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The Wednesday Blog

Destination Wedding Checklist

So you’ve finally decided to tie the knot. Where else but your dream destination? Whether it be the Bahamas, Lake Como, Santorini, or a quaint villa in France, you will surely need a list to ensure you won’t forget anything that can ruin your big day. So without further ado, here are your destination wedding checklist:

First look image. Destination wedding checklist image by Jenny Fu Studio

Inquire About the Wedding Requirements

Unless you already had your civil ceremony back home and won’t need your destination wedding legalized, you have to prioritize completing your wedding requirements. Do your research ahead of time to avoid delays and inconveniences in terms of paperwork. Countries have different requirements for your wedding to be legal. You might be surprised that some countries will require you (or at least one of you) to live there for two years before they legalize your wedding. Some even require you to have your birth certificate and other documents translated into their language. These are just some of the prerequisites you need to comply with to have a legally-binding marriage in your dream destination.

The couple together with the wedding party. Destination wedding checklist image by Jenny Fu Studio

Apply for Passports/Travel Visas

If you don’t have a passport yet, you better apply early. Plus, if your destination country requires a travel visa, it’s best to apply ahead of time. Some countries require that your visa be valid for a minimum of six months before the ceremony. This is definitely one of the firsts in your destination wedding checklist.

The couple is smiling in their wedding ceremony. Destination wedding checklist image by Jenny Fu Studio

Work Out Your Budget

This is one of the most important elements of planning a wedding because everything revolves around the budget. And since you have a wedding that involves traveling, setting your budget might be a bit complex because of additional expenses. But the most important thing is to set a budget and stick to it. Start by finalizing your maximum budget and then dividing it into different categories, from the most to the least priority. Don’t forget to take into account travel and accommodation, daily transportation (to and fro the wedding venue and lodging), costs of paperwork, and unexpected expenses such as additional baggage.

The wedding guests are mingling during cocktail hour. Destination wedding checklist image by Jenny Fu Studio

Determine Your Guestlist & Wedding Party

The biggest factor in determining your guestlist is your budget (or vice versa). Since you’ve decided on a destination wedding, you can assume that not everybody will have the time or means (or both!) to attend your big day. But when listing down guests, start with the nearest and dearest to your hearts. Also, you may consider having an intimate destination wedding and throwing a bigger party back home afterward. Don’t forget to list down your wedding party as well. Ensure they have passports and travel visas too.

Colorful flowers in a wedding reception. Image by Jenny Fu Studio

Set Your Date and Book Your Wedding Venue

Decide on your date and start booking your wedding venue. It’s best if you can visit the destination before booking, but if you can’t, make sure that the venue only has positive reviews. This is a must-have in your destination wedding checklist.

Black and white photo of the couple kissing in their first dance. Image by Jenny Fu Studio

Send Out Save the Dates

It’s crucial in a destination wedding to send out save the dates far in advance to give your guests time to save up, prep, and book travel and accommodation early.

Sunset image with blue and orange hues behind trees. Image by Jenny Fu Studio

Plan Your Travel Arrangements

It’s best to book flights and accommodation early as you can avail of early bird rates. Also, you could coordinate with your local travel agent so they can look for the best rates for you and your guests.

Editorial image of the newly-weds dancing in the middle of the road. Image by Jenny Fu Studio

Book Your Vendors

Regarding vendors, decide if you want to bring some from your hometown (like your trusted photographer or stylist) or avail of all the vendor’s services on site.

Editorial photo of the newly-weds entering the reception area. Image by Jenny Fu Studio

Plan Your Rehearsal Dinner, Wedding Day and Reception

It’s a widely-accepted destination wedding etiquette to invite everyone to a rehearsal dinner prior to the wedding day. Most couples host their rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception in one venue. Hiring a wedding planner on-site will be way more convenient to lessen the hassle of communicating with every vendor, considering the language barrier and distance.

The newly-weds are happily dancing as the band is playing in the background. Image by Jenny Fu Studio

Pack Your Stuff

Make a list of items you will need to bring with you. Update your list as you go through the wedding planning process. Don’t forget to always double-check and even triple-check items once you begin to pack. It’s wise to ship large items and other items that can be shipped in advance to free up space in your baggage allowance.