Easy Destination Wedding Planning Checklist and Timeline

Weddings are such a special day in your life and a lot goes into the planning and details. To help everything go smoothly, I put together this “Destination Wedding Checklist” to do just that.

I love planning romance travel! This includes destination weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries, and vow renewals. It is such a special opportunity to be involved in helping a couple find the perfect location and setting to create lasting memories! If you are considering a destination wedding, please reach out to me, Kassie Casey, at 217-223-8747 ext 102 or email me at kassie@1destinationtravel.com!

6 –12 months before

The Planning Begins

• Contact travel agent to choose a wedding date
• Indicate if you would like a Symbolic or Legal ceremony (note: selecting a legal ceremony date may take longer as the coordinator will need to work with the judge’s schedule)
• Explore your wedding vision: ceremony/reception location, time of the day, estimated number of guests
• Select your wedding package
• Send deposit to coordinator to reserve your selected date
• Once deposit is received and processed, a formal confirmation of the email is sent (approximately one week after receipt of deposit)
• Coordinator will email forms, pictures and options
• Sign-up for your Honeymoon Registry
• Determine an estimated budget guideline
• Begin clarifying your wedding vision: theme, colors, little extras
• Work with travel agent to make guest reservations and secure a room block
• Be sure you have your passport and all documents needed; if you are planning a legal wedding, the coordinator will be sure you know what the legal forms needed are
• Secure DJ, band, photographers and videographer (be sure to speak to your wedding coordinator when booking outside vendors)

4 – 6 months before

Shaping Your Trip

• Determine additional wedding events (welcome cocktail party, rehearsal dinner, day-after brunch)
• Start planning outside resort activities like golf, tours, etc. if desired

2–3 months before

Getting the Details Right

• Finalize guest list and room requirements
• Confirm ceremony and reception locations (in case you want to make any changes)
• Select décor option, choose flowers, pick the cake
• Book ceremony musicians with coordinator (mariachis, violinist, etc.)
• Share with the coordinator any special readings or songs requested for the ceremony
• Finalize reception chart, seat cards (if applicable) and send to Wedding Coordinator
• Start working on menus
• For legal ceremonies, send completed paperwork to coordinator (MUST be received at least 2 months prior)

• Confirm all décor, floral, cake and “little extras” with coordinator
• Confirm menus for all events (cocktail hour, reception, rehearsal dinner, etc.)
• Book hair and make-up appointments at the spa for bride and bridal party
• Have programs, menus, place cards, etc. printed
• Confirm timeline of event (i.e.: seated for meal, first dance, father daughter dance, cake cutting, etc.)
• Confirm that all special requests have been noted and planned for

• Review your wedding contract and make final amendments
• Send guest list of those not staying at the resort to the wedding coordinator
• Be sure the wedding coordinator has your travel schedule and your final guest list, seating charts and events

Up to 1 week before

Get Excited

• Arrive at the resort (based on the type of ceremony you will have)
• On-site meeting with coordinator to go over all event details and make any last minute changes or additions
• Have a trial hair and make-up run through at the salon if desired
• Set-up a spa day with bridesmaids, mother and other loved ones
• Arrange for welcome bag room drop if desired
• Arrange a private dinner on the beach — just the two of you!
• Leave your wedding dress & groom’s attire with your coordinator to have steamed and prepared for the big day

1 day before

Start Celebrating

• Have a welcome cocktail party, rehearsal dinner or welcome dinner if desired
• Arrange for special room drops (champagne, flowers, petit fours) to be sent to parents or wedding party
• Bride & Groom: Get an early night sleep. Tomorrow is the Big Day!

Day of


• Have a nice breakfast
• Go to your hair appointment (remember to bring your veil & flowers)
• Your coordinator will check in with your throughout the day as she organizes everything.
• Today is YOUR day and she will be with you every step of the way.
• Relax, smile, and make the most of this memorable day Special turn-down service night of the wedding

? Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography via Unsplash

I have been a Travel Specialist since 2012 and have found that my favorite aspect of travel is romance travel, i.e. destination weddings, honeymoons, and anniversary trips.