Your Destination Wedding Guide To The Perfect Caribbean Wedding

Who wouldn’t want to skip off to an exotic location to tie the knot with the one who makes their heart skip a beat? This may sound like the stuff that the best romance movies are made of, but it can be your reality if you can get the planning just right for the ultimate destination wedding!

Many people think a destination wedding in Turks & Caicos on its powdery white sands, or a lush, green, and breezy garden wedding in Jamaica would be the more expensive option. However, with proper planning, you might actually wind up saving money! Destination weddings often cost less than traditional weddings at home. If you’re still weighing your options, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about planning a destination wedding, including where to find the best all-inclusive wedding packages!


Good to know: Destination weddings are great if you’re looking for a more intimate ceremony that involves those nearest and dearest to you. Here are some amazing resort destinations that you can consider for your destination wedding.

Three things to ask yourself before planning your destination wedding

1. What kind of destination wedding do we want?


When planning a destination wedding, the first thing you’ll need to decide is the type of wedding you want to have. You and your partner can come together to discuss the kind of destination wedding you both envision before making your final ruling. Options include a traditional church wedding, a beach wedding, or an elopement. Once you decide on this aspect, the plans for your dream wedding can begin to take shape.

2. What time of year do we want to get married?

After selecting a destination, or perhaps even before, it’s a good idea to solidify the time of year that you’d like to get married. Within the U.S., you can easily pick a season, but at some other destinations, seasons may not be as well defined. In the Caribbean, for example, the weather tends to be sunny most of the time, which is great news for your nuptials. Still, these islands experience wet and dry seasons that influence how much rain you might expect, so you can factor that into your decision as you choose a wedding date.

Insider tip: If there is a particular date that you want to get married, then you’re best off selecting a destination that will align well with those wedding plans. These posts on the best time to visit Jamaica and the best time to visit Turks & Caicos are a great place to start.

3. Who do we want to invite?


When considering the guest list, weddings at home can differ greatly from destination weddings. Your list of invitees can end up being quite extensive if you’ll be getting married at home, but having a destination wedding will allow you to be a little more discerning (and justifiably so!). You and your partner can discuss who you’d like to invite and decide together on the people who really need to be in attendance.

Once you’ve compiled a list of potential people to invite, there will still be a few more things to consider. For example, if any of the invitees (or either of you) have children, you may want to consider a family-friendly destination for your wedding. If you’ll be inviting guests who are elderly, consider that they may not want to travel too far. Since most guests will need to clear their schedules in advance and purchase flights, you should invite your guests to the wedding as early as possible, so they can provide confirmation on whether or not they’ll be able to attend.

Good to know: If your heart is set on a destination wedding and you want to accommodate guests who are unable to travel too far, you can consider some of the amazing wedding destinations that are just a short flight away from the U.S., such as the Caribbean.

Ten easy steps for planning your destination wedding

Although the above questions will shed light on a few key considerations about your destination wedding, there is a lot more involved in the planning process! You can follow these handy planning steps to ensure your destination wedding runs as smoothly as possible.

1. Write out your wedding guest list

Sending out invitations is the fun part of planning a wedding, but before you can even get to that point, you’ll need to make a list of invitees. Consider: How many people do you want to invite? How big will your wedding party be? Will you invite family only? Friends? Colleagues? Distant relatives? It is important to spend quite a bit of time making this list, and considering who you want to spend your big day with. Having a list of invitees will come in handy when you have to make other decisions, such as deciding on a venue. Your budget will also be greatly dependent on the size of your guest list.

Additionally, when planning your wedding guest list, don’t just jot down the name of every single person that you know. Think realistically about who will be able to travel to your destination as many people have commitments that would prevent them from making such a trip. It helps to send invites out well in advance to give people a better chance to make their own arrangements to be able to attend your wedding.

In general, when writing your destination wedding invite list, you should include the people that are most important to you, those you would not want to be without on this momentous occasion in your life.

2. Set your wedding budget

Setting a budget is an important first step when planning any wedding. Costs have a way of spiraling out of control when you don’t decide on a budget in advance. Start by listing the things you’ll need for the wedding and how much you’re willing to spend on each line item. Various aspects to consider in your wedding budget include décor, venue costs, photography/videography, food and drinks, accommodations, and attire. A budget will be helpful as you decide where to splurge, and where to cut back.

3. Decide on the location and venue for your wedding


As you plan your destination wedding, one of the most important things to tick off your list is the location. To find the best destination wedding location for you and your partner, you’ll need to consider several factors including your budget, the distance from your home, the guests who will be attending your wedding, and the time of year. You may also want to think about your wedding theme and the overall aesthetics and wedding experience you are trying to have.

Once you’ve selected a location, you can then decide on a venue. In most destinations, you’ll have a host of venues to choose from, which you’ll need to narrow down based on your budget and the type of wedding you’re looking to have. Decide early whether you want to have the reception at the same place as the ceremony. If you don’t, you’ll need to find an additional venue for the reception (ideally one that is not too far away from the wedding venue) and plan for getting your guests back and forth if needed.

