We love destination weddings – they’re at exotic, exciting locations, sometimes tropical, sometimes not. No matter where you’re planning your destination wedding, remember these special etiquette rules.
Invitations should be sent out two to three months in advance, but you should also send out save-the-date cards six to eight months in advance. Both mailings should include travel information and recommended hotels. Guests need extra time to save money, make travel plans, and request time off from work.
Because they require guests to spend money on travel, destination weddings tend to be smaller. If making cuts to your guest list has upset people, explain your situation honestly. Some couples also plan an at-home reception when they return from their honeymoon so they can celebrate with anyone who couldn’t make the wedding.
Big or small, there are going to be people on your guest list who can’t make your destination wedding for a variety of reasons. Be understanding, and if you can’t imagine your wedding day without some of these people, it might be time to reconsider your destination wedding plan.
You don’t have to pay for guests’ travel and hotel costs, but you should do everything you can to find lodging deals and to book a block of rooms at the hotel’s wedding rate. Including travel and lodging information in your save-the-date cards allows guests to get a jump on booking flights and rooms, which can save them money.
For really small destination weddings, some couples choose to pay for guests’ lodging or other travel expenses. Make sure this is in your budget.
As for meals and entertainment, you’re only responsible for paying for the events, meals, and parties related to the wedding. Include these events on your RSVP cards so guests know what to expect – and so you know who’s coming to what.
Regardless of what you’re paying for (or not paying for), it’s nice to make guests feel welcome after they’ve gone to such lengths to attend your wedding. Leave welcome baskets or bags in their rooms with treats, supplies, and goodies. Include local tourism information. Plan activities and parties that guests can participate in if they’d like. We love the idea of a welcome party that gets everyone together on the first night. Go the extra mile to let guests know you’re glad they came.
And all of these tips that apply to guests? They apply to your bridal party, too.