Throwing a typical domestic wedding has its slew of do's and don'ts. Cutting the cake, sending out invitations, and even the bouquet toss has a few cultural norms. When it comes to planning your destination wedding, it can be hard to know what is the destination wedding etiquette. Here are some things to keep in mind as you're putting together your destination wedding.
Must-Dos For Your Destination Wedding
Because you generally aren't a native in the country where you have your destination wedding, etiquette can feel tricky. But simplifying it down to the bare bones can make it much more manageable. Here are some must-dos for your destination wedding.
The First Do: Invite Early
Invitations for destination weddings require the right timing. Give your guests plenty of time to plan for their trip, but not too much that it's forgotten. Generally, six months in advance should give them adequate time to make travel arrangements and book flights without breaking the bank.
Invitations for a destination wedding should be sent further in advance than a domestic wedding so that you can get a guest count much earlier. You don’t want to be booking and paying for a venue without knowing how many people will come.
Make the Decision—Do You Pay for Guests' Travel?
The short answer to this one? Not necessarily. However, some couples choose to cover a portion of their guests' travel expenses as a sign of appreciation for attending the event. If you do plan on covering any costs, be sure to make it clear in the invitation.
Be sure to also provide your guests with all the necessary information they need to book their trip. That includes things like flight information, hotel recommendations, and group discounts. Be sure to include details about passport requirements, travel health insurance if needed, transportation from the airport to the wedding venue, and more.
Do Transport Your Dress With Care
As a bride-to-be, one of the biggest questions on your mind is how to travel with your wedding dress! When it comes to international trips, you have the added challenge of getting through customs and security.
The best way to transport your dress is in a garment bag with ample padding. One of the best fail-safe things you can do is to pack your wedding dress in your carry-on—in the unfortunate case your other luggage is lost, you can carry on with your wedding.
Do Study Up On Local Customs
Having a destination wedding means jumping through some international hoops and adhering to local rules and customs. This means doing some research into the culture of your wedding destination and gaining an understanding of their beliefs, traditions, and destination wedding etiquette.
For example, in many Latin American countries, they have a tradition of throwing grain or rice over the bride and groom as they exit the ceremony. By studying up on your country of choice, you can implement some of the country's traditions and etiquette—while creating an unforgettable memory for you and your guests.
Things to Avoid:
While there are some must-dos for your destination wedding etiquette, there are also some practices to avoid.
While hosting a destination wedding makes it easier for your guests to travel with you, it doesn't mean that you should invite everyone and their siblings. When you are putting together your guest list, be sure to keep it small and focused.
Also, remember to be understanding of those who can’t attend. You don’t want people to feel obligated to come simply because you invited them. If they can’t make it, that's okay—it doesn't mean they don’t love or support you.
Don't Expect Large Gifts
It's also important to remember that your guests may not have the same budget as they would if they were attending a more local event. Many of them likely paid their way to get to your destination wedding, and larger gifts are probably out of the question.
It’s best to avoid expecting large gifts from your guests and instead focus on the incredible experience of your destination wedding.
Your Destination Wedding Etiquette Tutor: Destination Inspiration
Doing all the research on your own while wedding dress shopping, gathering addresses, and picking out your international location might feel like far too much juggling for a bride-to-be. With the expertise of Destination Inspiration, you can relax and know that your destination wedding is in good hands.
With over 30 years of combined experience planning weddings and events, Destination Inspiration can help you plan your dream destination wedding. From choosing a location to helping you figure out your guests’ travel documents, our expert team will help you cross all the t's and dot your i's. Book a free consultation with Destination Inspiration today!