Destination Wedding Planning Timeline: Your guests have 90 days to place their deposit!
It is Deposit Deadline Time!
Let’s talk about everything you have accomplished so far ! I think you owe yourself a mini celebration because Destination Wedding planning can be hella stressful (any kind of wedding planning really!). Whether it took you several months or less than a week, give yourself a pat on the back!
If your at this point, you should have already locked down the following:
✅ Chosen your Destination
✅ Found a Travel Agent you LOVE (Read How Here)
✅ Booked a Travel Package with the Tour Operator (Sunwing/Air Canada/Transat/WestJet) of your choice. (Placed Your Deposit)
✅ Saved the Date at the Resort if your Choice (Placed Your Deposit)
Now Your Ready to Order Your Save The Dates and Get the Show On The Road! Let me get a few questions out of the way first!
Should you do paper or email invites?
Ultimately, every wedding vibe is different so there is no one right answer. Having a more formal affair? Truly nothing beats fancy invitations. I love getting anything in the mail that is not a bill. Printed invitations are a guilty pleasure of mine! That being said, there is something to be said for email invites – especially for destination weddings! Email invites are nice because they have all the information in one place. Trust me, most guests are emailing me while they are at work to place their deposits. They will forget who to contact if the information is sitting on their fridge!
What Information Should Go On The Save the Dates?
On the save the date (assuming this is the only thing you are sending out in the 90 days), I would include:
- The Dates of Travel and the Wedding Date
- Your Wedding Website or at the very least a place to get more information (or you will be bombarded with questions)
- The booking info (your travel agent’s information and what to expect)
- How they can RSVP (by putting down the deposit)
- Who’s invited (kids, plus ones, more the merrier)
- Any info about the resort or destination you want to include
Do you need to send out Save the Dates AND Invitations?
90 Days is a lot of time but it isn’t that much time! It would be hard to send out both in 90 days although I have seen it done before! More common, when people send save the dates for a destination wedding, they send them to everyone with details on the deposit deadline. Closer to the date of departure, they may send more formal invitations with all the necessary information (like time and location of the wedding) but usually only to the people who have already booked to go. I know for local weddings it is customary to send everyone an invitation if you send them save the dates, but really for a destination wedding it is not necessary. At this point, your guests have already RSVP’d!
A few quick tips to make it easy for your guests to RSVP YES!
- Give LOTS of Notice! I recommend booking your destination wedding anywhere from 10-18 months in advance. You can book closer to the date or even farther ahead (up to three years sometimes!). You know your guests best! But less than ten months doesn’t give very much time for your guests to save up or book time off work. Alternatively, a lot of people don’t know where they are going to be two or three years from now. It can be hard to get them to commit and keep up the excitement for the trip.
- Make sure your Save the Dates give enough information on how to book and are designed to get your guests excited for their trip! Having a wedding website with even more information helps too!
- Staying at an All Inclusive Resort. Obviously, I am a big fan of the All Inclusive Life. I built a whole career out of it! But more than my love for them, guests LOVE knowing exactly how much to budget. You may have some guests on your guest list who have never left the country before so this option gives them a stronger sense of security. All inclusive resorts are usually cheaper for the wedding couple too.
- Book a Destination That is a Direct Flight (or one stop at the most) Away. I know Bali Weddings are BEAUTIFUL but not everyone will be willing to take the 30 hour airplane trip.
- Ask your Travel Agent if your guests can pay monthly. Trust me, it makes a big difference.
- Thank your guests GENEROUSLY for considering making the trip for the happiest day of your life. Scroll to the bottom of this post where I talk about how energy is EVERYTHING.
A word about At Home Receptions (AHR)
It is only natural to want to throw a party once you get back home for all the friends and family who can’t make it. Trust me, we never want the party to end! But it is a little tricky and I want to address it while you are still in the 90 day deposit deadline window. This is just food for thought, obviously feel free to do what you want! I should say that I really DON’T think it is okay to make your guests feel bad for not attending your Destination wedding. A wedding invite is always optional!
Something to keep in mind: letting your guests know that you will be throwing an At Home Reception will decrease the amount of guests who will attend your Destination Wedding significantly. Whether that is what you want or not. If you are not sure if you will be throwing an at home reception when you get back, don’t offer it as an option to your guests unless you are okay with them thinking they will just stay home and wait for the party. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a real thing. If you want your guests to have it when debating whether or not to come to your wedding, you need to make sure you are not offering an “easier” alternative #sorrynotsorry
You also end up in a tricky spot with guests from out of town who did fly down to celebrate with you. Are they supposed to come for that too? Even though neither event is mandatory, you definitely don’t want any of your destination wedding guests to feel like they are missing out. They spent time and vacation days to make sure they wouldn’t!
Energy is Everything
No matter what, be grateful that people are coming to your wedding. Even if they don’t book into the group, even if they are only traveling for three days, even if they insist on booking last minute, even if they are basically breaking all the rules! Gratefulness is everything.
If you act like you “expect” everyone to come to your destination wedding, you can expect they will feel resentful. Even if you don’t mean to come across that way! We have all read stories that come up on Facebook about a bride having a meltdown because guests aren’t willing to travel for her special day.
You Have Made It !
Now that the 90 Days are over, the wedding planning can begin! If you are wondering what is next – head to part four here!
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