(Closed) Possible Desination Wedding Bride – Lots of questions

posted 6 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 3
5242 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

Hey! Congrats on being a destination bride there seems to be more and more of us.

I’m getting married in Cuba next April. We had an engagment party and were able to celebrate with our friends which was noce. We didnt expect gifts but were given a few and some cash which was super nice of people.  I wouldnt write just no gifts but find a cute way of saying it like well wishes only or something like that

We are having about 60 people come to our wedding and it is mostly close friends and close family (no second cousins or anything) I still plan on having a bridal shower because my mom insists on it and it will just be the people invoted to the destination wedding plus a few of my friends and family who werent able to make it to the destination but were still invited.

For music in Cuba we plan to make our own cd’d here and bring them down for the reception part so that we can have the music we like. For the ceremony we are going to get a musical trio that plays traditional cuban music 🙂

Happy planning!!  

Post # 4
6123 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Hi there and welcome!

I hope I can answer some things!  I had no clue on wedding etiquette until I started to visit some forums, so I definitely learned a lot!  This is all advice per etiquette rules that go along with weddings.  So if you want to follow etiquette here are some suggestions!


Is it bad etiquette to have an engagement party? We would want to have the engagement party to celebrate our love.  NOT for gifts.  We both had bad 1st marriages so for us to find each other our friends and family are so happy we found one another. It will be clear on the invitations no gifts allowed.

#1 Someone throws an engagement party for you in your honor.  The couple does not throw their own e-party.

#2 “No gifts” or anything related to gifts should NOT be mentioned on any invitation, but the exception is bridal and baby showers when the whole purpose of the party is to bring gifts.  Etiquette says that even mentioning “no gifts” is presumptuous as gifts are never mandatory, and by stating no gifts, it implies you were going to get one in the first place.  You can however, let it get around by word of mouth that you don’t need anything.  If someone asks you staright up, then you can say you don’t need anything.

#3 Only people who are invited to the actual wedding should be invited to the engagement party (that someone hosts it for you), yes even if you have just 30 guests.  All wedding related events should be limited to the actual wedding guests.


“Bridal Shower? Can I still have one?  I am not going to have a bridal party anymore because we scaled it down”

#4 Yes, someone can host a wedding shower for you (again, someone has to offer to throw this party as the bride doesn’t do it herself).  Only the guests that are invited to the wedding can be invited to the shower.


Now there are ways to include all the other friends and gusts that didn’t get invited to the family wedding.  You can have an at home reception – which is a celebration party once you return home.  This essentially is not a “wedding related” event and therefore other poeple can be invited.  It’s a celebration of marriage.

They can be casual affairs (BBQ in the back yard) or full on affairs (DJ, Dancing) but the idea is to not recreate your wedding day for this celebration party.


I hope that helps!

Post # 5
2351 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

we r getting married in st thomas, but we are not doing a beach wedding, u might consider st john as well. st thomas has a ton of traffic and while there are just as beautiful beaches on st thomas, st john is more peaceful. we came back from the islands last weekend.

i think ur fine to have all the party and shower events u want. we are not using steelpan music because personally, i dont care for it, i plan to use a venue with a hookup and probably do ipod music. because we r not having any bridal party, the reception will probably have some traditional elements removed. i dont want a dj or a dance floor or anything like that.

Post # 6
9954 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Hi sweetchiquita12:

I am a bit of an Etiquette Snob, so lets see if I can’t answer some of your Questions and set the record straight.


When it comes to Engagement Parties (much like a Shower) someone else has to throw it for you (Host it). It can be any sort of party… but most often is a Dinner, Cocktail Party or “House Party”. IF the party is thrown by the Brides Family, then the FOB typically makes a toast to the happy couple “thereby showing his blessing of the betrothal / impending marriage”

Guests can be made up of Relatives and Good Friends of BOTH families, but truly the list can be made up of anyone you choose (friends, neighbours, co-workers etc). Usually those invited to the Engagement Party will be “high priority” Guests at your Wedding (but in the same instant, it is understood that normally Wedding Plans are a way off, so it is possible, that for a Destination Wedding, Elopement etc, that not everyone will be Invited).

