Destination Event Invitations - What would you want?

Login to post comments
11 posts / 0 new
Kristen K.'s picture
Offline
Joined: 09/01/2011
Posts: 21886
Destination Event Invitations - What would you want?

I've got some questions! I've been thinking recently about my vow renewal (in 2018) and I'm looking for some opinions on invitation timing.

I've been reading the invitation etiquette and such for weddings and it simply is not seem adequate to me for a cruise event. With a cruise, the pay off dates are sooner, you have to have time to get a passport and submit it, and then there's the fact that with DCL the least expensive prices come with booking as early as possible. Rates only go up the closer that you get.

Yes - I could just send a "Save the Date," but I don't think a post card in the mail is going to express to the invitees that this is an event that they have to start thinking about and making plans for early. I don't want any ambiguity - I want them to feel invited right away and know they should start making plans.

- If you were being invited to a week long Anniversary Party/Vow Renewal/Vacation event thingy, how soon would you want to know about it and be invited?

- How far in advance would you be able to say if you could go or not?

- What information would you want in that original invite package?

crazycatperson's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/19/2011
Posts: 3709

If a cruise were involved, I'd want to know as soon as possible so I could take advantage of the early-booking price breaks. So I guess once you know your dates, start mailing.

I also think the original invitation package would need to be as detailed as possible, including a statement that early booking means lower prices. Not everyone knows that. So I think we're talking about a detailed letter, not just a brief "save the date" postcard.

Will the vow renewal be on the ship, or will it be at WDW followed by a cruise? The latter would provide some flexibility for guests who want to attend the ceremony but, for whatever reason, can't or don't want to do the cruise.

Given the price break involved in booking early, I would guess that most potential guests would be able to accept or decline the invitation pretty early.

I have a relative who eloped and is thinking of a formal ceremony and/or reception for all the friends and family. The subject was first mentioned by the bride's mother before the elopment had taken place, and now several months later there are still no definite plans. And this will be the equivalent of a destination thing since their family lives halfway across the country from most of us. We spent a few months delaying other vacation plans so we could keep vacation time (and money) available for the wedding trip, and we waited and waited and waited...and finally went ahead and booked a Disney vacation. Now, if we finally get notice that the bride has a date picked and it's this fall, sorry, we won't be able to make it because we've made other plans. So I can say from experience, giving your guests solid information and firm dates ASAP will be much appreciated, and also will facilitate their being able to attend your special event.

Becks534's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/17/2011
Posts: 273

Kristen K. wrote:

- If you were being invited to a week long Anniversary Party/Vow Renewal/Vacation event thingy, how soon would you want to know about it and be invited?

- How far in advance would you be able to say if you could go or not?

- What information would you want in that original invite package?

Probably I am not the best person to get an objective answer from but here goes:

I would want to know as soon as the cruise dates were published, so however far out that information is released to the public. I'm assuming you'll be working with DFTW and I am fully aware that dates and details are somewhat fluid in the planning process. On the other hand, the cruise dates are a bit (a lot?) more concrete.

Unless something catastrophic happens (and sometimes even then sarcastic ) if we plan for something, we make it happen.

Information I would want: the cruise dates, your projected travel dates, any room block info for pre or post cruise hotels, special events I should know about for your VR, etc. Thinking about this from a DCL rookie view point - when and how people should book, deposit information, the final payment due date, cancellation or re-booking information, how to connect reservations for dinner seatings, etc.

ETA - I forgot! Port transfers - this turned out to be more complex than I had expected. Do we use Disney, do we use a limo service, do we keep our rental?! If you know you're doing something specific for a port transfer, let me know! In this case, I could see a private shuttle charter like a mini-bus being a good option.

Kristen K.'s picture
Offline
Joined: 09/01/2011
Posts: 21886

crazycatperson wrote:
Will the vow renewal be on the ship, or will it be at WDW followed by a cruise? The latter would provide some flexibility for guests who want to attend the ceremony but, for whatever reason, can't or don't want to do the cruise.

I'm keeping my options open for now, but I'm mostly sure we are looking at renewing our vows on the ship.

