We want to have a small destination wedding but then celebrate with friends and family back home. Is that ok?
That sounds amazing! Lots of couples are choosing to keep their destination weddings to immediate family for a much smaller gathering; however, you can invite all your friends and family to join you for a back home reception! Whether you choose a more formal celebration or a backyard BBQ, well, that is up to you! Just remember some people will be upset they were not invited, and if you do not invite them to the wedding, sending them an invite saying hey we are married, might not work in your favour with some of your friends and/or family.
Should I do a site visit?
If you can swing it, we highly suggest you visit your destination venue – better yet, if you hire a Destination
Wedding Planner, they can do it for you, in some cases, they already know the venue. Just one of the perks of having someone local to your destination be your wedding planner.
Do we need Save The Dates and/or Formal invites?
Save the Dates are a great way to let guests know that you are planning a Destination Wedding. With Destination Wedding etiquette, you need to give your guests, as much time as possible to plan. That means sending Save the Dates (STDs) as soon as you know you are saying I do from afar. Really a year out is best. Include date, destination, and next steps for your guest. Most couples put their travel agent’s contact and a wedding website for more details. Stick to the basics and you can always send out a newsletter or informational packet closer to wedding time. Your travel agent and/or wedding planner can help with this.
Should we host a welcome party?
Of course! Guests have traveled near and far and maybe have not all met. There is nothing like a good welcome, to start the wedding off right. Work with your onsite coordinator and wedding planner to plan this event, most plans in the Caribbean have a complimentary reception option you could use for this event. Throw in a few cocktails and fire dancers, and you are off to a memorable time.
Do we have to pay for our guests or the wedding party’s travel and accommodations?
Would you pay for them back home? Here is the thing: whether you are getting married in a small town back home or in Rio de Janeiro, some guests would still have to fly in and find somewhere to stay, so you are not obligated to foot the bill. It is just an invite. It is their choice to come, with that said, try to get them the best possible deal and keep in mind if you want certain people there, then you might want to change the time of year, destination, and/or venue.
Should we allow kids or make it Adult-Only?
Do not feel obligated to allow kids; this is your wedding and vacation. It is fine to let guests know it's okay to bring their kids, but you will not be providing childcare services or planning extra activities for them. Let guests know upfront on the Save the Dates, invites, and wedding website. Clearly state your policy early.
What about gifts?
We say if you get a few, great! But remember it is a destination wedding and all your friends and family are spending a lot of money to be there with you. It can be expensive, so do not make it imperative for gifts to be the center of attention. Keep it simple and go virtual. Throw a link or two on your site, maybe create a honeymoon registry (Honey fund is our favourite) for those who may not be able to attend, and call it a day. In addition, who wants to be toting tons of gifts home from their destination? Think extra baggage fees and headaches.