destination wedding planning checklist

Destination Wedding Planning Checklist

When we started this blog we promised that we will guide you from month to month in your destination wedding planning. And in past three months we have written a post for each phase of your planning starting from your engagement day or I should say from your decision to go for a destination wedding. If you think that was useful then you will like the idea that we have prepared for you a really ultimate destination wedding planning checklist.

9-12 months before:

1. Wedding type

Think about the type of wedding you want?Formal or informal affair? Big or small and intimate? Also think about the time of year.

2. Create a budget

Think about how much money you have now, what you will save in the next few months and anything your parents are able to contribute.

3.Choose a destination

Don’t forget to research its marriage requirements.

4.Visit your destination

If time and budget allows it, this would be a great opportunity to go for a site visit. You can scout venues/resorts in person before making your final decision, meet with vendors, do food tastings and hair/makeup trials

5. Pick your date

Avoid holidays, which can make airfare and hotels more expensive. Also keep in mind your destination’s climate for time of year, rainy and/or even hurricane season!

6. Make a vendors list

Make a list of optional vendors which you would have to visit following your arrival to your destination.

7. Documentation

Make a list of documentation which you have to prepare in order to have a valid wedding abroad.
Choose an officiant, and start planning the service.

8. Destination activities

Research activities and tours available in the local area and follow the advice of your wedding planner!

9. Your dress

Make a final decision with regards to your gown and order it, and select attendants’ dress code/colours.

10. Make a gift register.

11. Choose your venue

Settle on a venue, reserve your wedding date with them and put down a deposit
Request proposals and photos from resorts and/or venues that interest you
(You can request proposals via the venue/resort website, or by calling the wedding department

12. Binder

Start a binder to file all your paperwork, ideas and inspiration in one place.
For example, contracts, magazine pages or print outs of photos that inspire you (flowers, attire, favors, decorations)

13. Guest list

Sit down with your fiancé and compile a guest list The rule of thumb is that about 20% of invited guests will not attend a traditional wedding, but this number goes up slightly for a destination wedding
Collect guest’s email and mailing addresses
Select the members of your wedding party


6-9 months before:


Order your wedding invitations and thank-you cards, plus any special stationery (welcome letters, menus, maps, itineraries, signs) You can purchase only for one copy for each item to check everything is ok, only then go for a whole number of copies.

2. Rings

Order your wedding rings; it’s a good idea to make an early start on this.


Prepare your passports and visas, and if necessary, talk to your wedding planner about needed blood tests or vaccinations dependent on your chosen destination wedding. For example this applies to weddings in Mexico!
– Talk to your guests about passports and visas required, be sure that all of them have their documents on time.


Buy gifts for those attending especially relevant family members, and start composing your thank-you notes to them.
Start shopping and keeping an eye out for wedding accessories (shoes, jewelry, headpiece, lingerie), resort wear and other goods .

5.You and your destination wedding planner

Talk to your wedding planner about your venue with regards to ceremony decoration plans.
– Arrange with your wedding planner hair, makeup and spa appointments for you and your bridesmaids.
-Talk with your wedding planner about accommodations and airfare for your wedding and make a confirmed booking.

4-6 Months before:


Book accommodations and airfare for your wedding and honeymoon. Encourage your guests to do the same.
Arrange transportation/transfer from airport to hotel for you and your guests

-Make arrangements for pre-wedding events/activities such as excursions, welcome reception, rehearsal dinner


Buy groom’s attire.
Make sure your bridal party order their dresses/attire
Shop for resort/honeymoon wear.

Three months out:

1. Brides preferred style

Schedule dress fittings, complete with lingerie and accessories
Experiment with hair and veil with stylist

2.Ceremony and reception

Make or order the guest favors and welcome-bag items.
Prepare {play/do not play} lists for DJ/band
Plan ceremony and reception seating
Finalize readers and readings for your ceremony.


Confirm details with all your vendors (Floral arrangements, photography package, DJ song list, menus) and get everything in writing!

4.Mail out invitations

include a program of scheduled events, plus dress code, if applicable.


Buy a wedding gift for your fiancé.
Purchase gifts for your bridesmaids (consider a spa treatment at your destination).

Two months out:


Pick up your rings. Resize them if it’s necessary

2.You and your wedding planner

Arrange with your planner a wedding day timeline and send to your vendors, officiant and wedding party.
Confirm wedding day transportation for you and your guests if it’s necessary.
Check if you need to have your documents translated or stamped with an apostle. And if you’re in the UK you can get your documents stamped with an apostle at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office here if necessary. You will be adviced by your wedding planner what documents exactly you will need to provide based on your nationality and country of residence.

3. Finalize fittings for wedding party and parents.

Small and sweet tasks:

– Decide on “Something Old, New, Borrowed, Blue.”
– Sit, relax get a glass of wine and go through your vows.
– Enjoy a bachelorette party!

One month out:


Review all the details you agreed on with your planner, caterer, photographer, videographer, florist, musicians and any other vendors involved in the wedding events.
Send out as many final payments as you can.
Once again be sure that you get back all the recites and writing confirmation from all vendors about your wedding timeline.
Arrange how your welcome bag items, favors and decorations will be delivered to your hotel.
Ensure hotel reservations for your guests have been completed

2.And then some bridal time:)

Final dress fitting (with shoes & undergarments)
Make arrangements to pick up your dress or have it delivered.
Visit the beauty salon to enhance your skin (without any new facial treatment experiments )
Write Thank You notes as gifts are received.

Two weeks out:

1.Your time to:

-Begin breaking in wedding shoes, you don’t need that pain on your big day.
-Make arrangements for the caring of pets and plants while you are on your wedding trip.
-Get final haircut and color

-Enter RSVP’s into a guest list spreadsheet along with their arrival date, hotel, phone, etc
don’t worry if you are not good in spreadsheet we would help you in that too

2. Share responsibilities 

-Delegate wedding day duties: gift table, guestbook, etc.
-Delegate someone to return tuxes, rentals and tend to wedding dress.
-Give readers their scripts
-Enter RSVP’s into a guest list spreadsheet along with their arrival date, hotel, phone, etc
don’t worry if you are not good in spreadsheet we would help you in that too

One week before:

1. Packing!

Packing checklist will be also available to download on our website.

On your arrival

1.Meet your wedding planner or officiate

Go through details of your ceremony and reception
– Inspect ceremony and reception sites
– Arrange your marriage licenses

2.Meet your vendors

If you didn’t do a site visit, this is a good time to do food tastings and change any menu item you don’t like.
– Make a plan with your wedding photographer
– Deliver welcome bags to guest’s rooms before they arrive if it’s necessary.
– Arrange a time to have your bouquet and groom’s boutonnieres delivered to you before the ceremony.
– Have your dress pressed/steamed to smooth out any wrinkles it encountered while traveling.
– Have a rehearsal dinner if it’s in your package.

3. Time for yourself

– Get a spa treatment (with your fiancée 🙂
– Have a hair and make up trial a few days before to make sure it’s exactly what you’ll want on your big day.
– Book a manicure/pedicure for the day before you get married.

Relax on the beach or swimming pool

Wedding Day

-Make sure you have your rings before heading to the ceremony
-Have one of your bridesmaids deliver your gift to your fiancé while he gets ready.

Relax and have fun!!