So you’ve decided to forego the hometown wedding and head straight to a special destination for your celebrations! Seems easy and exciting enough, but there are a million and one questions that you’ve fielded from the parents at this point, and you may not have all the answers just yet. What are the most frequently asked questions about South Asian weddings? We are here to shed light on some of the many!
Question 1: Is there a way we can get Indian food? Will it be good?
When it comes to food, there’s two schools of thought:1) We should have food at the wedding and make sure we have enough, or 2) The food better be the best thing about the wedding (...otherwise that insanely expensive floral arrangement per table will be overlooked and the wedding will be a bust to the aunties and uncles who go home hungry and will probably talk about it for years to come)!
TRUTH of the matter—it’s very possible to cater Indian food at any and every destination you go to. Whether that be locally from a restaurant or an in-house chef, or by bringing your own chef to cook on-site at the venue, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Your level of focus on the food at your event will dictate what you spend and which direction you go. Putting in effort to work with the caterer/chef to create a menu and participating in many tastings can ensure higher quality of food. Don’t worry! It’s very possible to get great Indian food at your destination wedding!
Question 2: What is it going to cost our guests?
Obviously, you want your friends and families to attend your wedding, but at what cost, literally…? When doing a destination wedding, there are two things to consider in terms of costs to your guests: 1) flight and transportation from the airport to the venue, and 2) room rates (per person vs. per room).
If you’re considering destination weddings and are trying to figure out locations that could be viable, start with flights—look up what it would cost your guests coming from the popular locations. If you already see that the flight itself looks unreasonable, it might be a sign that the costs for your guests will be pretty high when they get around to booking. After you have a few locations narrowed down, look into the hotel information. A travel agent can provide available dates and rates for properties that you’re interested in. **Look out for an upcoming blog post about travel agents for destination weddings to learn more about this part of the process**. If you’re able to get a combined price for transportation and lodging that fits a budget you’re considering for your guests, then you are in the clear! If the numbers are coming out a bit higher than you’d like, then consider other properties that might have a lower rate.
Question 3: How many people can we invite?
This is a fun one—some of our parents have been putting the list together for our weddings since we were 15…ensuring that everyone that invited them to a wedding was documented so that they could invite them to yours too.
With destination weddings, guest count is a big piece of information that needs to be gathered early on in the planning process. This is mainly due to the fact that there are many venues in destination locations that do not have the capacity for a large guest count (“large” for a destination wedding is about 350 people). If there is a larger guest count, you might be limited to just a handful of properties, which helps with narrowing down your choices. You could go about this in two ways:
1) Create a guest list on both sides for an approximate headcount for your events. Take that count and use it to find venues that could accommodate.
2) Find the venues you like, see what their capacity is, and then use that as your benchmark for creating your guest list.
Question 4: Will we be able to find a decorator that can do a mandap and South Asian style décor?
Most destination locations have vendors for the specialized décor, mandaps, and florals required for South Asian events. First step would be to ask your venue if they have any recommended vendor lists. Start there to get an idea of your options. If you’re not finding a vendor that works with your needs or style, then you always have the option of bringing in a vendor of your own. Many times, you can hire a vendor from your hometown and have them travel with you, or have them consult with local vendors to make your design dreams come true!
Question 5: How soon should we start telling people?
We recommend you start telling your guests with a nine-month notice. With that timeframe, a save-the-date at six-months, invitations at four-months, and an RSVP deadline at the two-month mark is a good cadence. If you want to do rounds of invitations (A, B, C lists—yes, that’s very common to do!), a six-month save-the-date followed by the invitations released in staggered batches should suffice.
There are many more questions we will cover on Part 2 of South Asian Destination Wedding FAQs, so stay tuned! We hope this helps you