Destination Wedding FAQs


November 4, 2019
Words by Elaine Hilbelink
Photos courtesy of

There are a handful of special occasions in life that tend to bring out the “crazy” in people – weddings being one of them! Whether it’s you, your family or your guests who are acting nuttier than a fruitcake, etiquette issues are bound to arise. We’re sharing some of the questions we at Destination I Do find ourselves addressing again and again.

Instead of inviting our large extended families, my fiancé and I have decided to invite only a few close friends to our destination wedding. What is the best way to explain our decision to our families without hurting their feelings?

It is important to involve your parents in the discussion of how to best keep harmony in your respective families if you choose not to include them in the destination ceremony. An at-home reception, planned shortly after your ceremony, is certainly a common option that many choose as a way to include those not participating. This can be as formal or informal as you choose to make it, and will help family members feel as if they are an important part of celebrating your marriage.

My fiancé and I are both celebrating our second weddings. What is the proper number of guests to invite? Is it okay to do all of the traditions you would include at a first wedding?

The size of your wedding is totally up to you and your fiancé. It can be small and intimate, as many destination weddings are, or you may opt for a larger more traditional wedding. You may include customs and traditions typical of first weddings if you choose, but omitting what does not suit your style or destination venue may also be appropriate.

My husband and I were recently invited to a destination wedding and the invitation said “adults only.” Does this mean just the wedding or do we have to leave our children home altogether? Is there a polite way to bring this up to the couple if it is not possible to leave our children at home?

If it is your desire to turn the destination wedding into a family vacation, I would check with the venue to see if they have any resources for childcare during the activities that are “adults only.” You could also check with the hosts to see what is being planned for the wedding weekend. If the whole event is “adults only,” you should respect the wishes of the hosts and either not attend or arrange for childcare during the times you wish to be included in the pre-planned wedding activities.

I recently attended a wedding where the couple asked guests not to use their cell phones during the ceremony and reception, but I also attended a wedding where the couple created their own social media hashtag. How do I know if the couple is okay with my taking pictures and sharing them via social media?

Before using your cell phone to photograph and share on social media, ask the host or wedding coordinator what the couple’s wishes are.

Our parents are helping us pay for our destination wedding, but they’re also very opinionated about how we spend the money. We want to determine our own priorities and budget, but they’re pushing back. What’s the correct way to handle this?

Communication at the onset of planning an event is always a wise decision, so the money being contributed by families and the couple can be determined. Many times parents are happy to say, “Here is your budget and do with it what you wish.” If you are already in the throes of planning, calm communication is still the sensible route to take. Find out how much they wish to contribute and what their priorities are. Determine what your contribution is, prioritize what is important to you and your fiancé and plan accordingly.

This article first appeared in Destination I Do’s Spring/Summer 2019 issue. You can order a copy here.

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