Destination weddings take place away from where the bride and groom-to-be live. Because of this, more time may be allotted for research and planning than may be necessary for a traditional wedding. Below is a suggested checklist for planning your destination wedding. Download and print this destination wedding planning checklist.

12 months prior:

Set a budget. Now is the time to talk money with your spouse-to-be and anyone else who may be contributing to the wedding cost. Check out our blog posts about budgets.Choose a theme or overall vision for your wedding. This will help to make decisions regarding decor and vendors in the future. Check out our blog posts about wedding themes.

Set priorities. Identify the most important aspects for you as a couple. Are you ga ga over flowers but don’t care so much about ceremony programs? Identifying what’s important to you will help you to decide how much money to allot for specific details.

Guest List. Create a guest list. We suggest using our wedding guest list organizer to keep things in order.
Start researching where you want to get married! We suggest using our destination wedding research chart to keep you organized

11 months prior:

Choose a destination wedding location. Check our destinations section for help.

Choose a resort.

Find out the marriage requirements for your location.

Send out save-the-dates. Check out our blog posts on STD’s for inspiration.

10 months prior:

Research any vendors you’d like to bring with you to your wedding. We suggest bringing a photographer and videographer. Check out our list of suggested questions to ask your photographer and videographer. Check out our blog posts on vendors for more information.

Book the vendors you’ll bring with you to your wedding.

Put together any legal paperwork you’ll need to get married in your destination.

Set up a room block with your resort.

Order/Renew passorts

9 months prior:

Book your accommodations for the wedding.

Make your travel arrangements for the wedding. We suggest arriving at least three days before your wedding.

Create a list of local attractions for your guests, and an itinerary for the big day.

Register for gifts or a honeymoon. Check out our blog posts about registries.

Make decor decisions for your big day.

8 months prior:

Select your wedding day attire and attire for any attendants you’ll have.

Buy your wedding rings. Check out our blog posts on wedding bands for some inspiration!

Send out invites. We suggest asking your guests to respond 2 months prior to your wedding date.

7 months prior:

Make food/cake selections.

Work on ceremony details and buy any necessary items. Read our blog posts on ceremonies.

6 months prior:

Finalize decor arrangements for the ceremony and reception.

Make flower decisions.

Finalize dj/band/entertainment details.

5 months prior:

Order gifts for attendants.

Order favors for guests.

Put together out of town bags. (Optional). Read our blog posts about out of town bags for some inspiration.

4 months prior:

Create a “must” playlist and a “do not play” playlist for your band/dj. Read our blog post about wedding music for more info.

Consult your budget and make adjustments where needed.

3 months prior:

Make hair/make up/nails appointments for your bridal party. (Optional)

Create a wedding day itinerary for your wedding party. For girls, this should include their hair and make up appointments if applicable. Create a copy for your day-of coordinator, photographer, videographer, DJ/band and parents of the bride and groom. You can put copies of this in your wedding party’s out of town bags.

2 months prior:

Call guests who have not RSVP’d.

Create a seating chart for the reception. Here’s some inspiration.

Consult with a make up artist for your big day. Read our interview with a make up artist for advice on destination wedding make up.

1 month prior:

Confirm your travel arrangements.

Release room block.

Confirm with your vendors.

Final dress fitting.

Break in your wedding shoes.

1 week prior:

Confirm rehearsal with resort.

Confirm arrival of your wedding party attendants.

Confirm honeymoon reservation.

Pack for your wedding and honeymoon.

Pick up formal wear. Make sure everything fits perfectly.

1 day prior:

Get a manicure/pedicure.

Put wedding attire and accessories together.

Give the rings to the best man.

Day of:

Eat!!! No one wants the bride to pass out on her wedding day!

Have your hair and make up done.

Send the maid of honor to check the reception site to be sure everything is in order.

Get married!