Written By: Jaime Valdes-Riench, Owner of Travel & Events with Style
Like everything else that goes with a destination wedding, there are some etiquette guidelines that are slightly different than traditional weddings. With that being said, invitations for destination weddings also have their own set of guidelines. What is listed are items you should consider following in order to keep your invited guests in the loop and your day well on its way to perfection.
Timing and Spreading the Word
Traditional wedding invitation etiquette would state that invites should be sent approximately six to eight weeks in advance to the wedding date. Considering all the arrangements and travel plans that are entailed with a destination wedding, it is a good idea to be considerate to those who may want to attend. The best idea is to send a “save the date card” out as soon as possible. Include your names, the date, location and that there will be an invitation to follow. This will allow your guests to prepare financially, book their vacation time, and obtain the necessary travel documents if need be.
Sending out the official wedding invitations should be determined according to the time frame needed in order to book travel and accommodations. In some cases it is necessary to send out invitations as early as six to nine months in advance in order to obtain group discounts or visas. An alternative to sending invitations too early, a couple should consider making a wedding website to keep guests up to date. If possible, it is best to include this website address on the “Save the Date” card.
Wording of the Invitations
The actual wording on the invitation itself is relatively the same as traditional invitations. The main invitation should follow the traditional guidelines to set the stage of what type of wedding you are hosting. Is it formal, semi formal, appropriate attire for a beach wedding? It should also include the city and the province or country. It is best to add additional inserts in the invitation that explain more about the location, climate and more specific information on dress at the location in general. It is also a chance to mention about any excursions that may have to be pre-booked as a group. If the wedding is being held at a resort, it is important to list the details of the resort, booking information, and if the resort has special criteria such as adults only. All this additional information should be done in a concise and tasteful manor. It is not necessary to go into great detail about these incidentals. The wedding website will be the medium to help guests make an informed decision.
How to Choose the Look and Type of Invitations
As mentioned, your invitations will explain what type of wedding you will be hosting, but take a few extra steps to set the mood and theme. This is your chance as a couple to have fun with the invites! It is a great opportunity to get inspired and utilize the ideas of the location to make your invitations more original. Incorporate items from the location of choice. You can use bamboo mulberry papers for weddings in Tahiti, Bali or Thailand; use deep grey granite coloured papers with a contrasting colour such as sky blue for a wedding in the Rockies, use airy linen or cotton papers for tropical weddings with exotic floral embellishments. Remember this type of wedding goes beyond borders so have fun with it! Elegance comes in a lot of shapes and forms, and this is a great way to tell your guests that this will be a wedding to remember!
Typically, the RSVP date of a wedding invitation should be three weeks prior to the date, but with a destination wedding more time would be requested for obvious reasons. It is recommended to give the RSVP date according to necessary booking requirements and not less than six weeks prior. Another recommendation is to take this chance to utilize the RSVP card as way to know how people are planning on attending. A suggestion would be to give at least three clear options for them to choose from:
1. All ___ will be in attendance. We are planning on booking with your group,
2. All ___ will be in attendance. We will arrange our transportation and lodging,
3. We are unable to attend.
This will allow for you to budget for guests who are not staying at the group location if there are additional costs that will be incurred for them to attend the wedding and reception (i.e. most tropical all inclusive resorts will charge a surcharge for guests who attend that are not staying at the booked resort).
It is recommended to send invitations to everyone you would like to attend whether you know they can attend or not. It is a courtesy and is appreciated. The purpose of the RSVP is to let you know that they can not make it. You may even be pleasantly surprised! Wedding announcement cards can be sent to everyone who where not invited. It is a wonderful way to let friends and family know your wonderful news after you have returned.
Post Wedding Reception Once Returning
More couples are choosing to have an additional reception once they return. It is an opportunity to include those who could not attend and say thank you to those who did. It is customary to make a separate invitation for this reception, but it maybe included as a separate insert within the wedding invitation package. If included, it should follow the full theme of the wedding invite itself.
Your wedding invitation is truly the intro to your special day. Taking a few extra steps can give clarity to those who may not be as comfortable with travelling to this type of wedding and what is expected. Enjoy the process! It should be your chance to get your creative juices flowing. Remember, you have taken the time to choose a location that is just right. This is your chance to get that feeling on paper and get your guests just as excited as you are!