How to manage and guide your destination wedding guests?
The idea to Tie the Knot with a destination wedding sends you to cloud 9. You are excited and you can not stop picturing you in a dreaming location far from everyday routine surrounded by family and friends for your unique I do.
But how can you communicate, manage, and help your guests so that your destination wedding is easier and more enjoyable for your guests?
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Do your research BEFORE spreading the word.
Do not make the mistake to tell everybody about your destination wedding before deciding on your location and accommodation/venue. Of course you will have researched the place and made sure the location of where you intend to get married will be a pleasant place for your guests to visit.
On your final decision take into consideration the distance, the climate, and amenities your guests will have access to. Be sure there will be attractions, activities and restaurants that your guests will enjoy
Give plenty of notice
Probably some will need to renew their passport or make sure it is valid, they may want to have enough time to start saving to be able to splurge on the vacations they always dream of ( yes! your wedding can be taken as an excuse to finally visit an exotic place) or they might need to plan days, a week or more off work. So send out your save-the-dates as early as you can, with as much information as you can. As soon as you have the date booked at your venue and can book your flights, you should send invitations, so your guests will have enough time to plan their own travel itineraries.
Communication, Communication, Communication
Communication is always important but to plan a stress-free event it is paramount. I really want to give you some tips here to make sure you do not end up overwhelmed and stressed out. Today technology is a good help so take advantage of it. For our clients we set up a website with a personal message from the couple, the wedding date, information about the location of their choice, the resort, and a link to the booking for their stay. We strongly suggest to do the same or expect your family and friends to call you at any giving time to ask you the same questions over and over again. Setting up a private Facebook group can also be an effective way to keep everybody on the loop and share important information.
It’s customary for guests to cover their own accommodation and transport. You might plan on paying for the stay of your parents or your best friend, but guests usually pay for their own travel and lodging. This is also why a present is not expected from your destination wedding guest. Nerveless we suggest you set up a wedding registry for all those people you invited and for whatever reason will not be able to attend. They might want to give you a present instead. Whatever you decide on, make sure that everyone knows what to expect, right from the start, before they RSVP. It may feel awkward to ask everyone to a party far away and then explain that it will cost them money, but it’s much better to be upfront about what is expected.
Explain why it is important for you that your guests book as a group.
If you did your diligent work or if you hired a professional destination wedding designer you know that, in order to avoid booking errors, receive all the bells and whistles from your resort, take advantage of perks and offers, have any possible assistance for you and your guests no matter what you might need when abroad, it is very important to book as a group.
In your wedding party, you might have expert travelers or people that never travel abroad before your destination wedding. If you prefer the peace of mind to the possibility to find out the day of your wedding that uncle Jack booked a resort in another island of the Caribbean or in the same location but a different resort that is 4h car drive from where you will have the wedding ( it did happen) you understand how explaining to your guests you did all the work for them and to please trust your judgment when you present them with your logistic options can really, really help to manage the entire group and grantee a joyful and flawless result for everybody. And to make this easier just remember to offer them options like different room categories at different price levels.
Be flexible and understanding
Not all the people you will invite will be able to make it to your destination wedding. We always suggest to budget for a gathering or small party before or after the wedding for those important family members and friends that for different reasons will not be able to attend so they will not be left out.
Also be flexible and think about your guests and what they would enjoy when planning the activities while you will be abroad. If it will be fun to plan a catamaran excursion or a beach bonfire party you might leave them also some free time to explore or relax on their own.
Be clear on what happens once you are married
Some couples will want to continue the festivities with their nearest and dearest, but some may want to start the honeymoon straight away. In that case, you need to plan a courteous exit without causing any offense. So, if you plan on leaving for a different island or different resort the very next day, that’s fine, as long as it has been communicated and you say your goodbyes politely to everyone. So, perhaps plan to leave after a brunch with your guests the following day, rather than disappear in the morning without farewells.
If you need some good directions on how to plan your destination wedding consider asking for our free video on "8 steps to plan a stress-free destination wedding".
If you feel overwhelmed, you have questions or are ready to have your own "fairy godmother" guide you through the joyful process of planning your destination wedding take advantage of our complimentary 30-minute consultation here.
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