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Destination I Do
Thursday, January 3, 2019

A Guest-Friendly Destination Wedding

Words by Kacey Bradley

When you decided to have a destination wedding, you probably considered how your guests would react. You want them to share in your joy on a day you'll never forget in the perfect location. However, your guests probably have opinions about the destination, ranging from those who are excited to travel to those who are wary of the unknown. Fortunately, you can provide resources and assistance to make their experience positive and fun.

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To offer guidance and reduce challenges for your guests, you can prepare them for their travels, the location and the expenses. Here are six ways to make your destination wedding easier on your guests.

1. Pick a Convenient Time of the Year

Selecting the time of year when the majority of your guests can come is considerate, but that may mean higher prices and a more crowded destination. Tourist seasons might be the time when most of your guest list has flexible schedules, but rates often soar during warmer seasons. If you do your research and find discounted rates, you can get the best of both worlds.

Remember, you won't be able to work with everyone's schedule. But check with a number of guests to see when they're free to drive or fly out to your dream wedding.

2. Give Advanced Notice

Once you've decided on the date and location of the wedding, put your save-the-dates in the mail as early as possible. Not wanting to take time off from work is the reason 41 percent of people gave for being unable to attend a destination wedding. Notifying your guests in advance, especially for a faraway wedding, can help them prepare.

Even letting them know one to two years before the wedding can help them plan and gather the funds to join you at your destination wedding. You may think your guests will forget about the date with such advanced notice, but you can always send follow-ups and reminders as the date approaches.

3. Inform Your Guests on the Details

One hesitation that your guests may have is not knowing enough about the destination, how to get there, what activities they'll be a part of or how much the trip will cost. A major reason guests decline destination wedding invitations is money. If you get ahead of these questions with an informational resource, your guests will benefit.

You can create a newsletter or packet to tell them your itinerary and give advice on planning for the destination wedding. You could also build a wedding website or blog with a page dedicated to the nitty-gritty details.

4. Provide Rooming Suggestions and Aid

Your guests may have different preferences when it comes to rooms. Whether your grandparents want a hotel on the oceanfront or your parents would like an affordable option, the ideal hotels can vary greatly. Gather rooming suggestions to share with your guests.

You can find discount rates, the best hotels in the area and whatever other preferences you know your guests are looking for. If you know that a group of your guests would enjoy an AirBnB, pass on a few listings that appear spacious and are close to your venue. AirBnB's listings now exceed the top five hotel brands, so if hotel rooms are unavailable, this option can be a creative solution for your guests' accommodations.

5. Offer Travel Accommodation Help

Transporting guests to your destination wedding can also be a way to improve their experience. Whether your destination requires a mini road trip or a flight halfway around the world, your friends and family will appreciate your suggestions on airfare or driving routes.

You want the most important people in your life to be there on your special day, but your aging great-grandparent may have a hard time flying due to health issues or disabilities. Many elderly guests may need unique travel accommodations, so locate airlines that offer assistance that suits their needs.

6. Communicate Understanding and Gratitude

You want all your loved ones around you during your wedding, but that may not be possible when you choose an exotic destination. When guests decline invitations, especially with genuine reasons, let them know that you understand. It can reduce the tension when you communicate that you know finances, a busy schedule or health legitimately can get in the way.

As for the guests who do sacrifice their time and money to join you at your dream wedding location, tell them how much you appreciate them. Acknowledging their effort to be a part of your celebration can make the trip worth it for your guests.

Prepare Your Guests, but Have Fun

Planning for a convenient destination wedding trip for your family and friends is considerate and helpful, and it takes a lot of effort to keep everyone happy while you exchange vows. But remember to drop the worry and enjoy your wedding day too — after all, it is your day!

Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog.

Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): Unsplash/@sotti (1st), Unsplash/@barncreative (2nd), Unsplash/@sydsujuaan (3rd) & Unsplash/@rawpixel (4th).

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