Post # 1
I have been a lurker for the past few months but I’ve decided to come out of hiding because I am on the verge of a serious meltdown and need advice.
I am getting married in Nassau, Bahamas. The resort in which I’m having my wedding has a wedding planner that is an independent contractor that works with the resort. As far as I know, she’s the only planner that works with this resort but she doesn’t work for the resort (if that makes sense).
I viewed the photographer’s portfolio that she sent, there was no way I would book that photographer. Ever. I informed the planner that I wouldn’t use her recommended photographer, and I would like to have a photographer from the US take photos at my wedding because he’s VERY talented and is throwing in a lot of extras for no charge (day after photos, photos at the rehearsal dinner, etc.).
I asked her if it would be possible to use an American photographer. She said sure, but that she was disappointed that we wouldn’t give a Bahamian photog the business. She informed us that if we wanted an American photog, we had to apply for a photographer’s visa. I asked her how to do that. She gave me the number to the Bahamian Embassy.
This was a red flag for me, as I thought that this was her job as the wedding planner but I made the call. After about a zillion transfers, a lovely woman told me that the planner would have to turn in the documents and we could just pay for the work visa. Sounded simple enough to me. So, I put a deposit down on my photographer.
I contacted the planner and I told her what the embassy said. I explained that we needed the exact cost of the paperwork. She gave us the info and sent the papers by email. She said that my Fiance or I have to apply for it IN PERSON. IN PERSON?! Then she sends me a list of other Bahamian photographers to choose from as an alternative (none of which are of the quality of my photographer).
What should I do now? I have already shelled out a deposit for my American photographer and there is no way I can get down the Bahamas before my wedding to turn in paperwork that she could certainly turn in.
I am just so frustrated with this entire experience. So far, the only thing my planner has done is give me the names of a florist and send me a welcome letter. What is the role of the wedding planner? I need help!
Post # 3
Yikes! It really sounds like to me that the planner is giving you the run-a-round just so your money stays in the Bahamas. I’ve dealt in situations not quite like yours, but where the result would have been really simple except the third party would not cooperate, told me to this and this and this, when in actuallity it could have been simple.
I don’t think you have to do that in person. My brother got married in Mexico last year and brought a friend of his to do the photographs. He didn’t really tell me the details, but all I know is that my brother never went to Mexico to put the request in.
Post # 4
Girl, I’d be on the phone with the resort telling them that they are on the verge of losing your business and the business of your guests because of the actions of their IC wedding planner and her lack of flexibility or desire to do her job. they told you she was the one to contact, they’re responsible for what she does–if they allowed other planners, they WOULDN’T then be responsible!
Post # 5
I dont think you have to hand them in, in person either. Honestly I would call the embassy back and tell them your situation. Let them know your planner refuses to help you do this and ask if there is any other way you can do this on your own. I would also call back the planner and tell her that you are spending all this money with her that either she does this or youll do it yourself. I would call the hotel and explain you want to do this on your own. Why spend all this money with her if she is going to do what you can do on your own?
Post # 6
I don’t know the specific rules but I’m curious why your photographer needs a special visa. I would assume that since he’s a US citizen he can just use his passport-sounds to me like your planner wants you to use a photographer down there and is going to make it difficult for you if you choose not to. Good luck and I agree with the suggestion to contact the hotel and tell them you don’t want to work with their planner and you’ll be taking your business elsewhere if they don’t do whatever.
Post # 7
Thanks for the responses ladies! I am going to call the Embassy tomorrow morning and ask what I can do to remedy this situatoin. I feel soooo stupid for putting down a deposit with this woman!
Post # 8
Yes, call back the embassy. Even if you have to hand them in in person (which strikes me as strange), you could probably do that at the embassy in the US rather than having to go the Bahamas.
Post # 9
i will have your photographer be in your wedding as a family member who is doing this for you as a favor… nobody needs to know you are paying him… but that is just me…
you other option is to to take the advice of @lavoroflove…
Post # 10
YOou really need to call the resort also and complain about the lack of professionalism from this women.
Post # 11
I agree that your wedding planner is not looking out for your best intrest or what you really want. Have you already hired her?
Post # 12
Still have your photographer fly over from the US and then just lie to your planner and say that he’s your uncle/cousin/long lost brother etc.
She’ll probably know you’re lying, but who cares? She hasn’t acted professionally toward you, so what does she expect. You don’t deserve to be railroaded into picking some subpar photographer who is giving the planner kickbacks for business.
Post # 13
I understand what you are going through, I had a similar experience with my destination wedding planner. She would give me 1 name for a vendor, no options, even if I said I didn’t like them, and I would have to contact them organize everything and she basically just showed up on the day. I feel like sometimes because destination brides are not there physically, destination wedding planners slack off. Or they assume we are not that fussed about our weddings so we don’t need as much attention. Either way it is not acceptable. I wish I had some advice for you, I was able to switch to another planner within the company I hired but it still wasn’t great. It’s sounds like if you get rid of your planner, you may lose your venue. In my experience, if I complained or went to a vendor without involving the planner (because she would never get back to me), the vendor didn’t go out of their way to help me. I actually would get semi-nasty emails back saying to go through my planner. I think it was a bit like, its a small island and they look after each other. If they lost 1 customer, it wasn’t a big deal because there were 10 more behind me.
With regards to the photographer, I think the idea of just saying he is family/friend, shooting the wedding as a gift is a good idea. Maybe contact the photographer you want and see if he has done a destination wedding before and what he suggests?
Post # 14
Aloweha, you understand my pain. This is exactly what I’m going through. She sends the name of one florist, I still haven’t received the name of the baker, and initially, she only sent one photographer. Before I hired her, I contracted a vendor just to get an idea of what the floral arrangements would cost so that I could figure out if I wedding in the Bahamas was in my budget. No response. They will not deal with you without the planner.
I don’t know if she’s getting kickbacks or just wants to keep the money in the Bahamas, or both. Either way, it’s really frustrating.
I would love my photographer to just pass as a friend or family member, but he’s Korean American and our families are black and white. I don’t know if that’ll fly. Maybe it would, though. We are a diverse bunch. Also, my fiance thinks he might get held up in customs because of the equipment he’s bringing. Has anyone had any experience with that?
Post # 15
UPDATE: After a million phone calls between today and yesterday, I finally got in touch with someone who told me we can just apply for the permit once we get to the Bahamas. The forms are in the airport and can be processed in a day! Hooray! This takes so much stress off of me!
I kinda want to send my planner a snarky email telling her that for future reference, she could tell brides that they can apply once they get there instead of providing them with a list of Bahamian photographers that they don’t want to use.
Post # 16
I’m so glad you figured this out. Honestly I would get on the phone with your planner and tell her you really don’t appreciate her unhelpfulness…I’m sure she’s going to be difficult with other issues as well, so you can try to minimize that by making it clear that she messed up and you’re not happy with her.