Destination weddings are designed to be other-worldly getaways that transport guests from the everyday to a spectacular once-in-a-lifetime experience. They’re big, they’re bold and they’re a ton of fun. But destination weddings can also be a bit intimidating for guests. Essentially, they’re getting a vacation planned for them, without much input or control over their experience. As the wedding couple, you’re choosing the location, the accommodations, even some of the extracurricular activities. So your guests are placing plenty of trust in you. Of course you’re going to wow them with an unforgettable time beyond their expectations! Communication is key to calming any nerves or uncertainty. Give your guests what they need to get away and join your romantic excursion without stress or hesitation.
We chatted with Lynette Dow, wedding planner for the famed Los Cabos weddings and events team, Amy Abbott Events, specializing in destination weddings at the picturesque Mexico resort locale. Dow says communication is essential to creating great guest experiences. It helps bring fun, carefree energy that you want in your event. She shares some practical tips that she often gives to her couples planning their destination wedding. Ready to learn how to keep everyone in the loop?
Give Guests Plenty of Travel Advice
When you host a destination wedding, you’re not just throwing a party. You’re also bringing people to one of their few vacations of the year. For many guests, that’s a pretty big deal. Although celebs might be jetting off to year-round, for many people in the US, vacations are still a rare indulgence. Even pre-pandemic. a third of Americans hadn’t taken a vacation in the last two years. Especially now, we’re all a bit rusty in the travel department.
Dow suggests equipping guests with plenty of tools so they can have the optimal vacation experience. “Give them local travel tips, insider information about the area, places they should consider visiting during their stay.” An easy-to-read “Things to Do” list is an awesome addition to your destination wedding invitation.
A User-Friendly Destination Wedding Itinerary
Many destination weddings involved multiple events. You might know the schedule by heart, but your guests won’t. Between making flights and getting to know their way around, they will have a lot to keep track of. That’s why you’ll want your itinerary to always be easily accessible. Dow says not to stress if you were still finalizing plans when you sent out your invitation. She suggests adding your itinerary to your website as soon as its finalized. Not only will this keep guests in the loop, but it will also help them see the gaps they’ll have for independent excursions.
Use Guestie to keep everyone up-to-date by posting your itinerary on your Guestie message board. You can also send out text alerts easily via Guestie if anything changes. Say a pool party lunch is going to be delayed by a half-hour or there’s been a sudden weather change. You can quickly and easily reach all of your guests with one text message. This can become such a sanity-saver with guests all doing their own thing.
In addition to the electronic versions of your schedule, Dow says it’s a nice touch to have a printed version placed in each of your guests room when they arrive. “It’s really important for people to know what they’re doing, when they need to be there. Your itinerary should answer all the questions they may have like if transportation is provided.”
Cover the FAQs Before They Ask
“Even if guests are well-traveled, they will have questions,” says Dow. She says you can lift some of that burden by addressing questions before they individually get asked. “A little time on the front-end can take a weight off of you when your trip begins.” This is where your wedding website and/or your Guestie message boards will prove invaluable. Rather than fielding a number of questions from many guests, you can just send them a link that has most of their questions already answered.
Also remember to be clear and transparent. If something like transportation isn’t included, make sure this is known. It’s better for guests to know what they’ll need to budget and plan for rather than be caught by surprise.
Allow Guests to Become Acquainted Before the Trip
You won’t be able to entertain your guests through your entire trip. There will be times when you need to plan and prep. And of course, there will be times when you want to be a couple and take off your hosting hat. If your guests have others to hang with, they are going to be well-prepared to celebrate together. Guestie was designed with this idea in mind. Using the Guestie Guest Gallery, your guests can get to know each other months before they arrive at your destination wedding. On Guestie’s Message Boards they can ask questions, plan outings and arrange carpools together. It’s a must for any destination wedding! “Having those connections made beforehand is so important and will make things flow so much smoother once your wedding day arrives,” adds Dow.
Keep the Communication Going at Your Destination Wedding Events
Dow says there’s one thing couples often overlook when it comes to their destination wedding communication that can make a huge impact. Signage. Guests that know where to go and what to do are way more relaxed and ready to celebrate. And signage is a fabulous way to let your creativity shine with design elements that tie into your theme. Whether it’s your welcome sign, directions to different parts of the experience, down to the table numbers. Dow says this is a simple way to bring your theme to life that often gets underestimated. There’s nothing like a heartfelt or humorous welcome message to set the tone for the guest experience.
Your destination wedding is an amazing chance to spend several days all together with the people you love. With the right pre-planning and communication, you can make it all the more relaxed and enjoyable, not only for your guests, but for you and your partner as well.