Wednesday, April 24, 2019

How to limit your guest list: Choosing the “in-crowd”

When trying to decide who’s receiving that gorgeous custom ‘save the date’ and who’s only going to see the social media highlights, the pressure is on. It’s no secret that weddings can be pricey! A 50 guest wedding will be much  cheaper than a two-hundred person wedding, so guest lists are important. We’ve devised some easy guidelines to help you get through this decision making process with your friend and family relationships still intact!

Set Expectations
We won't sugar coat it for you:planning a wedding is difficult. Most couples received help from their parents, friends, and some even hire a wedding planner. But as  you increase the amount of people willing to help you plan, the likelihood of these people wanting to have a say in the guest list increases.
To avoid conflict, you can start by setting clear guidelines. Many couples decide to split the guest list 50%, 25%, and 25%: 50% invites specific to the couple, 25% family specific invites from both sides of the family For example, a 200 person wedding, would invite 100 guests that the couple decides on personally, the parents of one family would invite 50 guests, and the parents of the other family would invite 50 guests. Of course this depends on each individual family but many choose to split it this way to keep things as fair as possible.
We recommend deciding on these guidelines even before planning begins to avoid any unnecessary conflict that can arise.

Dream Big
Cuts can always be made so it’s best to list out everyone you’d like to invite before refining the list back to the most important guests. This means including everyone from distant family members, neighbors, and even your favorite yogi in the class you attend every week..
This is the fairytale stage. Plan this wedding as big and huge as you’d want it to be. You’d be amazed how many people you never would’ve expected to invite to pop up during this stage. So go big now and let the fine-tuning come later.
This also ensures that no one gets forgotten or disregarded, so really, write down everyone.

Consider a Destination Wedding
While destination weddings aren't always practical, they can help dramatically cut down the guest list and inevitably same on total wedding costs if this is your main goal. Many couples find that if they choose to set their wedding in an out of town location, a large part of their guest list is unable to make the trip. This gives you the chance to choose a beach venue, yacht venue, or other luxurious options that wouldn't be available otherwise.
Just don’t forget to account for travel expenses, even before the wedding. This could include airfare, hotels, rental cars, taking time off of work, etc.

Set the Number
This can sometimes be the hardest part of the planning process but it's arguably the most important. The guest list is defined by your budget and the size of your venue. With these two factors, you can decide if you can accommodate only one-hundred people or as many as five-hundred guests. Each guest is equivalent to a new plate that your caterer must prepare, another chair at another table, another favor you must provide, or another piece of the cake that must get cut.
Choose a number that falls below your venue’s maximum capacity to avoid the utter panic that happens every time a new guest RSVPs. Keeping your number on the conservative side will allow you to add more in the future if you end up having space or more room in the budget than initially expected. This is also just a good practice to make sure that you don't accidentally go over capacity or have to uninvite your brother’s best friend’s mom.

Set Rules
It’s best to set a few rules the couple agrees on when it comes to cutting people from the guest list. These make it easier to take someone off the list that you might be on the fence about. Examples of some of these rules could be:
  1. If neither of you have spoken to them in the last year and they’re not family, don’t send the invite.
  2. If neither of you feel a connection to this person, don’t send the invite.
  3. If you’re not too keen on inviting children, don’t feel guilty about having an adult-only event.
  4. If someone is only on the list because they invited you to something or they send you holiday cards every year, don’t send the invite.
  5. If someone is only on the list because you feel guilty about not inviting them, don’t send the invite.

Of course, there can always be exceptions to these rules, but by creating them in advance, it’s going to make the cuts substantially easier to decide who comes and who goes. Each couple is different and the rules should accommodate both of you to get everyone on the same page.

Cut the Plus-One List
One of the easiest guest list limiters is to cut the plus-one right out of the picture. Rather than addressing invitations to John Lewis and “plus one,” address invitations to either John Doe and Sally Sue or to just John Lewis. If you wouldn't give Sally Sue her own invite, then she doesn't need to be at the top of your guest list. Sorry Sally!
Don’t forget to also include names printed in the response cards before sending them out. It wouldn't be the first and sure won't be the last time that a response gets filled out with way more than the intended names on the name blank. To avoid unnecessary responses, print the personalized names on each response card before you send them out!

