10 Etiquette Tips for Destination Weddings

If you’re dreaming of having your wedding in an exotic or out-of-town locale, you’ve probably thought about the challenges of planning, logistics, and the trickiest part – etiquette.

Delegate weighs in on the most common destination wediquette questions, so you can have a worry-free, romantic getaway.

  1. I want an intimate beach wedding, but my fiancé wants a grand ceremony and celebration. How do we compromise?

A destination wedding often includes cost and time away from work, so that usually means some guests will decline. To manage your dilemma, we suggest moving forward with a smaller guestlist for the out-of-town wedding and hosting a reception for the rest of your friends and family back home.

  1. What should we consider when choosing a location for the wedding?

If you’re not set on just one location for the wedding, make it easier for your guests by factoring in some considerations. Try surveying the most important people – your parents, besties and other VIPS – if they can make it to the chosen location and date. When you get their thumbs-up, try to avoid prime travel dates as much as possible to avoid high cost of travel.

  1. How long before the wedding should we send invitations?

Do send save-the-dates at least 6 months before the wedding to give your guests time to plan properly. This will give them enough time to get the best airfares and schedule their leaves. Many airlines also have discounts for big groups; it’s thoughtful to arrange one for your guests. 

  1. What information should go into the invite?

Many couples opt to create a wedding website for destination weddings. This allows them to put as much detailed information as they can. Either way, these are basic information that your guests will need:

  • Lodging options, with different price ranges
  • Transportation options, such as a car rental or public transport schedules
  • The dress code and a list of things they will need (such as boots or shawl if the weather is cold)
  • The list of events, such as a pre-wedding dinner or rehearsal 
  1. Should we still send invites to those who said they can’t go?

By all means! This is a thoughtful way to tell them that they are an important part of their union. A thoughtful text or call to tell them that you still sent an invite, but are accepting their regrets, is a good follow-up too. Moreover, plans change, and those who said they can’t attend may end up going.

  1. Which of the entourage’s expenses are we expected to pay for?

This is probably the biggest concern that hounds couples. The hard and fast rule is that the couples should spend for all expenses within the wedding festivities. In most cases, that would include a welcome dinner, a rehearsal or pre-wedding dinner, the wedding reception itself, and a brunch the day after.

  1. Do we have to pay for our guests’ plane flights and/or hotel rooms if we’re having a destination wedding?

You’re not obligated pay for your guests’ travel expenses, such as plane tickets, transportation to the venue, accommodation and any meals and activities that are not part of the wedding festivities. Of course, if you can offset some of their expenses, it would be thoughtful to do so. Try arranging for their airport pickup, treating them to daily breakfast or organising a tour around the vicinity.

  1. How do we politely tell guests that we’re not paying for their hotel rooms?

Include a line to clarify this in your invitation, followed accommodation options with different price ranges. Something like “We’ve done some research on where you can stay in this beautiful locale, and we hope we’ve found some that will fit your price range,” will help avoid misunderstandings. You can end this section on an upbeat note by mentioning that you’re treating them to several dinners, or that their presence alone is their wedding gift to you.

  1. We’d like to manage our budget. What is the best way to inform guests that they are not welcome to bring a plus-one or their children to your reception?

Be specific in your invitations. Writing down individual names, without including their children or “and family” on it, should make this clear. If someone RSVPs with an uninvited guest, it’s completely acceptable to contact them and explain that the size of your venue, or your budget, won’t allow you to add extra people to the guest list.

  1. What are the best ways to make guests feel we appreciate their presence?

There are several thoughtful ways to do this:

  • Arrange for their pick-up and the airport.
  • Have the front desk greet guests at check-in with a cool or hot beverage, depending on your location.
  • Stock guest’s rooms with goodies, such as water or snacks, sunscreen and insect repellent (for the beach) and a guidebook for the venue.

(Image Credit: Destination Wedding, Invitation Card, Care Package)

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