Test the waters
Before you even commit to a wedding abroad, talk to those you really want there with you. Ask them if they would be able to attend. If the answer is no, discuss how insurmountable their concerns are. You may well find they can easily be resolved.
How many can we invite?
Its entirely up to you! The bigger parties tend to head for shorter haul, but numbers are only generally limited by you, your guests' willingness to travel or by the venue of your choice.
* Come to an agreement with your fiance on numbers and stick to it. If there is a clear dividing line (eg immediate family only), those not invited won't take it personally.
* Avoid inviting more than your maximum on the assumption that lots won't be able to make it. You may be surprised and left with more than you can handle! Equally, prepare yourself for some disappointment should a few not be able to come.
* If you are deliberately keeping it to a few, then letting people know that you have a party arranged on your return will help make friends and family still feel part of your momentous occasion.
Prepare some answers
Your guests will have lots of questions as soon as you mention the wedding or send out the invites. Have the answers to common queries ready.
Cost will be the first thing on people's minds.
* Let them know how much of the wedding will be paid for and what you will be expecting them to cover. Give them an idea on flight costs and different options for accommodation.
* Encourage your guests to look at this as a fabulous opportunity for a holiday and it won’t feel such a big outlay. If you are planning your wedding in a country they wouldn’t have normally visited, sell it to them! Have lots of info on the place and what there is to do beyond the wedding celebrations.
* Give them a comparison. Remind them how much they would be paying to attend your wedding in the UK and reassure them that the little bit extra will be worth it.
When should we officially invite people?
Give people as much warning as you can – a year or more isn't unusual. The more time they have, the easier it will be for people to save money and make their own plans around your big day (plus stand a chance of getting better deals on flights and accommodations).
'Save the Date' cards were invented for this - a great informal way to let people know of your plans and to get an early indication of how many will come. See our Stationery section for some stunning designs or make them yourself!
For those that do accept.. hurrah!
Try and involve your confirmed guests in the planning stages as much as you can, so everyone can share the excitement.
Bear in mind your guests may well want to book at different times. Everyone will be hungry for information and details, as well as useful contacts to help them arrange their travel and accommodation.
Consider organizing the hen and stag party in the country in which you are marrying, if people can arrive a few days before. This will save the cost of paying for one in the UK and still allow a couple of days' recovery before the wedding.
TIP - Personalized wedding websites are invaluable for sharing information and keeping guests in the loop. Post all the details of your venue and region, coordinate your gift list and include photos after the big day.
Some wedding planners offer this as a free facility or there are plenty of sites that allow you to do it for free. Wedding Path is a great one to use.
For those that can't make it
Organise a party in the UK. This really helps soften the blow for people who weren't on the list or who can't come.
The beauty of this of course is that you get to re-live your special day. You could play your wedding film, a slideshow or recreate the wedding and holiday theme all over again.
By having a party at home after you get married you are also less likely to get stung for the empty charges usually associated with a wedding event. So don’t mention the cause for celebration!
TIP Organize your party close to when you arrive back home. Not only will you be glowing with newly wedded bliss, you’ll also be sporting a lovely tan. It’s a very sneaky way of getting a second honeymoon night in too.