So you’re dreaming of a European destination wedding? There are so many incredible destinations in Europe to choose from, whether it’s a villa in Italy, a castle in Ireland, or something completely different. But here’s a little secret: one of the keys to a successful destination celebration is ensuring that your guests have an amazing experience. After all, they’re giving up time, travelling some distance, and often spending a fair amount of money on flights and accommodation to be there with you. Plus, unless they’re familiar with the location, you’re also asking them to step out of their comfort zone, which isn’t easy for everyone. The least you can do in return is consider their needs as you plan your big day. Fortunately, it just takes a little consideration and forward thinking to make your European destination wedding easier and more enjoyable for every one of your guests.
Send out save the dates as early as possible
Your guests will need to take time off work, book international flights, reserve hotels, and possibly arrange house or pettsitting and childcare. So it’s important to give them as much notice as possible once you’ve settled on the location for your European destination wedding. Up to a year in advance is perfectly acceptable. The actual invitations should ideally be sent around 90 days before the event. This will not only give your guests time to plan, it will also help to get the RSVPs in earlier, so you will know how many people to expect.
Offer lots of accommodation options
When booking your European destination wedding venue, it’s a good idea to find out about accommodation nearby, and at a range of prices. While some venues will be able to host all your guests on-site, others may only have room for the bridal party or no accommodation at all. Having everyone in the same place or nearby makes a lot of sense, as it makes it a lot easier to organise activities and transportation. (An airport transfer is always greatly appreciated!) It’s a good idea to block book hotel rooms where possible – be sure to ask that the price you negotiate is good for a few days before and after the wedding, as many people use the opportunity to turn a destination wedding into a mini-vacation.
Create an informative wedding website
A website is a must for a destination wedding, wherever it’s located. It allows you to communicate up-to-date information with your guests on flights, accommodation, discounts, weather, local customs, transportation options, local attractions and restaurants, and more. You’ll often find the same questions coming up again and again, so it’s a good idea to create a FAQ section that you can update as needed. With COVID-19 still a factor, it’s especially important to communicate effectively. Guests will want to know details like testing requirements for getting to their destination and home again, safety provisions during the weekend, etc. Is there on-site testing at the venue or hotel? Which restrictions do they need to know about? Be sure to make all of this clear – and current.
Organise group activities
One of the best parts of having a destination wedding is getting to explore a new city or country while spending time with your loved ones and making lots of memories. Organise some special group activities, outings or events that showcase the location or culture. For example, wine or olive oil tastings, boat trips, guided sightseeing tours, or cooking classes.Talk to your European destination wedding planner – we are always happy to provide our clients with suggestions!
Make them feel welcome
It’s all about hospitality! Think about how you can make guests feel at home. A welcome bag or box in their hotel room is a great way to start, but a personal note makes it even better. Take it one step further with nightly treats left on their pillow like local chocolates or sweets. And don’t stop once the wedding’s over. A morning-after kit or one for the plane will show how much you care and appreciate them.
Need help planning your European destination wedding? Give us a call!
Slán go Fóill,