Destination weddings have become an increasingly popular option among couples. Some couples choose to go away alone and elope, then return for a reception with their friends and family. Other couples, however, want to bring along some of their friends and family to share the event with them.
Save the Date Cards: You’ll Need Them
If you’re planning on inviting guests to your destination wedding, you definitely need to start thinking ahead. Most guests will need plenty of time to make the arrangements at work, for their pets, for their children, etc. Plus, they’ll need to reserve a room, possibly get a passport, and save up money for the trip. While etiquette normally dictates wedding invitations be sent out six to eight weeks before the ceremony, you should definitely send out save the date cards as early as you can, possibly up to a year in advance.
Normally, the save the date card you send should include basic information, such as your names and the date of your wedding. For a destination wedding, you should also send along a personal letter to your guests explaining the details of your plans. If you’re using a paper vendor for your invitations and other wedding stationery, consider purchasing some matching paper for these letters. That’s better than using plain notebook paper or white printer paper. You could also use personalized stationery.
In the letter, you need to provide as much information as possible. Of course, you may not have a great deal of information available 12 months before the big day, but you need to let them know what you’re planning.
Spell Out the Details of Destination Wedding Plans
One issue is who will be covering expenses. Some couples actually pay for their guests’ trips. This is not as extreme as it sounds, especially since most couples end up spending well over $20,000 on their weddings. Most destinations will also provide discounts if you’re having large groups of guests. To find the best deals, you may want to work closely with a travel agent as you’re putting the event together. Other couples simply cannot afford to pay for the entire trip while others may choose to pay for some portion of the trip, such as lodging, but not the entire thing.
Regardless of the payment arrangements, you need to spell out those terms in your letter. You might say “Because we value you as one of our dearest friends, we want to invite you to attend our wedding in Las Vegas as our guest” or “If you can attend, please let us know as soon as possible. We will be covering the costs of the hotel, as well as the post-ceremony dinner. Our travel agent would be happy to help you make all of the other arrangements.”
In the letter, ask for a response. Usually save the date cards do not require any type of response, so you’ll want to clearly ask for one. Provide several contact methods – mobile phone, home phone, email, etc. You want to make it as easy as possible for your potential guests to get in touch with you.
Even though all of the details are sent in advance, you will still need to send invitations to all of your guests. These invitations will be no different than the invitations you would send for any other wedding. However, you may want to choose a design keeping in the style of your destination. For example, if your wedding will be held on a beach, you might choose invitations with pictures of palm trees, waves, or even tropical flowers. Send these invitations out eight weeks before the ceremony.