Destination Wedding Gift Etiquette


Destination weddings allow couples to combine their wedding and honeymoon in one location and celebrate their nuptials in an exotic locale with close family and friends. Attending a destination wedding requires more planning for guests---and, often, additional expenses. However, guests who attend a destination wedding should give the couple a gift, and there are a number of considerations to make when selecting one for the bride and groom.

When to Send

  • It is best to send the wedding gift to the bride and groom before or after their destination wedding. That way, you don't have to lug a gift on your trip, and the bride and groom don't have to worry about transporting gifts back home. If you select a gift from the couple's wedding registry, you can often choose to have the store ship the gift directly to the couple's home.

What to Give

  • Purchasing a gift from the couple's registry is always the safest bet when it comes to wedding gifts. Since destination weddings often result in added expenses for guests, you can feel free to choose a registry gift with a lower price point, if necessary. Housewares, from kitchen gadgets to bed and bath products, are perfect for a couple starting their lives together and stocking their home.

Alternative Gifts

  • Destination weddings give guests the opportunity to choose unique gifts as well. Since you'll be vacationing with the couple before---and perhaps after---their wedding ceremony, you can seek out creative gifts specific to your destination. For example, if you're staying at an all-inclusive resort, consider purchasing the couple his-and-hers massages at the resort's spa. Or, find a nice restaurant at the location, and get the couple a gift card. Be sure to give the couple their gift with plenty of time to enjoy it before they head home.


  • Attending a destination wedding can be expensive. Most couples understand that guests are incurring these additional expenses and realize that it might affect what gifts they receive. According to Smart Money's Wedding Etiquette Gift Guide, guests can choose more inexpensive gifts for a destination wedding to compensate for the added cost of attending the event.

For Guests Not Attending

  • Perhaps you can't afford to attend the destination wedding or you don't have the vacation time to get away from work. Smart Money suggests guests still send a gift even if they cannot attend the wedding. (see Reference 2) Even if you choose a smaller gift, the couple will appreciate your generosity.

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  • Photo Credit A pair of wedding bands on an exquisite gold-colored gift box. image by weim from
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