Which Expenses Should I Cover for My Destination Wedding?

Who pays for what at a destination wedding? What’s the etiquette regarding destination wedding expenses, and specifically covering them?

This article solves this dilemma by going through the wedding costs. But bear in mind that every country, community or even family is different. Nothing is written in stone, but some aspects are crucial to follow in order to be appreciative of your guests’ efforts and as a sign of respect to your future family and loved ones. 

The weddings’ landscape has been changing and evolving with the world’s socio-economical fabric. Only a few decades ago, mothers were still exclusively nurturing their girls to grow up, wait for a husband to marry and take care of them. Women weren’t nearly as active in society. The workforce was mainly made of men. Nowadays, young women pursue a higher education, competing for managerial positions in the market. Which leads us to the reality of couples jointly planning their destination weddings in current times. Couples are more professionally established, and they tend to tie the knot when both partners are financially independent. 

Whether you come from a very conservative family or a highly liberal one, parents, and sometimes aunts and uncles are a part of the equation when it comes to wedding planning.  

Rule number one in discussing money and budgets is total honesty and transparency. And this is crucial when discussing wedding expenses! You don’t want your partner to feel frustrated and overwhelmed, or even your family feeling left out. Everybody wants to pitch in the fun and participate in making this day as special as possible!

Let’s go over two short lists of you and your guests’ costs:

What you’ll be paying for: 

  • Wedding ceremony and reception 
  • Venue rental
  • Flight and accommodation: this point is very subjective and the decision depends on your overall budget and traditions. Some couples finance their close family’s stay (parents and siblings). Others focus solely on their own big day and honeymoon. You might also decide to help out your bridesmaids and groomsmen in covering their costs or meet them halfway.

As you know, guests tend to have higher destination wedding expenses versus when attending their friend’s or family member’s local wedding. One major point we didn’t mention in the list above, but that we would highly encourage, is hosting a cocktail, a pre-wedding welcome party, a post-wedding brunch or even perhaps organizing a fun wine tasting day in the area for your guests. This is usually a thank you gesture for all those who traveled far to be part of your special day.

One of the most important points to keep in mind is to communicate your plans early on! Tell your invitees in detail where you’re planning a destination wedding, which date and what they should be prepared for. Six months up to a year before your wedding day is a good timeframe to announce the news. This way, you guests will have time to book cheaper flights and find practical accommodations that suit their budgets.

What your guests will be paying for: 

  • Their flights’ tickets (and visa, if applicable)
  • Transportation from and to the airport
  • Hotel accommodation: it’s true that you don’t have to cover your guests’ stay, but a nice gesture would be to look for group rates. In case your wedding party can fill all the rooms of the hotel or villa you’re staying in, some locations do offer exceptional discounts. 
  • Any activities they’d like to indulge in outside of the wedding-related events: wine tours, shopping, sightseeing, etc. 

In conclusion, a destination wedding in an Italian magical setting is an extraordinary occasion to further bond with your family and guests, and create memories that none of them (and especially you) will soon be forgetting. The planning process isn’t all sunshine and roses though! Besides the remote logistical preparations, having to deal with your guests can be stressful. That’s why we recommend you to exclusively include the very close people to you. This will make your big day even more special, and filled with the love and support of your tribe! There’s no space for negativity on one of the most beautiful days of your lives! 

If you found this article to be helpful, check our “How much does a destination wedding in Italy cost” blog post.

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