The TravelBash Destination Wedding Planning Checklist


Congratulations! You’ve decided to embark on the journey of planning a destination wedding — but now where do you start? It goes without saying that planning a destination wedding (or any wedding, for that matter) takes time, organization and a bit of know-how. You need to know when to get things done, how to get things done, and the best way to take pressure off everything involved.

The big trick for how to plan a perfect destination wedding? Experience. After doing them for so long, you start to learn who to talk to, how long things take and where to go for the best deals! Obviously, you don’t have that kind of time to learn everything - you’re too busy! I’m here to help! I’ve put together a checklist that breaks things down by month all the way out to more than a year before the big day.

Use this to get an idea of when you need to start placing your attention on certain tasks. But, if you have any questions, or want to know more about how to get all this done - hit me up!

12+ months to go

  • Announce your engagement

  • Choose a destination

  • Decide on a budget

  • Select your venue

  • Draft a guest list

  • Order your save-the-dates

  • Send out save-the-dates

  • Make sure your passports are up to date

  • Select your bridal party

  • Book the honeymoon suite

  • Stay organized – start a binder to keep track of all your wedding business!

I know that sounds like a lot for just 12+ months out, but a destination wedding takes twice the planning that a regular wedding does. Guests need to know when the wedding is at least a year in advance so they can request time off of work and secure travel plans. Don’t let that overwhelm you, the more you get done earlier in the process the smoother the planning will be!

9-11 months to go

  • Start wedding dress shopping. Read our post on how to travel with your wedding dress here

  • Choose your menu and cake

  • Create a wedding website with all of the travel details

  • Research and book excursions. We recommend 1 per day!

  • Book a block of hotel rooms for your guests

  • Secure a DJ or band

  • Create a registry

6-8 months to go

  • Take engagement photos, if you haven’t already

  • Purchase your airline tickets – get those early bird deals!

  • Order your wedding invitations

  • Decide on your guests’ attire

  • Select a date for bachelor/bachelorette parties

  • Make contracts with vendors

3-5 months to go

  • Send out wedding invitations

  • Book any rentals you may need

  • Finalize honeymoon plans (if different from destination wedding location)

2-4 months to go

  • Plan the welcome party and rehearsal dinner

  • Order welcome bags or favors

  • Book a hairstylist and makeup artist

  • Write your destination wedding welcome letter. Read how to here

  • Create a seating chart and place cards

2-4 weeks to go

  • Double or triple check all reservations/bookings/vendors

  • Write your vows

  • Put together a packing list

1 week out

  • Check the weather of your destination

  • Make sure you have the correct outlet converters

  • Take a trip to the spa. Wedding planning is stressful, make sure you’re also taking care of yourself before the big day!

  • Prepare any payments

  • Travel to your destination

Upon Arrival

  • Get your wedding dress steamed

  • Check out the venue

  • Apply for a marriage license

  • Assemble welcome bags and distribute to guests’ rooms

  • Manicure and pedicure

  • Trial hair and makeup – make sure it’s exactly the look you’re going for!

Wedding day 

  • Take a deep breath

  • Enjoy your day!

I hope you find this checklist helpful in easing the stress of planning for the big day! Let me know if there’s anything I can add to this list to make it better for the next bride!

Check out my special discount code below. We know you will be sending out tons of SAVE-THE-DATES, invitations, thank-you's and wedding newsletters! Might as well get a discount!