Destination Wedding Checklist
By Kim Goldstein with Journeys, Inc.
Here’s a sample timeline that can be used after your initial deposit for your destination wedding has been confirmed!
12+ Months Before
- Determine an estimated budget for your wedding ceremony, reception, any additional activities, guest favors, etc.
- Hire a Destination Wedding Specialist (travel agent)
- Begin clarifying your wedding vision: theme, colors, little details, and extras.
- TIP: Set up Pinterest boards that you can easily share with your wedding coordinator and travel agent.
- Review all legal requirements and documentation needed for your wedding, and submit all required forms to the wedding coordinator.
- Determine if you’re going to do a legal or symbolic ceremony.
- Create a guest list. The more rooms you fill, the more money you save. So, invite everyone who you would’ve invited to a local wedding.
11-12 Months Before
- Set up the wedding room block with your travel agent.
- Select your wedding party.
- Send out save-the-dates.
- Create a wedding website with travel details and accommodations.
- Review options for DJ, cake, welcome events, band, photographer, and videographer. If you want to use an offsite vendor, get permission from the wedding coordinator (if this is an option) and confirm any additional fees for using an outside vendor. Keep in mind that many local vendors will travel!
- Be sure to have your passports (must be valid six months from return date). Brides should use their maiden name since it will take three weeks to get a copy of your marriage certificate. Names on the reservation must match your passports exactly.
7-10 Months Before
- Continue working with your wedding planner from the resort to determine additional events if desired (e.g. welcome cocktail party, rehearsal dinner/night before dinner, day after brunch).
- Purchase airline tickets and inquire about carrying your wedding dress on board the plane.
- Set up a honeymoon registry if desired.
- Buy your wedding dress.
4-6 Months Before
- Start planning additional group activities like golf, tours, excursions, etc.
- Schedule spa/hair/nail appointments.
- Schedule a spa day with bridesmaids, mother, and loved ones if desired.
- Review final contracts with the wedding planner.
- Select décor, flowers, and the cake.
- For legal ceremonies, send completed paperwork to the coordinator if you have not done so already. Must be received at least 60 days prior.
2-3 Months Before
- Finalize guest list and room requirements. Your travel agent will send you your final guest list after the final payment due date (refer to your invoice for the final payment due date).
- Confirm any group amenities or benefits received from your group reservations.
- Confirm ceremony and reception locations and request any changes if needed/desired.
- Book ceremony musicians with your coordinator.
- Share with the coordinator any requested readings, songs, traditions, etc.
- Start selecting the menu(s).
1 Month Before
- Confirm all décor, floral, cake, and “extras.
- Confirm menu for all wedding-related events such as dinner the night prior, cocktail reception, wedding reception, etc.
- Finalize reception chart and seat cards (if applicable) and send to the wedding coordinator.
- Have a program, menu, place cards, etc. printed if applicable.
- Confirm the timeline of events.
- Confirm all special requests.
- Shop for welcome bag goodies for guests if desired. These items can’t be shipped in advance.
3 Weeks Before
- Review your wedding contract and make any final amendments.
- A travel agent will send your final guest list to the resort for all of those who booked into the group. If anyone booked outside of the group or at a different resort, the couple will need to confirm their attendance at the wedding and make sure any additional fees have been paid.
- Confirm that your wedding coordinator has all of the information and details needed for all wedding-related events.
- Schedule a trial hair and makeup run through the salon if desired.
- Arrange for a private dinner on the beach for the two of you, if desired.
Up to 1 Week Before
- Arrive at the resort (based on whether you are having a legal or symbolic ceremony).
- Meet with the wedding coordinator and/or onsite staff to go over all details, timeline, and any last-minute addition or changes.
- Do a walk-through of the ceremony and reception at the designated locations.
- Book salon appointments for the day of the wedding for the bride and bridal party, if not already booked in advance.
- Arrange for welcome bag room drop, if desired. Fees may apply.
- Leave your wedding dress and groom’s attire with the wedding coordinator to be steamed.
1 Day Before
- Have a welcome cocktail party, rehearsal or welcome dinner if desired.
- Arrange for special room drops for parents and/or wedding party. (i.e. petit fours, champagne, flowers, etc.)
- Get an early night sleep so you are well rested for your wedding
- Have a nice breakfast.
- Go to your hair appointment at the salon. Don’t forget your wedding veil and flowers!
- Enjoy every moment of your special day!
*NOTE: The timelines in this checklist are just guidelines and may vary by resort and/or size of your wedding. Please confirm due dates and specific timelines for planning your event with the wedding coordinator during your initial phone call.*
Let us help you plan your dream destination wedding! Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-288-0188.