Destination weddings are a great way to make your big day even more memorable. Whether you decide on an intimate ceremony or a big vacation bash, planning a destination wedding means handling a few extra hassles compared to a typical wedding.
One important thing you’ll need to do is learn the etiquette of inviting guests. From giving advanced notice to helping with travel arrangements, here’s what you need to know to make sure you’re being as courteous as possible to friends and family members.
1. Send Save-the-Dates Further in Advance
Unlike invitations, save-the-dates aren’t necessarily a requirement. However, they serve a very important role for your guests.
For local weddings, a save-the-date gives your guests a chance to do any pre-planning for which they may need extra time. Those traveling in from out of town, even if it’s a short distance, may want to book a hotel room. Others may need to ask for time off work or make childcare arrangements.
But when you’re having a destination wedding, save-the-dates become even more important. Your guests need to take vacation time and book important travel arrangements, like flights and hotels. While save-the-dates for local weddings can be sent out six to eight months before the big day, you should bump that up to nine to 12 months before your destination wedding.
The sooner, the better, as it will give your guests plenty of time to make the right arrangements, rather than rushing to do so at the last minute. For some guests, the extra time is also a great chance to save up money for the unexpected travel they’ll be doing.
Don’t worry about having all the details in place for your big day planned before sending your save-the-dates. You can opt for simple save-the-date photo cards with a travel theme that lets guests know the date and location of your big day, without times or other details that you may not have nailed down quite yet.
2. Consider Choosing a Travel Agent
When you’re trying to coordinate travel arrangements for a large group of guests, it’s easy to get buried in the details.
Even if your guests are booking their own travel or hotel accommodations, getting the information they need, like how to get from the airport to the hotel or letting them know what types of rooms may be available at the resort, may wind up taking up more of your time than planning the actual wedding.
To make this step easier for everyone, consider picking a travel agent to help. Travel agents are typically paid by the airline or resort that you’re booking, so this feature won’t cost your guests. But you can make sure the agent understands all the details of your big day, like which hotels are nearby and what time guests would need to arrive. Then, your agent can help make sure each individual or family gets the hotel, flights, and other arrangements they need to be booked.
3. Be Clear About What is and Isn’t Covered
When you’re planning a destination wedding, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking your big day is a welcome vacation for everyone. But while any guests who attend are certain to have a great time, it’s important to remember getting there may be more of a financial burden for some compared to others.
To avoid any awkward misunderstandings during your wedding getaway, make sure you’re clear from the start about what will and won’t be covered by the happy couple or their parents. Let guests know if they’ll need to pay for their hotel stay, travel accommodations once they get to the wedding destination, meals, and other costs. That way, they can plan ahead for them.
Planning a Destination Wedding
As with any kind of wedding, planning a destination wedding isn’t without its challenges. But by learning the ins and outs of destination wedding etiquette, like sending save-the-dates well in advance, being clear about what costs are covered, and offering a little extra help with planning travel arrangements, you can make sure there’s nothing standing in the way of your friends and family members celebrating alongside you on your big day!