6 Tips For Planning Your Destination Wedding Guest List
Guest list anxiety is a real thing for the future bride and groom already, but if you're planning a destination wedding, it can get even harder. While it's going to be pretty much understood that not everyone can get away for so many days, afford the flights, etc, there may still be some tough choices or awkward situations that arise from your invite list. So Savvy is here to give you tips to take the stress out of planning your wedding guest list!
1. Stay Strong
You may have some extra stress with the guest list if your parents or future in-laws are expecting to give you a list of who they want to be invited. Likewise, you may have some guilt about leaving people out due to cost. Oh, and don't be surprised if you get a write-in or two on your RSVP cards where someone you have invited ends up adding others. You'll need to either find the room or call them and explain how it's not possible to add more people due to your budget and space, but you appreciate their forethought and wish you could share your wedding with everyone. While this is less likely to happen with destination wedding events, nothing is impossible!
Try to keep a light heart through it all though. This is your fairytale destination wedding, so you'll have to make alterations to things like guest lists in order to pull it off, and you'll have to be okay with your choices.
2. Watch Your Seat Capacity & Budget
You'll need to plan your guest list around the same time as your venue and accommodations. You can cross-reference how many seats will be available for the wedding ceremony, how many your reception venue holds, and how many rooms your can afford to house your guests. Should you be asking them to pay for their own reservations, you will still need to know how many your villa or hotel can hold, and what alternatives you have for lodging nearby.
Don't forget that each person who attends will increase your cost for cake, food, drinks, favors, etc, so watch your budget. Likewise, you don't want to max out your venue capacity if you over-invite and everyone actually RSVPs and attends.
3. Be Real For Their Sake
While you absolutely adore your 97-year-old great grandma, it's possibly not a good idea to put her on planes and trains and ask her to walk through huge gardens to your wedding under the Tuscan sun. You may have to have a discussion with special people in your life about why you chose the destination wedding and how they may not be able to make it. Likewise, your friend with four kids may not be able to make the trip and you'll need to have a heart-to-heart with her too. Honesty is truly the best policy, and so is empathy. This is a tough one, we wish you all the best!
4. Write a Heart-Felt Letter
Write out your dream guest list, at any length, of all of the people you would have at your wedding if you had unlimited room and funds. Once you've chosen those who will be invited from that list, then consider writing a letter to send to everyone else on the dream list. Tell them how you thought of them, and truly wish they could be a part of your day. Tell them your destination and any reasons you were limited on inviting them. Promise a follow-up letter with photos, perhaps, or a link to your wedding website. The important thing is to make them feel cherished and thought of and just be open and honest about everything.
5. Parties At Home
An engagement party is a wonderful way to have guests come wish you well on your fairytale trip. Likewise, you might plan a second reception or after-wedding BBQ party after you return home to include those who weren't on the guest list or couldn't make it otherwise. Make sure you throw a grand party with favors and music so they feel like they got to be a part of your new future.
6. Alternative Idea: Fundraising
If you feel confident you can get some financial backing to bring more special guests in, then, by all means, ask for help!