As a destination wedding expert travel agent, one of the biggest questions I hear from engaged couples is “how early should I start planning my destination wedding?” and that’s a great question!!

The short answer is: as early as possible to open up more possibilities for yourselves and your guests! But let’s get into the details, and some factors to take into consideration when starting to plan your destination wedding.

Wondering when to start planning a destination wedding? I'll break it down for you

Wedding Date Availability

One of the main factors that will determine where you host your destination wedding will be the wedding date availability of the all-inclusive resorts you’re considering. If you’ve got a very specific date in mind, you’ll want to get started planning pretty early, so you’ve got a better chance of getting exactly what you want, and not just what’s left over. 

Some common examples of specific dates that couples want to have for their wedding:

  • Their anniversary date
  • Someone’s birthday or another date that’s important to your family
  • A special number – your favorite or lucky number’s month or day 
  • A special date / number combo – something like 2/22/22.. That was an INCREDIBLY popular wedding date in 2022!
  • Certain dates that you or your kids have off of work or school
  • A specific day of the week – if you want a Saturday wedding (especially if you’re choosy about which month it’s in), you’d better move fast!

Essentially, the more precious you are about the exact day or date of your wedding, the earlier you’re going to want to get started!

All-Inclusive Resort Pricing and Availability

Along similar lines, many of those special dates, along with holidays, spring break, summer break, etc. – are all incredibly busy times for all-inclusive resorts, too! 

So in addition to needing the resort to have wedding venue availability on your date.. They’re going to need to have enough rooms for you and your guests to stay! 

If you’re thinking about getting anywhere near one of those major holidays or spring or summer break – start planning now!

Notifying Your Guests

Hopefully, your future wedding guests already know that you’re considering a destination wedding, but if not, the sooner you can notify them, the better. Remember, you don’t necessarily have to have all the details or an exact date to be helpful. Even if you just give a general time (fall of 2024), this is still going to be super appreciated by your future invitees!

They’ll be able to start working on passports if they need to get or renew theirs; they can start budgeting for this trip- because it is definitely an expense they’ll need to consider, and they can also start ‘budgeting’ their PTO. 

For the purposes of notifying your guests, it’s almost never too soon!!

Consider The Money

Along those same lines of consideration for your guests, I invite you to consider the financial aspect of being a destination wedding guest.

These folks love you, want to support you, and can’t wait to be there for you on your big day!! But it’s not their wedding… it’s more of a vacation at a pre-determined time where they also get to attend your wedding! 

And it’s an investment for them. 

Most people don’t just have a couple thousand dollars just sitting around and burning a hole in their pocket.. (don’t we all wish!) Most people need to take time to plan and budget for a trip like this. And even once they actually book their trip, most travel agents like me offer all wedding guests a totally free payment plan that allows them to pay over time.

But in order for that destination wedding guest payment plan to be helpful or effective, they’re going to actually need time in between payments.. So again, the sooner you start planning your destination wedding, the better!

Average Time To Plan a Destination Wedding

Yes, these are all important factors to consider when deciding when to start planning your destination wedding, but you’re probably wondering what the average timeline looks like.. No problem!

Before I share that information, I want to say that I’ve planned destination weddings faster than this timeline, and I’ve planned weddings over longer periods of time, too. In the end, it’s up to you.

As long as there’s actual availability for what you want and need, we can make anything happen! This is just the average.

The average timeline for planning a destination wedding is 12-18 months.

This gives us plenty of time to nail down the perfect all-inclusive resort, follow the steps of the process, get a room block contract, allow guests to book rooms, pay over time, and be paid in full by the time those resort deadlines come around… without feeling frantic and stressed.  

As I said, the sooner, the better is a good rule of thumb, but beyond 18-24 months, there’s not too much that can be officially planned and booked, so don’t go too crazy about getting started insanely early. 😉I’ll be here when it’s time!

Whenever you’re ready to start planning your dream destination wedding, just click here to schedule a complimentary consultation call to get started!

Learn More or Book a Complimentary Discovery Call Today!

My free destination wedding guide: Where to Host Your Destination Wedding breaks down my top 5 locations for a destination wedding.

It includes the best things to do, who the destination is good (or not so good) for, and legal wedding requirements of each country.

Grab your free copy today!

Ready to skip to the good part and start planning your dream destination wedding?

Book a totally free consultation call today!

In our call, we’ll get to know each other, I’ll share more about my services and find out all your wedding plans and dreams, and you can ask all the burning questions you’ve been saving up!

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