Guest Author - Beth Helmstetter
If you’re just getting started with the planning of your destination wedding, you are already thinking of the obvious: Who will do my hair and makeup? Who is the best photographer? What will my bouquet look like? If you are like most destination brides, it isn’t until a little further in the planning process that you realize you have not only invited guests to your wedding but you have invited them on vacation. You have suddenly taken on the roles of bride, travel agent, concierge and event planner. Don’t panic! With these six tips, you will be the consummate hostess during your destination wedding celebration.
1. Allow guests to enjoy their vacation. While they are there to celebrate your union, there is also a part of each guest that is looking forward to a vacation. Because of this, don’t feel obligated to plan every minute for them. Let guests have enough time to relax and plan activities on their own.
2. Use the uniqueness of your destination to shape events. Again, your guests will want to explore the activities that can only be done at the destination of your choice. Take your guests to a winery rather than a traditional rehearsal dinner when in Napa, or introduce them to the Caribbean with a welcome party consisting of Mojitos and a sunset sail.
3. Create an itinerary and list of recommended activities. Outline for your guests the events they are invited to, as well as some additional activities that they may enjoy. Send the itinerary out one month before traveling to allow your guests to plan their down time. For activities that you are not paying for, be sure to provide the cost affiliated with each event so your guests can be prepared.
4. Don’t feel obligated to pay for everything. If hoping to extend your wedding celebration throughout the week with a welcome party, morning after brunch, etc. but have a limited budget, do not stress. Discuss with your families who will be hosting each event. Have his parents pay for the welcome party if your parents are hosting the wedding and reception. Or, even have your guests go Dutch for the events leading up to the wedding day.
5. Have all of your guests stay in the same area if possible. The beauty of a destination wedding is it allows you and your fiancé’s families to come together for an entire week. If everyone is staying all over the island or city you are in, your guests will not have as much opportunity to get to know each other. On the other hand, planning accommodations for all your guests can be a logistical nightmare. Solve this by providing accommodation information in your invitations or save-the-dates. Include information only on hotels and condos that will keep your guests near the party. After the wedding, if you and your fiancé want privacy, consider sneaking off to another island or even just another hotel.
6. Don’t take everything on yourself. Planning a destination wedding and reception alone can take a lot of time and research. Depend on the professionals within your reach like your wedding planner, travel agent or even the concierge at the hotel you will be staying at to organize events and activities for you and your guests.