How to Make Your Destination Wedding a Great Experience for Guests
It’s often said that the mark of a good wedding, is how much the guests talk about the food, drink and party. That’s because the essence of a good wedding, starts with a great guest experience.
While that’s pretty straightforward when you’re in familiar surroundings, how do you create the same experience when you choose to say ‘I do’ abroad?
Tips for Making Destination Wedding Guests Feel Special
Tapping into insight and experience, here’s how to create the wow factor for guests when hosting a celebration away from home.
Location, Location, Location
Everyone looks forward to a wedding, especially when there’s overseas travel involved. However, you can make it simple for guests by choosing a destination that’s within easy reach, a 10 hour flight is a lot more tricky than 2-4 hour flights for couples and guests looking to come.
Think of all the pinch points they’ll encounter, from getting to and from airports, the choice of available accommodation, and the opportunity to visit nearby attractions.
Set the tone
Even before the big day, you can set the tone for an exciting wedding celebration. Get creative with fun wedding invites. Think about an invitation in a bottle with sand, or a miniature beverage gift representing the country you’re visiting for instance. Have some fun, be playful, start as you mean to go on!
Make the journey special
It’s not just about the destination, but the journey too. Think of fun ways to make guests feel like they’re embarking on a special journey from the get-go. For instance, you could organise a personalise pick-up experience at the airport, and provide them with welcome packs upon arrival. Consider how you can use signage and banners to create excitement at the hotel, especially for arrivals.
Before you even get to the wedding, you want guests to feel comfortable and prepared for travelling abroad. Keep in mind there may be elderly family members, and those with young children, that may require additional support.
Take the stress and anxiety of our travel, by providing comprehensive and key information covering all the essentials, such as:
Flight times, dates, costs – including the flights your planning to take. Better still if you can negotiate group discounts.
Accommodation – it’s best to provide guests with a choice of options to meet every budget. However, it’s especially useful to provide as much space as possible on site of the wedding. Negotiated rates are always appreciated by guests as well.
Transportation – if you can organise pick up’s to and from the airport, this will ease the burden and add to a wonderful experience.
Add all this information to a wedding website to have it all in once place for your guests to see and find.
Create a list of local activities with discounts
A welcome pack for guests filled with local information is the way to go. In this you can include local tourist attractions with discounts where possible. Go one step further and provide guests with details of the hotel concierge to ensure they can make bookings with ease.
A pre-dinner celebration
If you’re choosing to marry abroad, it’s likely that your party size will be more intimate than if you hosted in the UK. This is the perfect opportunity to thank guests for making the journey, as well as a chance for everyone to get to know each other.
Hosting a pre-wedding dinner is a thoughtful way to do this, you could also organise a surprise sunset cruise or wine-tasting evening to pair it with – at your expense. One of the joys of marrying abroad is that you have the chance to eke out the celebrations over a number of days, don’t miss the opportunity to do this.
Make the most of being abroad
From fine weather to local food, from romantic sunsets to poolside cocktails. There are many perks of marrying abroad, that you should make the most of. Use this to your benefit, incorporating the environment into your big day.
Say ‘yes’ in the outside canopy, dine under the stars, take the boat to the other side of the island – these are experiences you simply can’t have to the same degree in the UK, and will make the journey abroad for your guests oh so worth it.
There’s nothing that guests love more than a touch of personalisation. This is a great way to make friends and family feel special. Take for instance the playlist – invite guests to share their favourite songs to play at your after party, name cocktails after each guest, and host a photo montage display at your wedding venue with pictures of your nearest and dearest.
Think about your favours as well, and how they can be personalised to each of your guests. For instance, mini bottles of olive oil or wine with guest names are a touching keepsake to enjoy.
Don’t skimp on food and drink
The heartbeat of any good wedding is great food and drink. This is one day where you can’t lavish guests enough. So order the extra canapes, splash out on the champers and let the cocktails flow. While budgets aren’t infinite, a wedding abroad is typically much cheaper than in the UK, allowing you to have a luxury wedding without compromise.
Invest in entertainment
If you want to blow your guests away, then invest in good entertainment. Whether it’s a tribute band, surprise performers from home, or something dazzling like an orchestra, gospel choir, drag act, or opera singers, it’s time to bring your A-game! This a chance to stamp your personality all over the wedding, as well as create a memorable moment that will be a talking point for the years to come.
Organise a special send off
A wedding abroad deserves a grand finale. Think about firework displays, or a cruise around the island, perhaps even a gastronomical experience on the beach. Whatever your venue lends itself to, there’s bound to be something special you can surprise them with. Most hotel venues include a wedding planner, who will be able to advise you on extra touches for a magical day.
Be mindful of costs
And finally, keep in mind that guests will be spending a lot of money to travel abroad to attend your wedding. While it’s your special day, not everyone will be able to share the same budget, and that’s an important consideration. Therefore, try and provide plenty of options that make travelling abroad affordable and reasonable for guests, including the potential to forgo any wedding gifts, in exchange for the best gift of all – their presence!