How Long Does it Take To Plan a Destination Wedding?

Right after your engagement party – like, the next day – you start asking yourself what type of bride are you? What will you wear? Which wedding theme should you go for? And just like that, you find yourself spending most of your time looking for inspiration and creating your personal mood boards. This is when it ALL hits you: There are SO many things to consider and plan, and you don’t even know when and where to start. Fear not! This is what we’re here for: we’ll be answering all your destination wedding-related questions, starting with one of the biggest ones: How early should I start planning my destination wedding? And how long does it take to plan a destination wedding anyway?

In a nutshell, the more you want your wedding day to be perfect, the earlier you should start! You can plan a wedding in just 6 months, but that will require a lot of flexibility, an open mind, and you not have your heart set on specifics. Even more importantly, when it comes to a destination wedding and with only a 6 months heads up, the chances are your friends and family, even the closest ones, won’t be able to make it. You may also discover that your favorite wedding venues are no longer available for your targeted wedding date. We will go more into details below, so for now, let’s just summarize it with: the earlier, the better!

Venue: Villa Gamberaia | Florals: Jardin Divers | Planning: The Wedding Care | Photo: Kreativ Wedding

So how long does it take to plan a destination wedding exactly?

Let’s start by where & how do I start my wedding timeline?

In the first stages of destination wedding planning, it is important to know how long you need to plan the wedding of your dreams. So as a first step, let’s start with the things you need to decide on before you go ahead and start planning.
As per experts’ recommendations, before you start planning, you should answer these important questions:

1. In which country do you want to get married?
2. What is your maximum budget?
3. How many guests are you planning on inviting?
4. What is your favorite season to get married in?

These questions will give you direction on what to expect in terms of planning. Your destination’s wedding location will give you an idea of the logistics you need to plan and the timeline to send the invitations. Your budget will give you an idea of how many details you will need to think of and the number of choices you will have. The number of people will allow you to estimate the number of things you need to manage and on what scale (planning an elopement is certainly easier than planing an overseas extravaganza!). And last but not least, the season will give you an idea of the time you have left to plan: if we are in January and your favorite season to get married in is summer, you either have 6 months or 18 months (quite the difference!).

Photo courtesy of Planner: Dazzled

Now that you have an idea of what to expect, we can go into the to-do list and planning timeline

1- The step before has already helped you define your budget, location, and the size of your wedding

2- Now is the time to choose your wedding planner and book your wedding venue, which are the two decisions that might require the most time and research.
Start by narrowing down your location to a specific country or, even better, a specific region of a country. Instead of going further and scouting out venues at this point, we highly recommend you get in touch with a destination wedding planner specialized in your preferred area. A professional wedding planner, among many other things, will help you overcome any language barrier and will help you scout out the best wedding venue that matches your requirements without losing a lot of time on useless back and forth (if you are not sure why a wedding planner is helpful, here are 9 Reasons To Hire a Destination Wedding Planner). But if you’re considering a destination wedding in Italy, then you can use a wedding planning platform like WedBoard to explore your favorite venues, vendors and wedding planners across Italy. The best part? WedBoard even lets you price out your favorite wedding venues and matches you based on your specific style to a multitude of wedding vendors in your favorite Italian location. It’s as easy as it sounds!

3-Design & send your Save The Date cards: It is important to send your save the date communication as early as possible, especially since at this point of your wedding planning process, all your guests need to know are the date & location to start preparing things like days-off, budgets, and visas if needed.

Photo courtesy of venue: Borgo Scopeto Relais

4-Inquire about any legal requirements to be able to get married in the city of your choice, and start collecting and officializing the documents. These things can sometimes take time depending on the country or city you choose as well as the type of ceremony you want to have: symbolic, civil, or religious.

5-Now is the time you get to really enjoy picking your vendors, theme elements, your wedding dress, and all other pretty & fun things! This part can take as long as you want it to. Some brides know exactly what they want and decide quickly, while others like to shop around, take their time, discuss details and then make up their minds. So how long does this phase take? Well, it is all in your hands and decision-making skills (or lack of them)!

6- Organize your guests’ accommodation and entertainment (you will love having a wedding planner here!). As we said earlier, the more guests you have, the longer it will take you to plan details and logistics such as where they can say, transportation, guest entertainment activities, etc. Read more on this topic and which expenses you will need to cover here.

7- Pack, and off you go! Speaking of packing, let us save you some time with our guide on how to pack your wedding dress. Here you’ll find all the tips you need to make sure your wedding dress reaches your destination wedding location in perfect condition!

Photo: Pure wedding photography | Planner: Bianco Rosa Weddings

And now we can answer the million dollar question: how long does it really take to plan a destination wedding?

Again, to put it simply, the more time you plan ahead, the better it is for you and everyone, from your guests to your wedding vendors. You can plan a perfect destination wedding from anywhere between 6 to 18 months; however, while there is no right or wrong answer, industry experts agree that it takes 1 year on average to plan a destination wedding.
Noting that when we say 1 year, it doesn’t mean that you have to pick the types of flowers you want for your centerpieces that early ahead! It simply means that you need to start thinking of your wedding theme, book your venue, wedding planner, and any other vendor you are not flexible on. If you have a specific vendor in mind, for example, it is always better to go ahead and book them as early as a year in advance to avoid making concessions and going for someone else.

Planner: C&G Wedding and Event Designer | Photo: Federica Cavicchi | Venue: La Pescaia Resort

Want to know more or need more help? Browse the tried-and-tested and best destination wedding tips right here on our blog.
And since we are talking about how long it takes to plan a wedding, if you are thinking of planning a destination wedding in Italy, then you’ve landed in the right place to save yourself (much-needed) time, effort, and money! A platform like WedBoard will help you build the Italian wedding of your dreams with a wide choice of wedding venue options, experienced wedding planners in Italy, and a curated list of the best wedding providers available in the Italian region of your choice. You can even chat commitment-free with your favorite Italian wedding vendors and book them online. Happy wedding planning!

Wedboard's Logo linked to the website's homepage

Feature Image credits: Photo & Video: Kreativ Wedding | Bride’s Dress: Inbal Dror from Helen Rodrigues | Florals:  FloraGarden | Wedding Venue, Cake, Catering, Planning & Hair:  Villa San Giacomo via The Lane

1 like
Prev post: 17 Gorgeous Beach Wedding Ideas For Your Special DayNext post: Wedding Alcohol Calculator: How Much Alcohol Do You Need for Your Wedding?

Related posts

Find Your Dream Wedding Venue in Italy

Find Your Dream Wedding Venue in Italy

Compare locations, explore vendors, and find your perfect match!