Wedding Etiquette Forum

International guests

I have three questions with regard to having international guests at our wedding.

First of all, a lot of my fiancee's family is from South Africa, and I wonder if it is tacky to give them the option to e-mail their RSVPs to us.  Of course, we will send the traditional paper invitations, but if we have our wedding website on our Save The Date cards, would it be OK to annotate that they may RSVP electronically?

Secondly, mailing time to and from South Africa can be delayed by three weeks.  How much time in advance should we send the Save The Dates and invitations?

Finally, my fiancee thinks that we should pay for our international guests' lodging, but I'm not so sure about that.  I can understand both sides of this issue - our wedding is going to be expensive, and of course boarding them while they are here will be an added expense (particularly since they'll likely be here for longer than the wedding weekend).  On the other hand, they are spending a lot of money on travel expenses just to see us be married.  What is appropriate?

Re: International guests

  • A few people have online rsvp's, I think it would be fine for international guests to use.

    If it's delayed by three weeks, then I would send it three weeks earlier than the other invites. I'm bad with timelines, though, so perhaps someone else can field that question more accurately, lol.

    I don't agree with having to pay fror guests' lodging. They know when they accept the invitation that they'll have to pay for their airfare and room stay, just as any other visit. It might be nice of you to help find comfortable and affordable lodging, though.
  • loop0406loop0406 member
    edited July 2010
    Regarding lodging, if you can afford it, you should do it. Make sure to include that information on online or mailed rsvp cards because you can only reserve lodging for those who are confirmed...........

    Send the rsvp/invites out 3 months in advance so they have enough time to receive them, reply and you to make lodging accomodations.

    Since they are international guests, I think emailing their rsvp is fine

  • I think the rule is to send international invites out a month earlier than the rest, partially because of mail delays but mostly because international travel takes a bit more planning.

    One of my friends is in the Peace Corps in South Africa right now, and I have been in dialogue with her since the beginning, I told her that I would be sending her a paper invitation but that my verbal invitation was 'official' and she could RSVP by email, facebook or whatever was easiest for her.

    Etiquette wise I think it's fine to print an RSVP email address on the invite.

    As for the lodging, if you have the money it would be a nice gesture, but it's definitely not required. 
  • I didn't print the email address on the RSVP's, but I did send a personal note to the people who might have a difficult time getting our RSVP back (India, for example) and told them they could send us an email, or facebook message-- whichever would be more convenient. 
  • I wrote a note to our international guests to feel free to email or call in their RSVP (and gave the correct contact information).  International invitations should be sent earlier than you'd normally send your domestic invitations, since there's a mail delay and also your guests might have to make more complicated travel arrangements.
  • I have 2 international guests and I sent their invitations around 12 weeks before my wedding. I emailed my friend and FI emailed his friend and let them know, "Hey, we just you a wedding invitation. Just wanted to let you know it's perfectly fine to email us with your response, since we're not sure how long international mail will take and we weren't able to get outgoing stamps for your RSVP envelopes." That was the jist, but it was more personal (especially since my friend who lives in Israel is geting married in 5 weeks - she had all-electronic RSVPs, so she knows the drill). It's not tacky - in fact, it's nice to give them an easier option.

    I would not pay for their lodging. Yes, international trips are expensive, but I presume you're giving them lots of notice and they can decide whether or not they can afford the trip. If an immediate family member is struggling to afford it and you REALLY want that person to come, I would handle that on a case-by-case basis.
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  • Email is fine.  Just give them the choice, and go with whatever they choose. 

    If it's 3 weeks delayed, mail those 3 weeks before the rest.

    The lodging is up to you.  It's not required, but certainly is thoughtful.  However - you want to be careful with this - are there guests in the US who will be traveling as well, but for whom the budget is tighter than your international guests?  If so, you might want to reconsider, or at the very least keep it super quiet. 

    If you decide it's too difficult to manage, can you host a meal or two for OOT guests?  A welcome dinner, a farewell brunch, etc.?
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  • Most of the girls on the HI board do two mailings - invites at about 3 months out and Save the Dates 8 months out. Mostly this is done for the purpose of airfare cost. You really do want to give people as much time as possible to save if they're hoping to attend. RSVPing by email is fine.

    I think it's great if you can afford to pay for their lodging - but I think Squirrly has a great point about local guests as well. On the HI board, the girls tend to arrange for a mix of host and no-host oppotunities for the guests to see the bride and groom outside of the wedding (optional, of course, you don't want people to feel like they HAVE to spend time with you). A welcome BBQ or event (boat cruise, sight seeing, winery exploration, dinner at a local restaurant, golf game, spa day, whatever) can be a great way to show your guests how much you appreciate them coming over. It breaks the ice, lets guests get to know each other and that's always great for reducing awkward mingling at the wedding itself.
  • We also have a large number coming from overseas-- the invitations are more of a formality at this point. We have kept them informed as early as possible so they could arrange for cheap flights, visas, etc.

    As far as lodging goes, we have too many overseas guests- and, as Squirrly pointed out, some domestic guests are traveling just as far or have equally tight budgets.

    We have made an effort to find more affordable lodging for those that need it- out apartment complex has 2 1-br apts that they rent out as hotel rooms for guests of residents; family members have offered to put up a guest or two, etc. 
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