When you think of your big day, one of the things that completes your vision is the thought of having your closest family and friends by your side. Choosing to have a destination wedding doesn’t necessarily change that, but it does increase the amount of planning for both you and your guests. Most likely, they’ll have to not only request vacation time from work and find a babysitter to begin making travel arrangements, but they’ll be investing quite a bit more money to be there than they would for an at-home wedding. Because of this, you’ll want to thank them for prioritizing your nuptials, and what better way than making your getaway trip as easy as possible for your guests?
Communication is Key
No matter how large or small your guest list, it’s your responsibility as a couple to communicate all important details as soon as possible. This allows everyone to get a jump on requesting time off, budgeting for the trip, and any other time-sensitive necessities they need to get in order.
Megan Velez of Destination Weddings Travel Group says that a wedding website is the best place to house all of the moving parts of your big day. “Your guests will be able to reference all of the information in one place, like the trip’s timeline, travel accommodations, a rough budget estimate, and whether it’s family-friendly or adult only. Have a schedule of planned events (dates/times), dress suggestions, and event locations, especially if it includes the beach or outdoor venues.”
Amy Abbott of Amy Abbott Events, also suggests having a checklist that includes “Check your passport and pack essentials for the destination like sunscreen, bug spray, and all the necessary accessories to make your travel seamless.”
Be Budget-Conscious of Guest Expenses
Always be mindful that guests are essentially paying to be with you on your big day, so you’ll want to make the process as painless and inexpensive as possible. “Some shortcuts would be to have your guests arrive on a weekday rather a weekend and book those flights early to avoid last-minute surges in price,” Velez continues. “You can also suggest sharing a room with friends if there are some available, that way they can cut down on costs. Consider going with an all-inclusive resort as well, as most of the time they provide the most savings overall.”
Remember These Commonly-Forgotten Details
Carrie Darling of Carrie Darling Events wants couples to know that travel arrangements once you arrive to the actual destination are equally important, and something to remind guests of. “Believe it or not — Uber is not everywhere! We do a lot of weddings on Marco Island, and they don’t really have Uber or taxis. You can call a taxi company, but even then it could take 30 minutes. Additionally, if you intend to get a rental car, you will want to make sure you reserve one.”
While you’re thinking ahead to keep your guests in the loop, remember that setting your date for a destination wedding will be undoubtedly important in terms of guest planning. Darling suggests, “I always tell couples that as soon as you have a venue and a date, send out save the dates! Of course, choosing your date has to be within the parameters of the venue availability and the season you want, but generally a year is good notice. It gives everyone time to save for the trip, and block off the time for work vacation requests.”
Cater To Your Guests (Literally)
There are a number of variables to consider for your big day when it comes to your guests, but two of the most important are comfort and experience. Heather Jones of Wente Vineyards says that downfalls of tropical locales are commonly overlooked. “Set up a hospitality station with anything a guest may need — sunscreen, bug spray, water spritzers, fans, extra water bottles, and even some custom sunglasses — perfect for a guest favor!”
Emily Sullivan, owner of Emily Sullivan Events reminds couples to utilize local food ingredients, but be aware that not everyone has the same taste when it comes to food options. “Be sure to have a mix of local foods, but also have some familiar favorites so all of your guests can find something they will like to eat.”
Keeping all of these tips on your radar will ensure that your guests are equipped to prep for your perfect wedding day, and they’ll be grateful for the thoughtfulness!