Another format is to just have an “Open House” Engagement Party… where the word is put out in a far more casual way that there is a get-together on such-and-such a date to mark the couple’s engagement (this method, is loose enough to forego many of the pitfalls of etiquette on who is invited etc)

Engagement Gifts are not obligatory, and actually rarely expected… although those closest to the couple can provide a gift if they choose (Cards however with Best Wishes are the norm). One of the ways to ensure that there is no “feelings of obligation” surrounding an Engagement, is to make the Annoucement a SURPRISE at the party.

As always, any Gifts received should be put aside and opened by the couple in private, and Thank You Notes should be sent in a timely fashion.

Engagements can also be announced in the Social Pages of a local Newspaper.

If an Engagement is broken, then any Engagement Presents received, should be returned to the Gift Giver… and a notice that the Engagement has been broken should appear in the Newspaper (if one was published for the Engagement)… but this is indeed optional.

If one of the couple should pass away, prior to the Wedding, then Engagement Gifts should be offered up to the Giver (they can be accepted or declined, as the Giver sees fit)


Again, this is a Hosted Event… usually by someone in the Bridal Party, or by someone in the Brides immediate Family.  Invites go out to the closest Relatives and Bride’s Friends.  As noted, the standard is that Invites only go to those who are invited to the Wedding.

However, in some cultural groups, or by regional customs Showers can be thrown for the Bride by some of her friends or acquaintances who may not be invited to the wedding… such as local Church Ladies, Co-Workers, or those the Bride otherwise socializes with (such as a Sports Team / Volunteer Group etc)

Bridal Showers are not typically thrown for those who are Eloping… nor having a Destination Wedding… but if someone should organize one, and you get whiff of it, it is most polite to suggest it may not be the best thing to do.  However, if you don’t know about it beforehand, and it ends up as a surprise, be gracious.  Surprise Showers by well-meaning loved ones are always appropriate.

Gifts are the norm at a Shower… and the Host typically gives the Guests an idea of what the Bride might like by selecting a theme (Kitchen Shower – Linen Shower etc).  And indeed it is acceptable for a Shower Invite to also include relative info, such as where the Bride is registered (this is partly because, it is someone else who is acting on behalf of the Bride / Couple… so not seen as the Bride asking herself… which is very rude / crass


As another Bee pointed out for those who Elope or have a Destination Wedding… a Back-Home Reception / Party is a nice way to get together with everyone to celebrate.  The nice thing about B-HRs is there are not a whole lot of Rules of Etiquette … it can be a Formal or Informal Event, BIG or small, and be as wedding-like as you wish (wear your Wedding Attire / Gown – Have a full-blown Reception with Sit-Down Dinner, or just Cake & Champagne – Toss the Bouquet – DJ & Dancing etc) the choice is yours.

This should cover the basics on Etiquette in regards to Elopements / Destination Weddings…  if you have more Questions… just ask.

PS… As noted St Thomas is a very busy island… and a popular Caribbean Destination (certainly one of Mr TTR’s and my favourites).  It will be a lovely spot for a Destination Wedding & Honeymoon.  CONGRATULATIONS !!


Post # 7
205 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013


I disagree with the ‘only guests invited to the wedding should be invited to the engagement party’ rule.

My friend and her husband had a destination wedding and they had an engagement party specifically because they knew many friends were not going to be able to make it to the wedding. We all thought it was a great idea! They also said ‘no gifts please’ and I didn’t think it was innappropriate. Everybody brought them gifts anyway. It gave people a chance to celebrate, it was very low-key, and everybody had a great time. 

While I would have loved to have been at the wedding, I don’t feel as bad missing out because of the engagement party. If I had not been invited to the engagement party out of some misplaced ‘etiquette’ I think I would have felt a bit hurt because she’s a good friend.

That’s just my view. It’s what my Fiance and I are doing – we’re having it at our new house once we move in and it will be a casual engagement party / housewarming party / we just enjoy cooking for our friends party. None of them are coming to our wedding because we’re getting married in Bora Bora but they don’t care. They’re just happy to celebrate with us.

Post # 8
6123 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

@ChloeTM2707:  I’m just going by the etiquette rules that I have researched.  Maybe I can find info for where I read it.


I have views about this stuff too, but they don’t always match with etiquette!

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