Hosting a destination wedding has its own issues. Who will you invite? Who is likely to come? How do you handle costs? What about gifts?
We asked Today’s Bride’s editor-in-chief, Bettie Bradley, to answer some reader questions about destination wedding etiquette.
Question: I’m having a Caribbean beach wedding with about 45 guests. Any thoughts on favours, and how I can get them to Cuba?
Bettie Bradley: It would be nice for them to have a memory of their trip to Cuba. Email the hotel and ask them for advice about local crafts (and give them a price range).
Q: Should my fiancé and I be paying for our guests’ hotel rooms, travel costs, and other expenses? Or are our guests responsible for paying their own way? What should we be paying for, and where do we draw the line?
BB: Guests expect to pay their own airfare and hotel costs. However, when they arrive, they become your guests and you cover all costs relating to the wedding day and wedding eve. The other days are personal holidays and it is at their own expense.
Q: Who should I invite to a destination wedding? And how do I handle the people I’m not inviting?
BB: Invite all those – family and friends – with whom you are close. But don’t be surprised if many cannot make the trip. Send out invitations to only those who you are invited to accompany you to the destination. You might send announcements to everyone you know after you return from the wedding.
Q: Is it proper destination wedding etiquette to pay for my bridesmaids’ dresses?
BB: It is not expected – dress and shoes are now assumed to be the attendants’ expense and the bride only pays for any extras, such as hats, headdresses, bouquets, gloves and any other accessories she wants them to wear. However, if you can afford to make this gesture it will be both a surprise and obviously appreciated.
Q: I’m getting married at an all-inclusive hotel, but my guests will be staying at a different resort and need day passes to attend my ceremony. Who should pay the day pass fee?
BB: Pay for the passes for all events relating to the wedding, including the wedding day and wedding eve. The other days are considered to be your guests’ personal holiday.
Q: Should I send my guests travel information or leave it up to them to figure out?
BB: Yes! Send them everything such as airfare prices and any special airfares that may be available and hotel options and prices.
Q: My parents are taking on the cost for the wedding. Are they responsible for paying for guests’ accommodation and travel?
BB: No. Guests pay their own expenses, except for the wedding day and any wedding eve celebrations.
Q: There are some people I need to have at my wedding (my parents, best friend and my grandparents), but I’m worried that they’ll react badly to a destination wedding or not be able to go. How should I address this?
BB: Ask them! Many people can’t afford the expense or it’s not a destination they are interested in as a holiday or simply don’t like to travel. If it’s important to have them at the wedding, you all need to have a frank talk before any decisions are made.
Q: I’d feel awkward receiving wedding gifts if I’ve asked my guests to travel for my wedding. How can I tell them not to bring gifts without being crass?
BB: You can’t put anything in writing or with your invitations because that would imply that a gift is expected. (Strictly speaking, a wedding invitation does not require giving a gift.) However, pass the word verbally.