destination wedding guest list on beach

Often one of the biggest questions couples have when planning weddings away is: ‘How many people should we invite?”

That’s entirely up to you. Some couples don’t invite anyone, and have a celebration that includes everyone when they get back. Others invite close family members. And there are those who invite dozens of family members and friends.

If you decide that you want to invite friends and family, you’ll need to give them plenty of notice for your wedding away. It’s recommended that you send out save the date cards several months before the wedding. (Some experts recommend that you give a year’s notice!) That way they can book time off work and save for the trip. It’s also a good idea for couples to provide guests with price information on airfares and accommodations, as well as brochures on sightseeing activities.

Guests are usually expected to pay for their own trips, but oftentimes couples will tell them not to bring wedding gifts. Another way to help guests cut down on expenses is to find out if there are group rates on resorts/hotels, and to let your guests know about these deals.

Frequently, couples who invite family and friends to their weddings will host a variety of group activities so that everyone can spend time together.

If group activities are planned, it’s important to give guests a choice of whether or not they want to participate. Not everyone, for instance, will get a kick out of spending an afternoon taking kayaking lessons! Also, some guests might be on a limited budget and might not be able to afford some of the planned activities. It’s a good idea to poll everyone beforehand to get an idea of the type of activities your guests would enjoy.

You don’t have to feel obligated to include everyone in all of your tourist activities. There will be times when the two of you will want to go it alone – or perhaps just invite a handful of guests, such as your parents, or best friends.

How much time you spend with your guests is completely up to you. Some couples that want lots of privacy stay at a separate resort from their guests, or head to another destination for their honeymoon.

For some, determining how many people to invite to a destination wedding is easy. None. If you want a really intimate wedding, with loads of privacy you might choose to have a wedding that doesn’t have any guests. Plenty of brides and grooms opt for a simple ceremony that involves just the two of them at their chosen destination. Many couples that take this route have a party when they return so that friends and family can celebrate with them.

Your loved ones – namely your immediate family, might not be too pleased with your decision to exclude them from your wedding plans. It might help to tell them that a wedding away that doesn’t require months of planning and a big financial investment is more suitable to the two of you. If they still don’t come around, remember that what really matters is that you and your sweetie have the wedding you want. Settling for anything less than that would not be a good thing!

Photo: Kate Harrison Photography

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