How Far In Advance Should You Plan/Book Your Destination Wedding


We would love nothing more than to help you find your DREAM destination venue, and then help you (and your guests!) get there. Ready to get started?

You can stop looking... You've found your travel agents!

How Far In Advance Should You Plan/Book Your Destination Wedding

July 23, 2023

We get this question A LOT. How much notice should we give our guests? Is a year enough notice? Is 6 months enough? Should I give my guests two years to save?

For “all the things” destination wedding, we created this guide for you

This post was originally published in 2019 but has been updated in 2023.

How far in advance should you book your destination wedding?

We always tell our couples that although we can make recommendations based on our experience, ultimately you know your guests best and so what we recommend here might be different than what you require for your situation. We have booked elopements with less than a month notice and weddings two and a half years in advance.

We have talked before about How to Make it Easy for your guests to RSVP Yes – and we once wrote “the more notice the better”. But (as we have learned MANY times over the past few years), things change often in this crazy industry. So we are here to update you on the “best” time to book for your destination wedding.

Destination wedding ceremony - greenery

Book 10-14 months in Advance

That’s right. You want a number and there it is. It is honestly hard for us to commit but let us break down the pros and cons of less time or more time below so you can see where we are coming from and then you can decide for yourself what it best. We have weddings booked WELL into 2021 already (in fact, we did just get an inquiry for 2022 the other day!!), so really, although we are giving you our advice here, if you have ANY questions you should reach out via our contact form and we are happy to help you navigate your specific situation!

We also want to remind you that we are Canadians booking for Canadians. The American travel market is very different so not everything here may be applicable.

Giving LOTS of Notice

Pros for booking MORE than 14 months in advance

Let’s start with the pros. You are definitely giving your guests enough notice! Even guests who work in industries where days off are strict generally have enough time to get it booked off. With more time, comes more time to save money to attend! After all, attending a destination wedding is not always cheap and those who love to budget will appreciate the extra time. We always offer the option to do payment plans just for this reason!

More date and location availability! If you are booking more than 14 months in advance, you are going to have first choice of resort, wedding date and wedding location (if the resort has more than one) most of the time. You would be surprised how far in advance some of the more popular resorts book up! If you have a “vanity date” in mind (Feb 20, 2020 was a big one this year!!), you are going to want to book farther in advance.

Cons for booking MORE than 14 months in advance

Now for the cons that you probably haven’t considered! It is HARD for guests to commit farther in advance. Are they going to be working at the same job? Are they planning on having a baby? Moving to another city? It can be hard to commit and after they miss the deposit deadline because they “still need to wait on a few things”, there is no sense of urgency so if enough people procrastinate, you really won’t have an accurate guest count for A LONG TIME.

There are also less options and the pricing can be higher when you book too far in advance. Not always, and your travel agent should be able to advise you if the pricing is coming back high or low. Do you want to pay more to have more time for guests to save? How far in advance does your favourite airline book group reservations?

The last thing we want to mention is, in our experience, just because you give your guests more time to save doesn’t mean they will. We offer payment plans to guests and about half of the guests that reach out let us know they plan to take advantage of it (which we have to imagine if half say it, more plan to that never say it!) and less than 10% actually do. Whether or not you give 12 months of 24 months, for the most part people can either afford to attend or they can’t. Again, we are talking MAJORITY here, you know your guests best. We have met some master budgeters in our time.


Boho wedding set up

Not Enough Notice?

Pros for booking LESS than 10 months in advance

You really don’t need more time to plan. Destination wedding planning can make even the most calm brides a bit crazy. We often book so far in advance and the resort doesn’t start getting back to you consistently until 3 months prior. There is a lot of down time and you start to wonder if you are missing something.

Pricing can be really good. NOT ALWAYS. This is not a guarantee. But if some resorts have a slow month or something we can often negotiate extra perk and incentives to get your wedding business that are just not available when you book far in advance. If you are flexible with when and where, this can be a really great perk though!

Cons for booking LESS than 10 months in advance

10 months really isn’t a lot of time to save and book time off for your guests. Do they have flexible schedules? They don’t even have time to collect more holiday days if there’s are all planned out. Even if they want to book doesn’t mean that they will be able to make it work with finances and work schedules. Pricing also starts to change constantly and it is hard to steer guests away from waiting for a “last minute deal” which is ALWAYS a bad idea. Resorts do sell out!!! We see this ALL the time and it breaks our heart.

Shockingly, it may be hard to get the date you want or the location of your choosing after you decide on a resort! Just a month ago, we had a couple who had a certain week they want to vacation and the resort they chose had NO evening ceremony time so they had to choose an earlier time instead. The rooftop venue they wanted for their reception was also fully booked. ZERO availability for their first choices for the entire week. This is an extreme case but definitely something to keep in mind.

[PSSSST: So glad you found us here! It can be so frustrating to spend hours searching for wedding planning information when a majority of what you find online is either *so old* or completely geared toward all inclusive resort weddings. WE MADE THIS FOR YOU. In this 100+ page guide, there is information about all inclusive weddings (of course) but there is also PAGES & PAGES of budgeting, hiring vendors (when they aren’t all put in a nice little package for you), choosing a destination, arranging travel for your guests when you are planning destination weddings that are not all inclusive and so much more]

get started

Ready to Start Planning Your Own Destination Wedding? Let's work together to make it incredible!

Let's Work Together

Want a destination wedding planning guide that was actually WRITTEN by a destination wedding planner? We created exactly what we wish we had when we booked our own destination wedding!

Shop Our Guide

shop now