Destination Wedding Etiquette: 10 Tips You Need to Know

April 15, 2024 | kailey

Image by Phosart. See more of this real wedding here.

Planning a destination wedding tends to be more complicated than a traditional wedding close to home. With having to book flights and secure accommodations, all while planning from thousands of miles away, this probably comes as no surprise. Bringing to life a far-away celebration will inevitably require a lot of preparation for you and your guests. While your wedding day is still ultimately about you, there are some destination wedding etiquette rules that couples are encouraged to follow to be considerate of loved ones invited. 

Whether you’re jetting off to a castle in Scotland or dreaming of an oceanfront all-inclusive venue in Mexico, here are the top destination wedding etiquette tips to consider following during the planning process. 

1. Send Wedding Invitations Early 

Guests must book flights, accommodations, time off work, and potentially childcare to attend your destination wedding. Sorting out all these details is not only expensive but also time-consuming. Give them ample time to prepare and get their ducks in a row. 

For local weddings, sending invitations at least two months in advance is standard. For destination weddings, however, you should send your invitations at least three to four months beforehand. This means couples should post save-the-dates eight to twelve months prior to their big day, giving guests time to book everything and renew passports if necessary. 

Recommended Reading: The Best Destination Wedding Invitations for Popular Locations Around the World

2. Be Upfront on Your Invitations 

Destination wedding invitations require more information than those for traditional weddings. Your invitations will need to break down all the events planned during your extended celebration. We highly suggest accompanying your invitations with a wedding itinerary, including all the dates, times, and locations for each event. This will give attendees a transparent breakdown of how long they should expect to be away while also allowing them to accurately gauge transportation and lodging costs. 

Images by Just Like Honey. See more of this real wedding here.

3. Let Guests Know Gifts Aren’t Required 

Destination weddings are expensive for everyone involved. Loved ones with the financial means to cover costs are willing to pay for those things because they love you! But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to alleviate some of the costs. One of the biggest ways is to explicitly let your guests know that gifts aren’t required by writing a short message on your wedding website or invitations. 

Make it known that their presence is enough. Celebrating your marriage with loved ones is priceless and can’t be topped by anything you’d add to a wedding registry.

4. Provide Lodging Recommendations

Paying for your guests’ accommodations isn’t required. It’s expected that if attending, they’ll pay their own way. While fronting the costs for your guests would be helpful, it isn’t the only way to lend a hand. Taking time to scope out accommodation options at different price points is also a thoughtful way to help ease their booking process. You can include this information in your invitations or on your website. Any stress you can take out of the travel planning process will be huge for your guests. 

Recommended Reading: How to Set Up Your Wedding Hotel Room Block

5. Consider Covering Transportation Costs 

If you have extra room in the budget, covering transportation costs is a great place to allocate that money. It’ll help guests financially and give them one less thing to worry about when they arrive. Depending on your destination and the expected number of guests, you can hire a bus or van to pick up loved ones from the airport. Uber is also a great way to simplify wedding logistics. They make it easy to send vouchers to your guests to cover transportation costs. 

6. Gift Welcome Bags 

Welcome bags are a sweet way to show appreciation for guests trying to attend your faraway celebration. Your loved ones have done a lot to celebrate you, and a welcome bag is the perfect way to thank them. Add local staples, destination recommendations, and some practical items they can use on their trip. 

Are you planning a beachy wedding at an all-inclusive resort? Include custom towels, sunscreen, and wedding-themed floaties. For those having a winter wedding in the mountains, include a blanket, a smores kit to use during the reception, and a custom beanie. This is your chance to get creative based on your wedding location and theme. 

7. Answer All Questions on Your Wedding Website

For those planning a destination wedding abroad, odds are your guests will have many questions. Adding expected questions to your wedding website is destination wedding etiquette that’ll help prepare your guests and keep your phone from blowing up. You’ll want to address time changes, exchange rates, cultural nuances, safety, and so much more. 

When creating your site, simply add a section with all information specific to your destination so guests can easily find and reference it as they prepare for their trip. For those wanting to go above and beyond, consider adding restaurant recommendations, sightseeing spots, and anything else your guests might enjoy.

8. Host a Welcome Party or Post-Wedding Brunch 

Who says you have to wait until the big day to start celebrating? Get the party started as soon as all your loved ones have arrived. Hosting a welcome party is an enjoyable way to kick off the festivities and show appreciation for those who have traveled to be with you during this special time. 

If guests arrive on different days at varying times, this might be trickier to orchestrate. Instead, consider planning a post-wedding brunch. This is a sweet way to spend more quality time with loved ones and bring the celebration to a close. 

9. Pay for All-inclusive Resort Passes for Guests Off Property

This tip won’t apply to all destination weddings, but it is important to consider when planning a celebration at an all-inclusive resort. While most guests will stay in the same hotel, this won’t be the case for everyone. Some guests may choose alternative hotel options to save money. 

If guests decide they can’t or don’t want to stay on the same property, make room in your budget to cover the required day passes they’ll need to purchase to attend the wedding. This is something you’ll be able to arrange ahead of time through your wedding planner or the resort coordinator.

10. Plan a Post-Wedding Party 

When hosting a lavish destination wedding, you must understand that not all guests can attend. Whether it’s due to time or financial constraints, this is just something you’ll need to come to terms with. Although it’s unfortunate, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice celebrating with those special people. When you return home after your destination wedding, host a local post-wedding party to celebrate with those unable to attend. 

These ten destination wedding etiquette tips are key to pulling off your far-away wedding without a hitch. Another crucial component is hiring trusted vendors locally. And if you’re looking for top-rated wedding professionals, our vendor directory is the place to start. With Junebug vendors on your team and this destination wedding planning guide, you’ll be well on your way to making your dream wedding a reality.

Image by Andrew Bayda. See more of this real wedding here.

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  1. If you’re sticking to the old school rules, this is an etiquette no-no! You can mention that gifts are not required on your web page. But you can’t make any mention of gifts whatsoever, even if it’s to tell people not to bring them, on your invites.

    Otherwise, great advice!

  2. this is so perfect! love all they tips and details!

  3. My little sister wants to start planning her wedding this month. She and her fiance want to have a destination wedding. It is good to know that they should do a good amount of research on the different places that they could hold the event.

  4. After reading your article, I checked out your website, and i really like your post. It looks massive and pretty cool

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