Planning a destination wedding is slightly different from planning a wedding closer to home. Not only because you’ll need to pack a selection of swimsuits and sandals, but because you’ll need to leave a bit more time for the planning process.
The good news is that in 2023, we are just about through the huge backlog of weddings that were postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid. The less good news is that destination weddings are more popular than ever and securing your first choice for date and venue may be trickier than ever before.
In this article we’ll share why you need to plan your destination wedding far enough in advance and the benefits of doing so. It’s worth it, we promise! And of course we’ll discuss more specifically exactly how far in advance you should book your destination wedding.
Our average destination wedding in 2023 is 43 rooms so we’ll start off by thinking about those smaller destination weddings, and by that we mean under 50 guests in attendance, or about 25 rooms.
For a wedding this size, we’d recommend booking around 12 months in advance as you may have a bit more flexibility with which venues are available and you don’t need as large of a room block.
For groups that are going to include over 50 guests you want to book 12-18 months in advance.
But what are the reasons for this?
There are plenty of reasons why it’s a great idea to secure your destination wedding as early as possible, here are just a few of them.
The earlier you’re able to book your destination wedding, the more likely it is that you will find the dates and times that you and your fiance want. Plus, you’ll be more likely to find the perfect venue for your own specific needs.
Prime weekend days are the first to get booked up early, so if you really want a Saturday wedding, you will need to be organized!
The longer that you wait to book, the more likely it is that you will need to be flexible and host your wedding on a Friday, Sunday, Monday or even mid-week. There is nothing wrong with hosting your wedding on one of these days, but some couples really do want to have their ceremony on a Saturday – plus, Saturday weddings tend to be easiest on your guests’ travel schedules as most resorts require at least a 3-night minimum stay.
It may seem obvious, but the best and most high quality resorts are the first ones to be snapped up by couples. You don’t want to be left with only lower quality resorts as options because you were holding out.
Generally speaking, the further you book your destination wedding, the better wedding pricing you will find.
Remember, our team will work closely with you to secure a contract from the resort. So even if (more like, when) the hotel increases their prices over the 18 months between the time you selected your resort and your wedding day, you will have a guaranteed rate for you and your guests no matter what. This offers huge peace of mind for you, especially for any stragglers in the group who wait until last minute.
You will also own the inventory of rooms, so there is no chance that you won’t be able to reserve the correct number of rooms you need, even if the hotel sells out.
This is a big one that most people don’t think about. Resorts will offer you better perks and benefits if you book your destination wedding before a certain date.
For example, we work with Dreams Resorts a lot, and they offer a gorgeous package called ‘Beyond Memorable’ which could save you a few thousand dollars, but it needs to be confirmed at least one year in advance.
It’s just a no-brainer to get in there early to save some money and get the best offers available to you and all of your guests!
This one is really important – booking your destination wedding in advance will mean that all of your guests have more time to prepare.
If you can confirm the resort and the dates early, you can send your “save the dates” and invitations so your guests will have more time to book their flights, take time off work, and prepare for the trip.
Imagine having 18 months to decide on what outfits to pack!
Also, your guests will be able to make payments for their trip on a monthly basis if they decide to. This is a huge bonus, because we all know that if you are able to spread payments out over a longer period of time, it makes life a little easier.
Sometimes we’ll receive calls from clients looking to book their wedding two years out and we advise against it. You’re probably reading this and it may seem counterintuitive to everything we already shared with you. But there are a few reasons why we recommend 12-18 months as the sweet spot. Here are the three big reasons:
We really hope that this article has given you some guidance around how far in advance you should book your destination wedding. Working through all the reasons has hopefully given you more insight and has you feeling excited about finding the right destination wedding resort early in the planning process.