Destination Wedding Etiquette and FAQs

Destination Wedding Etiquette

Destination weddings are always a blast! From sun-soaked tropical beaches to romantic Italian escapes, we love the excitement and shared experiences that a destination wedding can bring.

However, if you’ve decided to plan an overseas celebration, you’ll quickly understand that a whole new set of logistics are required to make sure everything runs seamlessly. You might also be confused about the appropriate guest etiquette, like – do you need to organise a babysitter for the kids? Are you expected to cover flight and accommodation costs? And how soon should you send out your save-the-dates?

To help you plan the perfect destination wedding, we’re tackling some of the most common etiquette questions below. Keep reading for our thoughts on destination wedding etiquette as we clear up those tricky FAQs!

Photo by Kurt Boomer

Common Destination Wedding Etiquette FAQs

Do we need to cover travel costs for our guests?

Generally speaking, no. It’s commonly understood that travel costs for a destination wedding are the responsibility of the guests attending, and they won’t be expecting you to foot the bill for flights and accommodation.

However, the expenses you should be covering include food and drink throughout the wedding, along with any pre or post-wedding events like rehearsal dinners or recovery lunches. You might also have some exceptions to the rule; such as covering accommodation costs for your bridal party who may already be forking out for outfits, hair and makeup.

With this being said, taking some steps to reduce travel costs for your guests is always much appreciated. See if you can negotiate with nearby hotels for discounted group pricing, or set up a flight alert for your destination and keep your guests updated on any special deals that might help them cut costs.

Photo by Dmitri and Sandra

When should we send out save the dates?

Remember, destination weddings require plenty of planning for both you and your guests. Not only will your guests need to save and budget for their trip, but they may also need to arrange time off work and potentially organise childcare, too.

It goes without saying that the earlier you give your guests a heads up on your plans, the better! We’d recommend sending your save the dates at the 12-month mark, and following up with formal invitations at between 6-8 months out.

How do we give our guests all of the right details?

If you’re planning a destination wedding, prepare to be inundated with questions from guests – and lots of them! From accommodation details to directions and things to do in the local area, there are so many details your guests will require in order to plan their trip.

The most efficient way to communicate your wedding details to guests is through a simple online platform like a wedding website. A wedding website allows you to provide all of the key information for guests in one easily accessible place, while saving you time in the process!

Photo by Carmen Santorelli

Do we need to invite kids?

Planning an adults-only destination wedding is completely up to you, but keep in mind that it just might not be feasible for the families on your guest list. Asking parents to leave their kids for an extended timeframe is a pretty big ask, so be prepared for some declined RSVPs if you make the decision to host a child-free day.

Alternatively, why not arrange some childcare to keep the kids safe and occupied throughout your celebrations? This means the parents can still let their hair down and be present at your wedding, with a nanny or babysitter taking care of the little ones.

Photo by Carmen Santorelli

Do we need to invite all of our guests to extra wedding events?

If you have any pre or post-wedding celebrations organised while abroad, we’d say you should definitely extend the invitation to all of your guests. These people have made a big commitment to be with you during this special time, so show your appreciation and make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime experience together!

Is it okay to request a gift?

Because your guests will be covering their travel expenses to join you for your wedding, it’s generally understood that gifts are not required (and should never be requested!). Their presence on the day should be considered their present. You might want to make a note on your wedding website to ensure your guests are on the same page.

The exception to the rule might be for any guests who are sadly unable to join you, and have expressed their wish to provide a gift in lieu of their attendance. In this case, providing gift registry details to them individually would be a-okay.

Photo by Cassandra Ladru

What if guests decline their invitation?

One of the most important things to remember when planning a destination wedding is that not all of your guests will be able to attend. Whether that’s due to financial reasons, work commitments or family needs, be understanding of any declined RSVPs, and don’t take it personally! Chances are, all of your guests would love to join you, but simply can’t make the necessary arrangements.

This is something you might also want to keep in mind when choosing the location of your destination wedding. Opting for a budget-friendly destination like Bali or Fiji will make it easier for guests to attend, as opposed to more expensive or remote locations.

At the end of the day, destination wedding etiquette is first and foremost about good communication. Our wedding project management platform has been designed to make destination wedding planning easier for both you and your guests. Learn more about our wedding website builder, digital planner and paperless invitations to get started!