the-ultimate-guide-to-planning-your-destination-elopementWe are now 9 months away from our elopement date and I have to say, I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed with all the thousands of details swimming around in my head. When I first think of an elopement the words that come to mind are: spur-of-the-moment, spontaneous and unplanned. So what happens when you want to elope but you want that “planned event” feel to it? Well for me the answer was to get organized and create a checklist. Now I have a time frame and plan to keep myself on top of all the details.

Here is a breakdown of the months to come along with my personal checklist (modified slightly to generalize the needs of every bride and groom).

Disclaimer: Please be aware that every destination has specific travel and marriage requirements and restrictions. I am not a travel expert so due diligence needs to be done on your own part to ensure you have all the correct licenses, documents, and visas


 12+ Months

This is the time to go crazy with inspiration boards and research! The more research the better.The best part of eloping is that you can just focus on the two of you and plan something that is intimate and extremely personal – so go crazy with the dreams at this point and make sure to communicate your visions!

If you’re choosing to do a resort wedding, most locations will have generous wedding packages to make the process easier. As we’re heading to the sunny beaches of Cuba, this is the way we’re going. I have found it to be a very straight-forward process so far, and have had the help of the resort’s wedding coordinator to help with all arrangements. If you are not going this route, I strongly suggest getting a Destination Wedding Planner to help make it a stress-free process.

  • Choose a date (or range)
  • Decide on a budget
  • Research locations + elopement packages to go along with the locations
  • Create an inspiration board for all your ideas
  • Research the different requirements and restrictions for locations (this is extremely important to stay on top of).
  • Check the validity of your travel documents
  • Hire a Destination Wedding Planner (optional)

11- 8 Months

By now you’ll have all these exciting plans and an overload of ideas you’ve put together from all the research you’ve done. While there is still a lot of decision-making to be done, it’ll be more targeted instead of general. Clear the haze and get the details finalized!

  • Decide on a location 
  • Decide on a date
  • Check to see if the venue availability aligns with your preferred date. If so, book it and pay the deposit.
  • Book your accommodation
  • Book-off work
  • Research travel arrangement options
  • Decide on your honeymoon, and book it as well
  • Hire an officiant/representative
  • Buy a wedding dress
  • Order bouquet and boutonniere (if not included as a wedding package)

7 – 5 Months

The last few months have been busy! Now you get to take a small breather and handle any situations that may arise.

  • Buy the groom’s attire and have any necessary alterations done
  • Some places require you to get blood tests and vaccinations, check to see how far in advance you can have this done
  • Acquire passports
  • Purchase bridal accessories 
  • Create a wedding registry (this is optional and depending on your circumstances. If you’re letting people know about your planned elopement, they may want a registry to easily buy gifts)


4- 2 Months

It’s getting closer to the big day. Make use of this time by finalizing the finishing details, making final payments, and touching-base with vendors. If you’re having a resort wedding, expect the wedding coordinator to make contact with you at this time to go over details.

  • Buy wedding bands
  • Take engagement photos (if not yet done)
  • Finalize wedding package details with resort (if applicable)
  • Make any final payments due
  • Confirm final details with vendors
  • Buy bridal makeup supplies/ book a makeup artist 
  • Shop for resort or honeymoon clothing
  • Book spa treatments and a hairstylist for the day (some resorts allow you to book in advance, so take advantage of this)
  • Buy a wedding gift for your fiancé(e)

1 Month

You should have all the hard work out of the way by now. Just enjoy getting ready for the wedding! If you’ve been feeling stressed out for the last few months, schedule some date nights out with your significant other to just relax and de-stress.

  • Get your final dress fitting done. Do this at the beginning of the month to allow for any alteration time)
  • Write your wedding vows
  • Do a final check of all the necessary marriage and travel documents needed
  • Get a haircut and/or colour

2 – 1 Weeks

Don’t freak out. If you stuck with the checklist, everything should be on track.

  • Confirm travel and accommodation bookings
  • Re-confirm details with all vendors (because you can never be too prepared)
  • Start packing

Upon Arrival

You’re at your destination. Now what? Depending on where you’re traveling and what ceremony you decided to have, there will be different required tasks. Make sure you know exactly what is required from you and how many days prior to the ceremony you need to arrive. If you’re opting for a resort wedding, you’ll be able to meet with the resort’s planner and go over the details.

  • Meet and go through details with your wedding planner, officiant, and vendors
  • Apply for a marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Get any on-site blood tests done (if required)
  • Do a walk-through/rehearsal at the ceremony site
  • Have your wedding attire steamed/pressed

On the Day

Finally, all your hard work and preparation has paid off, now you can relax and enjoy every minute of your special day. Just remember, things can always go wrong, even with a ton of planning and forethought. Take it all in your stride and deal with each situation as it comes. Try to stay calm and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Most importantly have an amazing adventure with your loved one.

If you want to hang on to this information don’t forget to PIN IT!

Stay Foxxy,




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