When you are planning a destination wedding, it is often difficult to send out invitations 6 weeks prior and actually expect people to attend. Emily Post need not remind us about the proper time frame to send out invitations. Throw the rules of years ago out the window when you are planning a destination wedding as this new trend has very little guidelines that are written in stone.
Normally, a Save the Date should be sent at least 6 months prior to the travel dates. This will give your invitees time to save and schedule vacation time. If you have reserved a block of group space and your wedding is well over a year away, it is fine to send out a Save the Date. Your save the date should also include how your guests should make their reservations. VIP Vacations will customize 100 Save the Date post cards (we have over 30 designs to choose from, or help design something new and we can upload an engagement picture too!) and we will send 100 out to you for free. On the back of the save the dates, we often put this wording:
We would love for you to join us.
We have reserved a block of group space as special rates.
For reservations and prices, please contact our travel agent,
Jennifer at VIP Vacations
(and this is where we leave a phone number and email address)
I normally also try to make sure the date is listed and the island but not the resort. This allows your guests to reach out to us and not just fly off and book their accomodations on their own. Remember, many group blocks give added perks for wedding extra’s, so it is really important for your guests to book into the wedding block. Should a sale be offered, VIP will make sure to get the best room rate and revise the group block. I also mention that if “for reservations, please contact” because many guests who receive a save the date, sometimes actually believe it is a trip the bride/groom have decided to pay for and that is why they are getting a save the date. This is embarrassing for not only the guest, but also the bride/groom so we try to tactful make it known that “prices” are available.
We also suggest that about 3-4 months prior, you send an email to any invitee that you know wanted to join the group, but still hasn’t made their reservation. A nice nudge can be done by sending them a wedding webpage link you might have with a wedding website company or at VIP, we create a personal wedding webpage and link for you (for free too) and we can send that to you to email or we can even email whoever you wish and ask them if they saw the page (we would insert the link) and ask if they were interested in attending. Many guests feel that it is a nice reminder and it is not pushy at all.
Finally about 75 days prior to the wedding, if you wish to send formal invites out, this is a good time to do so. Normally, group space needs to be paid for 60-45 days prior, so this would still give the procrastinator an opportunity to make their reservation. At VIP, we email you a spreadsheet each time someone makes their reservation. We know how important it is to know which guests are planning on attending. We get so excited everytime we send a new spreadsheet!