Resort Wedding Checklist

In many ways a resort wedding is simpler to arrange as there will be a wedding co-ordinator at the other end to help you. In this case, however, “simpler” is a relative term and you will still have a reasonably long list of things to attend to.

Before The Event

  • Announce your plans, even if you are ‘eloping’ to avoid the stress involved with a wedding that has to please people other than yourselves. People likely to be offended will be less offended if you let them in on your plans rather than informing them after the event.
  • Decide on a date, destination and location.
  • Have a budget in mind.
  • Do a ‘wish list’ – do you want the bride to arrive by canoe, a beach wedding, flowers, cake, photography etc. Wedding packages can usually be tailor-made.
  • Check availability for these dates and get prices.
  • Make sure you have a passport and that it has six months validity from the date of departure.
  • If you are going overseas, are vaccinations needed or advisable for your destination, and how long prior to travel are they required? Talk to a qualified travel medicine clinic.
  • Once you have a wedding coordinator, get copies of your passports, birth certificates and divorce papers if necessary, along with an Intention to Marry form (one can be emailed or faxed to you).
  • Don’t forget travel insurance!
  • Unless arriving on a cruise ship for a tropical wedding, you will need to be in Vanuatu for a couple of days prior to the wedding, or Fiji for at least one day, as couples have to attend the registry office in person. Some couples find it romantic to select two accommodation properties – one prior to the ceremony and one after, so it’s a honeymoon and a wedding. See our wedding legals section for more information.
  • Think about the time of day for the ceremony – sunset weddings are romantic but it can seem like a long day waiting. A late morning wedding will give time for hair/make up, can be followed by a lunch, may provide better light for photography and you can always have a champagne sunset as husband and wife.
  • Think about a romantic setting for the lunch or dinner that follows the ceremony (if you have guests, a suitable venue).
  • You will need two witnesses, which can be arranged. If you have your own, their details will need to be sent to the coordinator.
  • If you want to invite guests, keep in mind you are asking for a major outlay on their part – so don’t be offended if they decline. Also think about their needs and budget if they accept – give them a choice of accommodation package options. While you may want to stay in an adults only romantic resort, a family resort with a kids club or budget self-contained style accommodation may be better for them.
  • If guests are travelling from different departure points, make sure the flights work for the wedding day.
  • Consider a celebration party on your return for family and/or friends to show them photography/video so they accept you as man and wife.

Who Does What?

  • Bride & Groom: Decide on date, destination, resort and wedding package – book the air and accommodation through a travel agent – fax necessary documentation to the wedding co-ordinator (or travel agent if he/she is looking after this side) – notify guests who may want to attend (use a specialised travel agent, like us, to act as a bookings co-ordinator) – take travel insurance
  • Wedding Coordinator: Legal requirements (lodgement etc), book celebrant, follow bride and groom’s instructions – meet with couple prior to the ceremony
  • Celebrant: To arrive on time and perform the ceremony (it’s highly unlikely you will meet the officiant until the ceremony)
  • Travel Agent: Make the booking, confirm, accept deposit and payment, supply the couple with flight tickets, accommodation and transfer vouchers – look after guest requirements
  • Best Man & Bridesmaid: If you have friends travelling with you to celebrate and act as witnesses they need to send details (full names, date of birth, addresses etc) to the wedding coordinator

What To Budget For

  • Airfare and accommodation package (this is usually cheaper than buying flights and accommodation separately)
  • The Wedding Package (depending on components, between AUD$500 and AUD$2500)
  • Wedding day attire
  • Wedding lunch or dinner (you and/or guests)
  • Duty Free
  • Perhaps a return celebration party for family and/or friends

Who Pays For What?

The Bride and Groom should look at paying all wedding package, fares and accommodation costs for themselves here (unless there is a very generous offer from parents, family and friends!).

Unless the couple is extremely generous, family and friends who wish to join the couple should cover their own costs. The travel agent will organise all travel arrangements and perhaps the wedding.

The wedding coordinator (after being paid) looks after all costs of requirements as specified that end (celebrant, lodgement and documentation costs, licence, flowers, etc.) If not pre-arranged, things like make-up and hairdressing can be organised after arrival and paid for directly.

If you have guests who have paid a lot to attend, a nice gesture can be for the Bride and Groom to host a celebration lunch or dinner following the ceremony.