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The Ultimate Destination Wedding Checklist

We all know the saying, “home is where your heart is.” But if you’re a newly engaged couple with a wanderlust streak, you may dream about saying your “I do’s” in a romantic and historic...

We all know the saying, “home is where your heart is.” But if you’re a newly engaged couple with a wanderlust streak, you may dream about saying your “I do’s” in a romantic and historic place far across the ocean or on a fabulous beach in paradise. Wherever your love takes you, we’ve got the ultimate destination wedding checklist to kickstart your planning!

Specifics of Planning for Your Wedding Destination

Planning a destination wedding can be overwhelming, but fear not! With the power of the internet and some handy tips, you can simplify the process. Set up a free Gmail address for your wedding to keep all your wedding details organized in one place.

Hit the Beach First

When it comes to choosing a wedding destination, there are countless options. Start by exploring the official tourism websites of the countries you're interested in. For example, Go Hawaii provides information on wedding planning for each island, while Aruba.com offers extensive destination wedding planning info and even a Postponable Destination Booking Policy.

If you need more inspiration, Wedding Goals provides a breakdown of 25 different locations for a destination wedding. Remember to consider legal requirements and general information for your chosen destination.

Where To Start Looking if You’re Not Sure

If you're not sure where to start, a simple Google search can do wonders. Look up "Best Caribbean Wedding Resorts" to find a list of highly recommended resorts. Tripadvisor is a great resource for current rankings and reviews.

Here’s a TikTok challenge we love: searching for destination weddings on TikTok. Social media is a goldmine for tips and tricks from brides who have been where you want to go.

Whether you're doing the research yourself or hiring a wedding planner, make sure to consider the accessibility of the destination and the best time of year to avoid potential hassles.

Consider Beaches Closer to Home

With international travel restrictions becoming more common, it's worth exploring beach wedding destinations closer to home. Did you know that there are 90,000 beaches in the US? You'll be pleasantly surprised by the stunning options available. Check out our Ultimate Beach Wedding Checklist for more information.

Other Dream Destinations You May Not Have Considered

Sometimes, the most unique wedding venues are within a day's drive from where you live. Airbnb offers outstanding options worldwide, from Europe to Indonesia and the Caribbean. You can even find budget-friendly Airbnbs in the US where you can get hitched. Wedding Pioneer offers cost-saving tips for domestic venues, including catering your own wedding.

Getting Married on the Water

If you've ever dreamed of getting married on the sea, cruise ship weddings are a fantastic option. Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises offer cost-saving options, including Group Celebration Programs and event managers who plan your wedding from start to finish.

Go Where the Love Lives

Romantic and historic France is one of the most economical countries in the Western world to hold your wedding. However, getting legally married in France comes with specific requirements. Consider holding your civil ceremony stateside and having your wedding bash in France. Look for the best places in the country to hold your wedding and be specific about your location.

Remember to check travel advisories to ensure the safety of your chosen destination.

Getting Married or Eloping (And Who Pays for What)

It's essential to understand the difference between a wedding and eloping when planning a destination wedding. Eloping can now mean a destination wedding with a small group of family and friends in attendance. Our article on Eloping vs. Wedding provides an ultimate guide on the subject.

Now, let's answer the question: Who pays for the guests at a destination wedding? The wedding couple (and their parents, if they're helping) cover what any family usually covers at a wedding, such as photography, music, food, and drink at the reception. Guests are expected to pay for their own travel, accommodation, food, and beverages outside of the wedding events.

Gift Giving at a Destination Wedding

While a sky-high pile of wedding presents on a beach in paradise is a beautiful fantasy, it's not practical. In today's world, Amazon offers one of the best wedding registries for couples and their guests. Have your wedding gifts delivered to your home and set delivery dates for after you return from your destination wedding and honeymoon.

If you prefer cash gifts, there are polite ways to hint to your guests. Check out our Best Ways to Ask for Money for some inspiration.

Destination Wedding Stationery Checklist

Destination weddings require more notice and additional information for guests. Ensure you give your guests ample time to book travel by sending out save the dates in advance. Say Yes to Save the Dates explains why they are so important. If you're looking for travel-themed wedding invitations, we've got you covered with 42 terrific options! Don't forget to include a detailed wedding program that covers all the essential information.

Destination Wedding Fashion

Fashion plays a significant role when planning a destination wedding. Comfort and practicality are key, especially when it comes to attire that travels well. Check out our curated lists of beach wedding dresses, two-piece wedding dresses, bridesmaid dress suggestions, and beach wedding guest dresses. If you're planning a Hawaiian wedding, our Ultimate Style Guide will help you find the perfect outfit.

And let's not forget about the groom! Our Beach Wedding Attire for Men guide has everything you need to know for a picture-perfect destination wedding.

With this ultimate destination wedding checklist, your dream wedding is within reach. So start planning, and let your love take flight!