Destination wedding planning timeline and checklist


  • Research legal requirements for marriage in Estes Park Colorado
  • Discuss potential wedding dates and decide on an ideal date or time of year. Consider the weather, holidays, festivals or peak seasons when making your decision.
  • Set a budget – this will influence your choice of venue, as well as the size of your guest list
  • Draw up a preliminary guest list – as the size of your group will influence your choice of venue. Also consider discussing your plans with close family and friends to determine how many are likely to attend.
  • Make a short list of potential wedding venues and request wedding brochures and quotes from each
  • Create a wedding binder. Keep all ideas, swatches, photos, correspondence, etc. and keep it in an easily accessible place.
  • Research and book a local wedding coordinator

12 Months

  • Confirm your venue – both for your ceremony & reception. Consider visiting the destination venues to make sure this is THE spot for you.
  • Research and reserve services with local vendors; photographers, officiant, floral, ceremony and reception music, videographer, hair and make-up stylist, wedding cake/desserts, rentals, lighting, transportation. Many book up a year in advance, sometimes further.

11 Months

  • Reserve room block at hotel for out of town guests
  • Research and reserve rehearsal dinner location

10 Months

  • Make destination wedding planning trip, if necessary
  • Collect postal addresses for your guests and Send Out ‘Save the Date’ cards. Allow your guests as much time as possible to decide if they will attend, plan their annual leave, research and book travel, and budget for the trip.

9 Months

  • Confirm your accommodation and reserve accommodation for guests, if possible. If you plan to spend the night before the wedding apart, don’t forget to reserve an extra room.
  • Start booking travel, paying particular attention to any flights or accommodation with limited availability.
  • Order wedding dress, headpiece/veil, shoes and accessories

8 Months

  • Order bridesmaid and flower girl dresses
  • Investigate options for local transfers between the airport and your accommodation and communicate this to guests via your website or email.

6 Months

  • Schedule and attend catering and cake tasting to determine final menu

4 Months

  • Select grooms and groomsmen tuxes
  • Send out invitations 2 months before RSVP date (RSVP date should be 1 month before wedding date)
  • Order wedding rings
  • Research options for local tours or fun things to do in Estes Park and start to put together a program of events for your guests – remember, don’t over schedule!  A mix of optional organized activities and free time is best.

3 Months

  • Finalize ceremony and vows with officiant- order any ceremony or reception items as needed
  • Research options for items to include in your welcome bags, if you plan to have them

2 Months

  • Order favors
  • Start putting together a play list for your DJ, along with a ‘Do Not Play’ list if you want to
  • Schedule trial hair and make-up appointment

4 weeks

  • Call guests who have not responded for wedding
  • Complete reception seating assignments
  • Release and unnecessary hotel rooms

2 weeks

  • Confirm final numbers with the venues
  • Confirm time and location for all vendors
  • Arrange final payments for vendors
  • Pack together wedding day supplies and label

Upon Arrive in Estes Park

  • Deliver welcome bags to hotels
  • Obtain Marriage License (between 1 and 30 days before wedding)
  • Unpack your gown and hang it up. Arrange to have it pressed or steamed if possible.
  • Meet with your wedding coordinator to confirm any last minute details, hand over any decorations or favors, view your ceremony and reception venues, and run through your wedding day timetable.
  • Meet with your hairstylist and makeup artist for a trial with each
  • Attend final meetings for necessary vendors
  • Find your fiancée, sit down, order some cocktails and take a good look around at where you are. Now relax. The only thing you have left to do is get married!!

Wedding Planning timeline courtesy of:
Pink Diamond Events