Make it Adult-Only
True or False: It’s unacceptable to have an adult-only wedding. False. Every wedding is different and some couples choose to have an adult-only wedding for various reasons. From the guest list to an open bar, sometimes it's much easier to limit those under age to only immediate family.
We won't lie to you, this also eliminates the possibility of the ceremony getting interrupted by little Billy’s temper tantrum and no one is against that! Choosing to have an adult-only wedding is a personal choice up to each and every individual couple, but there are benefits that deserve some consideration.
Also, don’t be fooled! This is still your day and if you decide to have children in the wedding party but not allow young guests, this is still acceptable!

Don’t forget: It’s your day!
Cutting people can be extremely stressful and potentially cause conflict with uninvited members. It’s important to remember that this is your day to enjoy with the people that you want to celebrate with. It's inevitable that potentially awkward conversations are going to occur. Prepare yourself with a polite but uninterpretable response that can break the news easily to uninvited members. You could say something along the lines of “we’d love to celebrate with everyone but unfortunately our budget and venue only allows for so many guests!”
One of  the most difficult parts of planning a wedding is deciding your guest list. From limiting the amount of plus-ones to creating a list of rules to decide for you, creating the perfect guest list is attainable, don’t worry! If you follow the recommendations we’ve laid out, you’ll be one step closer to a stress-free and flawless wedding experience.

And don't forget to check out for all of your yacht wedding plans! With yachts docked all along the coast from Boston to Florida  to California, Golden Knot Yacht Services is prepared to cruise with you on your perfect day! Our yacht wedding planners are dedicated to creating the vision, choosing the vendors, and preparing the venue for your dream yacht wedding!

Written by Emily Surabian, Marketing Intern for Golden Knot Yacht Services

Saturday, November 24, 2018

6 Steps to Choose Your Event or Wedding Theme

You’ve picked out the perfect guest list and the date is finally set, what’s next? The planning has just begun and the most important step is coming up next. It’s time to pick your event theme. 

With any important event, picking a theme can be extremely stressful. The theme sets the mood for the entire event and therefore if you choose the wrong theme for the wrong group, it could create a total party foul! 

Don’t let that discourage you though, if you follow these six steps, you can master the art of event theme do’s and don’ts!

Step one:​​ ​Set goals

When you start the initial planning for an event, it’s important to break down the exact nature of the event. You must figure out what you’re working towards, how you can achieve this and why this is what you’d like to achieve. Set about five goals by answering the following questions to help you keep the event on track with your plan.  What is the purpose of your event?  Who will be hosting your event?  Who will be attending your event?  What feel would you like your guests to receive?  Is this a one-time event or a repeated event? 

Taking the time to set these goals and even write them down will help plan a theme that strictly follows the intent of the event. From this point, you can begin to narrow down any themes that fit to your goals!

Step two: ​​Evaluate your audience 

The guest list is a huge factor in the choice of theme for an event. While obtaining a guest list is a typical procedure in event planning, its rather more important than you would expect. By outlining a rough list of whom would be in attendance, you can begin to refine themes. For example, if your event is centered around marketing the newest Apple product to small business owners, it would be rather out of the ordinary to throw a Disney Princess themed event. 

It’s extremely important to take the time to ask yourself: Who will be invited?  Who will be in attendance?  What is the age range of these guests and will families be invited? 

A corporate holiday party might allow spouses and children to attend as well, which will drastically change the event theme to accommodate possibly younger audience members. The guests in attendance are a huge factor in the planning of an event and if you don't take the guest list into account, your theme could end up being drastically wrong for your event. 

