Destination Wedding Etiquette: 10 Questions Answered

Gone are the days when traditional weddings were the only option for couples tying the knot. Nowadays, an increasing number of lovebirds are choosing to exchange vows in far-flung destinations, creating a truly memorable and unforgettable experience for themselves and their guests. 

But, with the excitement of attending a destination wedding comes a host of unique etiquette questions that can leave even the most experienced wedding-goer feeling puzzled. In this article, we explore 10 lesser-known but important questions around destination wedding etiquette to help you navigate your destination wedding with ease and grace. 

Newlywed couple enjoying and celebrating their love in Italy.
Photo by Rossini Photography

Should I bring a gift?

Yes! While it’s true that attending a destination wedding can mean significant travel expenses, it’s essential to remember that showing your love and support with a thoughtful gift is still an important gesture. If you’re concerned about the hassle of traveling with a gift, consider sending it directly to the couple’s home before the wedding. This way, you still demonstrate your support without the added stress of worrying about your gift during transit. 

Is it appropriate to bring a plus one?

Navigating the guest list at a wedding can be a tricky task, especially when it comes to deciding whether or not to bring a plus one. While it’s natural to want to share the experience with someone special, it’s crucial to respect the couple’s wishes and check if they’ve designated a certain number of guests per invitation. If you do have the option to bring a guest, be sure to indicate their name on the RSVP card, and consider the logistics of traveling and accommodations before extending an invitation.

What should I wear?

Wear something that is appropriate to the destination wedding activities and location.
Photo by Melissa Marshall

Choosing the right outfit for a destination wedding can be a challenge, but it’s important to show respect for the couple and their special day. Start by checking the invitation or wedding website for any dress code information provided. If there’s no guidance, it’s always better to overdress than underdress. For outdoor weddings, keep in mind the terrain and consider wearing comfortable shoes that can handle walking on sand or grass. 

How early should I arrive?

Timing is key when it comes to attending a destination wedding. To ensure a stress-free experience, plan to arrive a day or two before the wedding. This allows for any travel delays and gives you time to acclimate to the destination and get to know other guests. Plus, arriving early gives you the chance to explore and enjoy the local sights and sounds. So, mark your calendar accordingly and get ready for a memorable celebration!

Who pays for travel expenses?

As a guest, it’s important to remember that attending a wedding often means incurring travel expenses, such as transportation, accommodations, and meals. While the couple will likely provide some guidance and support, it’s ultimately up to you to cover these costs. Being mindful of your budget and planning ahead can help ensure that you’re able to enjoy the wedding without worrying about finances.

Can I decline the invitation?

While receiving a wedding invitation is exciting, it’s understandable that you may not be able to attend. If you find yourself in this situation, remember that it’s perfectly acceptable to decline the invitation. However, it’s important to let the couple know as soon as possible, so they can make any necessary adjustments to their plans. By being upfront and communicative, you’ll show that you’re a considerate guest, even if you can’t be there in person.

Should I plan my own activities while at the destination?

Exploring the destination on your own is a fun way to make the most of your trip, but it’s important to strike a balance between solo and group activities. To avoid missing any key wedding-related events or causing confusion, be sure to check in with the couple to get a sense of their itinerary. This way, you can plan your own activities without conflicting with any group plans.

How much should I give for a wedding gift?

Giving a wedding gift can be a thoughtful way to show your love for the couple, but deciding on an appropriate amount can be tricky. While the amount you give is ultimately up to you and your budget, a good guideline is to consider the cost of your travel expenses and give accordingly. By factoring in your own expenses, you can give a gift that feels meaningful without breaking the bank. So, whether you opt for a physical gift or contribute to the couple’s honeymoon fund, remember that it’s the thought that counts.

Can I take photos during the ceremony?

Part of the destination wedding etiquette is to ask or know if you are allowed to take photos during the ceremony.
Photo by Rossini Photography

Capturing special moments on camera can be tempting, but it’s important to respect the couple’s wishes when it comes to photography. Before snapping away during the ceremony, check in with the couple to see if they have any guidelines or restrictions in place. Many couples opt for unplugged weddings to ensure that their professional photographer can capture the best possible shots without distractions. By being mindful of their wishes, you can help ensure that the ceremony runs smoothly and that everyone can fully enjoy the moment. 

Should I tip vendors?

While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the wedding day, it’s important to remember that vendors such as the hair and makeup artist, DJ, and waitstaff work hard to make the event a success. If the couple has not already included a gratuity in their vendor contracts, it’s customary to tip these vendors as a way of showing your appreciation. While the amount you tip is up to you, a good guideline is to budget around 10-20% of the total service fee.

As you prepare to attend a destination wedding, keep in mind that being a thoughtful and courteous guest can go a long way in making the event a success. By following these 10 destination wedding etiquette tips, you’ll not only show your support for the couple but also help ensure that everyone has a smooth and enjoyable time.

READ MORE: How To Choose Your Wedding Destination – 19 Things To Consider

Posted in Guests, Planning, Trending by wedded wonderland

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