Does this seem reasonable for what we're asking guests? (Destination wedding)

posted 3 months ago in Guests
Post # 91
3072 posts
Sugar bee

nattywed :  

This sounds great as long as your VIPs can afford it.

The only thing that i would think twice about as a guest is staying in the villa for a whole week. If I am in Italy, i want to see the country! I would most likely only spend 2-3 days in the area for the wedding and use the rest of the week to explore, but thats just me. 

You mentioned there was hotels in the area so i would probably go that route. I think its really cool to stock up the kitchens and offer alcohol to those around. 

Just talk to your must haves and VIP and make sure they are all on board for costs and time. 

Post # 92
2082 posts
Buzzing bee

I’m going to set cost aside because that is kind of relative for your group.  I attended one destination wedding and I really hope to never do it again.  It was in Mexico and I thought it would be fun as I like to vacation in Mexico but it turned out I hardly had time to just enjoy being in Mexico, to go into town at all or even to relax by the pool.  I was there for five days and there were planned activities every day.  My husband and I skipped one evening activity to go out to dinner on our own.  Also, even if there wasn’t a planned activity we were always running into other people involved in the wedding and stuck making small talk, which is tiring for an introvert.  I would say – at least don’t plan out the whole week for people.  There is no use being in Italy if you are sitting at a villa in the middle of nowhere with friends of friends for planned meal get togethers all week.  

Post # 93
1647 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

New York bee here. I hate that all my NYC friends have destination weddings because I get it, NYC weddings are expensive. I’d rather you have a Friday evening restaurant wedding in NYC so I don’t have to take time off to attend, and I’d give you a big gift, than to use up my VERY precious vacation days, to go to Italy, and be confined to a villa for a whole week. I wouldn’t go. Unless you’re a sibling. 

Post # 94
2499 posts
Buzzing bee

While we could afford the cost of such a trip, my objection to these types of destination weddings is that they’re eating up a large chunk of my available vacation time.  

And if I’m going to, say, go to Italy for a week… I want to follow my own itinerary and do/see the things I want to do; I don’t want to stay at a villa with 50 other people and follow someone else’s itinerary.

And.. I apoloigize if this sounds spoiled, but I will not fly long-haul in economy.  My job involves a lot of long-haul travel and fortunately, my company pays for business class on these trips.  After making these flights in business class, I’m just not willing to do coach anymore – I’m not able to walk for a day if I do that kind of trip in economy (knee injury).  My wife also needs to fly business for similar reasons (but a different health issue.)  So while you may be looking at economy fares and thinking “it’s only $500” you don’t know if you have guests who might need more expensive tickets for similar reasons.  

Post # 95
226 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: City, State

I would attend if you were a close friend or relative and turn it into a holiday. It helps that Italy is a nice place that most people would want to visit. However, drop the wedding activities for the entire week and let your guests plan their own holiday. 

I too had a wedding in my husband’s home country and about 50 overseas friends and family flew in from all parts of the world to attend our wedding. I made sure my venue was accessible and in town and helped suggest places to stay. Although I didn’t subsidise costs for my guests, we threw an additional dinner for my overseas guests to thank them for coming and to spend more time with them. All the guests made it into their own holiday, some staying for 4 days and some up to 3 weeks.

Only you would know your circle enough to know if they would attend or not. Maybe chat with your close friends to find out their opinion. Since you don’t mind eloping…I would do it this way: Plan a wedding for just you and your groom. Open the invite to any friends and family who are interested in coming…treat any guests who come as a bonus. 


Post # 96
1122 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

nattywed :  nattywed :  honestly, it’s your wedding. Guests are not obligated to come. Whether it’s down the block or across the globe. You are giving your guests ample time to plan. You are even subsidizing some of the accommodations. That’s more than most do for a local wedding. Some will come. Some will not. Even if you had a local wedding, you’d most likely have guests from out of state. Some would opt out because of the travel cost. Having an international destination adds additional time and expense, so fewer people will come. 


i think you are providing is great. I agree that having week long wedding activities is a bit much. I would have a simple reception when people arrive. Like drinks or dinner. And then let people do what they would like until the rehearsal dinner. Use the rest of the wedding events budget towards providing transportation to your guests to and from the airport. 

You are going to have guests that will not travel that far for a wedding “unless they are so close blah blah blah”. Don’t plan for them. Plan for those who would travel and make the trip as easy as possible for them. Provide airport transportation, subsidized accommodations, and a beautiful wedding. 

if i were invited to this wedding and i were willing to travel to Italy, I’d probably stay in Rome for a week, vacation there, and then take a train to the wedding venue the day before the wedding and only stay for the wedding itself. 

Post # 97
40 posts

So I’ll chime in just to provide a cautionary tale on destination weddings. I’m coming from a place where I’d actually really like to have one myself but after seeing how one of my acquaintances’ went have pretty much re-considered. My BFF was one of two MOHs at her sorority sister’s wedding in Paris this year and only about a dozen of her friends showed up (though she invited many). After months of drama (and threats to pull wedding funding from both sets of parents) neither of the families showed up in Paris because it was too cost-prohibitive. The couple ended up throwing a reception at home in the US as well. The bride was also set on the idea of getting married in Paris because it was where they got engaged. In my opinion, I think the bride did the best she could to address a lot of the criticisms of destination weddings on this forum.

