The decision has been made to have a Destination Wedding. Many of your friends and family members have committed to travel to your big event. Although the day is “all about you”, since they have made this financial commitment and taken time of off work or school, don’t forget to acknowledge your guests and make them feel welcome. Here are a few tips to remember to make your day special and your guests raving about your wedding for years.
1 – Make sure you send a “Save the Date” well in advance so people can request time off and make personal arrangements.
2 – Send the invites at least 3 months in advance so that all guests know if they are invited and can make final plans.
3 – Have a centralized place where people can go to find out info such as a wedding web page. Post often and keep all the up-to-date info. E-Mail everyone when big updates have been made. Include where to make reservations, where to stay, costs and anticipated schedules. If you want people to travel, make it as easy as possible for them to figure things out. And don’t forget the “non-internet” generation. If family members are not connected, print these things out and mail them. Don’t assume someone else will relay the information. If you want them there, help them make the decision.
After Guests Arrive
1 – Gift bag at the hotel. Welcome your guests and thank them for coming. Put in some water, snacks, directions, important addresses and a schedule. Make sure they know where they are supposed to be and when. Don’t assume they remembered to bring everything from home. This will start the vacation off right for your guests.
2 – You may be too busy, but create a schedule for the guests to be called and checked in on. Maybe the father or sibling calls his side and the mother calls her side. Or have information or a schedule slipped under their doors each day – especially the wedding day.
3 – Make sure special family members are acknowledged. Just because you are in resort, and breaking from a traditional “church” or “home town” wedding, don’t forget etiquette and expected traditions. Grandparents, Godparents and special guests should be acknowledged in some way or get flowers. Make sure to toast your guests who have traveled from far distances and thank them publicly.
4 – Make sure guests are included in photos, it will make them feel welcome. Advise the photographer in advance of any special shots you want to ensure are taken.
5 – Don’t just have 1 event. These people didn’t fly 4 hours for just a wedding to see you once. Make sure you also plan either a welcome cocktail party or a day – after Wedding breakfast.
6 – Make considerations for anyone who has special needs and make accommodation for anyone who needs it. Can they get to the wedding site, the reception location, do we need a golf cart or extra help?
The most important thing is to plan a Destination Wedding where everyone feels welcome, and is happy with the decision they made. Happy guests will make for a happy event and a stress free time. A little planning will go a long way!
Post – Wedding
1 – Send a Thank You! Not only to the invited guest, but if they bought a guest with them who took the time to attend and paid the expense, make sure you thank them as well. Also thank the family members who were not able to attend, but were thoughtful enough to send a gift.