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Wedding Reception after Destination Wedding (or not)?

Should you host a wedding reception upon return from your destination wedding?

A popular trend among destination wedding brides and grooms is to host a party or wedding reception to celebrate their marriage once they return to their hometown. The idea behind this gathering is to celebrate with family and friends that, for whatever reason, were not able to attend the actual ceremony and wedding reception. Whether or not you should have another reception is entirely up to each couple, their desire, finances and reason behind a destination wedding in the first place. Either way, this is a decision that should be made up front so that you have an answer if people inquire. If you are going to have a party at home, it would be polite to include this in a save the date or invitation so guests can make an informed decision about attending your destination wedding.

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When to have a home wedding reception

The most appropriate time to have a home wedding reception would be no more than 4-6 weeks upon your return. If you are having it 4-6 weeks out, invitations could be sent as soon as you get back home (make your life easy and have them ready to mail before you leave for your wedding!). If you prefer to have the party within a week or two of returning, it is best to send the invitations out a few weeks before you leave so that you have time to receive rsvp's and make most of the arrangements. (More information on invitation etiquette can be found in this article)

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What type of party to have at home?

The type of wedding reception or party you have upon your return home from your destination is entirely up to you. Some couples choose to have a simple backyard cookout while others rent a hall and have a more formal reception. Either way, the goal of the event should be to share details about the wedding with those that could not attend, celebrate the new marriage, and accept well wishes for a lifetime of happiness.

wedding reception guest book table

Here are some ideas to help bring the destination wedding home:

  • Bride and Groom wear their wedding dress and suit (at least for the beginning)
  • Place photos from the ceremony, reception, and honeymoon around
  • Show the wedding video
  • If you are showing the video, you can have guests watch it before the bride and groom "arrive". Then, introduce the wedding party, bride and groom as though the ceremony just ended and they are entering the wedding reception.
  • Provide guests with destination-themed favors (ex. Seashells or mini conch shells for a beach wedding)
  • Place similar flowers to the brides bouquet on tables

Whether or not you decide to have a wedding reception at home is entirely up to you. Either way, be excited to show pictures and share your experience with those who were unable to attend. This will help them to feel more a part of your special day and help them understand why you chose to have a destination wedding.

For more wedding planning tips and tools, visit the Tools page on Tropical Vows.

Author: Melissa


Married on Turks and Caicos in 2009 and hopes to inspire others to love their destination weddings! Enjoys traveling, especially to the white sand beaches in the Caribbean.