Destination Wedding Etiquette

Browse our guide to a new set of ‘etiquette rules’ for your wedding abroad

Destination Wedding Etiquette by


Destination Wedding Etiquette

With the growing trend for weddings abroad, a new set of ‘etiquette rules’ have developed. Knowing basic destination wedding etiquette will help you and your guests have a memorable celebration and holiday all in one. When planning your wedding keep the following in mind:

Save the Date! – Give Your Guests Notice

You should send out your wedding invitations earlier than you would if your ceremony were closer to home. This will give your guests plenty of time to determine whether they can get time off work or other commitments and of course budget accordingly.


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Engaging! – Should You Have an Engagement Party?

Engagement party attendees expect to give a gift. For this reason it’s considered bad destination wedding etiquette to invite anyone to an engagement party who isn’t also invited to the wedding or reception.

Details! – Research Travel and Hotel Options

Generally your guests are expected to cover their own travel and hotel expenses. You can make this easier for them by looking into travel and hotel deals yourself. Make calls and search the web for the most suitable and cost effective travel and hotel choices, then pass the information on. Your guests will appreciate this!


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Wed on the Web! – Set Up Your Own Wedding Website

A wedding website is the perfect way to keep your guests informed of travel and accommodation options. You can also include information such as expected weather and links to amenities and attractions in the area. Keep information current, and e-mail your guests each time you make significant changes.  You could also use this site to stream live video of your wedding for those guests unable to attend.

Meet and Greet! – Greet Your Guests

Your guests may be arriving at different times or on different flights. If possible, meet them at the airport, especially if you’re familiar with the area and they aren’t. If you’re too busy, ask your best man and maid of honour to help, or get the hotel to send a car. Make sure you include a clear map of the area in each wedding invitation, and also include your mobile-phone number so wayward attendees can call you for clarification on the drive from the airport.


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Party Plans! – Include an Itinerary

Write a wedding itinerary and hand it to guests as they arrive. Make sure you include those times that you and your new spouse have set aside for just the two of you (e.g. a special dinner) so your guests can plan their own activities. Also include dates, times and location of welcome drinks or dinner rehearsal meet-up’s…always a good plan to arrange a get together for all guests to meet one another prior to the ceremony, after everyone has arrived and settled. Use local themes and images to spice up the itinerary and to make it a keepsake for your wedding scrapbook.

Return Reception! – Have a Local Reception

It’s likely that your destination wedding will be much smaller than a local wedding. If you are unable to invite everyone you’d like to your destination wedding you could have a reception back at home. Give yourselves about two weeks between getting home from the wedding and holding your local reception; you’ll need the break. Make sure you send the party invitations at the same time you send the invitations to your wedding. This will prevent anyone from feeling left out. Don’t forget it’s also another chance to wear your wedding dress!


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Announce It! – Send Destination Wedding Announcements

A couple should send wedding announcements to anyone (and everyone) who was unable to attend their destination wedding. If you sent a wedding invitation to someone who then informed you they were unable to make it you don’t need to send them an announcement, but if you did not invite someone because you knew they couldn’t make the trip you should definitely send that person an announcement. Wedding announcements are often seen as being more appropriate than sending an invitation to a guest that you know can’t attend, because announcements don’t carry with them the expectation of gifts. Announcements are also a great way of letting people know you had a destination wedding, so they don’t feel left out.

Using basic etiquette, courtesy, and common sense, you can ensure that a good time is had by all, whether at home or abroad.



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