Everyone loves a tropical vacation and celebrating your wedding in paradise surrounded by your loved ones is an incomparable experience. While it’s undoubtedly perfect for you, it’s important through your planning to keep your guests’ experience in mind as well.
Guests who attend your destination wedding have made an investment to be there. When they think of their experience at your wedding, you want them to remember it as one of the best trips of their lives. There are so many ways you can ensure they have a great time. I encourage my couples to focus on these five things to keep them happy and feeling the love.
Hire an Awesome DJ
Photography by Moni & Adri
Experience is key, and the DJ you hire will drive the experience of your wedding day. As professional party-starters, they know how to get people up and keep the energy moving during your reception. And they know how to have fun! When everyone is dancing and letting loose, you can bet they’ll always think back on your day and smile.
Many couples will consider live music for their reception and talented musicians can set a beautiful tone during a dinner or cocktail hour. It’s so important to understand that even the best musicians have limits to the time they’re able to perform, and most prefer to keep their sets to three or four hours maximum to ensure they’re able to perform at their highest caliber. Live music is a fantastic option – but work to find balance and remember to aim for fun and upbeat vibe for your night of dancing.
Offer Accommodations that Suit your Guests
Most guests understand their responsibility to book their own accommodations when traveling for a destination wedding and happily oblige in order to be part of your day. To make their travel planning easy, give them several options for lodging with varying price points and in different venue types. Some of your guests may want to experience a quaint villa in the jungle, while others may prefer a chic resort on the beach. Give them the opportunity to book a place that fits their style (and budget).
Regardless of the options you offer, remember that communication is key for destination wedding coordination. Be sure your guests understand that they are not obligated to stay at the same resort as you and that their whole experience is important to you, right down to the bed they sleep in. Include as many details as possible regarding the resorts, hotels, and villas you recommend, including distance from your ceremony site, amenities included, and transportation options to help them make the most of their time in Mexico.
Don’t go Cheap on the Bar
Photography by Surveyor Creative
No matter how your guests act in the “real world,” never make assumptions about the bar. You have invited them to a gorgeous, tropical getaway and are encouraging them to relax and enjoy themselves for the duration of their stay – plan on them doing just that!
Even some of the most conservative groups I have helped host were eager to partake in a little liquid relaxation. Be sure to have options openly available to your guest – they just might surprise you.
Make it Easy
Just like the options for accommodations, you can help make sure your guests’ experiences are perfect with a little extra logistical planning and support. Be sure to be aware of the potential obstacles your guests may face and offer solutions before problems occur. Help your guests connect with transportation services, be sure they have accurate and detailed plans for excursions and meals, and carefully communicate the location of each event for your celebration.
While it can feel a little over the top to outline every single detail, you should work to answer all the questions your guests have before they have to ask them. International travel is full of unknowns – be on top of the details so your guests are totally prepared to have an unforgettable time.
Make it Special
When working to plan your full wedding event, it can be easy to get caught up in trying to capitalize on the opportunity of simply being in Mexico. While excursions are great and can be an excellent way to show your guest the culture and customs of the country, it’s important to limit your to-do list to keep your guests from feeling over-tired. While it’s tempting to invite them to a beach brunch, then a cave dive, then a cocktail reception and dinner all on the same day, it can be just as memorable for them to do one of those things and then spend some time relaxing on the beach. Make each event hold meaning for your guests – don’t just try to do everything.
Photography By: Sweet Caribbean Photography
Another fantastic way to make your wedding extra-special is to make an effort to add personal touches for each guest. Work with your planner to have a thank you bag in each guests’ room with souvenir items that are meaningful to your day and their experience. And never underestimate the impact a simple thank you can have when it’s well-timed and genuine.
A common pain point? When couples spend extensive time at their receptions thanking each guest individually on the microphone. While very well-intentioned, doing so tends to slow down the evening and keeps people off the dance floor (which is the most fun part!) To thank guest individually, take the time to do it in person – either at your reception during cocktail hour or during other events that allow you to mingle. If you must offer formal thanks to everyone in attendance, the rehearsal dinner is a great time to do so.
Ultimately, to give your guests the best experience you can, work to create balance for their stay – sometimes they may just want to sit on the beach and relax! Don’t make them feel obligated to participate in everything you have planned and keep communication open to let them know all the details. And it’s totally ok to ask for RSVPs to each event for planning purposes.
You’re making a big investment in your wedding day, and your guests are investing in you by attending. With attention to detail, plenty of communication, and genuine effort to make every second count, you will give them a memorable experience they’ll talk about for years.