Step three:​​ ​Choosing the date 

Choosing the date of the event early on in the event planning process will help to narrow down events that wouldn't necessarily fit your event. For example, a fall event wouldn’t typically be given a beach theme. And similarly a summer event would more likely be in an outdoor or open venue to embrace the weather.  Choosing your event date will also help to create your event planning plan. It is rather unlikely that you can plan an event in two weeks. Likewise, if you’re planning an event for the summer of 2020, it would make no sense to send out invitations in the fall of 2018. Planning the date allows for the venue, theme, and invitations to begin their planning process.

Step four​​: ​Choosing a venue

The venue comes later in the planning process because it is extremely important to first know your audience and goals. After assessing the amount of guests, you’re now able to look into a venue. A big mistake that people often make is finding a venue that doesn't fit the guests. For a small, intimate event with only 25 guests in attendance, you don’t want to book a venue that can fit 500 people. Similarly, for a guest list of 500, a venue that can accomodate 100 people is certainly not going to work.  By planning your venue according to your guest list, you can insure that your venue will perfectly accommodate the people in attendance. 

The use of decorations and activities that tie into your event can make the theme really show. Yet, going the extra step of incorporating the venue and catering into the theme could allow you to throw the event of the year! The perfect venue allows for the perfect opportunity to incorporate your theme. Let's say you're throwing a New Years Eve 20’s themed party, a rustic barn wouldn't necessarily fit the theme. However, a ballroom in a New York Skyrise could be more appropriate for the theme.

Having a venue that shows not only the theme but accommodates the guest will allow for your event to run smoothly and memorably for all of the attendees!

Step five: ​​Brainstorm 

The most important step in the planning process is the brainstorming. When choosing an event theme, it is important to be both original and engaging. 

Original doesn’t necessarily mean that your event theme must be something that's never been done before. In this day and age, finding something absolutely original is like finding a needle in a haystack. The trick to finding a theme that appears entirely original is adding your own style to it. Your personal or professional brand is one of the biggest factors to making something stand out. If you take a theme that has been used, yet add your own spin to it, your guests will feel as though they’ve never seen anything like it. 

Many people find that it is extremely helpful to turn the brainstorming step into a physical being. By creating vision boards, mind maps, or other notes of your thoughts, you can follow your process and could even end up combining two themes that work best for your goals.

To be engaging is to have activities that will keep the guests interested in what is happening. Incorporating games or crafts that tie to the theme of the event will add that extra spice. So when choosing a theme, ask yourself: can I create a game out of this? Can I keep people interested in what's happening? If the answer is no to either of these questions, this theme should probably get the big thumbs down!

Still Stuck?

Here are just a few themes that you can choose to use or change to fit your brand: 
● Milestones in your childhood (prom, graduation, homecoming) ● Generationally themed (20s, 50s, 80s) ● Red carpet ● Every-day escapes (future, beach, Paris)

Still haven't found something that fits what you want? Sometimes the absolute best theme is one that you find after looking at your own brand. What are your brand’s values? What would you like to show the guests? An event doesn't necessarily need to have a tangible theme. Your theme could be rebirth or growth for companies that want to get their name back out to the customers. 

Step six:​​ ​Invitations and RSVPs 

After you’ve brainstormed and come up with your theme, the last step and arguably the worst step in the theme planning process is choosing the invitations and the rsvp method. Invitations are typically the first way that the guest will become aware of the theme. Therefore these are the front man for your event. In order to make sure these match your theme, you must pick your theme before sending your invitations. 

There are many different types of invitations that can be sent out:

● Traditional paper invitations 
● Evite, Punchbowl, paperlesspost, etc. 
● Facebook event 
● Handwritten or typed invitations

Not only do you want to show your theme in the body of the invitation but it is important to choose a method of sending your invitation that fits your theme. It is very unlikely that a formal event would send out a Facebook event invitation just as it is rather unlikely that a virtual themed event would send out handwritten invitations. 

