Destination Wedding Etiquette
As destination weddings have become increasingly popular you may be wondering how the normal rules of wedding etiquette apply when planning to hold your ceremony in a far off tropical location such as one of our Caribbean wedding villas.
Destination weddings have a tendency to be informal affairs attended by family and very close friends so to a large extent the formal rules of etiquette can be discarded almost entirely but the question of costs and who pays for what has become somewhat established and could almost be referred to as Destination Wedding Etiquette.
So who should pay the costs and what liability or responsibility falls on you and your respective families? Here are some guide lines:-
Transportation. The bride and groom are only really responsible for their own travel costs. In choosing your destination wedding location you need to understand that many friends and family may not be able to afford the trip, and so may not be able to come at all. If you can find discount flights, or group booking discounts, you should relay this information to your invited guests when sending out invitations, but understand that it may still be too much. If there is a special friend or family member that you really want to attend, you could offer to pay that person's costs, assuming you can afford to do so. This does also apply to bridesmaids and the groomsman.
Accommodation. Again, you are not responsible for the accommodation costs of your attending guests. In renting one of our beachfront private destination wedding villas the cost of accommodation can be shared between all those attending your wedding. Unlike a hotel only you and your guests will be in residence so all the facilities and the services of the full time staff are totally at your disposal.
Meals. You do not have any liability to pay for your guest's meals or drinks whilst they are staying for the wedding. The exceptions being the reception dinner and a rehearsal dinner, if this is included in the formalities; see below. The costs for these should be paid for in the same way as would be the case in a traditional at home wedding. Our destination wedding villas will offer a complete meal and drink package allowing you and your wedding party to choose your menus in advance, accommodating any special dietary needs and enabling you and your guests to apportion the costs as you choose before attending.
Rehearsal Dinner. This is a distinctly American tradition where it is the groom’s family who are responsible for hosting the rehearsal dinner. This normally includes only immediate family and those of the wedding party itself. By etiquette neither the bride nor her family should include additional guests outside this group without consulting the groom’s family.
At a destination wedding, however, it may well be considered appropriate to be far more flexible. Destination weddings tend to be far more relaxed and informal so there are already good reasons to throw the rule book away and arrange a rehearsal dinner to different criteria.
As the numbers of guests attending a destination wedding tend to be much less than at a traditional wedding it may be appropriate to invite all those who have travelled and just enjoy a relaxing pre-reception party. Maybe a barbeque on the beach or a buffet instead of a formal meal could be alternative options and our wedding coordinators are always available to make suggestions and organize a suitable event.
Wedding Gifts. It can be difficult for guests to transport presents to a far-off destination wedding location, and even more of a problem for you to take them all back home. Many couples are now considering a bridal registry that delivers the gifts to their home after the wedding. Alternatively, it may be that given the cost to the guests of coming to the destination wedding, you might consider writing “no gifts please” in the invitations making it possible for some guests to attend who, otherwise, might not have been able to. However, agreeing to attend a destination wedding does not negate the normal rules of etiquette regarding wedding gifts.
Clothing. Traditionally, all the guests will pay for their own wedding attire as is normally the case at a traditional wedding. It is a good idea to inform your guests as early as possible as to the style of your wedding, location and weather. This will enable your guests to arrive with suitable clothing for your wedding ceremony and for the rest of their stay at the villa.
Special outings. Destination weddings often include associated trips or activities which may include sporting events such as golf, scuba diving, safari’s or pre-wedding festivities at a nearby attraction. If it is an official part of your wedding then you should be responsible for all the costs. Alternatively, you may wish to offer a list of suggested outings that all, or some of your guests and bridal party, can attend if they wish at their own expense. Our destination wedding villas offer the services of a concierge who can arrange outings and events for you and your guests as part of the service offered.