For those who’ve been to a destination wedding as a guest, what did you really appreciate that the couple did? Is there anything they could done to improve your experience, ASIDE from paying for travel or accommodations (except for
The things we've appreciated most are welcome bags and welcome dinners. It's nice to have a few snacks in the room when you arrive from a long day of traveling, bonus points if they're local to that specific area. Welcome parties are super nice for getting to know other guests and just spending more time with the couple outside of the actual wedding.
Really good, clear, easily available information about what to expect, what's available, and what is planned. I think a wedding website is essential for DWs. Sure, not all guests will read it, but the people who like information and to plan ahead (me) will really appreciate it.
I also really appreciate when there are minimal expenses on guests (as far as is practical). I understand that traveling to an event and paying for one's own accommodation are part of the deal. But once there, I am happier if costs don't just keep escalating and multiplying (e.g., unexpected group meals out, parking fees, resort fees, etc.). I like to budget ahead and it's stressful when I feel nickel and dimed during a wedding weekend (with so much social pressure to just go along and participate in *everything*).
And finally (apparently I have a lot to say about DWs!) definitely accept declines graciously. DWs are more expensive and inconvenient for guests; that is a fact. And no matter how much someone wants to attend, it's simply not always possible due to time/budget/life constraints.
Also, details such as, what time and exactly where different events are held, how to get there(bus, shuttle, car, walk). I don’t like a lot of expensive activities that guests are expected to attend and pay for, such as shows, nightclubs, etc.
No surprise costs (resort fees, parking, etc - i feel that should be taken care of by the couple. No additional events that require guests to pay for/attend (everything should be optional).
My biggest pet peeve is when a wedding is held at an all-inclusive type resort and the reception is just held at a restaurant that's included for me in the cost of the resort. Essentially - I'm paying for my own portion of your reception, which I don't think is appropriate. It should be a separate, paid by you event.
Flexibility with the hotel reservation. We went to a destination wedding where it was next to impossible to convince the hotel to let you stay/pay fewer than 4 nights. Not every guest wants to or can turn the wedding into an extended vacation; some want to get in, out and on their way.
For destination weddings, we appreciate hotel blocks & welcome bags. Especially welcome bags that have pamphlets or things to do/recommendations for the area nearby. A thorough wedding website listing hotel options, transportation recommendations, things to do, airport options, etc. Provided transportation from venue to hotel if it's more than a 10 minute drive or if there are no uber/lyfts in the area. Couples that made an effort to see us more than just the wedding (so invited us to the rehearsal dinner, had a get together in the hotel bar the night before, welcome party, after wedding brunch, etc.) since you really don't get to talk much the day of the wedding.
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That's a great point about accepting declines graciously. I often see on mainstream wedding forums posters assuring hesitant DW brides "that the people who really care about you will be there". That's just not true and so unfair to loved ones who can't find a way to make the trip.