Past the actual invitations, you must also take into account the RSVP process. For more traditional and formal events, an RSVP would include not only the invitee’s yes or no, but also whether or not they would be bringing a plus-one and their choice of meal for the night. RSVPs need to be chosen according to the theme just as much as the actual invitation. If it’s not applicable to send out a paper RSVP, you could include in the invitation to RSVP to either the direct person, or an email or phone number. 

The RSVP also allows for a chance to really set the rules on guests. Whether it is going to be a strict one guest per invitation rule or if you can bring a plus-one, or even a plus-five. RSVPs are used for the host to gain information for their guests, so use these to your greatest advantage! 

Make it perfect 

Choosing an event theme can be a difficult and stressful part of the event planning process; however it can also be the most enjoyable part. The theme is what brings your event to life so choose carefully but enjoy it all the while. Your theme will now be what you work off of to bring the event of your dreams to life. Allow every event to be perfect and thrive off of the celebration just like we do down at Golden Knot Yacht Services!

Written by Emily Surabian, a Marketing & Event Planning Intern for Golden Knot Yacht Services. We are a Yacht Event Planning Company for Weddings, Corporate Events, and Special Occasions with yachts located in New York City, NJ, Philadelphia, DC, Baltimore, Annapolis, Florida, San Diego, Newport Beach, Marina Del Ray, Hawaii, Boston, Miami, and the Bahamas. Visit our website for more information
Follow us everywhere! @goldenknotyacht 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Event & Wedding Planner Behind the Scenes

Getting to know the planner behind the scenes
We like to call ourselves the hybrids of the event planning industry, 
because we can be hired for full service planning needs which include the venueand vendors. Or we can work with planners themselves who just need us for venuelogisitic management for the yachts, catering, bar, beverage, and service staff.No matter the level of service we're hired to do, seeing an event come to realitybehind the scenes is our favorite part of the job! Royal treatment customer service is a phrase we hold ourselves to every day. We love working with other creatives and clients just beginning in the wedding or event process. And we'll strive everyday to make sure you feel the same way! Today we'll take a closer lookbehind the scenes of our full service planning.

What is an event planner?
To the common person, the event planner is the person that assists in the basic planning of an event. While this is not incorrect, it only conveys half of the truth. The event planner is the ringleader of the event. They are the person who is entrusted with acting as an intermediary between all vendors and you, the client. In many ways, the planner strings together all of the little details of your event and ties them up into a nicely wrapped packaged all before the event date.
Pre-event preparation
Meet your planner
Before an event, what is at the top of your To-Do list? Make an appointment with the best possible planner for your individual event!
Our event planner is there for your benefit! In your first meeting, you will explain your idea for your event, which they will help bring to life. An event can follow whatever style, budget, or schedule that fits you best. The more detail that your planner receives, the more ammo they have to create the perfect event for you.  
An event takes time to execute and can be stressful. This is the exact reason that you are looking to hire an event planner! In order to give our planners enough time to prepare, we ask that you schedule your event at the soonest convenience.  For a wedding, the preparations begin anywhere from 12-16 months before the event date. However, each event is individual and will vary in preparation time. Once the initial meeting has occurred, the planner can begin to find the perfect venue, vendors, and all other details for your event. Making your initial meeting with your planner as soon as possible will help to make your event the event of the year!
What is a vendor? A vendor is a company that assists in the creation and prosecution of your event. The planner connects and communicates with different vendors to provide the client with the best company to accommodate their event. The vendors that work with GKYS offer services in a variety of different categories, such as rental equipment, dress/suit designers, florists, DJs, caterers, drinks, bakers, graphic designers, photographer, videographers, etc. While, yes, you could pick any of these companies all on your own, the advantage of having a planner is that the planner will offer their recommendation of vendors based off of their previous experience to find a vendor that will fit your vision. The planner will also transmit your individual requirements, ideas, and style to the vendors to ensure that everyone is clear on your goals!
Rehearsal before the event
In order to make sure everything is perfect on your day, the planner schedules a rehearsal for the event to guarantee all vendors and participants are running smoothly. This is the final chance for the planner to correct any, and all, of the schedule details.     
On the event day
The biggest day of the event planning process! Aside from making sure the event as a whole runs well, the planner must make sure that all vendors arrive on time, produce their product, and leave on time. The planner is here to assist in any ways that you might need.

