reigns a month before the wedding day and bring it together so you can enjoy your wedding day without organising suppliers.
The most common type of speciality planner in Vietnam is a decor or design planner. They'll take your mood board and bring it to life.
They aren't involved in the logistics or deal with other suppliers apart from the ones they are working with on your theme. If you need someone to make your wedding look magical - Vietnam is the place to be.
Pro Tip: Some planners in Vietnam are extremely talented design and decor planners who advertise as full-service wedding planners. They aren't trying to mislead anyone intentionally. They simply don't have the skills to organise a full event (especially a big one). So when you're choosing a planner - be sure to ask for client references, testimonials, and examples of run sheets.
Pro Tip 2: Wedding receptions in Vietnam run for two hours and then they're over. So it's not uncommon for planners in Vietnam to have two weddings in a day. Of course not all weddings are the same as Vietnamese wedding receptions, so be sure to ask if your planner understands the scope of your event and hasn't booked other events. Some have enough staff to do this (because they're large companies). But I've seen planners book three Western-style weddings in one day - without understanding the cultural differences and timelines. And it wasn't a fun day - for any of the couples.
Does a wedding planner in Vietnam manage flights and accommodation?
Your wedding planner will usually arrange accommodation recommendations for the couple and make the relevant bookings. They may give recommendations for guests based on budget, but typically won't manage bookings and the logistics for guests.
Flights and visas are also something most destination wedding planners don't arrange in Vietnam. They can put couples in touch with destination wedding travel agents who can arrange flights and visas though.
What's the difference between an onsite wedding coordinator and a destination wedding planner?
Most resorts in Vietnam have their own wedding coordinators who will plan your wedding according to their wedding package and any optional extras you choose. They will coordinate in the immediate lead-up and make sure the wedding runs smoothly on your wedding day.
Vietnamese people are very generous with their time and will go out of their way to help you. But their primary job is to prepare your wedding in line with the resort package.
I highly recommend on-site wedding coordinators if you understand they aren't your wedding planner. They are the resort wedding planner - and their primary focus is doing their job for their employer.
Your planner works for you. They understand the intricacies of your wedding and will help with family management and all the details that are important to you.
So why do I recommend a destination wedding planner?
1. You'll enjoy your wedding and have a great holiday with your friends and family
You're a wanderlust. A destination wedding is a dream come true. It's awesome. Kudos. Scooting off to your favourite place in the world, with your nearest and dearest to get married. Such an adventure. You're trendsetters. Smashing.
Arranging the adventure from afar is not so much fun. It's stressful.
Are you ready to scour the internet and make all phone calls in the quest for the right suppliers? Not to mention follow-up and coordination, from another country.
Here's a small list of some of "the things":
hair and makeup
stationery and printers
Of course, once you do arrive in your paradise, you'll need to meet all these people in person. Finer details. Payment. The list goes on.
I haven't even mentioned the actual wedding day. No planner means you're coordinating that too. Set up and clean up when it's all over. Ghastly.
Do you have a headache yet? I do.
A great wedding planner will make your dream a reality. You'll never see the dedicated time behind the scenes. The hours spent on the detail. The negotiation. Sourcing suppliers. Insisting outcomes are exacting. On your wedding day, they'll be there from the early morning until the wee hours of the next day. Being in the same location means they can see, touch, and feel everything. Complete control.
They make it look easy.
It's why many couples think they can arrange their weddings themselves. (And it's why wedding planners spend so much time justifying their fees - which I find unbelievable.)
Please do it. Hand it over. Then it's about saying "yay" or "nay" to their suggestions. Leaving plenty of time for your pre-holiday wedding celebrations.
You're here to get married and have the time of your life. Not use every minute of the day planning your wedding.
2. A wedding planner knows the local suppliers, the best venues and the local scoop
Get ahead of the game and find your wedding planner before you make any other decisions. They understand the country and the logistics. They know reliable suppliers. They know the not-so-reliable suppliers. The suppliers who can deliver on your vision. They'll save hours of your time.
If you know the country or town you want to get married, and unsure about the venue. Your planner can provide oodles of recommendations and liaise with the venue throughout. All you do is arrive and enjoy!
