Dos and Don’ts of Caribbean Destination Wedding Invitations

Hello Destination Brides and Grooms!

Today we’re going to talk about wedding invitations.  And I should start by saying that there are no rules about your invitations to your destination wedding.  But there a few basic guidelines and tips that make life a little bit easier.

In this day and age, lots of brides are skipping the expensive, formal invitations from the local stationers and getting them online instead.  That’s fine.  It’s good for your budget.  But you should definitely request paper samples prior to ordering.  You don’t want to print your wedding invitation on flimsy or obviously cheap paper if you can help it.

I have a few tips (as usual, in no particular order) to help with ordering your invitations:

– Don’t stress too much about how to word the wedding invitation.   You can certainly pull out your Emily Post book for the strictest guidelines, but the following is a loose guideline of what you should do.  Who is paying for the wedding?  If the bride and groom are picking up the tab, they can word the invitation however they like.  If the bride’s parents or the groom’s parents or both are helping to pay for the actual wedding and reception, their names should appear on the invitation as the hosts.

Multiple marriages and divorces have complicated our lives with these sorts of things.  If your father is invited to your wedding but he’s not the “dad” who raised you, you may not want to use his name on the invitation.  You might want to use the invitation to acknowledge the father who actually raised you.  In cases like this, you just have to use your best judgement.

– Do try to avoid being cheesy.  It’s fine to use pretty, flowery words, but trust your judgment.  And if you don’t trust your own gut, ask your wedding planner or a friend of yours who is acquainted with Emily Post.  If you think it might sound hokey, it is.  Skip it and move onto something less ridiculous.  The worst one I’ve ever seen read like this:

“Share our joy, share our love, share our hearts, share the most important day of our lives.  Without you there to share with us, our special day will have less meaning.”

Oh dear God.  That one was super bad.  I also consider using the letters of your name to spell out the invitation to be weird.  Of course, this is your wedding day and you can have whatever you want.  If you’ve always imagined your friends dissolving in peals of laughter when they get your invitation, you should get the one that shows a bound and gagged groom being dragged down the aisle and use whatever little poem you want.  At that point, nothing could be tackier than the invitation itself.

– Don’t try to slam too much info on the invitation.  You’re likely sending these people all kinds of data about your wedding in your travel and accommodations packet and you’re re-iterating it in the welcome letter — it isn’t necessary to crowd the invite.

– Do use the RSVP card to your advantage.  If you’re doing lots of extra wedding activities and you’re not sure your guests will be on the island to attend all of them, take a headcount through your RSVP card.  Simple do checkoffs for all the individual events.  Keep track and it’ll save you when it comes time to pay those other caterers.

– Don’t forget to put stamps on your RSVP envelopes.  Lots of brides forget.  No, it isn’t the end of the world, but it’s embarrassing.

– Do give serious thought to colored ink on your invitations.  For less formal invites, it can be really cute, especially if it matches a ribbon or some other feature of the invitation.  But doing a formal-looking plain invite with lavender or lime ink can be a little off-putting.  Remember, at the stage of the game, you (and your wedding planner) are the only ones who know you have chosen to do your wedding around the color apple green.  Guests receiving the invite won’t get the correlations.

– Do send out invitations to a destination wedding as early as you can get it away with it.  The sooner you have a real headcount for your events, the sooner you can add up your budget and get an real idea of the final damage.

– Do order 10 extra invitations and 20 extra envelopes.  You will make some errors addressing and you’ll be glad you have them.

– Do put together a complete guest list way in advance.  Get all the info, including the proper titles and zip codes, and put it in a spreadsheet so you have it on hand when you need it.  Nothing is worse than tracking down parts of addresses at the last minute.

– Don’t use mailing labels for your wedding invitations.   You don’t have to have formal caligraphy, but try to have somebody with pretty handwriting address them properly.

– Don’t get lazy and call everybody “Mr.” or “Mrs.” when you know it should really say The Honorable or The Reverend or Captain.  People appreciate that you took the time to do it correctly.  The same goes for when you write out placecards.

– Do wash your hands before you start stuffing your invites.

– Don’t tell anyone if you have an “A” and “B” guest list.  It just makes for hurt feelings.  The folks on the “B” list shouldn’t be friendly with the folks who are getting the “A” invitations first or you could have an embarrassing situation on  your hands.

Nowadays there aren’t really any rules.  If you’re not going formal and traditional, by all means do whatever turns you on.  I remember getting a really bad save-the-date magnet with the bride and groom on a buggy and thinking I’d seen it all — until I got the matching invitation a few weeks later.  Disturbingly, it all made sense at the wedding where the groom and his groomsmen were wearing spurs and everybody, including the bride, was armed with old western-style six shooters.  No, I was not the wedding planner for that wedding.

Hope these tips help some of you navigate the treacherous waters of destination wedding invitations — until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques!


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