The glory of having a planner, especially the planners from GKYS, is from the moment that you begin planning for your event to the event date, you will create not only an inspirational event but an everlasting relationship with the people supporting you on your big day. The memory of a well executed event will last a lifetime!
Written by Shu Hua Li and Emily Surabian. Shu and Emily are both Marketing & Event Planning Interns for Golden Knot Yacht Services, a Yacht Event Planning Company for Weddings, Corporate Events, and Special Occasions in New York City, NJ, Philadelphia, DC, Baltimore, Annapolis, Florida, San Diego, Newport Beach, Marina Del Ray, Hawaii, Boston, Miami, and the Bahamas.

A few of our preferred vendors we work with, showcased here:
The Tuxedo Club
Salon Beverly Hills 
Blush Bar LLC
Mallory Weiss Planning
About the Details NYC
Decorative Decors

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ever Changing Wedding Traditions: September 2018 Edition

The wedding world is forever changing. What’s in? What’s out? Or more likely what will be in and what will be out? We’ve learned key ways to stay on top of the ever changing trends. Learning and reading about the events and wedding industry on a frequent and consistent basis has helped. Following the right wedding and event accounts on IG is a must. Wedding experts are always sharing and/or showing their opinions and individual spinoffs regarding the next best things and what the couples are starting to try out. These visuals help shape what we see at weddings today.

Doing this same type of research, we also find what’s typical for couples not to want at their big day anymore. Wedding Day factors that have gone out of style. The best way to stay proactive with this is to hear from clients themselves. It’s important to listen to what they’re asking for and what they aren’t. Every couple has different tastes and will plan their wedding the way they want to but it’s often easy to find a common thread between multiple wedding clients and pull a common denominator. So I’ve compiled a list from a mix of my wedding research and personal client experiences to share what traditions may be on the way out and what is on the way in to replace it!

Cake is out. Fun desserts are in! Yes, the cutting of the traditional white wedding cake that tastes slightly stale with too much icing with a bride and groom cake topper that looks vaguely like you that everyone only eats a few bites of, is slowly losing popularity. If cake is out, then so is the classic cake face smoosh that follows the cutting. Only specialty cakes with unique designs and flavors or even in a unique position, perhaps upside down, remain in.

Now couples are more interested in providing guests with their personal favorite sweet treats that are typically unique and yummy. Anything goes from an ice cream sundae bar and cotton candy machine to various pie flavors and warm cookies and milk. Often the desserts are revealed as a surprise to guests and are sure to satisfy every sweet tooth.

The sweetheart table is out. Mingling with guests is in! Couples are tending to lean away from the table for two and swapping it out for a seat with close friends and family. It’s a way to be more connected to your guests and feel more like a part of the wedding than an observer. Some couples are opting out of a seat altogether and instead take the time when all guests are seated to visit each table and chat with the attendees. Either way, the couples want to be more included in the dining hour.

Saturday weddings are being pushed aside with more Friday, Sunday, and even weekday weddings! These new potential wedding days are typically less expensive compared to the highly desired Saturday. Now that couples are trying out new days, it’s a wonder why Saturday was even all that special after all. Fridays offer a great opportunity to make a long weekend wedding event and are especially great for family visiting from out of town. Having a non Saturday weekend is a great alternative and in most cases be less expensive.

The bouquet toss is being tossed aside and substituted for a multitude of  other unique moments. Instead of gathering all the single women at the event on the dance floor in order to battle for a catch that qualifies you for the next wedding- couples are changing it up! Some give the bouquet to the longest married couple at the wedding as a tribute to true love and a long marriage. Other times, they’ll split the flowers up and give them to close family and friends. Sometimes they even gather all the children attending the event and throw a few teddy bears into the crowd. Couples can now create a new, more meaningful tradition for guests to enjoy.

