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Proper wedding etiquette can be tantalizing, complex, and not “knowing the norm,” intimidating. And planning a wedding in a far away destination only adds to the anxiety with it’s own set of logistics with different rules applying when traveling is involved.
While destination weddings are exotic, adventurous, and memorable, they can also be potentially problematic. For help, tips, and ideas, we’ve come up with a top 10 destination wedding etiquette FAQ’s.
Are couples expected to pay for guests travel expenses?
The quick answer to this question is no. Typically, the bride and groom are only required to cover the ceremony and reception; including food, drinks, entertainment and wedding décor. Wedding guests pay for their own travel arrangements, however couples provide a central contact- destination wedding travel agency, to handle all bookings and reservations for the wedding group. Because destination weddings often involve 3 to 7 days of travel and celebration, couples often host additional events such as; welcome cocktail party, farewell brunch, however “hosting additional wedding events are not required,” says Teresa Stauring, from Beverly Hills, California and owner of a travel agency.
Should the wedding couple pay for travel expenses of a guest?
While helping a guest is always nice, its recommended that it be close friends or family member, who “can keep a secret.” It’s important to consider helping out others could bring on unexpected criticism by doing this, specially if you have other guests whom declined the invitation due to budget reasons. At the end of the day, the “bride and groom need to do what feels right,” adds Teresa.
When should save-the-date announcements be sent?
Generally destination weddings the more time the better – ideally 9 to 12 months before a wedding provides sufficient time for guests to schedule time off work, and reserve travel details. Don’t forget to provide information about your destination wedding wedding, however “don’t make your save-the-date announcement a brochure,” says Teresa. You’ll want to include details about your wedding via a link to your wedding website. Here you can be as detailed as needed to keep all guests up to date.
When should formal wedding invitations be sent?
Destination-wedding invites should be sent 2-3 months prior to wedding date. With formal invitations, “the emphasis is the invitation, once again don’t make it in to a brochure,” says Teresa. You’ll want to include once more your URL link only to your wedding website, where you can have information on hotel, group rates, contact name, e-mail, and number for reservations, as well as ceremony location (beach, lawn, church, ballroom, etc.) so guests wear the proper attire to wedding.
How do I manage additional event invitations?
Because destination weddings often involve several events, experts suggest creating an additional card to the formal invitation asking guests to join you on any satellite celebration; welcome cocktail party, city tour, golf outing, a night of dancing, post-wedding brunch, etc. This way, guest can save-the-event by checking off a list of activities on the card, which can then be sent back to you as a reply card. Keep in mind that pre-wedding and post-wedding events aren’t necessary, but surely appreciated by your guests.
Should the bride and groom provide a welcome gift on arrival to the destination?
What better way to show your appreciation to your guest for attending your wedding far away from home, then by providing a special token of appreciation at front desk or in room upon check-in. Give a gift that will be appreciated during their trip - a beach bag with items like sunscreen, local snacks, beach sandals, scented candles, i.e. and accompanied by a welcome note. Take the opportunity to add an itinerary of all wedding events in case your guest’s for got their list back home.
Are gifts to the couple part of a destination wedding?
The short answer is, yes. Gifts are often smaller due to travel and money spent on the trip. Many couples opt to tell their guests, “their presence alone at their wedding is their wedding gift,” opting out of wedding registries, and who wants to carry-on a blender to Cancun or back home? to avoid this let your guest know on your wedding website to send gifts directly to your home, if not living together yet select one address, brides or grooms. Other couples select a less traditional rout and create a fund-me-account or website (some call it “honey funds” where invited guest can make donations towards your trip and honeymoon).
What to say if planning an adults-only destination wedding?
Same rules apply to weddings at home as a destination wedding- the invitations should be addressed to those invited, meaning children’s names left off the invitation. Many don’t know this rule, and putting verbiage such as “adults-only” or “no children,” is frowned upon. Proper etiquette is recommended, however you can always let your invited guest know it’s an adults reception. Some couples opt for the best of both worlds, while making a wedding at an adults-only resort, they provide a family-friendly resort nearby, where friends and family traveling with kids can arrange for kids-care at hotel, while attending the adults-only wedding.
What are the rules for wedding websites, Facebook or Twitter, etc.?
Social media etiquette rules continue to change and evolve, however the rule of thumb is grace and tact at all times, even on the web. A great suggestion is to keep parts of the planning off all media entirely, instead create a private group. Who want’s their family drama and other issues in public? Besides this, it’s wise to not announce on the web when you or your guests will be out of town.
What are other considerations should I have on a destination wedding?
Be aware and courteous about finances. Understand that some guests will decline due to financial reasons. Select a resort and destination that fit not only your budget, but also most guests in your wedding party or provide a more affordable hotel option nearby. Secure a room-block with your destination wedding travel agency in the US, thus securing more affordable accommodations. Select a destination which will not kill-to-get-there with terrible connecting flights- opting with destinations that offer several direct flights from major US cities. Travel glitches sometimes occur, so it’s recommended to not have important wedding events scheduled near travel arrival times.