Since the pandemic, so much has changed. And unsurprisingly, that includes planning a destination wedding! The travel industry is experiencing a surge like never before. After years of staying put and watching the cost of a domestic wedding skyrocket, couples are heading to Mexico and the Caribbean to get hitched. As a travel specialist, I love seeing this! However, following a destination wedding planning timeline has become crucial to ensure a smooth and successful booking experience.
Weddings have rolled in like a tidal wave over the past year, and the chances of booking a 2023 wedding at an all-inclusive resort now are slim to none. Newly engaged couples should set their sights on 2024 and beyond—and start the ball rolling ASAP! Here are five timeline tips to be aware of so you go into the process prepared for a successful destination wedding.
Tips for Following a Destination Wedding Planning Timeline
Head into the planning process with a handful of wedding dates in mind. Weekend dates will fill up first, so book a Sunday through Wednesday wedding date if you can swing it. Most wedding guests stay three or four nights, but I’m finding more guests want to make it a vacation and stay five or even seven nights! On vacation, every day is like the weekend anyway—so don’t get too caught up with booking a weekend date! Chances are that it won’t matter to you or your guests anyway when the big day arrives.
Book in Advance
Like, WAY in advance. I’m talking 15 months out or more! Doing this will give you and your guests enough time to budget and plan. Most guests will make your wedding their big vacation for the year, so giving them plenty of advance notice will be appreciated. Plus, everyone’s flights will become available 11 months before departure. Look at it this way: doing more now means doing less (with less stress) down the line!
Due to the influx of destination weddings, the events teams at resorts are taking much longer to respond to travel specialists and couples with wedding date availability. Before the pandemic, I could usually book a wedding in two weeks. Currently, booking a date and signing a room contract can take up to a month!
Still, there’s no reason to worry if you’re working with a travel specialist. A handful of resorts are responding quickly (the same day!), making everyone’s life easier. I’m proposing these to my couples first—especially if I know they want that extra attention they deserve!
Check Room Availability
Ensuring that a resort’s room availability matches (or ideally exceeds) your guest count is crucial before booking your wedding date. For example, if you’re expecting 60 guests, you should check that at least 30 rooms are available.
I can’t stress this enough, since it’s integral to booking a room contract! Doing this will ensure guaranteed availability and fair pricing for your wedding guests, especially now that resorts are selling out constantly. Believe me: the resorts that host most of my weddings end up sold out as the wedding date gets closer. If guests want to add a night or two, they usually can’t because vacationers have booked every room before and after their stay.
Take a Breather—You’ve Earned It!
Most couples are surprised to discover that after booking, wedding planning doesn’t happen until approximately three months before their wedding date. However, this timeline is standard at most resorts! Don’t worry: you’ll receive all the information you need to start planning. In the meantime, just relax and look forward to saying “I do” in a tropical paradise!
You can also request a quote for the wedding in advance. Since planning won’t occur until three months before the wedding date, I highly advise requesting a quote so you can budget accordingly. Wedding packages almost always come out to more than the resort originally stated since most don’t include photo or video services. Be mindful of those extra expenses, and don’t go into them blind!
All of this may seem like a lot! But with a travel specialist like myself, your destination wedding planning timeline will be easy to navigate. Not to mention that you’ll receive expert, insider advice every step of the way!
Are you considering booking an all-inclusive resort for your wedding abroad? Let’s chat!