Are you planning a destination wedding in Mexico at an all-inclusive resort?
Are you familiar with the resort’s outside vendor policy?
If not, you are in for a surprise. And it won’t make you happy, but hey, forewarned is forearmed right?
As a couple planning an all-inclusive destination wedding in Riviera Maya or other tourist hubs in Mexico, you may think that you can hire your preferred wedding photographer, hair and makeup artist, or florist as easily as you booked your room block. Unfortunately, however, resorts put up a costly roadblock here, all in the name of personal PROFIT. (As if you aren’t spending enough on accommodation already!)
This gouging is called an Outside Vendor Fee, or you may see it referred to as a ‘penalty’ in your wedding contract.
We are Riviera Maya destination wedding experts here to help you understand what outside vendor fees are, why resorts are charging them, and what (if anything) you can do about it.
What is an Outside Vendor Fee?
Newsflash Beach Brides!
If you choose to get married at an all-inclusive resort in the Riviera Maya, and you want control over what wedding vendors you hire, prepare to pay the price.
Are you less than thrilled by the resort ‘Employee Photographer’ included in your wedding package?
Have you found a local wedding photographer (vendor) whose style you absolutely love and must have for your precious wedding photos?
Well, here’s the thing; every all-inclusive resort in Mexico will penalize you for not choosing their employee because THEY want the commission! And so, they will tack on their own hefty fee, which is over and above your chosen vendor’s fee, just for the privilege of having that fabulous photographer on the resort’s grounds on your wedding day.
Is this fair? No.
But is this reality? Yes. Unfortunately.
How much does an Outside Vendor Fee cost?
So now you’re probably wondering – How much is this going to cost me?
There is no regulation or standard fee across resorts. Vendor policies are at the discretion of each particular hotel. You might luck out and only need to cover day passes for each of your vendors, and if so, then expect this to start at 100 USD per person.
Unfortunately, many of the best wedding resorts in the Riviera Maya are now charging upwards of $1000 USD per vendor – OUCH! Remember, this is over and above what you are paying your chosen vendors!
Can I avoid paying the all-inclusive resort Vendor Fee?
If you’re like me, you will start sniffing out any opportunity to save your precious wedding budget.
However, the only time you might hold any negotiating power whatsoever is before you sign a contract with your resort. This is why it is SO important that you do your homework about hidden wedding costs when you can still opt not to get married there!
When exploring the best Riviera Maya wedding resort options, if you do not like their outside vendor policy, remember that this is Mexico, and everything is negotiable! (Especially NOW with our wedding industry feeling the lasting effects of the Coronavirus pandemic!)
Some bargaining chips before you sign could be:
- have the fee reduced
- request that more people be included per company (often there is a limit of two people)
- insist that your photographer and videographer be recognized as one vendor
- get it eliminated altogether!
Insider Tip: One option to explore is booking a night for your wedding vendor at your resort. In some cases, the vendor fee would be waived if they are a guest of the resort, and paying for the extra accommodation can end up being less expensive for you than paying the vendor fee.
But please, if you do manage to negotiate a better deal, get it in writing on your contract, because your resort wedding coordinator can change at the drop of a hat.
I booked my wedding and did not know about the vendor fee – what now?
So you’ve already signed your contract, but had no idea about this hidden fee?
You’re not alone.
All-inclusive resorts are in the business of making money and are not going to draw your attention to their outside vendor policy when trying to secure your wedding. If you are one of the unlucky couples reading this who have who have been taken by surprise to learn of this extortion, you can always try pleading ignorance.
But I’m afraid you would be out of luck. (Insert unhappy emoji face here!)
Although I am not suggesting that it isn’t worth attempting to negotiate with the points mentioned above, it bears repeating that you need to read the fine print before you sign a contract with your resort.
Download our FREE Ultimate Guide To Getting Married In The Riviera Maya
Where does my Outside Vendor Fee go?
Do you have a “rainbows and sunshine” view of the world, and hope that your outside vendor fee somehow gets applied to your wedding experience?
Oooof. I’m afraid not.
I wish I had a straightforward answer for you about where your money goes. My best research tells me that the fees might go in part to cover the salary of the resort employees who’s services you have chosen not to use. But the money most likely just goes straight into the opportunistic deep pockets of the resort.
However, I can tell you with certainty where it does not go:
It does NOT go in any part to your chosen off-site wedding vendor, and it does not reflect any increased value to you, the paying customer.
Will my vendors offer me a discount to cover the Vendor Fee?
Maybe you feel that the company you want to hire should take pity on you and your budget?
Obviously, every wedding vendor is different, and has a set cost of doing business. Therefore an expectation of getting a discount so that you can save money depends on who you want to work with.
Although it never hurts to ask for a discount, please be fair and realistic when negotiating. Do NOT take advantage and use their flexibility as your primary criteria for choosing a vendor. After all, how would you feel if your boss gave you a paycheck that was 25% less than last month, with the explanation that he/she didn’t want to pay your full salary because some unexpected expenses popped up?
Asking a professional wedding vendor to subsidize wedding resort extortion is not fair either. Self-employed companies set their rates based on their cost of doing business, and therefore a discount should never be expected.
What can I do if I am unhappy with paying a Vendor Fee?
Do you have options if your resort will not budge?
Yes, you always have options!
Take your wedding off the resort
You can still use the resort for accommodation, but you cancel the wedding with them, and make sure they understand why. In my opinion, not enough couples explore this option.
There are SO many romantic, funky and unique beach clubs or private villas in the Riviera Maya that can provide an amazing beach wedding, from the ceremony through the reception. Contrary to popular belief, you are NOT restricted to getting married at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico.
Explore the best off-site destination wedding venues and when you weigh your options against paying additional vendor fees and add-ons at the resort, you will see how comparable the cost is at the end of the day.
Your best bet, if you choose to get married off-site, is to put yourselves in the experienced hands of a professional wedding planner. Luckily, we work with the best in the business! Contact us now, and we will gladly put you in touch.
Harness the power of the internet!
Reviews and testimonials are every resort’s bread and butter, and bad reviews are super harmful. If you are unhappy with a resort’s outside vendor policy, or how shady they are about keeping it hidden, then shout it from the rooftops to anyone and everyone who will listen!
Consider it your duty to warn future engaged couples, and cause a stir! The worldwide web is a very influential place, and you have the ability to invoke change. So speak up!
I sincerely hope this helps your wedding planning process, and I want to hear about any concerns or questions in the comments below.
And finally, if you are looking for the best Riviera Maya wedding photographer for your destination wedding in Riviera Maya, Mexico, contact us now! We are Fun In The Sun Weddings, for the best Riviera Maya wedding photography.