Destination Wedding etiquette can be a tricky subject. Did you know that I am both a professional travel advisor and a former destination wedding bride?
In fact, due to my experience as both a professional travel agent and a destination bride, I was asked to speak at the Nevis Romance Forum, a special annual event for travel agents. In honor of this event, below are my top tips for how follow a modern Emily Post and be a great destination wedding guest.
Just like an “at home” cerebration, destination wedding etiquette calls for guests to RSVP early, as soon as they know if they can attend. This helps the wedding couple needs a head count for who will attend their wedding and events.
In most cases, there is a per person cost for each guest who attends the reception or other events… these are costs the couple needs to budget for. When you delay RSVPing, this adds unnecessary stress to the couple. Please do your brides or grooms a favor and RSVP early!
If you receive an invite for a destination wedding, chances are there’s instructions for booking with a specific travel agent. The first gift you can give your couples is to book within the group contract. This saves your couple a lot of stress and anxiety. As a heads up, your wedding couple is counting on you to book with their agent.
Your couple has signed a group contract with financial implications for guests who book outside the group. Sometimes guests will want to save a few dollars and search for rates on 3rd party booking sites. This is a no-no and is a HUGE disservice to your brides or grooms!
Since most people don’t have experience with group hotel contracts – especially in a foreign country – here’s why this is important:
Most brides or grooms will never tell their guests this… they are polite and don’t want to stress out the guests. However, now that you have the inside scoop, do them a solid and follow the booking instructions provided. When guests book on their own, it causes a lot of unnecessary stress and financial headache.
Here’s another inside tip: the couple’s travel agent is absolutely willing and able to work with you if you think you’ve found a cheaper rate. Just send them a screenshot of the rate you find and they will take it from there. It’s a win win for everyone!
We’ve covered how booking separately is not a good things for the couple.. did you know that it’s also not good for the guest? Here’s why:
From beginning to end, a destination wedding is often a 9-12 month process. In that time, a lot of life happens … people change jobs, have babies, move across the country and more. If your plans change and you’re no longer able to attend, DO let the couple know ASAP. They will understand! This helps the couple communicate an accurate headcount to the hotel so they aren’t stuck paying for unused rooms.
Part 2 of this “Do” is DO get the travel insurance! Travel insurance provides a refund if your plans change… there are NO refunds without it! This is less stress for you and the couple.
It is very thoughtful to give your wedding couple a gift- good for you! However, do the couple a favor and don’t bring it to the destination. It’s just one more thing they have to lug home. With baggage fees as high as they are, this can add an unnecessary burden to the couple.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime event for your group… make the most of it! Enjoy your time together! Whether its relaxing, going on excursions or just chilling by the pool, one of the biggest perks of a destination wedding is the ability to make priceless memories… memories you just can’t duplicate at an “at home” wedding.
Check out my blog post here: Traveling to a Destination Wedding and Booking Your Own Air? Here’s Some Tips!CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR GROUP!
As an award-winning boutique travel agency, Alpaca Your Bags Travel is the fun, off-beat, tech-savvy alternative travel agency modern couples trust with their destination weddings and celebrations. We’ve got your back, so you can breathe easy and enjoy your day in paradise.
Take this fun quiz to find out if working with a travel planner might be right for you.