For Paris she covered: (1) all transportation to and from the airport and wedding events, (2) subsidized optional group outings / activities and (3) food and drink at the AirBNB and (4) the cost of the AirBNB. Basically all her guests had to do was pay for a plane ticket and any meals or activities outside of the official events – she took care of the rest. She also planned the trip over a holiday weekend and solicited feedback from her guests when planning. She also picked an AirBNB that was very central in the city so that all guests could walk to nearby attractions. From my perspective, this was incredibly generous. But even this level of planning and generosity did not save her from tension with her guests.

My BFF is pretty well-off and one of the most generous people I know, but even she felt some level of annoyance about giving up her vacation days to fly to Paris over a holiday weekend and take time off work to attend this wedding. She agreed to be Maid/Matron of Honor so they were obviously very close, but she ended up forking over about $2,000 all in all to attend. At some point she confided in me that while she loved the bride, she felt like spending that much cash for someone (even someone she adored) felt extravagant. Even for people who are doing well and can afford to spend such a sum, $2,000 is a significant amount of money. She was fine with spending the money to support her friend and help her have her dream wedding, but I could see that it kind of took a toll on her to be forking over so much cash to subsidize someone else’s dream. It had no long-lasting impact on their friendship but I could tell the whole wedding was testing it because it *felt* selfish on behalf of the bride.

Her other Maid/Matron of Honor was in a tough financial spot, and even though the other Maid/Matron of Honor had had over a year to plan for the wedding, she found the whole thing incredibly stressful because she just wasn’t able to save enough money. The bride and that Maid/Matron of Honor are no longer on speaking terms (that Maid/Matron of Honor got quite drunk and ended up going on a very long rant about how selfish she thought having the wedding in Paris was). All in all, we concluded that that Maid/Matron of Honor was not a great friend to begin with and was completely out of line, but I’m just telling you this to show that even if you cover nearly everything, destination weddings are inevitable money pits and can potentially lead to a number of unintended consequences and severed relationships (justified or not).

The reason why people are saying your guests are subsidizing your wedding is not because you’re making them pay your wedding costs, it’s that they’re forking over additional cash that they wouldn’t be spending at all for the sake of supporting your fantasy. It’s not that they’re spending more or less than what the trip would cost, it’s that they’re spending more than anyone should ever really spend for someone else’s wedding. Yes, my BFF got a heavily subsidized trip to Paris this year but she by her own admission would have rather just spent $500 to attend and not gone to Paris. Think about it this way: consider whatever sum you’re asking your guests to pay and take 50% of that and consider it a gift, would you ever expect someone to give you that much? Yes, they’re getting something out of it but at the end of the day they’re really doing this all for you. Are you comfortable with the idea of everyone invited to your wedding spending that much money on you?

Post # 98
1020 posts
Bumble bee

You know your crowd so our opinions don’t really matter.  Just really think about your crowd before proceeding. Do most people have lots of discretionary income AND lots of vacation days? Are you mostly inviting people who have 2 weeks of vacation each year or 4-5 weeks? Does your crowd love international travel and big group/friend trips?  


We were invited to a wedding in Italy the same year we got married (and honeymooned in Italy) so we declined. I think they had about 30-40% of their invitees attend and the ones who did were mostly high income, no kids, big travelers. It was apparently a blast. 


At our stage of life now, I would decline again because it’s a long way to travel to a place I didn’t pick (Italy’s lovely but with limited vacation days, I’m going where I want now, not just to hang out in a villa and drink free wine all week) and have to stay in a villa with all the wedding guests sounds awful. 


 But again – it’s about your crowd. Not me.

Post # 99
837 posts
Busy bee

Destination weddings elicit a lot of strong opinions but what I’ve mostly seen and what this thread proves is that your invitees will mostly fall into 4 categories:

– people who think it’s awesome and are pumped to go and attend happily

– people who think it’s pretty extravagant and ott but go out of a feeling of obligation but end up feeling put out and maybe a little resentful 

– people who would love to attend but just physically cannot for logistic and/or personal reasons

– people who do not want to attend and do not

so, you just need to think about your guests, consider what categories you think they’ll fall into, and decide accordingly. Good luck – and for the record I’d love to attend but as a grad student I simply cannot take a week off to travel unless it’s during my spring or winter break. So, that’s my deal. 

im also pretty unclear about the villa accommodation so if I were your gUES I’d have more questions about that

Post # 100
1051 posts
Bumble bee

Since it’s so inconveniently out of the way of any tourist-y city I’d likely not even consider going. There are some countries where exploring off the beaten path is adventurous and something I enjoy doing. Italy just isn’t one of those places I’d be keen on straying from major hubs as I’d likely get bored. 

Post # 101
34 posts
  • Wedding: August 2020

I would only do it for a close family member or my best friend. It is asking fo a lot and I’d anticipate you’ll have a pretty small turnout. But small and intimate is good and you’ll have lasting memories for a lifetime. 

Even though I LOVE to travel internationally and do so several times a year, Italy is not on the top of my list so I wouldn’t want to spend that much money and time to a destination I’m not pressed about going to. I’d rather be in Southeast Asia! 


Keep in mind a few other factors that may dissuade someone from going: some people don’t have passports, are afraid of flying over water (my mother, SMH!), don’t have that much time to take off work, aren’t interested in going to Italy (like myself), and simply don’t have that much to spend to go to a wedding (think of guests who have kids especially or live on a tighter budget). 

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