The Cost Of Being A Wedding Guest

I read an article recently in Vogue about weddings becoming marathons and asking the question, when did it become this way?

With the rise in destination weddings in recent (non-COVID) years and bachelor and bachelorette getaways, they’re not wrong.

Weddings have become longer and more elaborate.

And the festivities around weddings have increased in quantity, complexity and cost. Everything from bridal showers to week-long weddings to asking bridesmaids to be bridesmaids.

To some degree it’s the media and all the wedding images in your face. From Pinterest to Instagram to wedding blogs.

There is a strong emphasis on what your wedding looks like, what details were included, what is cool or trendy.

There is a lot of pressure to have that Insta-worthy looking wedding.

But it’s also that the world has opened up and everyone wants to travel more.

People want to get away. To experience something fun, different and new.

The combination has made the details of weddings and the events around weddings, much more important.

And as that’s become more and more normal, it’s also become expected.

And then comes the pressure again.

That this is what is expected from you if you’re getting married.

Lush elegant wedding table with purple flowers and branches hanging chandeliers at a Calistoga Ranch wine country wedding by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Kate Webber)

Now, I love destination weddings, obviously.

I love them. I think they’re special and fun and can be a great experience.

But I also understand that destination weddings are not for everyone.

Because they come with a cost.

Because there is more involved with a destination wedding than a hometown wedding.

There’s more to think about and plan for and also to budget for.

Now while working within a budget is challenging in and of itself, it’s also really easy to forget a major piece of the equation.

Your guests.

Because it’s easy to get tunnel vision.

To see only what affects you and your budget.

And forget that the decisions you make for your wedding, also affects your guests.

And affects their budget.

Once again, I love destination weddings. And I think the people who attend have a good time.

But I think it’s important that before when you make decisions, you think about what the cost is of being a wedding guest.

What are you asking your guests to shell out in order to be a guest?

Because let’s be honest, it can be a lot.

Guests enjoying themselves at a dinner wedding reception in Tahoe at the mountain private retreat The Hideout in Kirkwood by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Anita Martin)

Destination weddings aren’t just one day affairs. They’re multi-day weddings essentially.

That’s what makes it fun.

But it’s also what makes it expensive. For everyone!

It’s part of what plays into the wedding marathon.

But it’s not just your wedding.

Weddings come in waves, especially at a certain age.

And when your guests have not one, but two or three or five weddings to attend in a year, that adds up. FAST.

Going to one big week-long wedding can be fun. Going to five, less so.

And the cost of being a wedding guest can no longer feel worth it.

And let’s not forget your wedding party and their budget.

They have it even harder because they have all the other parties to consider as well and things like attire and hair and makeup.

Talk about pressure!

Pressure to say yes. Pressure to have to come up with money to pay for ALL the things.

And the pressure of not wanting to let you down, as their friend (or family member).

The reality is that the cost of being a wedding guest today can be really high.

Because it’s not just the wedding gift you have to think about anymore.

It’s the cute outfit you have to buy. It’s the travel for the destination wedding. And it’s all the events for the wedding.

It’s time and money that maybe you don’t want to spend on someone else’s wedding.

And I get that, completely.

Which is why it’s also perfectly ok to say no.

To say no to being a guest. To say no to being in a wedding party.

But therein lies part of the problem.

For many it’s hard to say no.

There is a lot of obligation when it comes to weddings.

If you don’t attend, if you don’t want to be in the wedding party, how do you say no?

How do you say no without it ruining your relationship?

It’s why there’s so many articles about people hating destination weddings. Or resenting couples who make those choices.

So, as the engaged couple, it lies on you to make decisions to help make it easy for your guests.

So that they’re not guilted into attending or paying for something they don’t want to pay for.

It lies on you to be considerate and here’s how you can do that without losing yourselves in the process.

How To Make Wedding Decisions To Help Your Guests

Wedding guests dancing and having a good time at beach wedding in Anguilla by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Savanah Loftus)

#1 – Let go of expectations

So first, let’s start with you. Because remember, your decisions for your wedding affect your guests and their budget.

I know there is a lot of pressure on you and the wedding you’re supposed to have.

But, let go of all of that.

Who cares about the Insta-worthy wedding?!

That DOES NOT MATTER.

This is coming from a wedding planner! And I’m telling you, that doesn’t matter.

What matters is your relationship. Your partner. And your choice to spend your lives together.

How you celebrate that is 100% your decision.

It can be a destination wedding or a multi-day affair. Or it can be an elopement. A hometown wedding. A micro wedding.

It can be simple or over the top. It can be weird, quirky or nerdy or all black.

There is no wrong answer. Don’t succumb to the pressure of making your wedding fit society’s expectations just because that’s what’s expected.

If you want that, that’s fine. But don’t do it just to do it.

#2 – Be a guest

Once you’ve a made a decision on what you want for your wedding, take the time to understand what that means. And what you’re asking of your guests.

And then make decisions with consideration of your guests.

Now I’m not saying you can’t have the wedding you want. What I’m saying is that you need to understand what it’s going to be like for these people you love to attend your wedding.

You need to think about them and what the cost is for them.

Step into their shoes for a moment.

So, for example, when you’re thinking about where you want to get married, you can pick a location that’s easy to get to. You can pick a hotel that’s affordable. Both are considerate of your guests.

But let’s say you want the 5 star resort wedding, then you have another accommodation option at a lower price point for your guests.

Or let’s say you want the far flung destination, consider helping with guest’s travel costs.

Consider what your choices mean and what the cost of being a wedding guest will be.

And understand that the more expensive your wedding is for your guests, the more guilt you may be inadvertently inflicting.

Ease that as much as you can so that the people who say yes are truly happy and ok with saying yes.

So, make a request for no gifts. Don’t require that they wear a tux. Or pay for your part of the bachelor shindig.

And always, always, give your guests an easy out.

Make it easy for them to say no without feeling bad. That goes for your wedding party too!

#3 – Be upfront

Everyone has the right to make their own decisions.

You have the right to make yours and celebrate your wedding the way you want to. To spend your money the way you want to.

And your guests have the right to make their own decisions. And spend their money how they want.

But in order to do so, they need information.

So, be upfront.

If you aren’t hosting the event, let them know what it will cost and make it optional.

If you’re expecting a big bachelorette getaway, tell your bridesmaids before you ask them so they know what they’re getting into.

Or if you’re planning on covering some costs, let them know that too.

Being honest so people can make the right decisions for themselves is a big part of being considerate.

It shows you care about your guests, because you do.

Weddings certainly can be marathons. And the cost of being a wedding guest can be high.

So help your guests!

Remove the pressure, provide options, cover costs, and always make attending optional.

Think about them when you’re making decisions so that no matter what kind of wedding you’re having, no matter if they attend or not, your relationships remain intact.

Because really that’s what matters.

And if you need help staying on track, remembering your guests and making the right decisions for your destination wedding, contact us today.

We’ll guide you through the entire process and make sure it’s a wedding everyone will be happy about attending.

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