Planning with Help
Planning a destination wedding at a resort follows a fairly standard regimen. For the purpose of this discussion, we'll assume that you're beginning your planning a year in advance. If you're thinking about a significantly sized wedding in a popular spot, you'll need at least that much time. If your wedding is going to be at a little-known place, or is going to be a small gathering, you may be able to pull things together on shorter notice. Follow this timeline for planning a destination wedding with help:
One year prior to the wedding (or as soon as possible). Choose a site and book it. You'll need to know how many guests you're going to invite and what kind of budget you'll be working with in order to do this. Also, start looking for a dress. Although destination weddings often call for less formal gowns, you still may have a hard time finding the perfect look, and once you do order a dress, it often takes several months to receive it. Eight months prior. Pick your attendants and start looking for bridesmaids' gowns. Six months prior. Make your honeymoon plans and start looking for the best travel deals before everything gets booked. Make sure passports are up-to-date, and start checking out the legal requirements for marriage in the area you're headed to. Send out save-the-date cards, and think about where you're going to register. Four months prior. Make sure the groom and ushers have chosen their attire. Start looking for your invitations. Pick out your wedding bands. Your registry should be complete by now. Three months prior. Make the plans for the rehearsal dinner. Most of the wedding should be finalized by now, or at least close to it: flowers, musicians, baker, transportation. Touch base with your wedding coordinator to tie up any loose ends. Two months prior. Send out invitations. Make appointments for hair and makeup for yourself and the bridesmaids on the day of the wedding. Pick out gifts for your attendants. Bridal showers are usually planned for this time period (bridesmaids are traditionally held responsible for planning and paying for these parties). One month prior. Make sure announcements to your local newspapers have been sent. Time to give everything the once-over: What has absolutely, positively been done, and what hasn't? There's no more time to play with, so get going on any last-minute tasks! Two weeks prior. Pick up your dress and ship it, if need be. Start packing. Make sure you have your marriage license, passport, and airline tickets. Speak to your wedding coordinator to confirm everything. You may need to give a final head count at this point, or you might be able to wait until one week prior to the wedding. One week prior. Leave this last week for emergency errands. Scheduling any planning for this week will only lead to an overwhelming feeling that you've forgotten something.
You've left quite a bit of planning to the wedding coordinator, but you'll note there's still plenty for you to do. Don't put off anything until the last minute — just do it!