The dramatic exit from your wedding complete with fireworks and music is out. Staying until the last possible minute dancing the night away with your guests is in. Couples are taking full advantage of their most magical night with loved ones and savoring every moment dancing and living it up. Speaking of living it bars are out and signature cocktails are in! Couples are leaning towards offering a few signature drinks compared to a full bar of choices.

Small intimate wedding parties are in and huge groups are out. It’s a lot more popular to choose 1-4 of your closest friends and family to be in your wedding party compared to the past where numbers reaching up to double digits was common. This not only saves money and makes planning easier but also makes the wedding a little more intimate. Some couples are opting for no wedding party at all!

Spending late nights planning your wedding by the light of your laptop is out and hiring a professional wedding planner is in! As more women join the workforce, it’s harder for couples to find any time to plan and it seems to be an added stress on top of work. Wedding planners take away that stress of dealing with anything and everything you need them too. Plus they are experts in guiding couples through the process. Having someone to turn to for advice and questions and not having to worry about every little detail will no doubt save you extreme levels of anxiety.
Trying to impress your guests is in!

Couples have always wanted their guests to enjoy the wedding but recently the enjoyment has been taken to a whole new level of pressure to dazzle guests.

A focus on guest experience is a top priority to many couples.

Booking incredible performers and thinking up out of the box surprises and lavish decor is all a must to create a night that attendees will never forget.  
Going along with the wowing of guests is the move towards more unique venues to enhance the special day. More traditional venues like banquet halls and ballrooms are being pushed aside for trendier spaces like city rooftops, lofty warehouses, historic mansions on acres of land, and

even gorgeous yacht weddings on glistening harbors.  

The unique venue adds to the guest experience to make a night no one will forget. Plus it offers opportunities for extraordinary pictures!
Decor budgets are ever changing as well. Spending money on copious amounts of flowers is out and in exchange the money is being spent on unique decor! If you and your significant other met at a Yankees game, expect to see the New York baseball team’s logo somewhere. If Paris is where the proposal happened, then the Eiffel Tower is bound to be incorporated. Keeping it tasteful but adding in personalized elements is growing in popularity in comparison to spending it all on flowers and casual decor.

Even how guests are giving wedding gifts is changing! Registries of home necessities the couple picked out is fading in turn for a different type of registry.  Some couples are opting to have guests give money for a honeymoon activity such as a private wine tasting or gondola ride through Venice, Italy. This can make the attendees feel included in helping the new happy couple make memories they won’t forget, compared to buying them a blender. Other couples are now more inclined to ask guests to donate the money they would have spent, to a specified charity of meaning to the couple. This makes the day just a bit bigger than themselves.  
These trends are just a few that wedding experts and myself have taken notice of and certainly isn’t a rulebook for how your wedding “should be.” The idea of trends and traditions can be confining to some couples so don’t be apprehensive if you want to stick to an older tradition or try something new- maybe you’ll start the next wedding trend! Being an event planner for a unique venue only- yachts- makes this an exciting time to be in the business. Couples are more willing and curious to look into a yacht wedding and all of the unique and unparalleled amenities we offer. Not only that, but couples are realizing the value of having an event planner and just how much support and industry expertise they can benefit from. This ideal time makes an event enthusiast like me very intrigued for what’s to come next in the wedding world!  

Written by Charlotte Lewis. Charlotte Lewis is the Marketing & Event Planning Intern for Golden Knot Yacht Services, a Yacht Event Planning Company for Weddings, Corporate Events, and Special Occasions in New York City, NJ, Philadelphia, DC, Baltimore, Annapolis, Florida, San Diego, Newport Beach, Marina Del Ray, Hawaii, and the Bahamas. Don’t just float through life, catch some waves.

Our preferred vendors we work with, showcased here:
The GingerSnap Cake Shop
ChocAmo Cookie Cups
Decorative Decors
Conrad's Concessions

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Destination Wedding Dos and Don'ts

For any couple planning a destination wedding, take these Dos and Don’ts into consideration to know exactly what to expect before your toes hit the sand! 

