|A snapshot from a beautiful beach wedding that I attended in Hawaii|
Send Save the Dates Early
If you're planning a wedding that's a hike for all of your guests or is located in a remote location where accommodations are few and far between, send the save the dates out as soon as you have the details confirmed. 9-12 months is ideal and will help to ensure that your guest have time to book flights, hotels, and other arrangements.
Typically, wedding invitations are sent six to eight weeks prior to the wedding. However, faraway fetes call for more lead time. Send your invites about three months prior to the big day.
Tip: Don't turn your formal invitations into a travel brochure. List all of the important details (flight deals, hotel suggestions, information about your registry) on a wedding website. This way, you simply can provide a URL rather than pages and pages of details.
Host Some Satellite Celebrations
Often, destination weddings turn into weekend affairs. If you plan on having a Friday-night clambake, a Saturday golf outing, or want to suggest an itinerary of your guests, create a separate card to include with the invitation. This way, your guests can RSVP to everything at once.
Destination weddings are typically smaller, and although nobody should assume they're invited to your special celebration, they will. If an uninvited friend inquires, simply use tact and politely explain that your guest list is limited. Honesty is always the best policy, even if it's uncomfortable in the moment.
Gifts at destination weddings tend to be smaller, especially if guests had to travel. Guests' gift-giving budgets will go towards flights and accommodations, so if your destination wedding is in a very exotic, faraway locale, expect their presence to be your present. Additionally, many destination weddings are followed by a reception back at home several weeks later. Guests invited to this reception are not required to bring a gift (unless they were invited to your destination ceremony and simply could not attend).
Note to guests: The fact that you have to travel to a wedding does not necessarily make it a destination wedding (perhaps you just don't live in the same state as the bride and groom). If you need to brush up on your wedding gift-giving etiquette, click here.