Your Destination Wedding Etiquette Questions – ANSWERED!
We recently asked you all on instagram what you were interested in reading more about on the blog and a lot of your questions come down to destination wedding ETIQUETTE! So we wanted to post this super informal Q&A Style Blog to answer as many etiquette questions as possible! As always, contact us if you have any questions! We love hearing from you!
[PSSSST: So glad you found us here! It can be so frustrating to spend hours searching for wedding planning information when a majority of what you find online is either *so old* or completely geared toward all inclusive resort weddings. WE MADE THIS FOR YOU. In this 70+ page guide, there is information about all inclusive weddings (of course) but there is also PAGES & PAGES of budgeting, hiring vendors (when they aren’t all put in a nice little package for you), choosing a destination, arranging travel for your guests when you are planning destination weddings that are not all inclusive and so much more]
Who Pays for Day Passes if Guests Stay Off the Property?
You do, boo. Technically, the wedding couple should pay for day passes if the venue/resort they chose charges them 😬 Etiquette – wise, Guests should not incur any expenses to actually attend your wedding day (other than getting there of course!). Realistically, that doesn’t mean that is actually what happens. If you just panicked and saw dollar signs. 💸💸 take a breath, we will be honest: It is MUCH more common for guests to pay for their own day pass fee when they chose to stay elsewhere. But hey, this is an etiquette day.
How much notice should we give our guests?
Great question – we usually say 10-14 months but we actually wrote a whole post about the pros and cons of not enough (or way too much) notice here! For a “typical” resort destination, your guests have 90 days to place their deposits (after you do) and then they pay their final balance 60 days before departure (most travel agents also offer payment plans!).
Should we send Save the Dates and Invitations? Or…?
Usually, couples send out save the dates with travel information only and a guest essentially “RSVPs” by booking their trip! That being said, closer to the date, some couples chose to send out formal invitations (without RSVP cards) just to give their guests more information about the actual wedding day (and any additional events!). And of course, it is just a good excuse to indulge in some more gorgeous stationary.
Do we have to have a private reception or can we just eat at on of the included restaurants? I don’t like paying $100usd per person for food that is already included!
SUCH a good question. While technically not an etiquette question, and we are definitely not here to hate on anybody’s budget, we think a private reception should be a “must”. If your guests are paying $1850/person (average out of Canada), you should really consider hosting a private reception. That being said, it is your wedding and you can do what you want! BUT if it is going to be super casual, we recommend letting guests know in advance so they know what to expect! We wrote more about the differences between a private reception and a restaurant reception here.
Who Pays for What?
Traditionally., the bride’s father pays for the wedding and the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner. Usually, the couple pays for the wedding themselves or both sides contribute something. Guests typically pay for their own travel.
Wait, Rehearsal Dinner? My wedding package doesn’t include this?
Unlike the private reception answer above, for this a reservation at an a la carte restaurant is just fine if you want to save some cash! Just make sure it is SUPER clear who is included and know that you may need to chose a set menu depending on the size of your guest list.
Should we have an At Home Reception for those that can’t make it?
Sure, but that is basically two weddings. Don’t feel obligated to host something back home. Just like you have people who may have opinions about you having a destination wedding, there will be opinions about this too. For guests not local, should they fly to your destination wedding AND your at home reception? How casual can it be? Are you going to register for extra gifts? Somethings to think about!
If you ARE going to have one (or are thinking about it), I STRONGLY recommend not advertising it until after your wedding because people may “not be bothered” to attend if they think there might be something back home to attend instead. NOT that they should be pressured into attending a destination wedding (of course not!) but if they were on the fence, knowing there is an at home reception is a sure-fire way to push them into the “Regretfully Decline” category. Also, if you advertise it and then change your mind (because its more money and work than you thought) expect some pushback! Oh brother.
Should we tell guests if it will be a symbolic ceremony?
This one is your call. Most don’t but some guests will know anyway. There is no etiquette rule we are aware of that says you have to disclose this.
Who should we invite?
Again, this is your call. DON’T INVITE MORE PEOPLE THAN YOU CAN AFFORD TO ATTEND. Despite what some blogs/news reporters are saying, you may have more people RSVP YES than you expect. Please don’t base your budget on a certain amount of “No’s”. If you are working with a smaller budget (no shade!) but make sure to make it clear who is invited as some people may feel they have unlimited Plus One’s! Although guests should be allowed to bring as many people to the vacation part as they want, there is no issue saying that their guests may not be invited to the wedding. Again, make it clear to avoid any confusion.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have ANY questions and we will be happy to help! Or, if you are ready to get the planning process started, please fill our the form below!