You know the rules, don’t talk with your mouth full, write thank you notes after you receive a gift, say please when you would like something – or for weddings, you don’t need to buy the bridesmaid’s dresses but the bride should pay for the bouquets, grooms shouldn’t see the bride the day of the wedding, etc. So what are the basic etiquette rules for destination weddings? It is very hard to plan a destination wedding if you can’t find the “etiquette rulebook”, right? I haven’t found an Emily Post version and I have been looking for quite some time. What I do know as the “standards” or rules that have been accepted by many a destination wedding bride I will list here:
- You do not need to have a reception back home following your wedding abroad. You can, but you don’t “have to”.
- You should invite everyone, and not expect everyone to come, but you should not leave others out based on your feeling that they can’t afford it, or hate to travel. You could always put less pressure on your invitees if you feel that they could incur a monetary hardship if they came, by simply jotting a handwritten note in the invitation. Save the dates, are a great way to not leave guests out, but also learn of their intentions early in the planning.
- You don’t need to send Save the Dates or Formal Invites, or both. A destination wedding can be as relaxed as you want it to be, so you can do just save the dates, or just invites.
- You don’t need it to be a religious ceremony. Outdoor weddings do not need to have any religious tones, or they can have as many as you want. Just discuss this with the wedding coordinator at your resort and ask for options.
- Men don’t need to wear suits. It is a relaxed event. Suits and Tuxes do not have to be worn but they can be.
And, before the list gets too long –
- You don’t have to follow traditional wedding rules. (Yes, this means whatever you were told about the etiquette of a wedding, throw it out the window). This is a trend that has just grown by leaps and bounds. With this huge surge, lots of great ideas, and traditions are now becoming standard. But other’s standards don’t mean that they fit what you want. And if I look at the list above, I realize that for everything that you don’t have to do, if you still did it, no one would object!
Don’t over think, don’t stress, and above all, this isn’t your grandmother’s wedding–a destination wedding is a multi-day celebration. Enjoy each day and soak in each moment!