I've considered doing it at WDW because there are several benefits to doing it there, however I'm having a small internal tantrum that what would have been my venue choice (Sunset Point) is no longer being used for weddings. I'm not completely in love with any of the other locations that I can afford at WDW, and the one on the ship is perfect.

We've got a lot of friends in the Orlando area, and that's the main reason that I'm considering a fireworks viewing party of some sort the night before the cruise.

Becks534 wrote:
I'm assuming you'll be working with DFTW and I am fully aware that dates and details are somewhat fluid in the planning process.

With DCL events 1st you book your cruise. Then you call DFTW and add on the Vow Renewal Package to your stateroom. I plan on being ready to go on both of those things as soon as booking comes available, which could be 18 months out or so. LoL! Which is a great excuse for crazy early planning, right?

Dates and locations don't get confirmed until about 30 days out - but that's mostly ok because as long as everyone is booked on the sailing they'll be there. I don't want to do a Castaway Cay ceremony, so by default is should end up being on the Nassau date.

Becks534 wrote:
I could see a private shuttle charter like a mini-bus being a good option.

Party bus to the Port is absolutely one of the options that I'm considering. In fact I *really* want to do it (with on board breakfast and mimosas - if that's legal.) and G is just rolling his eyes at me on the bus.

JMUDukz's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/28/2012
Posts: 822

I've been on 2 cruise weddings and 3 other destination weddings (I have expensive friends/family). As far as how far in advance I'd like to know, I think realistically speaking, 18-24 months is enough time. Certainly you can start talking it up now, but if you send me any sort of formal invite/STD, it's going in my "to be dealt with later"pile. I think at the 24 mo mark you can start seriously providing guests details. I would envision it going out as a really fancy newsletter type thing first (maybe a STD magnet stuck in) with all the deets: location, price (and payment plan info!), travel agent contact info, magic words to say to ensure you get a group discount or in the right block of rooms, need for passport, etc etc etc. My father proposed to his new wife on Valentine's day. They decided to get married on a Carnival cruise that summer (thankfully, given Carnival's colorful history, we had an uneventful cruise!). We were all notified that spring informally. Fortunately, b/c I was doing a lot of overtime and travel then I had the money, but my youngest sister did not (dad ended up paying her way if she agreed my half sister could room w/us- I got the raw end of the deal on this onel!) and my other sister had just started with a new company and did not have the ability to take leave. Both of these issues could have been avoided with more planning. As you get closer into the actual date, you can do the fancy invites if you like.

As far as location, totally agree that you should do it where it's perfect for you. You only get to do it once right! However, there is another option. My father got married on the ship in port. We sailed from Miami where the majority of his family lives so it worked out that those who could not go (for whatever reason) were able to attend the ceremony and reception but not the cruise. We showed up to port super early. Those of us sailing got checked in like normal, those not sailing had to fill out a form and fork over a form of ID. Then we all got on the ship. The ceremony was held (they elected to have it in the ship's "study/library" and then the reception was held in one of the lounges. We did pictures, bouquet toss, etc from the main stairway. The guests who weren't sailing walked around the ship with us (just enough to make them jealous that they didn't get to stay) and then right before we pulled out of port, they all disembarked. They got to watch us sail off, which made for nice photos later. Just another thought, since you have friends in Orlando - if they can't cruise, maybe they can still be part of the festivities.

What I wouldn't recommend is what my friend did. On our first day in port (in Bermuda) she had us all loaded up in our dress clothes into vans and driven an hour away to this beach where her ceremony was. After the super short ceremony, we all loaded back in the vans and drove an hour back to the ship for the reception while they took pictures. While the beach ceremony was super pretty (and obviously the bride gets what she wants), it was super inconvenient and wasted the vast majority of our day driving back and forth, waiting for vans, etc (not to mention the windy roads in Bermuda and lack of A/C made for some serious car sickness). If we'd had the reception there on the beach and hung out for a few hours enjoying the amazing beauty of where we were, it would have been awesome. But I mostly remember the van ride. I can't tell you anything about the ceremony itself.

