7 Questions to Help You Know Destination Wedding Etiquettes


Destination weddings are often an exotic and highly memorable choice for new couples, but they do come with some extra difficulties. Most destination weddings require their own set of rules, planning guidelines and etiquette to follow. This article will explain some proper destination wedding etiquettes for reference.

Destination Wedding Etiquette 101

When to Send Save the Date Cards

Save the date cards should be sent out as soon as you have your date set and venue chosen. Your save the date cards will allow your guest to begin making travel arrangements and plan for time off from work. Save the date cards are vital for destination weddings and need to be sent out ahead of the formal invitations.

What About Invitation?

The formal invitation should be sent out around 8 to 12 weeks prior to the wedding date. This time frame is typically the same for traditional weddings, but your destination wedding invitation will include slightly more important information. You should try to include details about the location, the venue, the resort you are staying at, room and flight bookings, as well as any excursions or activities you have planned during their stay. Any expense that is being covered by the couple or the family should also be included in the details. Within the invitations cards, you will also want to supply them with a RSVP card with a clear date for when you need the RSVP returned by.

Who Should Be Invited?

When it comes to destination wedding etiquette for whom to invite, the rules that you would use for inviting guests to a local wedding can be ignored. With local weddings, you feel more obligated to invite a number of guests like your boss, parent's friends, coworkers and such, which can include people you do not particularly want at the wedding. The guest list for a destination wedding tends to be limited to close friends and family, which is completely acceptable and understandable.

Who Pays for What?

This is one area that can get slightly confusing. These are some simple guidelines to consider when it comes to the wedding costs. Guest invited to attend the wedding will usually cover their hotel and transportation costs, as well as any additional activities and meals they plan around the wedding. For members of the bridal party in most cases, the bride and groom's family will cover the hotel arrangements for the bridesmaids and groomsmen. The bridal party is responsible for paying for their formal attire, travel arrangements, hair or nail appointments and any other activities and meals not a part of the wedding events. Traditionally, the bride's family will also cover the payments for the ceremony and the reception, and the groom's family will traditionally cover the costs for the rehearsal dinner.

Are Gifts Also Expected?

It is commonplace for all couples to do a gift registry, but some couples who plan a destination wedding may feel uncomfortable asking for gifts as well from their guests. If you do not plan on doing a gift registry, you will want to make sure your guest are aware of this by either including it in the invitation or on your wedding website. For couples choosing to do a gift registry, it is proper destination wedding etiquette to have a wide range of prices in your gift selection. When doing a gift registry, take following into consideration:

  • You can forgo the gift registry and instead create a "honey funds". This is a way for your friends and family member to make a donation that will be put towards your dream honeymoon.

  • You may want to reconsider doing a gift registry if you only invited a select few guests or if this is a second marriage.

How to Arrange Reception After Destination Wedding

Usually, your honeymoon can begin after your destination wedding ceremony. So what about the wedding reception? It can be a great idea to consider having some kind of wedding reception once you return home. This is a fantastic way for you to celebrate with all guest who were unable to attend the destination wedding. This wedding reception can be a small and intimate get together with casual attire or can be a grand and formal affair. You should mention the after destination wedding reception in the formal invitation, so those guests who are unable to attend the wedding can have something to look forward to upon your return.

What About Other Showers and Parties?

Bridal and wedding showers are often planned prior to leaving for the big day, but you want to be courteous about who you invite to these gatherings. Although a wedding shower can be a great way to celebrate with those guests who are not able to attend the weddings, it is not considered polite to invite friends to the shower who did not receive a wedding invitation.

You do have some options when it comes to showers and parties when talking about proper destination wedding etiquette. Besides reception after destination wedding mentioned above, holding a pre-wedding party for those not invited to the wedding is one idea, but it should be stated that well-wishes will be accepted and gifts are unnecessary. Bachelor and bachelorette parties are often in the hands of your best man and maid of honor, so there are not actually rules to follow when planning them for your destination wedding.