How to Handle the Conversation with a Guest Who Can't Attend Your Destination Wedding
There's no magic formula for figuring out what percentage of guests will be able to attend a destination wedding, but it's typically less than the number of guests who can attend a local wedding. Once you've sent guests all the information about your far-flung nuptials and how to get there safely, you'll likely have a few invitation declines on your hands. Here are the dos and don'ts of getting through those sensitive conversations.
Do: Listen to the explanation and practice empathy.
You've done your best to provide all of the information to make attending your destination wedding easy and as affordable as possible based on your plans. Your guest being unable to attend isn't something you're likely to change or problem solve, so don't even try to. Practice good listening and empathy, letting your guest know you still love them and want to find a way to celebrate when you return.
Don't: Try to convince them otherwise.
Declining an invitation to a destination wedding is a difficult and personal decision. While you may think your room rates are affordable and the destination is easy to get to, some people don't travel easily, and others simply can't swing the costs. If you use this as an opportunity to try and persuade anyone to come, your guest may feel obligated to attend and may agree to something that doesn't suit them.
Do: Invite and encourage them to make it to local wedding celebrations.
There are so many celebrations leading up to a wedding, and often following a destination wedding as well. Let your guest know that they're invited to attend any of these events and you'd be thrilled to have them.
Don't: Take it personally.
If someone can't attend your wedding, whether it's a destination wedding or a local event, it isn't a sign of how they feel about you. Most guests are delighted to receive wedding invitations and to be included on your short list of VIPs. Trust that the declined invitation is largely because of the wedding date, setting, or some other factor.
Do: Plan to get together in person.
Whether before the wedding, after the wedding, or both, if this guest is someone you adore and want to spend time with, make the effort. And if they happen to bring along a wedding gift, don't forget to send a thank-you note.
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