Weddings in quaint European towns and the exotic Caribbean are no longer a novelty. Many brides and grooms are packing their bags, and getting married in attractive locations far away from home. Nevertheless, it is a fact that while these weddings are possible, they involve more long-distance and detailed planning than weddings near home.
It is not only the couple, but also the guests at the wedding who have to make allowances to attend a destination wedding. As it is far from home, there will be lot of things to consider. From paperwork to aero plane tickets and accommodation, there are many factors to consider.
Since these weddings involve travel, the rules and expectations are slightly different than in the case of a regular wedding. Let us find out what these are today!
1.Be prepared for a smaller and more intimate wedding
It is highly unlikely that all the people on your guest list can practically attend your wedding, when it is held far away from where they stay. If you have a large friend and family group, narrowing down your guest list can be difficult. However, it becomes necessary when you consider the expenses involved. Be reasonable with your expectations when you invite people. The entire scenario is different when you ask someone to travel for a wedding. Not everyone may have the time or the finances to make this long trip. So, when you decide to have a wedding far away, prepare to be satisfied with a small and intimate wedding with the people who matter most in your life. You can always host a reception once you are back, and include all your friends and family in it. This way, they get a chance to be involved in the wedding without having to travel. All the same, this is in no way compulsory. If you are satisfied with celebrating your wedding with just those who attended it, keep it that way.
2.Send out save-the-dates earlier than is usual
Planning a destination wedding is complicated, and you may not be certain of all the details of the wedding till much later. Even so, you should inform your guests of your plans well in advance, so they can plan accordingly. Attending a destination wedding is comparable to planning a holiday—in terms of money involved and time off work. So, the earlier you provide information, the more convenient it will be for your guests to attend. Anywhere between 4 to 8 months before the wedding, is a good time to send your save-the-dates. Include all that you know at the time, particularly the date and location. Take care to highlight the date on the RSVP, so you can plan your final guest list and confirm the rest of the arrangements based on the number of attendees. If you are very particular about having certain people in your wedding, check their availability prior to planning the wedding date. This way, you can avoid disappointment if they have constraints that do not allow them to travel to your wedding. Once you finalize your plans, don’t delay sending out the invitations. Destination wedding invitations should be more detailed than the customary wedding invitation, as your guests need to know much more to plan and budget their trip.
3.Wedding websites are your best friend
When you plan a destination wedding, your guests will usually prefer to find out as much as they can to make their trip easier. Since a wedding invitation for what it can hold, then use your wedding website for the rest. Include anything and everything your guests should be aware of, on your wedding website. Provide links to places where they can find accommodation, the weather at the time of your wedding, any dress requirements that they should be aware of, what they should carry and transportation options they have. Also share all the details of the wedding program, so they can carry all that they need to attend it. You could also go further and add some information on the local attractions, as it is likely that your guests will want to tour the place. Since you will anyway be seeking all this information out for yourself, do your guests a favor by sharing it with them. Since websites allow you to organize and provide all this information in a streamlined format, your guests will have no trouble finding what they want to know. They will also appreciate your effort in helping them plan their trip so well.
4.It isn’t considerate to guilt your guests into attending
It is your wedding, and you deserve to be happy. Nonetheless, this shouldn’t be at the expense of making someone unhappy or miserable. If an important person in your friends or relative’s circle is unable to attend, don’t pressurize them too far. Remember that the case would be entirely different if you were having your wedding closer to where you stay. Consider the different logistics that they have to work out, financial constraints they may have, or how impossible it is for them to travel so far and take time off work. So, be reasonable with your expectations and life will be a lot easier for everyone. Be understanding of those who can’t attend and answer “No” to your invitation. This is why it may be a good idea to hold a reception party later, when all those who couldn’t participate in the actual wedding, get a chance to congratulate you.
