Yes, wedding etiquette is a thing. For the uninitiated, wedding etiquette is the customary code of polite behavior one needs to follow in weddings. Following wedding etiquette is tough enough as some rules are old-fashioned, complex and not necessarily intuitive. Add to the mix a destination wedding and you have a whole new set of logistics! However, before you plan your dream destination wedding, you might want to consider the etiquette surrounding such a huge commitment.
If you’re looking for the inside scoop on etiquette for your upcoming destination wedding and you don’t want to thumb through a novel’s worth of information, here’s a quick guide to help you out!
1. Do you need to pay for your wedding party’s travel and accommodation?
Here’s some great news! You aren’t required to foot the bill for your wedding party’s travel and stay. That being said, it would be great if you could tell your guests about your destination wedding plans much in advance so they don’t have to wait till the end moment to book their flight tickets and shell out a bomb on airfare. Also, you could arrange for mass bookings for their stay at a resort so they can avail the Resort Group Contract Benefits. These contracts entitle guests to many fabulous deals like discounted luxury accommodation and complimentary nights of stay which everyone can enjoy.
2. So, if not for your wedding party’s travel and accommodation, what are you required to pay for?
According to the destination wedding rule-book, the wedding couple is only required to pay for the ceremony and reception. This would of course include food, drinks, entertainment and décor. Because most destination weddings span over three to seven days, couples often host additional events such as welcome parties and farewell brunches. However, these are not a requirement. Some couples also treat their guests to water sports or a spa. Again, these are additional activities that the bride and groom can decide on if their budget
3. Is it okay to have a small destination wedding and throw a reception for one and all once you’re back home?
Yes, that’s absolutely fine! If you’re planning to have a beach wedding or tie the knot with your partner at a ski resort, you’ll have to narrow your guest list down to anywhere between 75-100 people. Whether it’s due to the size of your venue or how many guests you are comfortable spending on, you can always opt for an intimate destination wedding and have a reception for the rest of your family and friends once you’re back home.
4. When is it ideal to send your save-the-date announcements?
The timing of your save-the-date announcement will depend upon the distance and accessibility of your destination. This is because traveling to a faraway location takes more time to plan as compared to a three-hour road-trip. It’s always smarter and safer to send out your save-the-date announcements as soon as you confirm the details. Letting your guests know about your upcoming destination wedding nine to twelve months in advance is ideal as it provides them with ample time to schedule travel plans and take time off work. Also, make sure you include a link to your wedding website on your save-the-date so guests know what to expect and also so they can prepare accordingly.
5. What all needs to be included on the invitation?
You might opt for fancy invites (you can read our blog on fancy invitations for destination weddings here), but make sure you convey important information as your guests are bound to have a lot of questions since they are preparing to join you out of town. Make sure your invitation includes the weekend itinerary like the date, time and location of each event. If you have any additional activities
like water sports or a spa day planned for your guests, let them know through your invitation. This will not only raise their enthusiasm, but it will also let them know if they need to carry anything extra to the destination. If you want, your invitation can also include the map of the location and places your guests must visit and restaurants they must try! Remember, the more information you provide, the better their experience will be.
6. Are welcome gifts mandatory?
Your guests are probably taking time off from work and disrupting their schedule just to be with you on your big day. What’s more? They are also shelling out a large sum to live the experience with you. When guests arrive at the end of a long journey, it’s gracious and thoughtful to have a little gift waiting for them in their room or at the front desk (you can read about hamper ideas for your guests here). This could be a tote filled with local snacks or a beach bag filled with sunscreen and bottled water. Along the gift, you can also include a brief itinerary of wedding events.
7. Should you have a wedding website?
While having a wedding website is not mandatory, it is best to create one. If you don’t want uninvited guests to take offence to a barrage of your wedding information, keep your wedding planning restricted to a wedding website. Even when online, aim for grace and tact at all times. It is smart to keep parts of your wedding off social media entirely. You don’t want personal issues or family drama to find its way on any public forum. You wedding website can include information about lodging options, public transit schedules, registry info, child-care issues, where to send gifts etc.
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Weddings can get tricky as you don’t want to hurt important people whilst planning your big day. It is therefore smart to be honest at all times.