Destination Wedding Etiquette Tips
If you’ve ever been to a destination wedding, you know they can be costly. So now that you’re having your own destination wedding (yay!!!) you want to make sure you give your guests the best experience possible. Use these destination wedding etiquette tips to help navigate the wedding planning process.
When it comes to planning a destination wedding, the most important thing is to let your guests know as far in advance as possible. You really can’t give them too much time to prepare. Especially if your location is really far away (meaning expensive flights) or particularly expensive. Also, keep in mind, some of your guests may have to renew their passports. All that being said, you should send your save-the-dates as soon as you have your date and location set, but no less than 8-12 months before the wedding. For the invitations themselves, send them between 3-4 months before the big day.
Compared to an invitation to a local wedding, your destination wedding invitations should be much more detailed. Be sure to include a timeline for the entire weekend, with times and locations. You’ll also want to include accommodation options. If you want your guests to really love you, have a separate sheet with travel websites and deals, best times to book, and things to do in the area. This also makes it clear that you are not paying for their travel or stay, which you absolutely are not required to! Another good idea is to make a wedding website so your guests will have any and all info they need in one place. But, don’t skip out on printing the info on the invites as well- your guests may not have cellular service or wifi, or it may just be easier for them to refer to a hard copy.
Pro Tip: Create a facebook group for your guests. Guests will be able to share any deals they find, flight info, and even make arrangements to carpool with one another!
Meet your middle man! Hire a travel agent to help guests with booking rooms, flights, excursions, and anything else they may need. Travel agents will also be a huge help in securing the best deals and discounts. They will be available to answer any of your guest’s questions, which saves you so much time! If you do go this route, be sure to include the travel agent’s info on the invitation and website as well.
Keyword: options. Give your guests options for accommodations! It’s a good idea to have 3 options in different price ranges: splurge, middle of the road, and budget. Try to reserve a block of rooms at a group rate for those places as well. Or, consider renting a big enough Airbnb for all your guests to stay at. This is a super fun and cost-efficient option! (But obviously depends on how big your guest list is.) The bottom line is you want to make it easy and affordable for your guests; you don’t want them to have to spend hours searching for the cheapest or closest hotel options.
Welcome Gifts and Dinner
Welcome your guests with gifts upon arrival! Have the hotel staff hand them to each guest as they check-in, or set them up in their rooms beforehand. Thank them for coming with a bottle of champagne, wine, or your drink of choice, along with things like snacks, toiletries, medicine, etc. It’s also a nice touch to host a welcome dinner the night the majority of your guests are arriving. This gives you the opportunity to take care of one more meal for them and gives all your guests the opportunity to meet and get to know one another.
If you’re hoping for expensive wedding gifts, a destination wedding may not be the right choice for you. Your guests are already forking out a lot of money just to attend your wedding. So, many couples will opt for no wedding gifts. A simple note of “your presence is present enough” on the wedding invitation or website will do the trick to let your guests know that gifts are not expected. If you don’t want to go the no-gift route, make sure to register for things that your guests can easily travel with. The best way to do this is to set up an online registry where your guests can gift you with money or experiences for your honeymoon.
Pro Tip: Even if your guests don’t give you a wedding gift, still send them a thank you note for attending your destination wedding. Your guests will really appreciate this heartfelt gesture that shows you’re just happy they were there, regardless of a gift.
Destination weddings can seem overwhelming to plan, but we promise, it will be totally worth it! Remember to plan as far in advance as possible and over-communicate with guests and vendors. As long as you do that, your destination wedding will be the vacation you always dreamed of!
Head over to our Facebook group to let us know if you would ever have a destination wedding, or if you’re in the midst of planning one right now!