Planning a destination wedding? Check out these handy etiquette tips, do’s and don’ts to ensure that you and your guests have an amazing time away.
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- It’s incredibly important to be considerate of your guests, so send out your invitations or save-the-dates at least six months before the wedding. It seems obvious, but it’s certainly something you don’t want to leave till the last minute. Allowing plenty of time will make planning accommodation, time off work and flights a whole less stressful for both you and your loved ones – amen to that!
2. Try and be understanding if people can’t make it (we did say try). It can be disappointing but put yourself in their shoes and consider their situation – a destination wedding can be a big commitment. It’s a good idea to run things past any guests you absolutely must have at your wedding – like your sister, best friend or parents – before locking in a date and sending out invites. Five words – don’t leave it to chance.
3. Be thoughtful when brainstorming locations for your destination wedding. Yes, it’s your wedding day and ultimately you should choose a location that suits you and your partner. But be smart about how long a flight there might take, how much accommodation is likely to cost and if there are any potential health issues (i.e. will your guests need a bunch of injections to be there on the day?). If you really can’t picture saying “I do” anywhere else but on the other side of the world, consider having a (mostly) hassle-free elopement with just your nearest and dearest instead of asking the whole crew to come along.
4. Be upfront about any need-to-know details with your family and friends. What’s the currency exchange like? Are there any special cultural codes of conduct they’ll have to follow? How can people get from A to B? These are all questions that you might get asked, so do your research and be honest with your guests. Our advice? Set up a blog (there are plenty of fabulous apps out there that can help you create a personalised wedding website) or include a quick-and-essential fact sheet with your invitations that your loved ones can refer to.
5. Be wary of your guests’ budgets. You might have been saving up for this over a year, but they might not have been. While you’re not expected to foot the bill for anyone, it’s always a lovely idea to cover things like transport options or to even organise a big holiday home for everyone to stay in. Also, look into tying the knot at an off-season time when associated costs might be more affordable. It doesn’t hurt to check.
6. Organise transport from the airport. Whether it’s a bus, group shuttle or train, planning your guests’ transport from the airport to the accommodation shows your gratitude for their attendance but also keeps things worry-free. Not all of your loved ones might be experienced travellers – keeping their mind at ease will help keep the vibes fun and relaxed. After all, it’s a holiday for them, too!
7. If you can, go the extra mile and make your guests feel extra special. Welcome drinks, a ‘first night’ sunset cruise, a destination-inspired goodie bag – they’re all ways to keep the spirits high and make your guests feel truly ready to let their hair down. Cheers to that!
8. Double – or even triple – check everything. Call ahead to confirm things with your venue, accommodation, travel group (if applicable) and wedding planner, and be prepared to go with a backup if necessary. You don’t want everyone to rock up to your destination to be stranded at the airport for hours – nightmare! Also, it pays to really research your venue at the early stages of planning. Do the photos on its website properly represent the hotel or resort? Check out what people are saying on sites like Tripadvisor and only book something you’re confident in.
9. Plan some extra events after the special day. Putting together a next-day brunch or a beach day all together will really keep the holiday atmosphere alive, plus it’s always wonderful to spend some extra time with your nearest and dearest. Or, suggest some different activities nearby that your guests might be interested in while you and your sweetheart are having some alone-time. A cool hiking track with amazing views, a must-visit foodie icon, a fabulous winery, a local sports game (when in New York, see the Yankees) – they’re all fun experiences that your guests just might appreciate.
10. Really enjoy your time together. It seems obvious, but try not to get caught up in all the fine details. Lap up your time with your friends and family – don’t just say a polite ‘hello’ at the reception. A destination wedding can be a brilliant opportunity to enjoy a holiday with your favourite people, so make the most of it and enjoy that quality time together. Trust us, you’ll be thankful you did!
All images sourced from Pinterest.