Not in the least. Where thereâ€™s a wedding, there are people who want to give gifts. Just keep in mind that many guests are shelling out big bucks for a plane ticket, so fill your wish list with affordable ideas from a range of stores (think Tiffany and Target). Furthermore, due to the distance, there will be friends and family who canâ€™t make the trip but will surely want to buy you something special. (With destination affairs, you can expect a lower acceptance rate -- about 50 percent say yes -- than a local wedding.) So register away!
Bad things can (and do) happen on wedding days, and traveling for your nuptials does come with a unique set of risks. Imagine your stress level if a worst-case scenario came to pass: Your dress gets damaged in transit, a vendor goes M.I.A., or a hurricane wrecks that beachside locale you already paid for. Having insurance means youâ€™ll recoup those costs after deductibles. Our advice: The peace of mind youâ€™ll get is worth the price of insurance. A basic policy averages $350 and typically covers losses due to inclement weather, no-show vendors, damage to the site, and the postponement of your nuptials should anyone get sick or hurt. You can also pay more to add riders to cover additional situations.
The question is whether that glory of planning your own wedding (and the money saved) is worth the time and uncertainty that accompanies such an undertaking. If youâ€™re willing to put in the legwork tracking down venues, caterers, florists, and musicians all by yourself, then yes, going sans planner saves some money. But if you havenâ€™t spent much time in the town where youâ€™re marrying, then securing reputable and reliable vendors might best be left to a local planner or event designer. A pro knows the lay of the land and has experience with nearby vendors. She will also help you navigate possible cross-cultural pitfalls like unfair pricing, and advise you on tipping practices and other matters of social decorum.
Bottom line: Carry it on. Most airlines allow you to do so, but triple-check beforehand to avoid surprises at the airport. Shop for a breathable, nonplastic garment bag designed specifically for this job. Hang the gown up using the attached ribbons, zip, and fold in half before packing it into its own suitcase or box, which should be about one-third the length of your dress. Stow it in the planeâ€™s overhead bin, or ask to put it in an onboard closet.
A do-it-all kit is another option for getting your gown out of town. The Original Destination Wedding Kit, sold by the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists, includes acid-free papers, packing instructions, a stain stick, and a dress box that fits into an overhead bin. You can, of course, ship your dress ahead to your destination (youâ€™ll be able to track and insure it), but your safest bet is to travel alongside it.
While sources differ on their opinions of this matter, we say if youâ€™re able to help any guest whoâ€™s struggling with the costs of travel -- bridesmaid or not -- you can certainly lend a (discreet) hand. Whatever you decide, be up front about it so all your pals can accurately budget for the trip. Otherwise, thereâ€™s no difference between how you spend for an at-home wedding versus an away one, with the exception of providing a welcome bag for guests if you like.
How about a happy medium? Let guests know itâ€™s fine if they bring their kids along for the ride -- a lot of invitees, after all, will want to piggyback a family vacation onto your big day. Just be clear that the main event is for the grown-ups and coordinate babysitting services beforehand (your planner, hotel concierge, or venue manager should have a list of qualified local sitters). Address your invites for the ceremony and reception to the adults only, then note on your wedding website that â€śBabysitting can be arranged for your convenience.â€ť
The rule of thumb when creating a guest list -- for nuptials near or far -- is to treat family groups equally. So, yes, if you invite one aunt, you should invite all aunts (and uncles, too), even if your folks, and your fianceâ€™s, hail from Duggar-size households. The cost of adding extra place settings at your reception is money well spent if it keeps tensions at bay. Of course, you could just invite immediate family. Then, if youâ€™re having a reception once home, ask your aunt to give a speech, or call out your closeness in some other meaningful way. Sheâ€™ll still get how much you value her friendship, and no one else will get hurt feelings.
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