It’s Wednesday and time for our weekly wedding planning Q&A! Today we’re talking about destination wedding expenses: I’m having a destination wedding and we’re trying to figure out our budget. Since people will obviously need to travel to get to our wedding, are there certain items we are supposed to pay for? I just don’t know if there are expenses that my guests will expect us to cover and I don’t want to offend anyone.
Good question! Destination wedding expenses can be a little trickier than your average wedding, so it’s great that you asked and that you’re thinking about your guests. Love that! So, before we answer your question, I want to lay out the destination wedding expenses that we are talking about. There are all the travel costs like flights, hotels, and transportation and then there are the items while onsite like meals, activities and events.
So, let’s start on the travel side. Guests are usually responsible for all of their travel needs as if they were just going on vacation. Some couples though do like to help out in some of these areas. I’ve had couples who wanted to help out with the accommodations costs and have either paid for their guest’s stays or paid for part of the room fee to help bring down the costs for their guests. I’ve also had couples who paid for the flights for their immediate families or those guests who they want to make sure attend, but needed a little extra help. I have also had couples pay to transport guests to and from the airport to make it easier on them. But, this really varies depending on the couple and how much of the costs they want to (and can) take on.
When it comes to the onsite items, anything wedding related that is being coordinated by the couple is usually covered by the couple. Some good examples of this are group activities (e.g. fishing, kayaking, tours, etc…), the welcome dinner, the rehearsal dinner, and the post wedding brunch/picnic. However, not every couple can afford to pay for every activity and event. So, the rule of thumb here is that you should definitely plan to pay for the events that are meals (welcome dinner, rehearsal dinner, brunch), but the activities you can make optional and tell your guests what it will cost. So, for example, you can organize a group to go wine tasting and let them know that if they want to go with you, it will be $XX per person. Then they RSVP and pay for it. This way you are organizing the event to make it easy for those who want to go, but not forcing it on everyone and they know upfront what the cost would be. Outside of these organized meals, activities and events, all other activities and meals are the responsibility of the guests. So, if your Uncle and Aunt want to go sky diving while they are in Hawaii, that would be something they would cover. Although, sky diving sounds kinda fun, doesn’t it?
Got a wedding planning question you need help with? Let us know in a comment below.