When it comes to Wedding Planning (Destination Wedding or not), it can seem almost impossible to make everyone happy. Certainly when I chose to have a destination wedding, there were people who would have preferred that I didn’t. When I was considering having a local wedding, there were people who were also unhappy that I wanted a “cake and champagne” reception to save money instead of paying for a full dinner. And of course, there was an endless amount of people who I should invite but I knew I didn’t have the budget for.
Basically what I am trying to say is, I know the pressure brides and grooms feel to make everyone happy. Trust me, I feel you! And as much as I would like to say that you won’t have anyone object to a destination wedding, I don’t want to lie to you. You may ruffle some feathers. But I just want to say, very clearly, that you are inviting them to participate in your wedding. You are working for the next 6-18 months to make sure that they have a good time at your wedding, should they choose to attend. You are going to be chasing down RSVP’s and resisting the urge to cancel the whole thing and head to Mexico with only your new wife/husband. You are choosing a resort or destination that you feel the majority of your guests will love. You are doing your best to throw and amazing wedding you love, but I know your guests are never off of your mind in any decision you make, and that itself tells me that you don’t need to feel any wedding guilt.
That being said, there are a few things to make it a little bit easier for your guests to RSVP YES! I know some of you are choosing a wedding abroad to cut down your guests list. That is OKAY too! Just do the opposite of what I am suggesting below.
- Give LOTS of Notice! I recommend booking your destination wedding anywhere from 8-18 months in advance (the sooner the better really! Send Save the Dates as soon as you Save the Date. Over 18 months tends to be a bit too long to keep the excitement going, but if you think your guests will need that much time to save, we can sometimes book even three years in advance!
- Make sure your Save the Dates give enough information on how to book and are designed to get your guests excited for their trip!
- Have a Wedding Website you can send your guests too. I create this for all the wedding couples that I work with as it really is a great way to share information and create excitement for the wedding! Of course wedding couples are always free to also create their own. You can check out a sample here: www.loveatfirsttravel.com/sample
- Choose an All Inclusive Resort. Guests will appreciate knowing exactly how much to budget for well in advance. You may have some guests on your guest list who have never left the country before so this option gives them a stronger feeling of security. It usually makes it 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.
- Choose a Kid-Friendly Destination (that’s not too kid-friendly). I know, I know. There are endless factors that come into play when choosing a destination for everyone. Some guests won’t leave their kids for a week though so to make it easier on them to say yes, choose somewhere there kids will be excited to go too! On the other hand, more and more resorts are offering an “adults only” section for those who prefer a vacation away from the kids.
- Use a Travel Agent that Will Let Your Guests 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. Invest in welcome bags, thank you cards for everyone who attends, and maybe an additional event or two as your way of thanking them for making the trip.
I will leave you with one more thought that is a bit controversial. First, let me add a disclaimer that I don’t think it is right to pressure your guests to attend. That’s not my intention. It is merely an invitation that they can choose to say yes or no too. If you WANT to throw an ‘at home reception’, you can let your guests know that ahead of time. That is great! Good for You! Don’t feel pressured to host this event though! In general, letting your guests know that you will be throwing an At Home Reception will decrease the amount of guest’s 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.