Here at Belle Destination Events, we have been planning weddings for quite some time and we have just about seen it all. There are some crucial things that we feel are important to remember when planning your wedding and so we decided to begin a new series of Destination Wedding Etiquette Do's and Don'ts that may help along the way. Here are a few tips that we feel are important.
DO: Set up a Group Block at a Centralized Hotel
In the beginning stages of planning, it is a great idea to decide on what we refer to as a "centralized" hotel accommodation. In most cases, our clients guest list represent a wide variety of budgets; and therefore, our clients typically look for a hotel that will please everyone. We recommend booking a room block at one hotel in order to offer your guests discounts that would not otherwise be available. Most hotels have a simple criteria to qualify for a room block - such as meeting a minimum number of rooms per night, and in most cases this is quite attainable with large groups. Yes, you may have to make a commitment, but trust us when we say that your guests will likely want to be a part of the whole wedding group, and most importantly, be close to the Bride & Groom. Guests will appreciate the additional discount that you have arranged on their behalf. Gathering everyone in one central area can also be extremely helpful when it comes to transporting your guests to an off-property location for the wedding itself and can assist you in saving time, money and the extra hassels that come along with trying to pick guests up at multiple locations.
DO: Arrange for Group Transportation
The safety of the guest is always one of the top priorities for our events so we think that it is important to provide a safe and convenient way for your guests to arrive and depart the event. It also falls into the destination wedding etiquette category. When providing an open-bar at your event, there is a good chance that most of your guests will be drinking...in some cases heavily, and the last thing that you want is for those guests to have to get behind the wheel afterwards. This can be not only unsafe for your guests, but also for the community in which you decide to hold your wedding. A DUI or an accident can put a very big damper on an otherwise joyous occasion. In addition, for destination weddings, it is likely that guests may decide not to rent cars, or may not be familiar with the destination location that you have chosen. Group Transportation can be a great convenience for those who are unfamiliar and is a nice thing to provide for your guests who have traveled from afar to be with you on your big day.
DON'T: Skimp on Important Vendors and Services
While we as planners believe that every element of your wedding is super important, we also realize that not all budgets are created equal. Sometimes tough decisions need to be made to meetbudget limitations. We recommend building a basic foundation of quality vendors and services and splurging on items that are important to you as a couple. Keep in mind that some of these are interconnected. For instance, if photography is very important to you and you decide to make a larger investment in this area, also remember to consider hair and makeup as well as decor. These are the elements that will set you up for success with your photos...yes, we are referring to the ones that will last a lifetime.
DO: Give a Gift on the Wedding Day
This one is mainly for all of the handsome and oh-so-sweet grooms out there. What a better way to show your appreciation for your lovely woman in your life and all the hard work that she put into the planning by showing her your appreciation on the wedding day. Yes, of course jewels are the preferred trinket of many brides, but you don't need to break the bank in order to make her feel special. Something as simple as sending flowers can be a wonderful surprise. We recommend choosing an item that is, or will be, sentimental to both of you and accompany it with a heart-felt note about how excited you are to get married and how much she means to you. This builds the anticipation of the ceremony even more and reminds her that you are thinking of her as she is getting pampered on the wedding day. Not to leave out the grooms, brides, same goes for you. A vintage watch, cufflinks, the cigars he loves...these are just a few ideas, but ladies do not forget the card.
Don't: Choose for the cash-bar option
Guests make a large investment to be able to attend a destination wedding. They take time off work, book flights, accommodations, transportation, etc. all to stand witness to the best day of your lives. It is essential to make they feel welcome and taken care of for that one day, so don't save on costs by making guests pay for their own cocktails. A great bar can make or break a wedding event, so we recommend going to town in this area. People tend to remember the drinks over the flowers that you had on the table. If budget is an issue, set up a limited bar offering just wine and beer bar with non-alcoholic beverage options. Always find a way to personalize your bar, whether that is by creating customized cocktails and menus, or simply by adding in fun garnishes. Most bar companies will be happy to assist you with this for a small investment.