(Closed) Destination-ish wedding?

posted 4 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
819 posts
Busy bee

Not at all. The only thing you’re really required to do is serve enough food for people not to starve at your reception. If you’d like to do some pre or post wedding activities, you can do something as low-key as “hey, we’ll be at the lake (or park or wherever) on X day and time, if you’d like to join us.” That way, you can all hang out together, people can bring their own food and drinks and whatnot, and you’ll still have time to see everyone and do something casual and fun.

Post # 3
6949 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

View original reply
tlc1229 :  You aren’t required to do anything else for your out of town guests. However you might want to consider including them in your rehearsal dinner as a welcoming gesture.  Since money is tight, I’d suggest renting a pavilion and doing a bbq for everyone.  Those dinners don’t have to be over the top and it’s nice to get to see everyone.  Totally voluntary, but a little bit can go a long way when people are traveling so far.

Fyi we had our wedding in Utah with guests almost exclusively from the east and west coasts.  Our venue had cabins and the wedding party and some extras all stayed there.  We were able to invite everyone to the rehearsal dinner (taco salad bar self-catered) and brunch (175 for a couple plates of baked goods from a bakery, plus various other randoms from the grocery store).  Between those two meals, I doubt we spent more than $300 for under 40 guests.  Food for thought.

Post # 4
47380 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Not only are you not required to host extra events for your guests, you are also not required to invite them to the rehearsal dinner. We do not have to do everything that we see on Pinterest or read about in blogs- things mostly done by people with larger budgets. Adding basically your whole guestlist to the rehearsal dinner is going to have a huge impact on your budget.

If you want to include the OOT’s you could invite them to join you for dessert and coffee at the end of the dinner, but you are in no way obligated to include them.

I think most people who travel for a destination wedding, want to enjoy some free time to see the local attractions.



Post # 5
505 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

My fiance and I live in states away from the majority of our family.  Therefore, about 75% of our guests will be making the long distance travel.  We don’t plan to entertain them other than the day of the wedding.  We are choosing a host hotel that we will recommend on our website.  From there, we’ll give them lists of things to do in the area.  The hotel that we chose in right in the middle of downtown so there will be plenty for them to do on their own.  I definitely WOULD NOT invite them all to the rehearsal dinner.  That’s an extra cost that you really don’t need to incur.  If it was maybe 5-10 extra family members, MAYBE.  However if most of your family is traveling like you make it seem, that’s an extra cost that would definitely hurt your budget.  Just give them fun things to do in the area and leave it at that. 

Post # 6
5362 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2016

What part of Florida? 

Post # 7
828 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

I’m in a similar situation to you and 

View original reply
futuremrsferrell. We have a saturday wedding, and on Friday night, we’re going to have the rehearsal dinner with just the bridal party and parents, then we’re going to encourage everyone freshly in town to go to a specific bar. We’re planning on getting a room or area set aside and guaranteeing X number of people. Hopefully, we can work out a drink arrangement for happy hour prices or something.

It’s becoming so common nowadays to have basically 3 receptions – friday night rehearsal dinner, the actual reception, then sunday brunch. That all adds up so fast! But, Bee, you’re not required to entertain people the whole weekend. Be welcoming, but you don’t have to pick up the bill. 

Post # 8
195 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2017

I don’t think you’re required to accomodate them. And depending on what area of Florida it is, they will easily be able to keep themselves occupied.

Post # 9
1077 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

Hey!  We were in a similar position, with several groups of people arriving the thursday before the wedding.  While not necessary, we did feel obligated to provide some pieces since people had traveled such a distance ( car & ferry).

We also kept in mind that people who arrived early, by and large, came early to spend time with their own family and friends.  With that in mind we didn’t want to schedule too many ‘activities’

We did the following…

Thursday – “No parents” night.  We invited anyone who wasn’t our specific parent or in their social circle to the local bar.  people paid for their own food and drink.  Lots of fun, and glad we were able to catch up with friends before the craziness began

Friday – small, private rehearsal dinner on a patio, which we then opened to any guest who was there after dinner was over.  We provided desserts and an open bar for 90 min.  This actually ended up working out well because it made it easier to thank each of our guests either friday or saturday.  The hotel also had a jazz band playing, so people moved into the bar after our open bar finished.  There was a power outage, and guests sort of bonded over that by candlelight in the the bar.

Saturday – wedding, obvi.  For an after party reserved a couple tables at a local bar who had a guitarist playing late at night.  Guests paid for their own food and drink, and we were not charged a fee because we brought in business.

Post # 10
5018 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2017

I am having a destination wedding in FL as well.  It will be Friday – Sunday.  I will provide them a welcome note giving them suggestions as to where to eat, drink, and what to see and do.  So far our itinerary is as follows:

Friday – Check in and join us poolside of cocktails

Saturday – Beachfront Ceremony at sunset followed by Dinner

Sunday – Farewell Brunch


I feel like this allows us time with our guests and allows them some time to themselves so they can vacation.

Where in FL are you getting married?  We decided on St. Pete Beach.

Post # 11
906 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

While there’s nothing saying you have to entertain them, it’s a nice gesture to include a cocktail hour or welcome event. It doesn’t have to cost anything! Just a note like, “you’re welcome to join us for sunset cocktails on the beach/by the pool!” 

Back in the day when the bride and groom grew up in the same area and few (if any) people had to travel, then inviting that small amount of people to the rehearsal dinner was expected. But for a destination wedding it’s less expected. 

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