Location, location, location! Not only is this phrase essential in the real estate world, but it’s a top consideration for any dreaming couple planning their ideal wedding. The possibilities seem endless and somewhat daunting. Do you want a beach wedding, a traditional church ceremony, perhaps a yacht affair? Or maybe even something abroad- a destination wedding! 

A destination wedding typically involves guests traveling to the wedding and staying for several days in a vacation like location. The idea of a destination wedding is somewhat modern and has been growing in popularity in recent years. Post 2008 financial crisis, destination weddings actually grew in number as it was seen as an equally if not more beautiful alternative to a traditional location but at a cheaper cost since these are typically smaller affairs. Unless you have an unlimited budget, your guests will be paying for their own travel and lodging expenses, which cuts down on the couple’s overall cost, but may be a limiting factor in who attends the big day.

The thought of planning a wedding locally is intimidating let alone planning one in a different country. There is more to consider, culture to be integrated, and more effort into making a destination wedding seamless. So we compiled a master list of destination do’s and don’ts to consider before making the decision to be married a broad. 

First things first- is this whole destination wedding thing even for you? It certainly isn’t your traditional affair so if that's something that you’ve always dreamed of, maybe stick closer to home. But if you’re an adventurer, love to travel, want a unique wedding and one that may be a bit longer and have a more intimate guest list, than a destination wedding is something to consider. 

DO be strategic in your destination wedding location. You want to consider all options and narrow it down based on the meaning the location holds, your own preferences, but also travel accommodations. Think about the ease of your guests getting there as well as travel time in relation to the time staying there. You don’t want a 7 hour plane ride across multiple time zones only for your guests to stay for a long weekend and fly right back home. Picking a location thoughtfully will increase the chances of more people being able to attend and make the trip more worth it for everyone!

DO guarantee that the “must have guests” can attend before sending out invites to everyone. You want to ensure that key family members and friends are willing and able to attend a destination wedding. If they can’t attend it may be worth considering an alternative as you want your special day to be surrounded by the most important people in your life.

DO create a wedding website for guests. This is an essential tool that can make destination weddings a lot more organized and a lot less overwhelming for the couple and guests alike. The website can include things like wedding events itinerary, travel accommodation information, things to do in the area, and frequently asked questions such as packing lists, weather during the stay, and local currency conversions. Additionally, you can add more general wedding items like your social media hashtags and gift registry! Keep in mind that the gift registry is a great way for those who couldn’t attend the destination wedding to contribute and still feel involved. But give a price range of items as the guests that did attend the wedding have already put a lot of money into attending the big day. Overall the wedding website will help guests feel more confident in knowing what to expect, decreasing the amount of questions asked to the couple.

DO see the wedding site before booking it! It’s a good idea to visit the wedding destination prior to making plans if you can afford a trip over to visit. This gives you a chance to make sure the site is exactly what you pictured, get a lay of the land, and scope out potential housing and travel accommodations for guests. Overall, this will give more piece of mind and ensure the wedding’s best chance of success. 

DO give several options for guest accommodations. Whether it be a range of hotel options to transportation options- make sure you provide just that, a range. Unless you are planning on having everyone stay in an inclusive resort then it’s imperative to offer researched options for your guests to choose from. Include transportation options from the airport to housing as well as from the ceremony to reception if they are in separate locations so guests don’t have to worry about that either. 

DO deal locally where you can. Try to avoid bringing favors and decor from home as you’ll need to declare them and it may exceed the customs limit, leading to additional costs. Sometimes buying locally is cheaper! But don’t necessarily rule out all domestic options. It isn't out of the realm of possibilities to bring some of your favorite vendors over as long as you’re willing to cover the cost, such as a photographer. Especially when it comes to photographing the wedding, you want someone you love and trust so it may be worth the extra cost to fly them to the wedding.  Additionally, consider bringing your wedding dress on the flight as a carry on, as there is always a chance shipping gets lost or delayed. Always think on the safe side when it comes to transporting important wedding items!

