Destination Wedding Etiquette

Destination wedding etiquette differs in a few key ways from a traditional wedding in your hometown.

  1. Send your save-the-dates early, very early. Nine months to a year in advance is best in order to give your guests plenty of time to save for the trip.
  2. Invite even the guests you think won’t be able to attend—it is always best to give them the option and it will make them feel included.
  3. Even if you do not want children at your wedding in your hometown, consider inviting them to your destination wedding. It is a lot to ask someone with children to not only attend, but to find a babysitter for the week as well.
  4. Plan a day just for the two of you, either before or after the wedding. Being surrounded by your nearest and dearest family and friends for a week is a great, but don’t forget this is about the two of you.
  5. If you need it (particularly for the grandparents), find out if your resort is handicap accessible.
  6. Politely let guests know that gifts are not expected by including a note on the invitation. They have already committed a lot of time and money to simply attend your destination wedding.
  7. If you truly want the chance to celebrate with all of your loved ones who couldn’t make it, consider a reception in your hometown upon return. This doesn’t have to be extravagant.
    1. If you plan to do this, make sure your save-the-dates and invitations are clearly differentiated to what part of the event you are inviting each guest.
  8. Plan adventures for guests to go on, such as snorkeling or zip lining, and include the planned excursion in a welcome itinerary to be distributed to your guests upon check in to make them feel extra special.
  9. Hand written thank you notes with anecdotes of your time together will go a long way!
  10. Be considerate of the guest’s travel budget.
  11. Match your RSVP deadline with any travel contract deadlines you may have. Unlike a regular wedding, you will need to plan in advance. Clearly state the RSVP deadline on the invitation.
  12. Invite only those invited to the wedding to the shower. However, if someone tells you in advance they won’t be able to attend your destination wedding, then it is okay to invite them to the shower because the expectation has already been set.

There are so many sensitivities when you ask your family and friends to travel for your wedding, but as long as you consider them along the way, everyone will join you in paradise and have a fabulous time together.

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