Hello Fantastic Brides! Are you fantasizing of a destination wedding? I do not blame you ! A few things can maybe compare to the thrill of whisking off away to a tropical location to say “I do “ ! Destination weddings can be amazing, given our current pandemic, many have chosen to still have their destination weddings staying in the US, after all we have some incredible locations just hours away by car. Enjoy this guide to a Destination wedding checklist , and get on your way to checking things off !
I love being a destination wedding photographer ( who wouldn’t right?)
12-16 months to go
1- Work on budget- this includes most wedding related things, but also travel expenses
2- Decide on location- even within the US, will you have to fly, drive?
3- Secure your wedding venue and set your date- keep in mind hurricane season!
4- Take a trip to location to scout out the area- If you can’t travel make sure to read reviews
5- Reach out to your favorite photographer- many wedding photographers book a year to 18 months in advance. Ask if they have a destination wedding package that includes travel.
6- Draft up guest list – this will probably depend on your wedding budget.
9-11 Months to go
1- Recruit your bridal party if you have one
2- Book your engagement session-
3- Send out save the dates – especially for a destination wedding, takes more planning on your guests part
4- Say YES to the dress – Keep in mind your wedding location/ climate. Also DO NOT check your dress if your flying, so make sure your dress can fit on your lap.
5 –Decide on groom’s attire
6- If flying book your flight! Get those early bird deals.
6-8 months to go Destination wedding checklist
1- Work with your wedding venue and caterer to create your menu
2- Schedule your dress fitting and all bridal attire – including flower girl, ring bearer
3- Order your wedding invites- you will want to give guests plenty of time to RSVP with destination weddings.
4- Set days and times for Bridal shower/ Bachelor/Bachelorette parties
5- Continue booking vendors- definitely have your photographer and caterer by now
-DJ or band
– Hair and make up artist
– Cake maker
6- Review contracts and get everything in writing
3-5 months to go
1- Finalize the guest list and get the invitations sent! Yes a little early , but necessary. Make sure you keep record of RSVP’s and meal choices
2- Purchase wedding rings and accessories, such as shoes and veil.
3- Start thinking and scheduling any informal recreational activities – optional
4- Finalize honeymoon plans.
1- Finalize and confirm
Hotel and flight booking
Guests RSVPs and meal choices
Wedding vows and readings from officiant and any other readers
Menu, drinks, and catering details
Song list for ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception with DJ, band, or musicians
Timeline for reception and toasts
2- Order favors – if already assembled, if you must assemble order about 3 weeks earlier.
3- Buy bridal party/ parent gifts
3-5 weeks to go
1- Put together welcome bags for your guests (these usually include a map to local attractions, locally made treats, and a welcome note from you and your fiancé) Your hotel will be handing these out as guests check in. Destination wedding checklist
2- Send anything that you do not want to travel with to the venue (decorations and such)
3- Pick up your weddings rings, if they are engraved make sure you proofread them.
4- Final dress fitting
5- Track down anyone that has NOT RSVP’d yet.
6- Start putting together a packing list- you don’t want to forget anything!
1-2 weeks to go
1- Pick up dress
2- Pick up tuxes / suits – try them on!
3- Put together your own bridal emergency kit –Here are a few examples of what it should include. You can never be too prepared!
1- fashion tape
2- Band aids
4- Super glue
6- Flip flops for dancing
7- Eye lash glue if you are wearing false lashes
8- Bobby pins/hair ties
9- Oil blotting sheets
10- An extra snack in case you get hangry before the ceremony.
4- Check the weather report and make sure your venue has a contingency plan in place
5- Figure out tips and final payments for vendors
6- Get a facial
7- Pack for wedding and honeymoon
8- Finalize seating chart if you are having assigned seats.
4-5 days to go
1- Arrive at your wedding destination – its important to get there a few days before your guests.
2- Do a walk-through of your ceremony and reception sites
3- Meet with coordinator
4- Do make-up & hair trial
5- Have a tasting with your caterer and baker
The Day Before
1- Have your wedding dress steamed to remove any travel wrinkles
2- Rehearsal and dinner – Time to give out those gifts to your bridal party and parents .
3- Get some sleep! You will need it
The Day of
1- Allow plenty of time to get ready
2- Make sure to greet each guest and thank them for coming
3- Take a deep breath and enjoy every moment! Your day will go by so fast.
4- Happily ever after
Thanks for reading ! I hope this helps the Destination wedding checklist helps you get on your way to planning ! Do you want to see if we are a good fit for your wedding photography ? Contact me !