Unless you’re planning on eloping, one of the key points to think about when considering if a destination wedding is right for you, is of course, budget. Before you can start day-dreaming about if you want to get married on the beach or on a sky terrace, you’ll need to have some kind of understanding of the cost that will be involved for the people that you absolutely cannot get married without (excluding your one true love obviously!).
While the cost of having a destination wedding may end up being cheaper for you to host rather than a traditional “at-home” wedding, the cost to attend your wedding is usually more for your guests – particularly if many of them live in the same location that you would have held a “traditional” wedding.
I want to go over a few of the ins and outs of who pays for what when you choose a destination wedding so that you’re prepared and comfortable to start planning your perfect big day!
The Wedding Itself
It’s more and more common for the wedding couple to pay for their own wedding, however this is personal to each couple and their family, but one wedding tradition holds true – typically the wedding couple and/or their parents pay for the wedding events, welcome dinner or cocktail party, ceremony and reception (more on why reception/dinners aren’t always included for weddings at an all-inclusive resort in a future article – stay tuned!).
Travel, Transportation & Accommodation (you know... Plane, Shuttle & Hotel)
Tours or Excursions Off-Resort
This is where you will find some difference of opinions relating to off-site tours or excursions. You may opt to arrange a group adventure, and you can go either way and not feel bad about who pays here. In my experience, it’s about an even divide of couples that may pay for a group tour.
There are ways around the budget should you feel like you need to do something. You can pay for a portion of the cost for all guests that want to join – that way it’s not as expensive for you or the guests. Another alternative, instead of paying for the entire group of all your guests, you can do a special excursion just for your wedding party and/or parents as a thank-you in which you can take care of their cost. Additionally, you can still do the entire group but maybe only pay for your wedding party or special guests.
If you don’t want to leave anyone out, there is nothing improper to leave it up to the guest to join. Throw out a tour you plan to do and invite everyone to join you if they wish with no obligation should they not want to pay for the extra experience. You will want to plan this one a little earlier so you can get a headcount of who wants to join you – then coordinate with the tour company to ensure you all can book together or possibility offer group discount based on headcount. I suggest organizing this way, because if you let everyone book into your tour on their own, there is a risk that the tour time you booked may no longer be available if it sells out or has an occupancy limit you may not have been aware of. These group events are best to arrange at the same time to ensure everyone will be together.
A simple rule of thumb to remember when trying to determine who should pay for what when it comes to your destination wedding is the following: If it’s wedding related, you should cover the cost, and if it’s travel related, it’s the guests’ responsibility.
I hope you found some valuable insight to get you started. If you feel overwhelmed or would like assistance to narrow down the perfect destination or resort, we are here for you! This is what we do every day!
We spend most of our vacation time touring resorts, meeting with the wedding coordinators and training for destination weddings, so we can make it very simple for you. We save you time by filtering out all the bad advice and countless options for you. Let us take the guesswork out and match-make you to the destination and resorts that fit your style, vision and budget the best.
Together we will find your most perfect wedding resort and we take care of the logistics after that. All you have to do is the fun wedding planning and creating an unforgettable event your friend and family will remember for a lifetime! Schedule your free consultation to see how we can assist and learn more about our services!