If you’ve set your sights on a destination wedding, you might want to pump the brakes before you start packing your bags.

Destination weddings are fun, but they come with a different set of responsibilities than a traditional wedding. Take a look at our dos and don’ts to ensure your destination wedding sets sail!

 

DO  visit your destination before you book anything.

 

You absolutely want to visit your venue before you write that check. Pictures and phone conversations will never do the space justice, and you want to make sure the venue has exactly what you need and is exactly how you envision it.  You should also visit your ceremony location and hotel accommodations before you give a final stamp of approval.

 

DON’T  procrastinate.

 

Your guests need time to make hotel and lodging plans, so you want to book your vendors earlier than you would if you stayed local. You should also send save the dates six months ahead of time and invitations 3 months out to give guests ample planning time. 

You also might want to consider hiring a wedding planner who is based at your destination to help you secure reputable and reliable vendors and take care of some of the legwork you’re unable to complete from a distance.  

 

DO  check with close friends and family before setting a date.

 

You need to check with important family members and essential bridesmaids and groomsmen before you set the date to ensure 1) that they can make the date and 2) that they are willing and able to travel to your destination. While a destination wedding might be your dream, it isn’t always doable for everyone else. 

 

DON’T  ask guests to break the bank. 

 

If you can help your guests make the trip more affordable (and less stressful)  in any way, consider doing so. 

Negotiate hotel deals and/or choose hotels at different price points to help make their stay less expensive. And while you don’t need to pay for guests’ accommodations, you might consider renting a house for family and/or the bridal party. Also, if you have group meals, pick up the tab a few times. 

You might also want to create welcome baskets for your guests that include simple items such as bottles of water, snacks, maps of the area, notepads and pens. You can also go the extra mile by arranging for airport pickup and shuttle transportation to activities. 

 

DO  provide as much information as possible. 

 

Unlike traditional a wedding invitations, destination wedding etiquette states that you need to give your guests a lot of information. In addition to your actual invitation, you’ll want to send an information card outlining any events you’ve planned, such as a welcome dinner or rehearsal, so guests know how long to be in town. Include the date, time and location of each event, as well as your contact information. You’ll also want to provide lodging details, as well as information on how to obtain a discount. 

 

DON’T  expect as many guests to attend.

 

A destination wedding is more difficult to attend than a local one as guests will likely need to take time off work and take on more expenses. Keep in mind that only about 50% of invited guests will attend a destination wedding. Remember to be understanding of those who decline, and don’t make anyone feel obligated to attend. 

 

DO  offer babysitting services.

 

Many families like to turn a destination wedding into a family vacation to maximize their time. Be aware of this when planning your activities. And if you don’t want children at the reception, coordinate babysitting services for your guests. 

 

DON’T  neglect your guests.

You need to pay more attention to your guests during a destination wedding. They have traveled just to be with you! Try to arrange a central meeting place, such as breakfast, each day, where guests can mingle and plan their itinerary. You should also host a welcome dinner to greet your guests and allow them to get acquainted with each other. 

While you don’t need to arrange activities every day, it is a nice touch. Or you could provide guests with a list of things to do in the area and local restaurant recommendations. 

Planning a destination wedding? Talk to the experts at Sound Precision Entertainment about how we can help make your experience one-of-a-kind. For more information, contact us at (216) 870-4513 or scott@spedj.com. 

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