While destination weddings have become more mainstream lately, many couples don’t plan one out of fear that guests won’t make the trip. They fear that most people are not going to take time off from work or use their vacation days on a wedding. Plus the added expense can add up quickly if the location is exclusive or if the wedding is during peak travel season.
So how you make sure that your guests find it easier to say yes when you invite them?
Turn the wedding into more of a vacation and you’ll see how those attendance numbers perk up. Here are some simple ways to ensure that your wedding guests will find it hard to say no to the RSVP.
Plan your destination wedding at a family friendly resort
If you would like more people to come to your destination wedding, then you are going to have to allow children. Most families will turn down your invite if you exclude children or if you book your wedding at an adult’s only resort.
A happy medium for most couples is that they arrange for a separate supervised area with entertainment to keep the children busy during the actual reception. Allowing children at the wedding will let families attend the wedding and in most cases, turn the trip into their vacation for the year.
Make it a long weekend
A destination wedding on a regular weekend can be very rough on guests. They have to fly in on Friday after work, and in most cases fly out on Sunday. The time at the destination ends up being negligible so many don’t bother attending.
And if you think about it, traveling two days so you can attend a wedding for one day is not worth it at all. If you want to increase attendance, then book a long weekend. Memorial day, Labor day, 4th of July, Presidents day are all three day weekends that will give guests that one extra day to rest and relax under the sun.
Location should be easy to get to for the majority of people
If you live on the west coast, then don’t book a destination wedding in the Caribbean. You’re just creating additional travel time for guests and increasing the number of flight connections they have to make (or be delayed by).
Try to make it easier on your guests by booking a destination that has a direct flight from where most of your guests will be flying from. So if you live on the pacific coast, then consider Puerto Vallarta instead. They have tons of direct flights from dozens of cities on the west coast, offering wedding guests an easy trip there and back.
Location should have cheap airfare mid priced and hotel should be inexpensive too
If you have a choice between booking an ultra exclusive resort and a mid-priced one, then go for the latter. The high end resorts will just turn off most people that are already contemplating not attending your destination wedding. If you would like to book a high end resort, then do so for yourself and reserve a block of hotel rooms nearby for your wedding guests that are price conscious.
As far as flight go, there are some cities that are cheaper to fly into than others. If you want more people to attend, then book your destination wedding in the city that is cheaper to fly into.
Lastly, make sure to book your wedding during the shoulder season. These are the months before and after the peak season so they tend to be less expensive.
Make it an all inclusive resort that has lots of activities so the wedding becomes a vacation
All inclusive resorts offer a one price deal where the room rate includes the food and activities. While it may seem expensive at the outset, wedding guests will love the convenience of not having to worry about pulling out their wallets again. Plus, the number of activities included along with the food makes the whole thing worth it.
Many of your guests will actually turn this trip into a vacation so don’t be surprised if they come for a week or more.
Call everyone you invited to ask them to attend
Want more people to attend, then add the personal touch. With twitter, email, and Facebook, no one makes personal phone calls anymore. Try inviting people by phone or calling them after sending the invites to let them know that you would love to see them attend. You’d be surprised at how long you’ll end up talking and how many people will commit right away.
Make it simple to attend by creating itineraries
Want guests to really come. Then why not create their itineraries for them.
Shop around for the cheapest airfare from their city to the wedding destination, book a block of hotel rooms so they don’t have to research hotels, and arrange for transportation from the airport.
At the destination, plan their day by creating an agenda with activities like scuba diving or Golf to keep them busy between the rehearsals, and the reception. By taking the research out of the equation, you’re saving them time and energy that they otherwise may have been too busy to do themselves.
Don’t do niche destination wedding
Niche weddings (Ski wedding, skydiving wedding, scuba weddings) are for a certain crowd only. By doing this kind of wedding, you’re going to turn off more people than you should. Opt instead for something more mainstream like an Island wedding that can double as a vacation for most people.
By taking into account all the things that may hinder a wedding guest from coming, you’re in effect removing many of the common reasons that guests don’t attend a destination wedding. Try the methods above and you will find that a large majority of your guests will end up coming to celebrate your wedding with you.
What should you do next?
Research some popular destination wedding locations.