Destination weddings are increasing in popularity, so we thought it was time for us to dive into the topic ourselves. From etiquette to inspiration, we have everything you need to know about planning a destination wedding and holding your reception back at home.
Planning Your Destination Wedding
Before you settle on the ‘perfect location’ you will want to do your research. Find out everything about your hotel, resort or venue.
Here are some common questions you’ll want the answers to before choosing your location:
- When is the hurricane or the rainy season?
- Are there any health or safety issues guests will need to be concerned about?
- Is your destination LGBTQ friendly?
- Are children allowed at your venue?
- Will there be discounts or special rates offered to your guests?
- Is this an all-inclusive venue and if so, will your guests receive any of those benefits?
- Are passports required to attend your wedding location?
- Are there limitations as to what you can bring with you (drinks, flowers, gifts, etc.) for the event?
- Does your venue offer any guarantees or money-back returns for you and your guests should the event be canceled and if so, what is the policy for cancellation? (Note: Guests might have to cancel or inclement weather could prevent the event from taking place as scheduled, so this is always good to know ahead of time.)
We also recommend that you visit your venue before booking your wedding. Yes, photos and reviews can tell you a lot about a place; however, nothing will give you the best information like first-hand experience. You’re about to ask your friends and family to shell out some cash to attend your destination wedding, so you want to make sure everything is in order and the place is all it says it is before inviting your guests.
When it comes to inviting your guests, be as clear and transparent as you can about any potential costs. It’s also helpful to secure a travel agent as part of your wedding planning team and include their information in your invitation details. Also, send your invitations out extra early in order to allow guests ample time for planning and purchasing tickets.
Planning for Your Reception at Home
You most likely won’t be inviting everyone to your destination wedding, so it will be time to celebrate with family and friends once you’re back! You’ll want to plan this party before you head out for your wedding and send out the invitation out 5-6 weeks prior to the event.
A post-destination wedding local reception works very much like a traditional reception, except you will have been happily married for a few weeks. If you want to redo your vows that’s absolutely acceptable. If not, then do your best to allow your local guests to experience what the wedding was like by setting up a photo and/or video station by the sign-in book. This way they can see everything that transpired and feel like they were a part of your big day as well.
When it comes to what you, your new spouse, and the bridal party should wear, you have options. Everyone can wear their wedding attire or you can all opt for something more casual. If you do go for casual, consider displaying your wedding dress and tux just to show them both off, and keep with your wedding colors.