If you’d love to have two different venues, but need to cut down on the costs, an all-inclusive resort with multiple wedding venues on the property might be the ideal solution. The all-inclusive factor also means you won’t need to worry about the cost of food and drinks as these will likely be included in your all-inclusive package!

Expert tip: Looking for a sunny and wonderful wedding and honeymoon destination? Take a look at these amazing reasons to honeymoon in Turks & Caicos!

4. Choose a marriage officiant and gather the documents you’ll need to marry at your chosen destination

When organizing a destination wedding, it is important to look into what is required to be legally married at your chosen destination and do it well ahead of your ceremony. In most cases, you’ll need to apply for a marriage license locally and you may also have to be in the country for a certain amount of time before the wedding. Most destinations have similar document requirements to apply for a marriage license and ask for things like birth certificates, passports, proof of divorce or death certificate (for divorcees or widows), change of name documents, and written authorization for parties under 18. Before getting married in a foreign location, it is also important to verify that your marriage will still be considered legal when you return to your home country.

Once you’ve gathered all the required documents and submitted the necessary applications, you can decide who will be performing your marriage ceremony. Often, a certified officiant will be provided with your venue, however, you should always confirm this detail. In some cases, you can have a qualified friend or relative perform the ceremony, but you should check that it’s legal at your wedding destination before going this route.

5. Send out those invitations

Once you’ve picked your destination and your date is set and sealed, you can go ahead and send out your invites. The earlier you send out your invitations the more time your guests and wedding party will have to plan. Most people will need to request time off from work and perhaps even save up for the trip. Guests will also need time to ensure that their travel documents, like their passports, are good to go as well!

Expert tip: If you’re planning on getting married in the Caribbean, take a look at the best time to visit Turks & Caicos and the best time to go to Jamaica. You just might find it to be in tune with the dates of your wedding!

6. Pick your wedding colors and theme


Choosing colors and selecting a theme should be high on your priority list when planning a destination wedding. It is a good idea to select colors that have a special meaning to you and your partner or something that goes well with the destination and wedding location. When selecting colors for décor and other aspects of your wedding, ensure that the ones you pick make you happy and bring you joy. If you really can’t decide on colors or a theme, you can ask your wedding planner for some suggestions.

Once the color and theme have been agreed on, you can move on to smaller details like place settings and your wedding welcome sign. These can highlight your colors and theme as well. If you want, you can arrange for your cake to somehow feature your chosen colors and theme, whether or not you go for a large traditional cake. Cupcakes are a less conventional (but super delicious) wedding dessert that can help to bring out your wedding colors and theme as well.

Expert tip: Ensure that your venue has somewhere cool to store your cake and desserts on your wedding day if you want to avoid any mishaps. It is also a good idea to go with ingredients that can withstand the sun if you’ll be getting married at a warm-weather getaway.

7. Find your dress or outfits


There’s quite a bit of planning that needs to happen before your destination wedding gets underway. That includes finding the right dress or outfits to suit the mood of the event! If you have specific wedding colors or a theme you want to stick to, you can incorporate these choices into your dress selection and outfits or you can just focus on finding something that makes you feel fabulous. It is worth considering wedding day looks that will suit the atmosphere of your venue and location as well. The type of weather and temperature at your destination are important factors.

Expert tip: Avoid closed-toe dress shoes or heels if you’ll be getting married on the beach. Also, white and pastel-colored lightweight fabrics are good for warm locations.

8. Organize food and drink


Planning the food and drinks you’ll have at your destination wedding can be fun because there is a wide range of options you can include. To better cater to your guests, ask about their dietary needs on your RSVP so you’re sure to have something for everyone.

On a wider scale, the logistics related to the food and drinks at your wedding will depend on whether you’ll be relying on external caterers (who typically charge per head for a private event), or if you’ll be going to an an-inclusive resort where food and drinks are included in your package. Getting the food and drinks is an important aspect of a successful wedding, so organize things well ahead of time to ensure the event flows smoothly and you know what to expect.

Expert tip: If you’ll be having your wedding somewhere warm, plan to have lots of water and other soft drinks available for your guests to stay hydrated.

9. Hire a photographer


A good photographer is essential to capture those precious moments during your destination wedding. This is important not just for the couple getting married, but also for others who might not be able to make it. You’ll have these memories for a lifetime, so don’t be afraid to hire a professional and tell them exactly the sort of photos you’re looking for. Most photographers and videographers charge by the hour, but you may find one that will give you a comprehensive cost for your wedding and reception as well.

Additionally, if you book an all-inclusive resort for your wedding, chances are you’ll be able to request the services of the resort photographer for your ceremony. You may also have the option to use someone who is not connected to the resort or venue. If you choose to go with the latter option, ensure this person comes with highly recommended.

Expert tip: If you want wedding photos but don’t want to spend too much, you can also consider asking a friend or family member who is a great photographer to take photos on your big day.

