You’ve decided to host a destination wedding and have finally selected the perfect location. Let the planning begin! As you begin to work out the details, you may find yourself with a few more questions than you would with a traditional hometown wedding. Who makes the guest list? Who do you accommodate and pay for? When should you send the invites out for guests to make travel arrangements? Planning a wedding abroad is no small feat!
Destination weddings have some additional guidelines and etiquette that are different from traditional weddings. We’ve created this guide of do’s and don’ts to answer your questions and tell you all you need to know about destination wedding etiquette. Refer back to this list as you begin sorting out the details of the destination wedding of your dreams!
Invite close friends and family. Because destination weddings require travel costs and more logistical planning, keep the guest list small and try to invite only those that you know are willing and able financially to make the trip.
Send invitations out extra early. Be courteous to your guests who will be making travel arrangements by sending out save the dates as soon as you’ve locked down your wedding location. This could be as early as 6 months in advance and should be no less than 4 weeks before the wedding date.
Include an itinerary on the invitation so guests know what to expect.This will help guests plan their trip according to the wedding festivities.
Create a travel guide for your guests. Along the same lines as providing guests with an itinerary, do some research on fun things to do near your wedding location. Guests will appreciate having some suggestions of tourist attractions or recommended restaurants.
Don’t feel obligated to cover all of your guests’ travel expenses.For destination weddings, it is traditional for guests to pay for their own flight and hospitality costs. One way to communicate this naturally is to do research to find the best rates and deals on accommodations and then pass this information on to your guests.
Make sure your guests don’t feel obligated to bring an expensive wedding present to the destination. Guests paying for the expense of traveling to your wedding shouldn’t feel like they must also purchase a pricey gift. Be sure to let traveling guests know that their presence at your wedding is their present!
Don’t forget to include a date on your invitations for guests to RSVP by. Knowing exact numbers of how many guests will attend is more important with a destination wedding, especially if you are doing an intimate dinner or reception. This is another reason why getting invitations out extra early is crucial.
Don’t dismiss local suppliers/vendors who may be available for travel. Finding a photographer, florist, or other vendor in your destination may be challenging if you are unfamiliar with the area and don’t have any recommendations. It may be easier to look local and find suppliers who are open to travel. That way you are more likely to be able to meet and consult in person before the big day.