How to break the news, dealing with negative reactions and getting it right from the start for you and your Invited Guests.
Not Everyone is going to be happy about a Destination Wedding. We have become a society of whingers and an Invitation to a Destination Wedding just ignites some negative vibes. Remember, this is your dream, you are swept up in the emotion of the excitement and will think your family and friends will feel the same, they are not!
You have 3 types of Destination Wedding Guests;
1. So excited they get to be with you at your Wedding and have a holiday
to Party with you.
2. The type of guests that are worried about being older to travel, the country and location and amenities, never travelled before, worried about facilities, water, food, weather.
3. The Guest who cannot afford to go or does not like to travel or cannot get time off work.
So how do we get everyone excited about your Destination Wedding? As you know, big plans are in place to make their time fun and involved, we need to have certain plans in action to combat the negatives and turn them into enthusiastic flurries of anticipation for the BIG day.
Always give plenty of time
Send out a 'Save the Date' invite to your Guests a least 1 year to 9 months before the Wedding Invitation. This allows the invited guests plenty of time to organise their finances, time off work (if able to) and to start looking at Travel arrangements early, to book that awesome deal. Your asking guests to drop everything, come to a Destination and stay longer than a couple of days, its good Etiquette to give a heads up with plenty of time. Always mention to your guests or on the invitation that they are under no obligation to attend. You understand everyone has differing situations and a Destination Wedding is not perfect for all.
Be prepared for a 50% attendance rate.
More Information the Better
Give as much information as possible. Send out your Invitations 6 months to 9 months before the Wedding and the RSVP date with 6 months out. This will give you enough time to know your numbers. Have the standard details on your invitation and include an information card/s about the Wedding. Include the Destination Wedding Planners' information and email and inform the guests that all they have to do is contact the Planner for all the Flights, Accommodation & Pricing. Let the Planner take care of your guests and their requirements, this will eliminate the you from any responsibility of payments, bookings, cancellations and relentless requests from guests.
Give details & Information of the Property/Resort/Country and requirements. It might be the Currency accepted, dress code, food, entertainment and transport. It is very important to also include certain laws that are applicable if entering another country, as this might be very IMPORTANT! More information you can give your guests, the better it is for everyone to enjoy the experience.
Activities - Pre and Post Events
The best way to ensure your Destination Wedding is enjoyed by all is get them enthused about Events that have been organised for them. A welcome drink party, to gather all your family and friends together for an 1hr or so and have some fun with it. Create a theme party, have a white party or colour theme, you can even get t-shirts made for everyone and have them printed with fun sayings that the guests can keep as a memento. Wear outrageous hats or dress to the theme of the country you are getting married in, could be tropical, Greek Gladiator/Goddess style or Hawaiian leis. Make it FUN!
A Pre Wedding Party or a Pre Rehearsal Dinner/Event can be created to bring everyone together for that one last hurrah before the wedding. A great idea is a boat cruise with food and drink or a restaurant booked. An activity that everyone can enjoy and celebrate a union of two people and their families. Offer babysitting services for Events or for the Wedding if children are invited, this takes the stress off the parents. Always add a little surprise in the guests' rooms as a Welcome gift.
After the Celebration of the Wedding day, it is a good idea to organise a post Wedding get together. Some guests may need to leave or have organised other plans. The post wedding event is to say thank you and to relax with your bestie friends and family. Wise words: try not to make it a breakfast the day after the wedding. Later evening is a better option. Guest will want to enjoy the sleep in after a long day/night partying at your wedding. Some might be feeling worse for wear and will need the recovery time.
All this information needs to be relayed to your guests. It is polite to ensure that your guests know the dates, time, dress requirements and location of each event, so they are prepared. The best way we have found to inform all your Destination Wedding Details is through a Personal Wedding Website.
It is easy and you can to update and add information as much as possible. Guests can refer back to your site at any time, you can recommend services such as Airport transfers, bus timetables, restaurant recommendations, activities nearby or tours available. Another way is to set up a Facebook Wedding Group for your guests to ask questions. Always tag in your Wedding Planner to the group to ensure everything is answered correctly.
Social Etiquette & Gifts
It is common curtesy to be social at your Destination Wedding Soirée. Guests have flown in, booked accommodation and made arrangements to be there for you. However, do not feel obligated to hang out with them all day. Make time to see all your invited guests, and thank them for taking the time to attend. Be social at your scheduled events and make time for all. They want to feel the love!
Make it known that Wedding Gift is not required. Your guests have forked out big money on flights and accommodation + to be at your wedding, more than a gift would be if you had your wedding local. But, if they insisted on a Tiffany & Co gift, who are you to say no.
Difficult Family Members/Guests
We all have them! They are at every Wedding! I see Bride's crying because Aunty was rude. or the drunk Uncle that needs a babysitter. Consider your guest list carefully. Be prepared that some guests are generally negative by nature. Destination Weddings throw up new obstacles. Hand them over to your Wedding Planner. It is easier, and less stress. Let the Planner be aware of the challenges with certain guests. Your Planner will manage the situation and be prepared. They can be your best blocker and defender when it comes to unnecessary stress. They will also guide your through and give you the calm you deserve to enjoy your wedding.
Destination Wedding Etiquette and communication is the key to a successful and enjoyable Experience for all. It has taken painstaking hours, months and years to find that right location for a "once in a lifetime" wedding. You want to ensure that everyone has a great time, you and your partner get to say "I DO" at the perfect location and is witnessed and celebrated by nearest and dearest to you.
Book that Destination Wedding, give your family and friends the holiday they deserve and spend time with the people you love the most. We all love a bit of adventure and we all want a lasting memory of a wonderful time.