10. Plan to have a gift and card box

Finding love is a beautiful thing that people love to celebrate. This is part of the reason gift-giving is such a big part of weddings. Many people also see giving a wedding gift as a way to help the couple start off their life together on the right foot.

On your wedding day, guests are likely to want to give you and your partner a gift to wish you well. It is a good idea to set up a gift and card box where guests will be able to place their cards, notes, and gifts once they arrive. Be sure to place this box in an area where it won’t be missed, like in the entrance or main area of your wedding venue. Also, ensure that the box is well decorated and that it goes with your décor. When your ceremony is done, don’t forget to take the gift box with you!

Expert tip: Ask someone from your wedding party to keep an eye on your gift box during the event (since you’ll be busy with other things) and also to point people in the right direction if they’re looking for somewhere to place their gift.

Bonus: Other tips to help you plan your destination wedding


Choosing to get married at a resort may give you access to an on-site wedding planner

The best thing about resort weddings is that, most of the time, there is an on-site wedding planner who will be dedicated to ensuring that your wedding plans flow smoothly. Your resort destination wedding planner will also have local insights that they can share with you and they can provide you with as much wedding-related support as you need. If you want to be sure you have a great wedding planner at your destination wedding, consider staying at an all-inclusive resort like Beaches Resorts where the on-site wedding planners are specialists in the field.

If you can, visit your venue in advance

Ahead of a destination wedding, your very first glimpse of the location is often through videos and pictures. What if you could change that and go visit the venue in advance? I’m sure you’ll agree this could help with the planning of your wedding and impact your final decision-making. That’s why it’s definitely worth visiting your destination ahead of the wedding if possible. At Sandals Resorts, you can sign up for a Sandals wedding test drive, giving you the perfect opportunity to meet with your wedding planner and get into the finer details of your big day. Once you’ve arrived at the place that will serve as the backdrop for your wedding, you’ll start seeing your vision come to life and feel more confident that the event will go off without a hitch.

Expert tip: If you can’t visit your wedding destination in advance due to time or budgetary constraints, keeping in close contact with your wedding planner is the next best option. By doing so, you’ll take an active role in the planning of your wedding and be more confident once you arrive at your wedding destination.

Plan to do other activities with your wedding party while you’re there

It is important to do things with your wedding party ahead of your wedding to show them that they are appreciated. In most cases, your wedding party will want to arrive at the venue before everyone to ensure everything is in place, these activities will help keep everyone connected and keep the excitement going too.

Feel free to plan a reception at home for your return

Though you may want all the special people in your life to be with you at your destination wedding, this is rarely possible. Some people just might not be able to make it, but that’s okay! If you’re faced with this dilemma, the solution may be to plan a reception for when you return home from your wedding that everyone can attend. You can choose to have a grand party for everyone you know or plan something that’s more low-key like a special dinner with close friends and family.

Don’t forget about the honeymoon


While much of your energy will be directed toward wedding planning, don’t forget to start thinking about what you’d like to do for your honeymoon! If you’re sold on the idea of a destination wedding, remember that most destination wedding locations make great honeymoon destinations. This means that you can easily work your honeymoon into your destination wedding by planning accordingly.

Things to consider are how long you want to stay in your destination after the wedding, and whether your wedding location offers what you desire for your honeymoon. You should also factor in things like the kinds of activities you can partake in at your chosen destination, and whether the resort you have in mind caters specifically to couples. If you and your partner have kids, take a look at these ideas for familymoons that’ll ensure you’re able to have a romantic time with your new spouse, even if your kids tag along.

Expert tip: The best all-inclusive honeymoon resorts offer multiple dining locations and the opportunity to book excursions from your resort, which can help ensure you don’t have to run around looking for things to do or places to eat.

You can plan the perfect Caribbean destination wedding!


When you’re standing next to the person you love, committing to a lifetime together, you’ll remember the fine white sand beneath your feet, the turquoise ocean, and the sound of crashing waves. The stress of planning the event will be the furthest thing from your mind. Still, for your dream of a beautiful destination wedding to become a reality, you’ve just got to go through the planning process. If you’ve read this guide, though, you are already well on your way to planning a truly unforgettable event.

Since planning a destination wedding, much like any other wedding, can be a little stressful when you have to do it on your own, we highly recommend going the all-inclusive route so that staff at your chosen resort can assist you with planning your wedding, and ensure you’ve got all the right vendors on board. At Beaches all-inclusive resorts, you can plan an amazing destination wedding with assistance from the on-site wedding planner who’ll be committed to seeing your wedding day dreams come to life.

No matter the occasion, Beaches Resorts offer excellent getaways for couples, but with a destination wedding on the agenda, you’ll be able to experience the heights of romance on Caribbean shores.

Insider tip: Love the idea of traveling for a wedding? Take a look at these amazing elopement packages!

Kylie Morrow

About Kylie Morrow

Writing for 13 years, Kylie discovered that experiences tell the best stories. As a Caribbean mother who wrote for newspapers, magazines, and blogs, she believes inspiration is even found in our kids!