There are a lot of decisions you will have to make when you decide to get married. One of them, perhaps the most important besides who you will marry is where you will get married. One popular choice is the destination wedding.
This means that both you and your guests travel to a destination, often an exotic one, to have the wedding ceremony. Often this means the couple continues their honeymoon there and some guests will stay for an extended period as a vacation.
A destination wedding requires a special kind of planning though, and there are some key questions you should answer. One of the easiest ways to manage all of the logistics involved is register your own domain name and create a destination wedding website.
This website provides a billboard to let everyone know what is going on, and how best to plan. It can also provide links to accommodations, special flight deals you may have set up for your wedding party, and a gift registry for those who are unable to attend and for those who are attending but don’t want to bring gifts to the destination.
Here are some tips for setting up your destination wedding website and some questions and logistics the site should address.
What’s in a Name?
The website name should be relevant, something as simple as the mrandmrsjonesinfrance.com. Just be careful. Make sure that running your names together or adding the name of the country to your names does not create any kind of unfortunate combinations or initials. Also, if the domain name you choose is taken, you might have to pick another one.
Many wedding planners and others offer websites for you with templates and some basic ideas about things to include. This can be a simple way to set up the website, but you might want something more personal, different than what they offer.
In that case, you will have to find a host, choose a theme, and build your own site. This can be easy if one of you is tech savvy, and you may even want to add a blog where you talk about your wedding planning so that updates are easy to access. This saves you from having to update everyone individually, and you can even answer common questions there.
Where are You Going?
Of course, the way your destination site is set up and what you include there will depend largely on where you are going. Are you going to Vegas or Paris? Those two sites will look very different. This is because there are very different requirements for your guests who are going to Paris and the ones who are going to Vegas. Having a destination wedding abroad means passports, more intricate travel plans, and the need for a centralised lodging plan that keeps everyone close in an unfamiliar city.
This means your destination wedding website will need to reflect those things and include links to all the appropriate resources. Remember, the purpose of the site is to be a central place for information needed by the guests who will be attending your wedding, and also a way for those who cannot attend to follow the event.
In part, it should be designed to keep you from having to answer the same questions over and over. Putting the resources online for those who will be traveling will hopefully save some of these inquiries.
Who is Invited?
One advantage of a destination wedding, especially one that is abroad, is that it will take a significant investment to get there, so it is unlikely that you will have wedding crashers or unwanted guests. At the same time, you want those who can make the trip to feel both welcome and appreciated.
To an extent, this means you need to cater the site to those you are inviting. Similar to a business website, you need to know your audience. You may need to offer separate pages for the gambling and other nightlife you might engage in to keep from offending members of the family who are a little more conservative.
On the other hand, this is your wedding, and your destination. You are likely spending a lot of money to make it your dream day, and so you need to make the trip yours and share the experiences with your guests that you want to.
This factor alone may determine who is not on the guest list, or you may extend invites you know will not be answered. Still, a destination wedding does allow you to be picky about who you invite, as both the cost and the nature of the trip will be off-putting to some. Just be sure the true nature of the trip is expressed on your website, and that the guest list is clear.
How will you get everyone there?
One of the biggest questions that arises with a destination wedding is what the couple is paying for, what the guests are paying for, and how much control the bride and groom have over lodging and transportation, and how everyone is getting there.
The simple rule of thumb is this: if the guests are paying for their own airfare and accommodations, the bride and groom provide them with suggested flights and lodging, and a schedule of events. The guests can do with those what they choose, but strongly suggesting they at least stay in the suggested area is not rude or uncommon.
However, if the couple is paying for the guest’s airfare, lodging, or both it is acceptable to simply hand them an itinerary. This does offer some peace of mind, because you know everyone will be in the right place at the right time.
Your destination wedding website is a great place to communicate these things. You can let people know when and where things are happening, and what they need to pay for and what you are covering. It is then their responsibility to follow through.
Ask for Money
A destination wedding, especially one abroad, can be a very expensive proposition. There is nothing wrong with asking for money as gifts to help cover the cost. Also, if you are booking some of the accommodations but it is the responsibility of the wedding party or guests to pay for some of the cost themselves, don’t be shy about insisting that they pay in a timely manner.
Your destination wedding website is a great place to do this. You can set up a PayPal portal or use something like Square Cash or even Apple Pay to enable payments that can be deposited directly to your account
No matter where your destination wedding is, a website can be a great tool to answer questions, cater to your guests, inform everyone of travel plans and accommodations, and even let guests pay for their portion of the expenses. Used properly this can save you time and effort better spent on other areas of wedding planning .