According to etiquette, a bride and groom planning a destination wedding are expected to pay for a welcome party, rehearsal dinner, wedding reception and breakfast/ brunch after the wedding. It is considered as polite to also organise a fun activity for the guests such as a guided tour, wine tasting or excursion and cover the transport from the airport to the hotel as well as to the wedding venue on the day. While the bride and groom are not obliged to pay for the accommodation for all of their guests, the couple should cover accommodation for their bridesmaids and groomsmen.
The wedding guests should pay for their plane ticket, accommodation and any food, drinks or activities which are not part of the wedding celebration. If there are some important guests who cannot afford to pay for their flight, the bride and groom should cover their travelling expenses.
You should be considerate to your guests and try to make the journey as pleasant as possible. Search for good flight deals and group discounts (many travel agents will offer discounts for large group bookings), offer various accommodation options ranging from lower to higher end prices and don't forget to pamper your guests when they arrive. Stocking their rooms with wine, snacks, maps, a lit of things to do etc is a nice touch they will definitely appreciate!
Even though the guests invited to a destination wedding have a lot of costs to cover, they are still expected to provide gifts for the newly-weds. Couples can set up a wedding registry at their favourite stores, or let the guests choose presents themselves. Registering with travelling agencies is a novel tradition, and it is a great solution for couples who don’t need traditional presents and would rather guests contribute to the couples dream honeymoon. If you think that buying gifts is too much to expect from your guests you can skip the registry altogether and inform your guests of your no-gifts policy.
To thank your guests for coming to your destination wedding, giving them a little something in return is a nice gesture. It should be something a little more elaborate than a simple wedding bomboniere/favour, so why not opt for a welcome goodie bag inspired by your destination filled with useful things that your giests can use during thier stay.
Save-the-date cards for a destination wedding should be sent earlier than normal as your guests might need to let work know they will be away and depending on your desintation guests may need to start saving money. Save-the-dates should be delivered 8 to 6 months prior to the wedding and include more details than the ordinary save-the-dates. You need to inform your guests on the exact dates and other important details which they need to know in advance.
Your formal wedding invitations should be sent 4-3 months before the big day and preferably include all the information about transportation, accommodation and any events in the lead up to wedding day or the day following the wedding. Allow your guests some time to send you the RSVP because they will probably need to do a lot of planning and calculating just like you.
Your guests need to have all the information on your planned events, transport and accommodation options. These might be included on a separate card included with the formal wedding invitation, or even upload it on your wedding website. You might need to also provide maps and information on tourist attractions, local climate and other useful details, so publishing all this online can be the best solution. Your website should also contain information on the dress code and the gift registry, and the link to the website should be provided on the invitation card. (You can create your own wedding website by becoming a My Bride's Diary member).
Some couples love wedding festivities and prefer to spend every moment with their friends and family, while others like to have some time off and have a little celebration just for the two of them. It isn’t against etiquette rules to have a short break, whether it be an outdoor lunch or a romantic dinner at a nice restaurant, picnic in a secluded area, or even a short excursion to a nearby island, a cruising trip or a hot air balloon ride. To make sure your guests are entertained while you are spending time with each other, offer them a range of activities to choose from such as guided tours or spa treatments.
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