Sunday, June 6, 2010

Destination Weddings- things to consider


Since we plan mostly New England weddings, with many of our clients coming from CA and NY, I thought I would mention a few of the things you should really consider when having a destination wedding.

The first is what actually defines a "destination wedding". In our opinion, any wedding that asks more than 50% of your guests to drive more than 3 hours in one direction is a destination wedding. Because of the distance, a significant amount of your guests will need to make travel plans which is one of the reasons a destination wedding requires more preparation.

In general, the most important thing to consider when planning a destination wedding is TIME. If you plan ahead you can reserve everything you need to reserve and you can communicate the appropriate information to ease the travel planning process for your guests.

Many couples plan their destination weddings around their guests' experience. They want to make things as easy as possible in terms of their guests' travel plans, and they want to provide as much information and activities for everyone to enjoy once they arrive for the wedding.

1. Overnight accommodations- we did just write about this and you can read the details here, but make sure you offer different price point options and room blocks if you can.

2. Transportation- if your wedding is in a remote location in general, and/or if your ceremony and reception are in two separate locations, consider offering transportation for your guests from their hotels to your ceremony and reception.

3. Save The Dates- creating a Save the Date is a major piece of the destination wedding puzzle. You can include as much information as you'd like in your Save the Date, including the wedding weekend schedule and accommodation and transportation information. Getting a Save the Date out to your guests at least 6 months before your wedding date gives them time to make the appropriate travel arrangements, as well as requesting any work days off for your wedding.

4. Wedding Website- in addition to your Save the Date, consider creating a wedding website to provide even more details about your wedding plans. This can include things to do for the weekend, specifically planned activities,- golf outings, tennis, kayaking, etc. and any additional accommodation or transportation information you didn't include in your printed Save the Date.

5. Welcome Baskets- yes, we make adorable out of town welcome baskets, but they really serve an important purpose. We try to fill them with local goodies and amenities for guests to enjoy but we ALWAYS include a local chamber of commerce map as well as a welcome letter from our clients and any additional schedule or itinerary they want to include. Something to consider including is any news on the day-after Brunch.

6. Rehearsal Dinner/Welcome Reception- when planning a destination, many of our clients struggle with their rehearsal dinner planning as they know many of their guests have traveled large distances and many arrive the day before the wedding. Some clients decide to continue the tradition of their rehearsal dinner including only the members of the wedding party and their immediate families. Others decide to include out-of-towners after dinner for welcome drinks, and sometimes we create events where the entire guest list is invited to a welcome dinner the evening before the wedding. A great idea to include everyone, be prepared to adjust your budget according as feeding 80-100% of your guests is much more costly than your wedding party alone.

In the end, many of these considerations apply to a non-destination wedding, so plan in advance, keep your guests experience in mind, and happy planning!


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