Some venues come with a planner included in the price - a bonus. Be sure you fall in love with the venue planner before you fall in love with the venue. You'll be relying on that person.
3. You don't have great organisational skills
If you don't like Google Docs, spreadsheets and covering all the details, organising your dream wedding will be a headache.
If arranging a family barbeque gives you hives, grab a planner. They'll cover all the details and all you need to do is arrive on time.
4. You're concerned you'll overspend your budget
A great wedding planner will get you the best prices.
Long-established relationships in the wedding industry are worth their weight in gold. Like most industries, loyal customers earn bonus privileges. Weddings are no different. Industry pals receive preferred pricing. Or at least pricing that is less than retail. The price you'll pay as a retail customer will be higher.
The price difference your planner can achieve can come close to covering their fee.
Are stress levels coming down?
5. Your friends and family can enjoy the fun too.
Some couples plan on asking their friends and family to help share the load. I get it. They are choosing to spend their holiday time and hard-earned cash to celebrate with you. Is it fair to give them a "to-do" list? Your wedding attendants will have their support roles. They're honoured to support you. Does it extend to cleaning up at the end of the evening? Making sure the gifts are safe. Removing the decor and tidying up the venue? After an evening of champagne and dancing, it's a big ask for anyone.
Naa. Not cool.
5. When the party is over, no one needs to wash up.
It's the end of the evening. You've had the day of your life. Your last guests are leaving, (or staggering) home. Guess who is there, ready to start the massive clean-up and set down: your wedding planner. Yep. Nothing to see here. Head for your room as newlyweds.
A destination wedding is one of the most incredible and mind-blowing ways to get married. It's a blast. Make every single part of it fun and memorable. Have a blast!
Get a wedding planner. Can you afford not to?
Sure you can arrange your destination wedding. Set your mind to something and anything is possible. An exquisite wedding in a most idyllic location. How hard can it be?
Alas, I don't recommend it. Outsource this project, my friends. It's not one for the faint of heart. Prefer a poolside Pina Colada while your planner runs around, planning? Me too.
Shave a few "shiny things" from your mood board and find the dollars. Years of experience have taught me the "shiny, expensive must-haves" won't matter. You'll remember the moments, the people and how much fun you had.
A fabulous wedding planner is worth every penny. Rest easy knowing they are doing all "the stuff". You've got enough "stuff" to do anyway. This should be fun not another "job"!
Drop me a line a email@example.com for any wedding questions you have. I'd be squishy with delight to hear from you.
Before I sign off I'm going to leave you with a real-life example.
I was officiating a wedding. Picture a perfect day overlooking the ocean. The setting was serene. Decor? Amazing. The scene was set.
Fifteen minutes before the guests were due to arrive a huge gust of wind swept half the arch and the flowers away. It wasn't pretty.
The florists had gone.
Picture yourself without a planner. Fifteen minutes before your wedding, you receive a call your arch is in pieces. What would you do?
This couple had a planner. She planner stopped, dropped and engineered a beautiful fix in under ten minutes. The couple and their guests were none the wiser.
I'll leave that there. Imagine dealing with that if you did not have a wedding planner.
PS: Use Facebook to see some of my favourite planners in Vietnam (in no order of preference!):
Leanne Summers is a destination wedding celebrant and MC in Hoi An, Vietnam. Leanne specializes in wedding ceremonies, elopements, and wedding vow renewal ceremonies. If you're having a small wedding of fewer than 15 people, Leanne can help you plan the celebration too.
A recovering corporate lawyer from Australia, Leanne had lost her sense of humour and soul. She sought more meaning in life. Her adventures lead her to Vietnam where she found her sense of humour and humanity. Now she creates wedding ceremonies and officiates for couples from all over the world. She's celebrated weddings with over 400 couples (and counting). A Vietnam "local" for over 10 years, Vietnam is her spirit country.
Leanne is also an SEO Consultant and Copywriter.
Want to get in touch?
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Drop me a line on Facebook: @weddingcelebrantvietnam
Whatsapp: +84 (0) 702 734 291