Your Guide to Destination Wedding Etiquette: Common Questions Answered

April 28, 2023

One of the most epic ways to begin the next chapter of your love story is jet-setting off to a destination wedding; without question, destination weddings are the most romantic and sentimental event for the couple and the guests. Whether you're the couple planning your dream wedding abroad, or a guest attending, today we’re unlocking the answers to your burning destination wedding etiquette questions, without any stress.

There is no doubt; planning one can be a rollercoaster of stress. Coordinating with your venue and vendors can be a wild ride with the distance factor (and any possible time zone or language hurdles). And since you're inviting your guests to join you on this adventure, there is some super important destination wedding etiquette you should follow. 

So buckle up, and let's dive into the fun and excitement of planning a destination wedding!

Destination Wedding Attire: What to Wear

Destination weddings often have a more relaxed and casual vibe, but that doesn't mean you can show up in your beachwear. 

Generally, for a beach or tropical destination wedding, lighter fabrics such as cotton, linen, or chiffon are great options to keep you cool and comfortable. 

For men, a linen or cotton suit in a light color such as beige or light gray is appropriate, paired with loafers or sandals. 

For women, a flowy dress in a bright or pastel color, paired with flat sandals or wedges, is a great choice. It's important to avoid anything too revealing or casual, such as shorts or flip-flops. 

Remember, you want to look stylish and put-together while still being comfortable enough to enjoy the festivities.

Bride and bridesmaid wedding etiquette

How Many Guests Do You Invite To A Destination Wedding?

The number of guests you invite to a destination wedding ultimately depends on your preferences, budget, and the logistics of your chosen location. In general, destination weddings tend to have smaller guest lists than traditional weddings due to the added expenses and travel requirements for guests. 

There's no set rule for how many people you have to invite to your destination wedding, but the average tends to be around 60 guests. Of course, many variables will determine how many of your friends and family can attend. For example, how far the guests have to travel, the costs associated, the wedding date and more. 

Of course, if you have room in your budget, you can always help cover some expenses.  

Do You Give A Gift If You Go To A Destination Wedding?

What are the wedding etiquette gifts today? Giving a gift is customary if you attend a destination wedding, as you would for a traditional wedding. But, since there are added expenses of travelling, many guests may purchase a smaller gift or contribute to a group gift, and that's ok. 

invitations and gift wedding etiquette

How Long Do Guests Stay at A Destination Wedding?

The length of stay for guests at a destination wedding can vary depending on the couple's plans and location. For example, some couples will have a wedding packed full of activities or excursions planned for their guests, while others may only have one or two main events. 

How long you stay at a destination wedding depends on how much time you can be away from home and work and the costs associated with the trip. 

Who Pays For The Guests At A Destination Wedding?

Want to know who pays for the guests at a destination wedding? Typically, guests are responsible for covering the cost of their travel and accommodations for a destination wedding. However, some couples may help offset these expenses by offering discounted room rates or group rates at their chosen hotel or resort. 

Alternatively, some couples may cover the cost of accommodations or travel for their immediate family members or bridal party as a gesture of appreciation. The couple and their families decide who pays for what in a destination wedding. It should be communicated clearly and respectfully to guests to avoid misunderstandings or surprises. 

bride is trying her wedding dress in front of the window

What Are The Drawbacks Of A Destination Wedding?

While destination weddings can be a beautiful and unique way to celebrate a couple's love, they have potential drawbacks. One of the most obvious drawbacks is the cost. But the logistics of travelling, obtaining passports and time away from your responsibilities can also be a drawback.

The couple may find that planning a wedding from afar can be stressful. There may also be language barriers or logistical challenges; hiring a wedding planner in your destination can make the planning process much easier and less stressful.

What Do We Include On A Destination Wedding Invitation?

When it comes to a destination wedding invitation, it's essential to include all the relevant details that guests need to plan their trip and attend the celebration. You'll provide all the necessary information for the guests in your invitations. But since your wedding is at a destination, you'll need to include more than just the basics, like the date, time, and location. You'll also want to ensure you give your guests the scoop on travel options, hotel accommodations, transportation and any fun activities before or after the wedding. That way, everyone can join in on the celebration and have a blast with you!

It's also a good idea to include a detailed itinerary of the wedding weekend or week and any vital information about local customs, language, or culture that guests should be aware of. 

Lastly, consider including a small map or directions to the wedding venue and any relevant contact information for the couple or their wedding planner in case guests have questions or concerns.

When Should We Send Out Destination Wedding Save-The-Dates?

When sending out save-the-dates for a destination wedding, timing is vital. It's best to send them out at least six to eight months in advance so guests have plenty of time to plan their travel and accommodations. 

For international destinations or during peak travel season, it's a good idea to send them out even earlier, up to a year in advance. This will give guests enough time to arrange for time off from work, secure passports or visas, and make any necessary travel arrangements. 

The goal is to give guests as much notice as possible so they can plan accordingly and ensure they can attend the wedding.

What’s The Best Way To Travel With My Wedding Dress?

Travelling with a wedding dress can be a nerve-wracking experience, but there are several steps you can take to ensure that it arrives safely and in good condition. First, consider purchasing a garment bag designed for wedding dresses if the boutique doesn’t provide one. Having this garment bag with provide extra protection during travel. 

You can also contact your airline in advance to see if they have a place where you can store your dress on the plane. For example, some airlines have a closet where the pilots hang their jackets, and they may allow you to hang your gown there. 

Finally, handle the dress carefully and avoid putting it in an overhead bin where it could get crushed or damaged. By taking these precautions, you can help ensure that your wedding dress arrives safely and is ready to make you feel beautiful on your special day.

Note: We don’t recommend shipping your wedding dress because there is always a chance that it gets lost or damaged. Of course, the chances of that happening are not high, but it won’t be able to be replaced at your destination…so why take the chance? If you do prefer to ship it, use a reputable shipping company, require a signature to receive the package and insure it for the total value of the dress. 

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