Oh, how I’ve been in your shoes.
You get all excited because you have researched your dream location, already have in your mind that your wedding is going to be like NO OTHER and then reality hits…..the response you get when you tell your Father-In-Law you are getting married in Punta Cana in 2010.
Then, 4 years later (that’s right, we did not get married the first time), when we said we have opted for Mexico this time around. The stare. LOL! That face was priceless.
Fortunately, my family is more freestyle, so they were all for the idea of a destination wedding, but hubby’s family not so much, as they are much more traditional than my side of the family.
What I am getting at here is: you need a game plan.
What is the point of having a kick-ass wedding if the ones you love are not there, right?
You are probably terrified to tell everyone what kind of wedding you really want to have because you know someone, whether it’s Aunt Jean or Uncle Jeff, will have something to say!
“What about gran gran? You know she will not be able to come. Your uncle Paul… (the one you have not seen since you were 3, yeah that one) You know he has been sick!” And then there are your cousins who love the idea but do not think they will be able to afford to come.
I get it. I’ve been there. How selfish of us to want the most incredible experience of our lives! (Because the wedding is not about us, remember, it is about them!)
This is YOUR wedding, and it is about the two of you.
Silence all the noise for a second. If you are wanting to do this, take the leap. I promise it will be worth it, and you will have no regrets. The people who really want to be there will find a way, and those who really cannot but care about you will not allow you to do something for them, anyways—especially when it’s supposed to be about you.
If worst comes to worst, you can always throw a big back-home bbq, brunch or whatever with the family. (My brother-in-law did this.)
Note: Just so I am clear, this may sound like a bashing-the-family post, but it really is not. I just want you to know that what you are feeling is real. Know at end of all of this, your friends and family will show up for you regardless of their apprehensions, and on top of that, they will have the best time of their lives. If you do not believe me, ask my father-in-law who has been on a plane maybe three times in 60 years, who did not want to leave, who said he was not coming and begged for us to have it in the states. But he came, and oh how I love that man for it!
Anyway, enough about me, let’s talk about how we are going to get the gang on board and get them excited about the biggest day of your life.
As I said in my earlier comments, this day is ALL ABOUT YOU! Let’s start with a cocktail, and remember, you have the right to do it your way. No questions asked.
Manage Your Expectations
It’s like anything else. It’s nothing personal. People are people, even family, and nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. This is the story they have told themselves. Do not let them project their story on to you as your truth.
With that said, not everyone will be thrilled about the idea of you having a destination wedding, and that is ok. We love them anyway, right? As popular as destination weddings are, they are still relatively new and people do not like change. Traditionally, weddings are a very serious occasion, so it’s hard to see people break out of the status quo.
The same goes for travel, people hate the unknown, so attending your wedding might just come down to them facing their fear of flying or traveling out of their comfort zone—and less to do with them actually coming to your wedding to support you. Knowing this upfront puts you one-step ahead of the game, mentally.
Now, I am the girl who always does what she wants, ask hubby (not saying it’s right or wrong, that’s just me). However, if getting the buy-in from the people who matter is important, I suggest you put some feelers out first.
Test the climate; get some feedback from those who matter most.
Explain to those people your reasoning, and help them see your vision. Shoot, maybe trick them! Tell them you would so rather spend quality time with them for a longer period of time, not just an hour or two—like you would at a traditional wedding. Or, if it comes to this, bribe them! Remember that vacation or trip they said you were all going to take; this is the time to pay up.
Show them how much fun you will have. It will be stress free, and for the parents, share the numbers! More money in their pocket is always a win—at least from my point of view.
This leads me to my next tip:
Educate Your Guests
Many people who react negatively to your news are people who might not know much about your destination/ destination weddings and/or traveling period. This is where you can educate them and put to rest the myths and the truths.
This is where your team of experts come into play. I would definitely use a travel agent who is knowledgeable about your location to ease guest fears and concerns.
This is also a good time to show them the comparison of how much a traditional wedding truly costs vs. a destination wedding.
Find out the objections so you can turn those into solutions:
Mom wants you to get married in a church—cool, Mom, there are churches around the world.
Dad hates the beach—you can get married in the mountains.
Cousin says she has kids—fine…there are several family friendly resorts that are beautiful.
There are a list of possibilities for every scenario that could arise.
With all this said:
Do Not Be a Bridezilla
You have already stretched thin the people closest to you. Make it easy on them. No flying to Antarctica or Alaska.
If children are huge in your family, opt for a resort with kids club. Make a compromise. Do not find the most expensive resort in the world—save Bora Bora for the honeymoon instead.
Find some place that is easy to get to and options with nonstop flights from mostly anywhere. Some my favorites are Mexico, Jamaica, and Dominican Republic. They are also budget friendly—just watch high season and stay away from major holidays.
Opt for a weekend where your guests would not have to take multiple days off. If you can swing it, maybe even offer to help with some of the costs for your closest VIPs—but do not feel guilty for choosing a destination wedding.
As I finish my last few thoughts, remember, not everyone will be able to come and that is TOTALLY OK.
Your wedding will (hopefully) be the only time you put on such a grand affair, so you deserve to be happy and when all else fails it is YOUR wedding—ask for permission later.
I promise your guests will not regret making this trip, and then they will be asking where we are going next year because they want to make it a tradition.
It all works out at the end, and the best part is you will get to see your Father-In-Law in the water with a Sombrero, eating catfish from Jo-Jos, laughing.
It may take a little work at the beginning but it will be the best time of their life, even if they do not admit it. ;)
Eat Drink, & Be Married Away
Once you've convinced your guests to join you for this amazing weekend, you'll want to make sure they get all of the right information! Check out or free Guest Information Checklist so you don't forget a thing: