Planning a destination wedding is incredibly fun, but it can also be a challenge. You may have a limited budget, a huge guest list, and about 1,000 places you want to be married at. How do you plan a great destination wedding that you’ll always remember? What are the first steps you should take in the planning process?

If you want to plan a destination wedding, here are seven key steps you must take.

destination wedding

Step 1: Set Your Budget

Before you plan any part of your destination wedding, you must set a budget. It’s crucial to know how much money you can spend on the wedding. Your budget will determine where your wedding will be, how many guests you can have, and what kind of venues you’ll look at.

If you need help paying for a wedding, visit a financial planner. They can help you determine how much money you have, and what you can spend on a wedding. You could take out a loan to pay for your wedding if need be. Be careful, though. There are scammers out there who could take advantage of someone trying to pay for their destination wedding. According to the 2017 Hiscox Embezzlement Study, women actually commit 51% of embezzlement crimes, however it’s important to be weary of any lender who doesn’t seem legitimate.

Step 2: Pick The Right Location

Once you set your budget, you can pick where you want to travel for your wedding. This will be a big event for you and your significant other, so you should pick a location that means something to the both of you. Is there a certain place that has deep family ties? Or a place where the two of you have always wanted to travel, but never had the chance? Talk about the location together and come up with a place you both are happy with.

If you aren’t sure where you want to have your destination wedding, don’t panic. You have time to think about it. Some of the top places for destination weddings include Italy, Ireland, and Spain. Take your time picking your location. It is your wedding, after all. You don’t want to rush into any decisions.

Step 3: Plan A Pre-Wedding Visit

After you decide where you want your wedding to be, travel there and start planning. The first thing you should do is check out venues in the area. You may have researched venues online, but they may look totally different in person. You want to make sure your venue is clean, spacious, and leak-free. According to Plumbing Manufacturers International, 13.7% of water use is the result of leaks. No one wants a leak on their wedding day, so make sure your venue is in good shape before putting down a deposit.

You should also look at vendors and hotels during this trip. If you like what you find, you can put down deposits and block out hotel rooms for your guests.’

Step 4: Create The Guest List ASAP

Speaking of your guests, you should plan out your guest list as soon as possible. Your guests will need a decent amount of notice for this wedding. They’ll need time to make travel and lodging arrangements. If you have a smaller wedding budget, you may want to limit the guest list to family and very close friends. A destination wedding can be expensive, and you don’t want to spend your engagement and wedding day worrying about finances. If you have to shorten the guest list, so be it.

Step 5: Prepare As Much As Possible At Home

You will be incredibly busy once you land for your destination wedding. With that in mind, you should prepare for your wedding as much as possible at home. This includes finalizing decisions on the wedding party, the vendors, and the guest list.

If you want to get your hair done or get your teeth whitened for the wedding, do it before you travel. If you want to get a cosmetic procedure done before your wedding, you should definitely do that at home. In a 2015 survey, 25% of respondents said very often or occasionally avoided smiling during the past year due to the condition of their mouth and teeth. Approximately 23% said they were embarrassed due to their teeth problems, while 20% experienced anxiety and 14% reduced their social participation as a result. If you want to get your teeth fixed for your wedding, visit your dentist before packing your bags.

Step 6: Check Your Travel Arrangements

As you get closer to the wedding, make sure your travel arrangements are all set. Check your flights, and reserve a rental car for when you get to your destination. The last thing you want to do before your wedding is panic over travel hiccups. You should also check in with your guests and see if their travel arrangements are all set.

Step 7: Plan A Day Of Fun

If you have a couple of days to kill before the wedding, plan a fun day out with your guests. You’re in a new place and are about to host one of the biggest events of your life. You and your guests deserve to have some fun. You could visit historical spots, or take your guests out to lunch.

Remember, this is your wedding day. You could plan a destination wedding for the books, but you want to make sure it’s what you and your significant other want. It takes a lot of time, money and coordination to successfully plan a destination wedding. However, all the planning will be worth it once you walk down the aisle!