One of the main attractions of a destination wedding is keeping the guest list small and intimate, and only inviting the people that you truly want to be there. Fewer people will expect a wedding invitation if you are travelling to get married, and you won’t feel obliged to invite distant cousins or work colleagues that you aren’t really very close to. Even so, it can still be difficult to know who to invite, and how to invite them.
Drawing up a destination wedding guest list
The golden rule in putting together your guest list for a destination wedding is to invite people based on whether you want them to come, not whether you think they will actually be able to make the trip.
If you have already chosen your venue, you may be restricted by the capacity there, but otherwise just write down the names of close friends and family members that you don’t want to be without on your wedding day. It may help to think of it as a list of people you’d like to go on holiday with rather than a list of destination wedding guests.
When to invite guests to your destination wedding
Guests will need much more notice than usual to save up and plan for a destination wedding. One of the best options is to send out save-the-date cards as soon as you have set a date, at least a year in advance if possible. It is a great idea to include extra information about the trip with your save-the-date card, especially if you have managed to negotiate good rates on flights or accommodation with your tour operator. Don’t overdo it in an attempt to be helpful though, you may start to appear pushy.
Once you have sent out save-the-date cards, you will probably start to get a feel for how many guests will be attending as they will be starting to plan their trip and will probably be calling you with questions.
You will need to accept that fewer people will be able to attend a destination wedding than a local wedding. Work commitments, holidays that are already booked, and money constraints can all make it hard for guest to attend destination weddings. Send out formal invitations to everyone that received a save-the-date card, even if you don’t think they are coming.
Wording your destination wedding invite
In general the wording of a destination wedding invitation or save-the-date card shouldn’t be very different to the wording for a local wedding. Just putting the location and address of the wedding venue will tell your guests that it is a destination wedding.
However, many couples do choose to put in an extra line saying that they’d love the invitee to attend the wedding, but that they do understand it might be too far to travel. This is an easy way of saying to your guests that you won’t be offended if they don’t come along.
Having an additional celebration at home
Many couples that have a destination wedding choose to have an informal party, such as a barbeque when they get home, so that all those who couldn’t make the wedding can still come and celebrate with them.
If it’s possible to arrange this before you send out the invitations, it’s a great idea to put both events on one invitation, and that way guests that aren’t travelling for the destination wedding don’t feel they are missing out altogether. To avoid confusion, include a reply card where guests can tick whether they are coming to the wedding, the party, both, or neither.