When you’re planning a destination wedding, the rules and etiquette that you’d be guided by for a “regular” wedding aren’t as cut and dry.

In many ways, it’s a bit same/same – but different. While lots of your family and friends might jump at the opportunity to jet off to watch you tie the knot, for others it might be a financial commitment that they will find difficult to make – and they might feel uncomfortable saying no, even if it means they’re going into debt.

Here are some things to consider before you invite your guests!

1.  Size matters

Because of the logistics of traveling to a far-flung destination, it’s not practical to invite everyone that you might invite if you were getting married locally. While this means it will be easy to exclude not-so-close friends and colleagues, there might be a bit of blow-back if you don’t invite every single relo as well, especially if you’re from a big family. Just remember: it’s your day, nobody else’s.

2. Getting the right date

When you’re planning a destination wedding, it can be tempting to do it so it’s around a holiday season or long weekend. Be mindful, though, that traveling at these times can be more expensive for everyone than at off-peak times. If you’re getting married outside of Australia, check to see what holidays are observed in the destination country, and when these occur: you might have a clash. Talk to your family and friends to make sure they’re free at the time you are planning the wedding and comfortable with the cost.

3. Kids or no kids?

When you invite parents who have young children and decide you want to have a child-free wedding, you might hit some opposition. While many parents love going out to a wedding for the evening and kicking their heels up, leaving the little ones with grandparents or a babysitter, they might not be so keen to go away for several days – especially overseas – leaving their kids behind. Even if they do take the kids along and get babysitting at, say, a resort, the expense of taking their whole family might be prohibitive.

4. Save the dates

Typically when you send wedding invites out, you give four to six months notice. With a destination wedding, guests need to be given as much notice as possible so they can book leave and save up to go. For destination weddings within the country you should send out save the dates around six to eight months in advance. If you’re going overseas, give nine to 12 months’ notice (there are additional factors for guests, such as passports, if you’re heading O/S to get hitched).

5. Don’t pressure your guests to attend

Understand that while just about everyone would love to attend your wedding, for some it just isn’t going to be practical or affordable. They may not be able to get the time off work. They could be absolutely stretched financially. Pressuring your guests could harm your relationships with your loved ones.

6. Don’t expect wedding gifts

Unless you’re very generously picking up the tab for everything, your guests are already going to be out of pocket for airfares and accommodation, possibly car hire and maybe babysitting to attend your wedding. Like the saying goes, their presence is your present. Be gracious and grateful.


Top image: Hallmark Channel