You just turned in your first deposit and now it’s time to start planning—but where do you start? Have no fear, our handy destination wedding timeline is here!
1 + Year Before
Determine a budget for your wedding ceremony, reception, additional activities, favors, etc.
Contact a destination wedding specialist, or travel agent.
Fine-tune your wedding vision: the theme, colors, fine details and extras.
QUICKTIP: set up Pinterest boards to 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. Then, determine if you’re going to do a legal or symbolic ceremony.
Create your guest list. The more rooms you fill, the more money you save—so invite everyone who you would’ve invited for a local wedding.
11-12 Months Before
Set up a wedding room block with your travel agent.
Choose your wedding party.
Send out Save the Dates.
Create a wedding website with travel details and accommodations.
Review options for a DJ, cake, welcome events, band, photographer and videographer. If you want to use an offsite vendor, get permission from the wedding coordinator (if an option) and confirm any additional fees for using an outside vendor.
Have your passport books (must be valid 6 months from return date). Brides should use their maiden name since it will take 3 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 wedding events if desired (welcome cocktail party, rehearsal dinner/night before dinner, day after brunch).
Purchase airline tickets and inquire about carrying your wedding dress on the plane.
Set up a honeymoon registry, if you’d like.
Buy your wedding dress!
4-6 Months Before
Start planning additional group activities –golfing, tours, excursions.
Schedule your spa, hair and nail appointments.
Schedule a spa day with your bridesmaids and loved ones, if desired.
Review final contracts with your wedding planner.
Select décor, flowers and your cake.
For legal ceremonies, send completed paperwork to the coordinator if you have not done so already. These records must be received at least 60 days prior to your ceremony!
2-3 Months Before
Finalize your guest list and room requirements. Your travel agent will send you your final guest list after the final payment due date (which is noted on invoice).
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 wedding coordinator any requested readings, songs, traditions, etc.
Start selecting the menu(s).
1 Month Before
Confirm all décor, floral, cake and “extras” with coordinator.
Confirm menu for all wedding-related events: dinner the night prior, cocktail reception, wedding reception, etc.
Finalize reception chart and seat cards (if applicable) and send to the wedding coordinator.
Have program, menu, place cards, etc. printed, if applicable.
Confirm timeline of event(s) with wedding coordinator.
Confirm all special requests with wedding coordinator.
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 your 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 bride and groom will need to confirm their attendance at the wedding to make sure any additional fees have been paid.
Confirm that your wedding coordinator has all the information/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.
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 additions or amendments.
Do a walk-through of ceremony and reception at the designated locations.
Book salon appointments for the day of for bride and bridal party, if not 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 and prepared for your big day, if desired.
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, if desired (i.e. petit fours, champagne, flowers, etc.).
Get an early night sleep so you are well-rested for your big day!
Have a nice breakfast.
Go to hair appointment at salon –don’t forget your wedding veil and flowers!