Destination Wedding Tips and Budget Hacks
A guide for guests and couples saying ‘I do’ at a destination wedding.
These tips will ensure you remain a blissful bride or giddy guest when traveling for a destination wedding.
For the couple
Wedding planning isn’t easy. Adding the distance of a couple hundred or thousand miles to the equation can pile on the stress. Travel-loving brides and grooms can make the experience a little easier with help from a travel agent. While a local wedding planner will be able to secure and wrangle vendors and supplies for the big day, a travel agent specializes in getting people from point A to point B in the most efficient manner possible, taking some of the stress off the shoulders of soon-to-be newlyweds and your guests.
Whether you plan to do it all yourself or hire someone else to take the reins, ensure everything is properly prepared by arriving at your wedding destination a few days in advance. This allows extra padding for travel delays, last-minute changes and a little R and R before guests arrive.
Allow guests plenty of time to prepare for the big day as well. Experts recommend sending save-the-date announcements anytime between eight and 12 months in advance of a destination wedding to give attendees a chance to budget for the trip, arrange time off work and secure a passport, if needed. As your big day also may affect guests’ family vacations and other planned travel, this ample advance notice is always valued.
As a destination wedding can become a guest’s vacation and the newlyweds’ honeymoon, embrace the location and celebrate the culture. Consider planning prearranged events or a helpful guide to your destination. Consider creating welcome bags that give guests a taste of the local flavor. Encourage them to check out the area and mix and mingle with other guests to pass time between the welcome dinner, rehearsal, ceremony, reception or morning-after brunch.
A guide for guests
While traditional weddings require guests to only commit to a ceremony and reception, destination weddings are a much larger investment of both time and money, so do a little research and advance planning before mailing that RSVP.
If the couple is getting hitched at a resort, accommodations, meals and even transportation are usually pre-determined. If the wedding venue is not an all-inclusive arrangement, make the most of your budget by pooling resources with your fellow wedding attendees. Share a rental car or consider alternative lodging options on sites like Airbnb and VRBO. If travel schedules and departure airports sync up for you and at least nine friends, weigh the benefits of booking flights through an airline’s group travel service.
As far as gifts go, yes, a gift should still be given even though your attendance may have really strained your budget. A simple token or nominal cash gift is perfectly acceptable. Or, look to your friends again to save a little money by going in on a group gift. Just remember to send it directly to the happy couple’s home to save them from having to ship it back themselves.
Many couples plan destination weddings over long weekends to extend the festivities and alleviate some travel-related stress for attendees. However, this often means traveling during peak travel periods, so book accommodations early as flights and hotel prices will spike when supply dwindles. Airport parking facilities also reach capacity during peak travel seasons, so making a reservation always in recommended.