Two more thoughts and then I'm done. 1) if someone travels as a single, make arrangements to pair them up with someone else. That's how I ended up on the second cruise wedding. Although I knew the bride from work, we weren't really "destination wedding" level friends at the time. But her BFF had no one to room with so I went along. Totally worth it and glad I did, but if she'd had another wedding guest to room with, it wouldn't have been an issue. 2) this is my personal opinion and I mean no offense: I think if you're holding a destination wedding, you should not ask for gifts from guests who are going with you. After dropping a thousand or so dollars, you still want that $200 gravy boat? Are you kidding me??!! I have ALWAYS given a gift to the destination couple, but it's been out of my heart, not b/c I got a registry slip in my invite. For the cruise where I was a tag along, the bride initially requested no gifts, than changed her mind and decided she'd like some gifts. I'd have given one anyway, but it seems tacky to me to change her mind. But again, guess it's her day.

OH, one last thought, I mean it this time. On one of the cruises we did get a nice little welcome bag with a letter and a beach towel with the date of the wedding on it. It didn't have the couple's name, just the date. That was a pretty cool and useful gift!!

**Okay, I now realize you just asked about invites, so sorry for all my other ramblings.....

__________________

magicalkingdoms.com Ticker

magicalkingdoms.com Ticker

Kris1971's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/10/2011
Posts: 2350

I think 12-18 months would be enough notice for me. Its good to take into account that people will need to budget their vacation time (from work) for it, so the sooner the better. Sounds like a great way to celebrate your love and marriage! I love it!

__________________

Kristen K.'s picture
Offline
Joined: 09/01/2011
Posts: 21886

Thanks so much for the input everyone! It really does help!

Kris1971 wrote:
Its good to take into account that people will need to budget their vacation time (from work) for it

Oh! I hadn't even considered that. Great additional reasoning!

JMUDukz wrote:
As far as how far in advance I'd like to know, I think realistically speaking, 18-24 months is enough time.
**Okay, I now realize you just asked about invites, so sorry for all my other ramblings.....

Great points all! Don't worry about the rambling - there isn't a lot of info for cruise brides/vow renewals that's useful out there. Most articles I've seen tend to say the exact same things. The whole vow renewal vs. wedding information is slim too so there will be a lot of winging it I think, and one major trip report when the time comes documenting EVERYTHING for other girls looking to find the info.

Geordon and I just got married at the court house with my two kids and Mom. I wore red and black, he had a Grinch tie on, my flowers were daisies from the grocery store. I'm looking forward to the Vow Renewal being wedding-ish but not in the style of a full formal wedding.

I would never expect gifts from our guests, but gift bags FOR the guests are totally on my to do list!

Disney Cruise Wedding packages are not nearly as nice as some that the other Cruise Lines offer. They do cake and champagne but don't really offer any sort of option for a reception, unless you have 12 people or less. They also don't do the "day pass" for people who aren't sailing. I thought about having the ceremony off the ship in Nassau, however I've had to miss ports due to weather before and I'm not willing to take that risk with the vow renewal.

wintercast's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/03/2012
Posts: 5

My only concern... can your friends/family afford a cruise? Have you talked, and i mean seriously talked to these folks to find out first. Sure, everyone might say OMG a cruise would be so great while everyone is at a party drinking some wine. But the next day they may realize they cannot afford a 2-4k cruise.

Kristen K.'s picture
Offline
Joined: 09/01/2011
Posts: 21886

wintercast wrote:
My only concern... can your friends/family afford a cruise?

It's impossible to say what everyone will be able to afford five years down the road. However, I know that the people I want to be there most, will figure out a way to do it. And - giving them a longer lead time makes it more likely that they can make it work.

dewingedpixie's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2011
Posts: 522

We are using the company associated with Disney. They made wonderful STDs

__________________

Pi}{ie

Member of the ANRF Running Team. As a warrior of arthritis I encourage you to help us end this disease: http://www.active.com/donate/Racing4ACure/Run4Arthritis

JoAnn C's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/20/2011
Posts: 6550

dewingedpixie wrote:
We are using the company associated with Disney. They made wonderful STDs

That made me laugh.

rolling rolling rolling

__________________

DIStickers.com Ticker

DIStickers.com Ticker

DIStickers.com Ticker

DIStickers.com Ticker