Destination Wedding and Elopement Checklist

February 2, 2024

Whether you are having an intimate one-on-one elopement or a larger destination wedding, I have gathered a list of must have items to include in your Destination Wedding and Elopement checklist.

Intimate Elopement: Checklist

Bride getting ready for her destination elopement

To start, let’s go over some things on this destination wedding and elopement checklist to bring for your epic adventure!

The Event:

  • Paper Maps/Navigation
  • Permits/IDs/Passports
  • Marriage License
  • Travel tickets
  • Cell Phones
  • Share your location
  • Photographer (me me!)
  • Planner (if hired)
  • Videographer (if hired)
  • Officiant (if hired)

Your Elopement:

  • Rings
  • Vow Books
  • Personalized sign
  • Wedding attire
  • Flowers
  • Makeup/hairspray/combs
  • Champagne
  • Crochet hook
  • Jewelry/accessories
  • Veil/hair accessories
  • Watches
  • Bouquet charms

For The Outdoors:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Liquid IV
  • Backpack
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Headlamp
  • Hand warmers/gloves
  • Change of clothes
  • Hiking shoes
  • Clear umbrellas/rain gear
  • Blankets
  • First aid kit + Tylenol/Ibuprofen
  • Sunglasses
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Extra socks
  • Jackets
  • Knife/multitool
  • Trekking poles
  • Hair ties
  • Deodorant
Bride hiking on her destination elopement

Now when it comes to your destination wedding and elopement checklist, one helpful tip may be to research your location and ask yourself these questions:

Firstly, have I considered what the terrain is like?

Thirdly, is there service?

Secondly, do I know what the weather patterns are?

Finally, what is the wildlife in this area?

Obviously, your safety will be at a top priority for an intimate elopement so you will also want to check if the area you will be in is safe, a touristy spot, and bring all the essential items you can.

Larger Destination Wedding: Checklist

Now unlike a private intimate elopement, hosting a larger wedding will require a lot more things to check off. Here is a list of items to consider when planning your event and a list of vendors:

Documents:

  • Passport/ID/permits
  • Marriage License
  • Vows
  • Travel tickets

Vendor Checklist:

  • Ceremony Venue
  • Reception Venue
  • Photographer (me me me!)
  • Videographer
  • Officiant
  • Hair stylist
  • Makeup Artist
  • Clothing (dress, suit, wedding party attire, etc)
  • Florist
  • Wedding planner (designer)
  • Wedding coordinator (helps the day of with timeline)
  • Florist
  • Caterers (main meal)
  • Bakeries (desserts)
  • Live painter
  • DJ
  • Photo booth
  • Bar services
  • Jeweler
  • Interpreter (depending on your location)
  • Stationary
  • Rental company (linens, chairs, etc)
  • Transportation (shuttles, etc)

Accessories:

  • Wedding attire
  • Shoes
  • Jewelry/cuff links
  • Rings & ring box
  • Flowers
  • Stationary
  • Makeup
  • Hair comb/hair spray/hair gel
  • Bobbypins
  • Crochet hook
  • Double sided clothing tape
  • Needle & thread
  • Liquid IV
  • Snacks
  • Ibuprofen/Tylenol
  • Stain remover/tide sticks
  • Foot numbing spray for shoes
  • Steamer for clothes
  • Deodorant
  • Veil/hair accessories
  • Watches
  • Bouquet charms
  • Perfume/cologne
  • Sunscreen
  • Jackets/blankets

Ceremony:

  • Alter decor (arches & florals)
  • Isle decor (runners, candles, etc)
  • Programs
  • Welcome sign
  • Card & gift station
  • Flower girl & ring barer items
  • Additional signage
  • Clear umbrellas (weather permitting)
  • Chairs
  • Unity items

Cocktail Hour:

  • Bar decor
  • Signature drink signs
  • Seating chart
  • Guest book table
  • Memorial table

Reception:

  • Tent (outdoor wedding)
  • Lighting
  • Draping
  • Dancefloor
  • Backdrops
  • Dessert table
  • Dessert topper
  • Tables
  • Linens
  • Napkins
  • Place cards
  • Flatware/drinkware
  • Table numbers
  • Centerpieces
  • Thank you favors

Without a doubt there are more physical items that may be needed for a larger event hosted at a venue compared to an intimate outdoor elopement.

With this in mind, some venues already include a lot of the props such as tables, chairs, linens, even things like florals, DJ’s, and arches. So be sure to reach out to them to know what your package includes.

Following the topic of vendors, here are a few I reccommend:

Honeymoon Travel Agent:

Cally at Bliss Honeymoons

Bride and groom having private destination elopement ceremony
Bride and groom hiking on their destination elopement
Bride and groom eloping at a waterfall for their elopement

Destination Wedding and Elopement Checklist: Transporting Decor

Not only are there in depth checklists to guide you through what to bring, you also need to consider HOW to bring everything with you.

Obviously the idea to ship all of your items for your intimate elopement may seem like the easiest route.

On the other hand, shipping items to your destination may cost you quite a bit and there is always a risk of them getting lost.

Not to mention some venues will not accept packages, so if you go this route be sure to ask if they will get accepted.

Because of this, a lot of people choose to pack and carry on their wedding items and fly/drive them to the destination.

In addition to carrying on your own items you could see if any family or friends would be willing to check a bag of items for you as well.

However, I will note that some venues charge you a fee to bring your own decor or won’t allow it at all, so be sure to ask about that!

Destination Wedding and Elopement Checklist: Things to Consider

Since having a detail checklist custom to your day and needs is essential for ensuring nothing gets left behind or forgotten, be sure to take extra time to go over all of the possible items needed.

With this in mind, also check in with your venue to see if they have any suggested checklists and must-have items for your day.

In addition to your own checklist, you could ask your vendors (photographer, florist, venue, etc) if there are any additional items that may be needed that you could overlook/not think of.

Above all, remember that it’s one thing to get the items there but another obstacle to get them home!

Destination Wedding and Elopement Checklist: Summary

In conclusion, you can never be too prepared.

With this in mind, be sure to research your destination, check in with your venue, and discuss checklists with vendors.

Lastly, for more information on how to plan a destination wedding or elopement click here to view my blog page.

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Website: daniellewilliamsphotography.com

Contact: dwp@daniellewilliamsphotography.com

Danielle Oney

more about danielle

Meet your photographer & adventure bestie, Danielle

Hey! I’m an adventurous, outdoorsy, and avid travel seeker who connects best with couples that aren’t afraid to go off-script, appreciate the candid moments, and who enjoy going with the flow. 

With travel experience both stateside and internationally, I am thrilled at the idea of capturing your special story in a breathtaking location personalized just for you.