How to plan an exotic destination wedding: Etiquette & tips

Just MarriedPicture a private secluded beach, just near the end of the day. The sun is almost at eye level and sitting waiting for your arrival are your closest family and friends. Imagine walking down the aisle barefoot, toes grazing the white sand and the warm setting Cuban sun dull on your face.

With a scene like that, it’s no wonder exotic destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular these days, whether it be Puerto Rico, Tahiti, or the Bahamas. There are lots of benefits to destinations, but there are also a few things to keep in mind.

Check out these 10 Non-Cliche Honeymoon Destinations if you’re looking for something a little different; discover the 10 Sexiest Destinations on Earth for a truly sexy vibe; or read about a Picture Perfect Paris Honeymoon.

Destination Wedding Etiquette

Minimal Planning. Large, elaborate weddings can be complicated and stressful. However, many destination wedding sites offer wedding planners and packages that make it as easy as just having to show up. Other activities and itineraries can also be planned to ensure that your guests have a great time while they see the sights.

Important Legal Jargon. Many of the exotic destinations have their own legal rules and laws for people getting married there. Some require you to have been there for 6 days, 24 hours, some require blood tests, birth certificates, proof of divorce, require 2 months to apply for licenses, and etc. See the requirements below for more information:

Expenses. Traditionally, it is up to the guests to pay for their own travel expenses and accommodations. So when booking, be considerate to your guests and do your research and price comparison. Some resorts offer discounts for a certain number of people, have promotions especially for wedding packages, and etc.

Booking. When you book your weekend/date with the hotel, block off a number of rooms/boarding for a certain number of people. It’s your responsibility as the host to ensure your guests have somewhere to stay. Keeping track of numbers and your guests’ itineraries is probably the most complicated aspect of a destination wedding.

Save the dateSend out “Save the Date” cards well in advance (at least 3 months). This helps your guests tremendously – it gives them time to decide, to book vacation time, hire a baby sitter, save up for the trip, and make other plans.

Guest List. Consider whether you’re going for a small family only or bigger wedding when you send out your “Save the Date” cards and Invitations. It’s likely that there will be a percentage of people who won’t be able to make it because it’s a destination wedding, and so many peope also have a wedding banquet back at home after the honeymoon.

Information. When sending out your “Save the Date” cards and invitations, make sure that necessary information is available for your guests: destination, the name of the hotel, the cost, the date, airline info, travel agent contact, dress code and attire, and etc.

Wedding websites are useful because they allow you to post the most up to date information on flights, numbers, reservations, gift registries, and etc.

Wedding Gifts should be sent to the bride and groom prior to the wedding at home. Guests who are attending the wedding can opt for a less expensive gift.

Banquet/Reception. For family, friends, and other guests who are unable to make the wedding, a late wedding banquet or reception back at home is a great way to involve them in your wedding celebration. After the honeymoon or a few weeks after the wedding is fine and it also gives you time to settle in!


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