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Over the years, you’ve attended dozens of weddings held in local churches, parks, wineries, and fancy event halls.
Although these ceremonies have certainly been beautiful and romantic, you and your beloved would like to get married in Sedona, Arizona with the gorgeous red rock formations in the backdrop.
In other words, you want to have a destination wedding, a ceremony that’s held in a location away from your hometown.
While you should definitely feel free to plan your dream wedding, there are some important tips regarding etiquette for this different sort of celebration. With that in mind, as you start the planning process for your destination wedding, consider the following tips:
1. Be Considerate About Your Guests’ Budgets
Granted, your out-of-town guests would still need to fly or drive into your hometown anyway for your wedding, so traveling to sunny Arizona might not be that big of a deal. But your local guests will have to spend much more money to attend your destination wedding nuptials.
In that vein, try to choose a wedding date that doesn’t fall during prime travel season, when flights and hotels are likely to be a lot costlier. At the same time, however, don’t plan your wedding during the dead of summer, especially in Arizona. While flights will cost a lot less, you don’t want any friends or relatives figuratively melting during the ceremony.
Additionally, offer several different hotel choices for everyone’s comfort level and budget; your wedding website is a great place to list accommodation suggestions and price information.
2. Send Save-the-Date Cards Earlier Than Usual
Because you’ll be asking guests to book flights and a hotel for your wedding, you want to be sure to give them plenty of time to plan for travel, as well as requesting days off of work. Thus, plan on sending out your save-the-date cards at least six months ahead of your wedding; your invitations should be in the mail three months before your big day. The save-the-date card should not only mention the date of your wedding but also the location, so your guests know where they’ll be traveling to see and hear you say, “I do.”
3. Treat Guests to Free Meals When Possible
When planning a destination wedding, you’re not under any obligation to pay for your wedding party’s travel expenses. At the same time, though, it’s kind and considerate to recognize that many of your friends and family are spending more than usual to attend your wedding, so try to pick up the tab at least once for a group meal. Of course, this will be in addition to the rehearsal dinner and reception. If your budget allows, you might also pay for one meal each day for the members of your wedding party; for instance, tell the hotel staff where they’re staying to start a tab in your names and then cover the final bill.
Your Wedding Will Be Beautiful
You certainly don’t need to “settle” when planning your wedding — at least when it comes to the location. By giving invited guests plenty of advanced notice, booking your wedding venue during a cheaper time of the year, offering people plenty of choices for lodging, and treating for their meals as you can, everyone will be glad they decided to attend what promises to be one of the most memorable and scenic weddings, ever.