DO incorporate local flavor into your wedding. Whether that is through favors for guests or cute gifts waiting in their hotel rooms holding local necessities, it really ties the wedding together. At the same time, remember to bring traditions from home. A mix of local culture and personal tradition will create a unique wedding that your guests will fall in love with.  

DO remember that the destination speaks for itself. You don’t need to outdo yourself with elaborate decor and flowers as the beauty of the destination sometimes says enough. Keeping it simple allows you to decrease costs and ideal for couples who want to have a second celebration with friends and family who couldn’t attend the destination wedding. It’s a popular choice to have a smaller gathering with those who can’t attend the wedding so they have a chance to celebrate and send their well wishes! 

DON’T panic! A destination wedding takes a little more thought and coordination than a local wedding but with enough time and proper planning support it’s no more work than any wedding. This starts with not waiting! Don’t send out invites too late. Send out save the date cards at least a year before the wedding to give guests enough time to make the proper accommodations. From buying their tickets, figuring out their work schedule, and childcare, guests will certainly appreciate the advance notice. It’ll pay off in the long by starting the planning as early as possible. 

DON’T think that everyone you invite will attend. It’s hard enough for everyone you invite to a local wedding to attend, so expecting everyone will travel abroad for an extended period of time is assuming a lot. Everyone is busy and getting time off for work is difficult. Additionally, it’s expensive to buy a plane ticket and hotel room if you weren’t budgeting that money. The worst thing you can do is pressure your guests- so go into it with an open mind and good attitude. 

DON’T assume people know what they are doing. Destination weddings don’t happen every day and chances are your wedding will be the first one most of your guests will attend. Use your wedding website to ensure questions can be answered so they feel confident knowing what to expect and what is expected of them for the big day. 

DON’T over plan guests. The main event is your wedding and while having a lot of unique local activities planned sounds like a good idea- it’s better to limit those to a few. You want guests to relax and enjoy themselves and your company, not be running around all day to various excursions. Offering a few personalized options is best. Also, planning relaxed bonding moments like beach bonfires and morning brunches with everyone is a great idea to get everyone together in a laid back environment. 

DON’T forget to do your research! It’s important to keep in mind that having a wedding abroad may create a culture boundary that you’ll want to dissolve. Make sure you know about common laws, culture, and especially wedding customs. Be sure to share these with guests on your website!  Also be aware if there is any paperwork needed in order to ensure the legality of the wedding. Going in prepared will create the best wedding environment possible with no surprises. 

DON’T feel obligated to include children. While it’s common for guests to bring their kids along for a destination wedding to take advantage of a family vacation, it’s not necessary to include the children in the wedding events. Just be clear in who you address the invitation to and be sure to offer up childcare options for parents.

While this master Do and Don’t List will be sure to get you started, Golden Knot Yacht Services can actually put your visions and plans into motion. First and foremost an event planning company planning events on yachts, Golden Knot can also plan all inclusive destination weddings through the luxury resort: Sandals. As a certified event specialist, we can assist you in planning your destination wedding in a more personal way. Sandals offers destination wedding plans that include everything you need to make your big day vision come to life! Every Sandals wedding includes the wedding, reception, personal event planning team, wedding website, preparation of marriage documents as well as some fun perks like spa pampering pre wedding and signature cocktails. Combine your honeymoon with your wedding, and guests can stay and enjoy their own vacation! With Golden Knot Yacht guiding you throughout,  Sandals Destination Wedding and Honeymoons have never been more attainable!  

Written by Charlotte Lewis. Charlotte Lewis is the Marketing & Event Planning Intern for Golden Knot Yacht Services, a Yacht Event Planning Company for Weddings, Corporate Events, and Special Occasions in New York City, NJ, Philadelphia, DC, Baltimore, Annapolis, Florida, San Diego, Newport Beach, Marina Del Ray, Hawaii, and the Bahamas. Don’t just float through life, catch some waves.

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