For many couples, there's nothing more romantic than getting married surrounded by family and friends in some far-out location, whether it be a tropical beach or a foreign land with colorful and historic architecture. Destination weddings have become very popular, but there are several considerations that need to be taken into account. Any couple planning such a wedding needs to check out our destination wedding etiquette tips to ensure the highest turnout of guests attending, as well as the comfort and safety of all involved.
Traveling abroad can have its dangers for just about anyone, but depending on the area, there may be more dangers than others. Part of destination wedding etiquette is making sure that not only you are safe, but your guests are as well. These tips will help you plan the perfect wedding of your dreams!
- Thoroughly research the destination before booking. Research is key to a successful wedding, especially one that is overseas or in some far off land. You'll want to ensure that the destination chosen is safe for all guests, so you'll want to research political issues. If that particular area is not fond of women or people of a certain race, then it may not be the best choice for your guests to attend and feel comfortable. If you're looking at a tropical getaway, are you planning a wedding during their top storm season? All of this needs to be considered, as it could sway your guests' attendance as well as possibly affect the wedding on the big day. Check for accessibility as well, especially if you have guests who will need wheelchair ramps, special access, etc. If your destination doesn't have this, it can really upset your guests and make them feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. Finally, check for any travel warnings that may have been issued lately for that area. That'll give you an idea of if you would feel comfortable taking your whole family there or if another destination is a better choice.
- Start with the guest list. Before choosing a destination, finalize your guest list, and then run through them and see if everyone would be able to attend. Of course, you can't satisfy everyone, but if there are key factors missing or key details that would make the majority of them be unable to attend, then you'll need to consider having a smaller wedding. A good way to look at this is the grandma test as well. Between the flight, a taxi ride, and then the resort itself, is this a trip that older relatives and friends would be able to get through comfortably or even just feasibly? If not, it may not be the best choice for your wedding.
- Consider finances. Not all of your friends may be in the same financial situation, and if your best friend is struggling with finances, but you can't imagine getting married without her, then you may have to consider not choosing a destination wedding. Between the hotel and plane tickets, on top of the regular extra prices of being in the wedding, it can get very expensive to attend a destination wedding, and if the majority of your guests are not financially prepared for such a wedding, it may be a much smaller even than you originally planned on. If your main focus is on the guests in attendance, considering a closer destination may be a good idea.
- Look at tourism season for the area. If you have different sight-seeing events planned, make sure that the sights are open at that time. There is nothing worse than flying over to a new country, just to find that it's off season and the museums are closed. Or to find that it's so crowded, you can barely get through the door. Try to find the right balance, and book any tours ahead of time rather than waiting until the last minute.
- Send invitations early. That's right, you'll have to give your guests even more time to prepare for this wedding, which means a bit more legwork at the beginning for you. The standard timeline doesn't apply for destination weddings, since you'll need to give your guests time to research the best airlines as well as look at the different resort options offered, not to mention check their finances and plans. Finally, for international destinations, they may need to apply for passports, never assume that everyone has one.
- Use a travel agent. Make this wedding less stressful on everyone by using a travel agent and having them do most of the arrangements for your guests. They will also be able to find different deals and discounts on group room rates, as well as set up the different excursions.
- Be upfront about all costs ahead of time. The last thing you need to do is dump unexpected expenses on your guests, so make sure they are aware of everything they'll need to pay for during the wedding weekend.
These are just a few of the common destination wedding etiquette tips. Of course, everything depends on the couple, but if you decide a destination wedding is the right choice, try to think of your guests and how difficult it will be to get themselves and their family over there for the ceremony.