The guest list for any wedding can be tricky. You may have demands from your parents and other family members, coworkers who want to attend, and your cousin who wants to bring her seven children. Who attends your wedding is important to you, and you don’t want any hurt feelings. The nature of a destination wedding can make assembling the guest list even more difficult. Because of the travel and expense to attend, you need to consider your guest list carefully. Will your grandmother be able to travel? Will your bridesmaids be able to afford it? There are some things you can do to make managing your guest list easier.
Decide Who You Really Want There
Your initial guest list may be long and include people who you would like to attend, but that are not essential. Look at your guest list with a critical eye. Who is most important to you? Who do you really want to spend this special day with? This will help you pare down your list. You also have the option of including more people in a celebration when you return from your wedding. This guest list can be longer and include those people you want to celebrate with, but not necessarily be crucial to your special day.
Destination Wedding: Consider Costs
There are things you can do to make attending a destination wedding more affordable for your guests. Reserve a block of hotel rooms for your guests and try to negotiate discounted airfare. Consider providing options for accommodations in a range of prices so guests can make a choice based on their budget. Also, consider all costs associated with your wedding, including attire, transportation, and food. The easier you make it for them and the less expensive, the more excited people will be to attend your destination wedding. There may be costs you can help defray, such as helping pay for a special outing. Chic Bahamas Weddings can help you find ways to make your wedding more affordable for you and those attending.
Because of the expense and travel involved with a destination wedding, you need to give your guests special considerations. Once you decide on your invitation list, send out a save-the-date card at least eight months in advance. Your guests will have time to plan for travel and make any necessary arrangements, such as time off work or childcare. If needed, it will also give them time to save money for the trip. A save-the-date card should include the location of the destination wedding and the date.
Provide your guests with an information packet. Send these out at least six months before the wedding. Packets should provide your guests with enough information to make their planning and arrangements as simple as possible. Include hotel and travel information, and any discounts available. Provide information about the area, including things to do and climate. If you have planned any activities for your guest, include this information as well. Telephone numbers, websites, and anything else that will help answers your guests’ questions should also be listed.
Include any information about expenses you are planning to cover. Traditionally, guests are expected to pay for their own travel and lodging, but if you are paying for an excursion or other extras, be sure to let them know.
Before the Wedding
Send invitations out at least eight weeks before the ceremony; two to three months ahead of time is even better. Even if people you sent a save-the-date card to have told you they will not be able to attend, include them on the invitation list. If they received a save-the-date card, they will expect an invitation. Plans and circumstances may have changed. Do not word your invitations to “sell” your destination wedding as a vacation. This can backfire because often people do not want to be told how or where to spend their vacations. Simply word it like any other wedding invitation; you are celebrating your wedding ceremony and would be honored to have them attend.
At the Wedding
Friends and family who attend your destination wedding often do so at great time and expense. Providing them with a “welcome basket” upon arrival for your wedding is a sweet and simple touch. The basket can be simple, a note from the couple thanking the guest for attending and a bottle of water and a local snack. You can also be more extravagant, providing a basket with flip-flops, sunscreen, and a beach bag. Either way, include a short itinerary of the wedding celebration events. Be sure the items you include can be used during their stay or are small. No one wants to pack bulky items to bring home.
Entertain your guests at your destination wedding. Provide information about outings or planned activities. And while your guests will appreciate this, remember to leave time for them to do their own things, like shopping or just walking on the beach.
Some Things to Remember
A destination wedding isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so be upfront about the expenses. It is essential that you are honest with your attendants about the costs involved. You may really want your best friend as your bridesmaid, but she may not be able to afford the travel. You need to be gracious and, if able, offer to help with some of her costs.
Because it is a destination wedding, you may get more declines than you would if it were a local wedding. Be understanding of the limitations people have and know don’t take it personally People may complain about the location, cost, weather, accommodations, and the perceived hassle of attending. With the right preparation on your part, you can minimize these complaints. Once your guests are there, they will have a wonderful time and your wedding will give them an experience to remember.
Negotiating the guest list and proper etiquette for a destination wedding can be daunting. Chic Bahamas Weddings can help you through the process, providing planning for invitations, welcome gifts, accommodations, travel, and activities for your guests. We can work with you to minimize the costs to you and your friends and family. From planning the wedding to after the ceremony, we make your destination wedding experience stress-free and enjoyable for everyone.