The appeal of a destination wedding is easy to identify: Exotic scenery, a built-in vacation, and the romance of a faraway place. Unfortunately, getaway nuptials also introduce a distinct set of etiquette rules and considerations. If you're planning or considering getting married far away from home, browse this short list of big questions you'll want answered before the big day!
Word on the hostess circuit is that you send out save-the-date cards eight months prior, and the invites eight weeks before your big day. Not only do some people have to apply for passports and save money, but there are those who will have to get time off from their jobs, arrange child care, and take care of other pesky chores so they can join you. Advance notice will give guests more flexibility when they're making travel arrangements, too. With this in mind, add on an extra two or three weeks to those time frames to ensure that guests have adequate time to prepare for what is essentially a vacation. Once that's done, make sure you pick appropriate destination wedding flowers, a festive post-ceremony reception, a cute clutch, and a paradise-worthy hairstyle! With all of that planned, you'll want to make sure everyone you love is there to see it all come together.
Have the party whenever you'd like: as soon as you get back from the honeymoon, or even three to four months afterward. (Wait longer than a year, however, and the guests may not be as excited to come and celebrate.) If you're throwing a formal party, tuck a wedding announcement inside the envelope along with the invitation. The invite wording goes like this: Mr. and Mrs. (your names here) request the pleasure of your company at a reception Sunday, the first of August time, place, etc. If you're having a less formal party, you can get more creative with both your wording ("Join us for a celebration of our recent marriage!") and the invitations. Maybe you can even build the invite around a photo of the spot where you said I do.
You can't very well demand that everyone fly home after they've come so far — know that most people will respect your privacy, even if they're staying on a few days after the event. If you're really concerned about hangers-on, head to another place. Some hotel companies, like Sandals, SuperClubs and Wyndham, have sister resorts that you can combine in a single package.