You may only have eyes for each other on your wedding day, but you will probably want at least a few of your closest friends and family to celebrate with you. Our friends at Destination Weddings has put together some insight they’ve gathered over the years to share with us. Invitations and save-the-dates are a big part of any wedding planning process, but they become even more important for a destination wedding. These serve as preludes to not only a ceremony and reception, but to a vacation as well. Standard wedding invitation etiquette hasn’t changed much in the past century, but destination weddings are unique events and thus have their own set of etiquette guidelines. Our list below is a great starting point!
When to send them: Nine to twelve months in advance
What to include: Location, date and any other firm details you have at that point.
Your save-the-dates are the first official communication about your wedding plans and should be sent early in the planning process. For destination weddings, guests will need to budget for the trip, schedule vacation time at work and arrange for childcare, so the sooner you can get the information out the better. Of course for last-minute couples who do not have the leeway to give their guests ample time to plan, it’s perfectly fine to send your communications as soon as you can. With full-service planning companies such as DestinationWeddings.com who have personal wedding website and e-save-the-date capabilities, it’s never been easier or more fun to communicate with your guests! On that note, many couples are now opting for the green option of email save-the-dates, which allow you to get the information out quicker and in a more streamlined fashion. However, anything that you publish on the save-the-date card can’t be changed later, so be sure to confirm your exact date and location first. Likewise, once the save-the-date cards have been sent, you can’t delete people from the guest list, so don’t hit send until you’ve triple checked your attendees!
When to send them: Eight to twelve weeks prior to the event
What to include: Exact location and time, resort information, RSVP card (or link), itinerary of events and dress code.
If the save-the-date was a hint at your wedding plans, the invitation is the full reveal. Aside from giving all of the essential information, the invitation will also set the tone for the wedding. If you are planning a laid-back beach ceremony, choose a casual design. But, if you are hosting an elegant fete in a European castle, opt for a formal look. But, don’t let the style do all the talking. Some guests may find packing for a destination wedding confusing, so take the guess work out of it (and lighten their baggage) by stating the dress code for the ceremony and any other weekend events. It’s also helpful to mention if there will be a local reception or party after you return from the destination. Some guests may want to celebrate with you without hopping on a plane, thus information about a nearby get-together may make their RSVP easier for them.
When to send them: Four to six weeks prior to the event
What to include: Time, date, location and gift information.
Shower invitations are perhaps the easiest and most common place for invitation faux pas to occur and it gets even trickier for destination weddings. Since not everyone on your initial guest list will be able to travel for your nuptials, a pre-wedding shower allows them to be able to join in the celebration beforehand. Here, it’s important to suggest the type of gift you are expecting. Generally, wedding and shower guests want to know what the couple would like to receive, rather than guessing. This is especially true for a destination wedding when the couple may prefer a donation to their honeymoon or travel fund instead of another toaster. Take advantage of crowdfunding on your wedding website where your guests can contribute towards fun wedding weekend or honeymoon experiences and let them know the details of how to do so!
Inviting people to stay in touch
When to let them know: 3-7 days in advance (enough time for them to set everything up!)
What to include: name of the app or hashtag and directions on how to use it
For those guests that won’t make the full-length trip, it’s a great idea to invite them to follow the festivities digitally! There are many apps nowadays that can facilitate this for you. From free long-distance texting to photo sharing and live streaming, there is no need for your friends at home to miss out on the important moments. Apps such as WhatsApp and Viber do wonders for those without international data plans to help stay in touch via texting and calling while away. Set up a hashtag where they can find all of the candid photos from the big day on social media, or set aside time after the ceremony to skype with them to make them feel included. However you choose to share your special day, they will be grateful to be a part of it.
For you amazing Destination Wedding, check out:
For amazing Destination Wedding Invitations, check out: