Planning a destination wedding brings some unique challenges that you wouldn't have experienced if you were planning a wedding at home. Your guests will make sacrifices to attend your wedding, and it's really important that you acknowledge and appreciate their efforts. Extra attention and detail are required for the duration of their stay. You may DIY or you may wish to hire the help of a specialist destination wedding planner to assist in the planning and coordination of events. Here are some tips to help ensure your guests have the best time possible.
1. Carefully consider your location.
Will you have elderly guests? Guests with mobility issues? Guests with babies/children? Guests with dietary requirements? Guests on a limited budget?
While you may be dreaming of a secluded island paradise, it may not be feasible for younger or older guests to be hopping on and off inter island transfers.
Is your chosen location baby/child friendly? Does your chosen location cater to guests who may have specific dietary requirements? Are there affordable accommodation options nearby for those travelling on a limited budget? Do they offer group discounts?
2. Give plenty of notice!
Send save the dates at least 12 months in advance. These should include the details of your chosen location. You may wish to set up a wedding website with further information regarding the booking of airfares and accommodation. Have you organised a group booking? Bare in mind, not all guests will want to stay at your chosen location. Their preference may be for staying next door at half the price. Be respectful of their decisions regarding accommodation choices.
3. Organise scheduled events.
The bonus of having a destination wedding is the extra time you get to spend with your guests before and after your wedding. Be mindful of allowing a good balance between scheduled activities and free time, and keep their budget in mind.
Could you organise a fishing charter or golf day for the boys? How about a pampering session in the spa for the girls? A snorkelling tour?
A village tour provides a great cultural experience for everyone. Have a look at the scheduled daily activities at your chosen location and see if these are suitable for your group. Don't forget to make reservations for group dining.
4. Welcome your guests.
It's a lovely idea to create a welcome bag for your guests to thank them for attending your destination wedding. These could include a welcome note, timeline of scheduled events, local map and a few bits and bobs to help them settle in and feel appreciated. A welcome cocktail is a must!
Hot tips: Check out Wanderlust Weddings gorgeous destination wedding stationary range. Also, Versatile Fiji can help organise your guests welcome bags for you, saving you the time and space in your luggage.
5. Acknowledge and include those who can't make it.
Not everyone will be thrilled by your choice to have a destination wedding. There will be those that cannot afford it, or who have other commitments making them unable to travel. Be prepared for this ahead of time. Many destination wedding couples choose to throw a party to celebrate their nuptials upon their arrival home with those that could not attend.
Photography: Courtesy Hens Party Fiji