There’s nothing more exciting as a wedding guest than receiving an invitation to a celebration in a far-flung locale like beautiful Ireland. Destination weddings are so much fun and they allow you to experience a place in a completely unique way, together with people you love. But they do come with their own logistical and etiquette issues, especially when it comes to the invitations. What information do you have to include? How early do you need to send them out? Who gets an invitation? The most important thing to remember about destination wedding invitation etiquette – as with all etiquette – is that it’s about common sense and treating other people with consideration, rather than following a set of old fashioned rules. So with that in mind, here are the destination wedding invitation etiquette dos and don’ts to keep in mind.
DO give guests all the information they need
Unlike a wedding at home, there’s a lot more information to communicate to guests at a destination wedding. Not only will you need to let them know the date and time, the location and venue, and RSVP details, there are also other elements to include. For example, accommodation arrangements, instructions for booking their trip, and invitations to pre- and post-wedding events. However, it’s important not to confuse or overwhelm guests by trying to fit all of this info on one page. Keep things simple on the actual invite, but make use of a multi-card invitation suite or a booklet-style invitation. That way, you can break up all the details you need to communicate.
DON’T try to get it all on paper
Although enclosure cards are important, it’s also a good idea to have a wedding website. This will not only provide a reference in case guests lose any of the information you send them, but it will also allow you to expand information. For example, you can give flight details, suggestions for accommodation options or travel discounts, a list of things to do around town, currency exchange rates, and an up-to-date itinerary as plans evolve. You can also share information about dress codes, packing suggestions, etc. In terms of destination wedding invitation etiquette, it’s perfectly fine to include the address of your wedding website on your save the dates and/or invitation (or as an insert).
DO send out save the dates and invitations early
For a destination wedding, it’s more important than ever to give guests ample time to make arrangements for travel, childcare, leave from work, etc. So the more notice you can give them, the better. Send out save the dates at least six months before the big day and up to a year ahead. Remember, you don’t need to have all the information in place for the save the date! The actual invitations should go out no later than 3 months before the ceremony.
DO allow enough time for RSVPs
For a destination wedding, the RSVP date is a lot more than a formality. Your guest count can have a major impact on aspects like a group travel rate or accommodation bookings. Give yourself a little more time than you need or than the caterer requires. 2-4 weeks should be enough. If you haven’t heard from a guest by the RSVP date, be sure to follow up with them via a quick call.
DO send an invitation to everyone on your list
Good destination wedding invitation etiquette is for you to send a save the date and invitation to everyone on your guest list. That includes ‘crew members’ like your parents or bridal party. Not only does it make a lovely keepsake, it’s a good way of making them feel valued. If you’re planning to have a reception when you get home, you can include that information on your invitations. That way, if they aren’t able to attend, they’ll know that they can celebrate with you later.
DON’T mention gifts on the invitation
For a destination wedding, couples often feel that their guests are spending money on attending the wedding and want to let them know that they’re not expecting a gift on top of that. So can you print ‘no gifts’ on the invitation? In short, no. It’s generally not considered good manners to mention gifts at all on your wedding invitation. Instead, direct guest to your wedding website where you can include a sentence like: “Your presence is the only gift we require” or spread the word via family or friends. Either way, leave it off the invitation.
I hope that covers all your destination wedding invitation etiquette questions!
Slán go Fóill,