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Mind Your Bridal Manners at a Destination Wedding

Going away for a wedding involves a few etiquette rules to help things go smoothly

You may be planning for a destination wedding or maybe aren't sure, yet, if you even want to go to a faraway locale to exchange vows. If you're wondering about costs and who pays for what - especially if you wish to invite guests - here are a few tips.

The bride and groom - or whoever is paying for the wedding - are not responsible for guest airfare or hotel accommodations. Just as you would not expect to pay for family and friends to travel to a home wedding, the same rules apply. Many couples, however, are more affluent. It is certainly generous, if you have it within your means, to cover all or part of travel expenses. This is not something you need to mention in your invitations, however. It is assumed, unless you're arranging otherwise.

Never send invitations to those you definitely know will not travel for a wedding. You can properly send announcements after the fact. Post-wedding announcements are not solicitations for gifts. For those guests whom you hope will attend, give them plenty of advance notice. Six months is a good marker for nicely worded save-the-date cards. This allows for plenty of time to arrange for time off and gives them ample opportunity to make childcare plans.

There are other benefits to advance notice. It also gives you and your guests time to shop for airfare deals and the best hotel rates. Ideally, if you can make some of these arrangements in a "block," you may find some savings. Package deals are often best left to a travel agent or other full-time professional. All too often, you may book a great package through a hotel only to find that airfares for those dates are exorbitant.

Even if you're not picking up any part of the tab, you'll want to do the preliminary research on available airline fares and a range of hotels in the area you've selected for your destination wedding. While you may choose to splurge on a room or suite, your guests may be more budget conscious.

Also, you should find out details about area attractions and local events. Your invitees certainly will want to enjoy this vacation in their own way in addition to your planned festivities.

The items you are in charge of include the rehearsal dinner and a reception. These costs are your responsibility just as they would be at home. For your guests who are not staying near the wedding locale, you may also wish to provide transportation; a generous gesture, but not required.

With regard to showers, invite only those who will be included among your wedding guests. And, remember, it's never proper to state how you would prefer gifts - cash or otherwise. If you must ask for money, have a trusted relative or friend spread the word. It's not the job of your guests to help you pay for your wedding or a honeymoon, although today's trends are seeing more monetary transactions of this nature.

A destination wedding is your opportunity to explore new places or visit favorite old ones. Even though this is your event and your day, taking care of your guests is also a high priority. They'll certainly remember your gracious behavior and will hold fond memories of your destination wedding - and their vacation.

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