Destination Wedding Etiquette – Um What Is It?

Planning Resources

So, you wanna get away for you wedding? You’ve decided to go on a somewhat unbeaten path and have a destination wedding. Greece is looking gorgeous or maybe Costa Rica is calling your name. Either way you’re saying bye to the traditional and welcoming the unconventional – a destination wedding. But, what exactly is destination wedding etiquette? For both you and your guests? If they come do they need to bring presents? Do they need to be there for all the activities? What needs to be done and how do you address it? Well, I’m about to break it all down.

destination wedding etiquette

For You

I think that the most important concept in life. Yea, you read that right I said life not just a wedding or a destination wedding – in LIFE is communication. Let me say that again for the people in the back. The most important concept in life is COMMUNICATION. (Yes, all caps was needed.) I know we’re all guilty of it. I wait to send that text and forget for 8 hours. We’ve all participated in poor communication at some point and we all know how frustrating it can be. That’s why great communication is so so vital in a destination wedding.

I think communicating upfront your destination wedding etiquette can ease a lot of pressure all around. I think everyone knows knows general wedding etiquette well enough. You bring or send a gift. You RSVP in a timely manner by mail or whatever way you got the invitation. You’re timely to the event etc.

So, how does that translate to destination wedding etiquette?

Bringing Gifts

Honestly, I think depending on where the wedding is can influence whether your guests should get you gifts or not. At the end of the day it’s totally your call so do whatever you want. But, I feel like Sherri from college would feel a lot better about traveling to your Puerto Rican wedding if she also didn’t have to buy you that kitchen aid mixer. But, that’s obviously just my personal opinion.

Unless you clearly state to your guests that you’re letting them off the gift hook that’s the expectation. So, how do you let them know this? I would simply just include a little card in the invitation or maybe after they rsvp back saying something to the effect “Your presence is gift enough – we’d love to see you there.”

Short, sweet, simple and to the point.

Rehearsal Dinner and Morning After Breakfast

Of course you want everyone there for everything. It’s such a special day and knowing that these people traveled for you of course you want them at the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony, reception, morning after breakfast and any other crazy fun activities you’ve got planned. But, let’s just be honest for a sec not everyone can afford that. People have jobs or family they might to leave early or come later for and you’re just going to have to be ok with that.

I’m sure everyone WANTS to be there but sometimes it just isn’t feasible. And letting your guest know that that is more than OK. Relieves so SO much pressure. Be understanding about the different situation and leave every conversation with a ” Thank you so much for tell me I still can’t wait to see you there!” or something along those lines.

Your Guests’ Destination Wedding Etiquette

I started with you the bride and/or groom because you set the tone. And because you set the tone, your guests will follow your lead. If you have poor communication and don’t set boundaries then how the heck is anyone suppose to know what to expect? You are the leader. Be it. Breathe it. Embrace it.

This day is all about YOU at the end of it and how your guests act is in a very small part a reflection of that. Set your expectations but try not letting any complaining effect you. Be easy breezy.

Do They Bring Gifts?

I mean I could only hope that if you said not to bring gifts they’ll follow directions but there are also some very kind hearted people out there. So, take them graciously.

They do bring gifts they don’t, does it really matter you’re in HAWAII or maybe another place. At the end of the day it’s about YOU and YOUR LOVE.

And for my guests possibly reading, whatever the bride or groom asks. Do your best to follow all the reasonable requests. They’re stressed, overworked, tired and a million other emotions. Do you know how you can help? Listen and follow direction. Simple.

The Extra Activites

You can make the rehearsal, great then go! You can’t make it? No worries, just be sure to let them know. You can go but don’t want to? Then don’t go because no one wants your sassy, sarcastic, negative attitude ruining their day. So, just sit and stay wherever you are. But, you better bring all the smiles to the wedding day. That’s all I got to say.

Hi I'm Torez, a die-hard romantic and San Francisco-based wedding photographer with years of experience capturing love stories against the backdrop of our charming city. From intimate City Hall ceremonies to epic coastal elopements, I've seen and photographed it all. I know the ins and outs of navigating wedding planning in San Francisco like the back of my hand - from selecting the perfect location that aligns with your love story, to creating the dreamiest wedding timeline that lets you enjoy your day to the fullest. And guess what? I'm sharing all of that expertise right here with you.

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