Destination Deal Breaker: Should You Pay For Guests At An Overseas Wedding?

 In Advice

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When it comes to planning a wedding, most of us have some preconceived idea of what we would like, and where we would like it to happen. In some instances, white church weddings in the local village church are still the hot topic of the day, while less conventional couples may prefer to go all out with a woodland wedding, or some other theme that’s close to their hearts. But, for other couples still, none of these wonderful and close-to-home ideas appeal half as much as a destination wedding.

White sand beaches, guaranteed good weather, and a built-in honeymoon is understandably the definition of a ‘dream’ wedding for such individuals. Unfortunately, each of these plus points also comes complete with a wide range of stress-inducing considerations at the planning stage. Most importantly, brushing aside issues of legality, finances, and language barriers, getting guests to a location wedding can be an intense and convoluted process. Far from hopping in their cars and perhaps crashing overnight, the vast majority of destination weddings will require long-haul flights, extended accommodations, and all of the considerations that come with them. And, for couples looking down the barrel of a wedding that takes their guests far from home, the question of whether or not they should pay for these allowances is also guaranteed to come up at some point.

Luckily, while there is no set etiquette in this regard, it’s not generally expected that you pay for your guests as well as the event itself. That said, making sure that all of your most desired people can attend may still rely on your ability to make everyone’s lives easier in the following ways.

# 1 – Give plenty of notice

Save the date cards like those offered by are always a nice touch for ensuring that guests keep your wedding in their diaries while you get to work planning your actual invites, but announcements are even more imperative where a destination wedding is concerned. After all, far from needing to free up one weekend, your guests will likely have to book time off work, make arrangements for the pets, and get the ball rolling on accommodation, etc. before things sell out. In this respect, couples with their eyes on the destination prize could benefit from sending these out at least a year in advance, or as soon as dates are confirmed. This way, no guest should have to scrabble to make arrangements that leave them stressed, resentful, and paying through the eye of the needle. They’ll be able to make leisurely arrangements and will have plenty of time to look forward to this break rather than seeing it as an inconvenience.

# 2 – Point them towards discounts

While you might not be expected to pay for every single one of your guests, knowing that your wedding is going to cost everyone more than it would if you were simply getting hitched at the local registry office (typically quite a bit more, in fact,) means that it can’t hurt to point them towards discounts that they might not know about otherwise. Group discounts are an especially good idea here if you’re willing to pair guests who know each other well enough and would be willing to travel together. Such offers are typically available for both flights and accommodation if you look for them, and often provide fantastic savings for everyone involved. Equally, some excellent single discounts are available on sites like, and tend to be especially good value for guests who book well in advance. Highlight this either on your save the date cards or in a privately created wedding Facebook/Whatsapp group so that you can rest easy that no one is at risk of being stung by full prices that they really needn’t pay.

# 3 – Make accommodation available

Finding accommodation near to your wedding is guaranteed to add some level of stress to an occasion that, for your guests at least, should ideally be stress-free. Again, that’s no reason to go out and pay double what you would otherwise simply so that you can book up entire hotels for everyone, but it is a reason to make accommodation as available as you possibly can. Research is really all you need to do here, ensuring that you can link guests directly to the best local accommodations well in advance of the big day. Equally, if your wedding or reception is taking place in a hotel, asking staff if guests can book rooms, and passing that information on, is guaranteed to help. If you have a fairly limited guest list, you may even find that it’s worth booking a villa for the entire wedding party, and simply splitting that cost between you to ensure easy, and hopefully more affordable, accommodation than you guests could expect otherwise. Just as long as you’re willing to share your honeymoon house with a rabble of unruly loved ones!

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# 4 – Provide outing ideas for after the event

Few guests will fly straight back home again after they’ve gone to all the effort of flying to another country. Instead, most will spend at least a few days exploring the area and making the most of their time away, which is great for getting them onside, and also for negating any guilt you might feel about making them come all this way! Make efforts to enhance this benefit by providing outing ideas in the local area either in your guest accommodation (if you’ve had a hand in it,) or even in your wedding favours if not. Little printed packs with maps, tour operator numbers, and even walking ideas will provide a lovely little touch, and your guests are guaranteed to put them to good use to add even better memories onto a day that’s already guaranteed to go down in their wedding halls of fame.

Don’t worry about your guests at your destination wedding – implement these simple pointers, and you’ll soon see that they couldn’t be happier with the excuse to jet away!

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