5.Everyone at the engagement party and whoever receives a save-the-date receives an invitation too
Whether your save-the-date RSVP says Yes or No, the addressee is eligible for a formal wedding invitation. The same goes for the guests at your engagement party. This is one area where traditional wedding invitation etiquette applies. Even if your guests have confirmed that they won’t make it to your wedding, they still deserve a formal invitation. Some couples worry whether sending an invitation to someone who won’t be coming, is like they are fishing for gifts. It isn’t! The guest you send the save-the-date card to, might in fact feel ignored or slighted if they do not receive a follow-up invitation to the wedding. Things may also change along the way, and if they find a way to make it to the wedding, they may be disappointed when they do not receive an invitation. The other way you could handle it, is to send an invite to the reception you will host later, if they confirm they won’t be attending the wedding. So, if you have an engagement party, make sure that you choose the guest list properly, so that it will only have those people who will be invited to the wedding as well.
6.Your wedding dress should be low-fuss, easy to transport and manage
Wedding dresses are yards of fabric, delicately and intricately woven into splendid designs. Most of the traditional style wedding dresses are heavy, and may easily crinkle or look shabby if handled too much. If there are too many embellishments on it, over-handling can displace stones or crystals and ruin the overall look. These factors make it important to choose a wedding dress that is practical to transport. You will have to carry your wedding dress in your hand luggage when you board the aircraft. So, it should be a dress that is possible to stow away in the overheard luggage compartment or be hung above your seat. Once you are at the location, you may have to steam the dress to get rid of wrinkles and creases. So, it should also be made from fabric that can be ironed easily and not be damaged. Dresses in light, breathable fabric with just the necessary amount of embellishments are your best bet. Uncomplicated gowns without too many layers are practical to be transported and restored to its original look after the long journey to your destination. Dresses from collections such as the Mori Lee Voyage bring you plenty of options that will be perfect for a dream wedding away from home. Here is a sample.
This beautiful Mori Lee 6784 in poetic lace is a dress perfect for a vintage style wedding in an exotic location. The slim silhouette is formed of light layers that hold their shape during handling and the minimal embellishments reduce your risk of damaging the gown.
7.Your guests and wedding party will appreciate it if you offset some of the expenses
You are in no way obligated to foot the expenses for any of the factors that are normally paid for by your guests or bridal party. So, destination wedding or not, your guests will have to arrange for accommodation, bridesmaids will pay for their dresses and the wedding guests have to find their way to the venue. Nevertheless, if you have the funds to help with some of their expenses, like the accessories for bridesmaids or transportation on the day of the wedding, it would be very helpful for them. You could consider hiring a van or arranging a cab to pick your guests up from the airport, to transport them to their hotels. Or you could sponsor a guided tour on a day they are there, and we are sure your guests will love you for the thoughtful arrangement. Another thing you could do is to sponsor breakfast on the days they are there. It will be one meal they don’t have to pay for, and also allows everyone to meet and get together ahead of the wedding.
8.You can still register for gifts
Don’t think twice about registering for gifts. The people at your wedding will be spending a lot of extra money to make it to your wedding venue. Nevertheless, they will still want to gift you something to remember them by. The others who are unable to attend your wedding may also like to gift you, since it is a wedding after all! So, do set up a wedding registry. The only thing to remember is that your registry should contain affordable gifts of different prices. This way, your guests will have plenty of options. It will also take the burden off them to buy an expensive gift, after they’ve spent so much money to attend your wedding.
9.Your guests will appreciate it if you help them find cheap travel and accommodation deals
Air tickets are expensive, and so are hotel bookings. While this is on the cards when your guests agree to attending your destination wedding, you can still do a little in helping them along the way. The first thing you can do is to choose off-season wedding dates, so the entire transport and stay will be much cheaper. You could also research bulk airline booking discounts and hotel stay discounts that will lighten their expenses. If you inform an airline that there will be a group of people traveling together to your wedding, it is likely that they will offer you a discount. If you do your hotel reservations in advance, you may be able to block a set of rooms for a lower price and help your guests this way too.
Destination weddings have their pros and cons, just like every other wedding. Despite all the difficulties of planning and getting people to attend it, it is a unique, one-of-a-kind wedding that you should consider if you can afford it. The memories of getting married in an exotic location with the people you love the most, is definitely worth it.
So, if you have a destination wedding in mind, come visit us on Best for Bride and check out how we can help you nail your wedding vision. From the ideal wedding dresses to vendors and everything else you need for your wedding day, we can help you make your planning a big success.