A no-stress schedule for your faraway day
6 to 12 months before
Choose a locale and confirm marriage and residency rules (the number of days you have to be in the country before you wed) with the tourist board.
Find a coordinator. Try a resort, nuptial company, tourism bureau.
Send save-the-date notices that reflect the tone of the affair-from painted coconuts to engraved announcements. Phone to follow up.
Get a rough head count and have the coordinator reserve a block of hotel rooms. (Often, wedding guests receive a discount.) If you’re planning o marrying or staying at a resort, investigate alternatives for guests on budgets
Ask your planner or resort to recommend an, photographer, hairstylist, florist, caterer, band or DJ, and a few ceremony locations. (Beach spots at sunset generally fill up first.)
Request musician’s tapes or CDs, and have photographers and florists send you snaps of their wedding work. (Your planner or resort can arrange this.)
Check out air discounts.
4 months before
Confirm your choices for flowers, menu, music, photographer, and hairstylist with your planner or resort.
Ask your coordinator to schedule events for guests (a welcome party, sunset sail, etc.)
Send out a text messages, emails or create a web site that lists details, including airline and hotel information.
Buy your plane tickets.
8 to 10 weeks before
Ask your planner or resort to check on any paperwork you’ve submitted.
Order the gifts you need (How about spa gift certificates for the moms?)
2 weeks before
Finalize the head count and confirm any group activities you’ve booked.
2 to 7 days before
Arrive at the resort.
Tour the grounds to get acquainted with your ceremony and reception sites, preferably at the same time of day as your wedding.
Meet with your planner or resort manager to review last-minute details.
Distribute a list of events and greeting bags (with goodies like sunscreen, local maps, flip-flops, and bottled water) to your guest’s rooms.
Make sure you apply the sunscreen. Burns and tan lines don’t flatter anyone.
Get a manicure and pedicure, and do a wedding-hair test run.
Go for a lazy garden stroll. Kick back and order another round of drinks. Have a massage. Have two. Who said marriage was stressful?
The Guest List
If you’re watching your wallet, the best way to stay within budget bounds is to keep your celebration small. (An informal bash thrown back home later will help soothe any ruffled feelings.) Give invitees as much advance notice as possible (ideally, a year) with save the date cards, so they can reserve airline tickets and block off holiday time. Follow up with a phone call to get an estimate of how many people will be attending. (A rough number will allow you to reserve a block of hotel rooms, usually at a discount.) As the big day approaches, Send out, text messages, emails or create a web site that lists details, alternative hotel information, with price ranges, activities, transportation details, baby-sitters, restaurant suggestions, and other information.
Flowers, Music, Photos
When you throw a destination wedding, flexibility is key: After all, there’s no reason to spend a lot of money shipping roses to Koh Samui when armfuls of orchids and hibiscus are grown just around the corner. Same with music-on the beach, a local Thai band might set the tone better than a swing orchestra. With every detail, avoid disappointment by making sure your planner or resort knows what you want, and that you know what you’re getting. Always request photos of floral arrangements, sample CDs from bands, and composites from photographers (usually available for viewing on-line).
Hair and Makeup
Ask your planner or resort to recommend hairstylists, and have him or her send you photos of their work. Once you’ve picked one, mail them copies of the styles you’ve culled from magazines-and make arrangements for a test-drive a few days before the ceremony. As for makeup, keep in mind that a dark tan and heavy eyeliner do not a pretty portrait make. Consult a cosmetics counter to find out which techniques and formulations work best for Koh Samui’s climate.
Beach brides often opt for simple slip dress styles with local flowers in their tresses, but if you’ve been obsessing about princess seams and cathedral veils, go for a full-on gown made of a wrinkle-resistant, lightweight fabric like chiffon, silk organza, georgette, silk tulle, or Chantilly lace. Be sure to transport your dress in a garment bag, just as you received it from the salon. Carry it on the plane and ask the flight attendant to hang it in a closet close to your seat, so you can keep an eye on it throughout your voyage.