The Ultimate Destination Wedding Checklist: A Step-by-Step Guide

Destination weddings are dreams turned into reality. With stunning locations as the venue, set against a backdrop of charming landscapes, these weddings are nothing less than a fairy tale.

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While the idea of exchanging vows in a gorgeous locale is thrilling, it also comes with some logistical challenges. To ensure your special day is as flawless as your setting, careful planning is required.

Here is a destination wedding checklist tailored to guide you through each step, from the early planning stages to the final moments of your big day.

1-1.5 Year Before:

  1. Visualise Your Wedding:

   – Decide on the type of destination wedding you want: whether you want a beach, mountain, a historic site, etc.

   – Do keep in mind the season and climate of potential locations.

  1. Set a Budget:

   – Plan how much you are willing to spend, which must include the travel costs, accommodation, and local vendor prices.

  1. Choose Your Location:

   – Research destinations, considering accessibility for guests, legal requirements for marriage and local attractions. It is best to visit the location if possible or hire a trusted wedding planner who specialises in the area.

  1. Make the Guest List:

   – Make the guest list, keeping in mind that a destination wedding is typically smaller.

  1. Finalise the Wedding Date and Venue:

   – Book the venue and make sure there are enough accommodations for all the guests. Whether you have finalised a wedding resort in Jaipur or a beach resort in Goa, it should be equipped with all the amenities to ensure that the guests have a great time.

  1. Send Save-the-Dates Cards:

   – Give guests enough time to arrange travel and accommodation.

9-12 Months Before:

  1. Hire Vendors:

   – Start booking vendors such as photographers, caterers and entertainment, who are local or willing to travel.

  1. Plan the Logistics:

   – You must look for group travel discounts and room blocks for guests

6-9 Months Before:

  1. Start with shopping:

   – Shop for wedding dresses that suit the destination’s weather.

   – Schedule fittings and alterations.

  1. Send Invitations Cards to the Guests:

   – This must include detailed information about the destination, travel arrangements and a schedule of the wedding events as well.

4-6 Months Before:

  1. Arrange Transportation:

   – Book flights and local transportation for you and for close family or bridal party members.

  1. Finalise Details:

   – The menu, décor of the venue, seating arrangements and ceremony details must be finalised.

1 Month Before:

  1. Confirm Everything:

   – Reach out to guests who haven’t RSVP’d.

   – Re-confirm bookings and details with all vendors and venues.

   – Create a wedding day timeline and share it with your vendors and bridal party.

  1. Prepare Documentation:

   – If you are planning a destination wedding outside the country, ensure all legal documents are in place, including passports and visas.

The Week of the Wedding:

  1. Arrive Early:

   – It is advised to arrive at least a few days before your wedding to handle any last-minute details and adjust to the time zone.

  1. Have a Backup Plan:

   – Prepare for unexpected weather or other issues with an alternative plan.

The Big Day:

   – Follow the timeline of the wedding events, but don’t sweat the small stuff.

   – Soak in every moment of your special day.


  1. Send Thank You Notes:

   – Express your gratitude to all the guests and vendors.

A destination wedding requires good planning to ensure it is as magical as you have dreamed about it. By following the above checklist, your special day will not just meet but exceed your expectations. Happy wedding planning!

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