(Closed) How to let them know THEY have to pay… destination wedding question

posted 13 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 17
28 posts
  • Wedding: December 1969

I have family coming over to NY from England and as much as I would love to have paid for more we can only afford the reception costs for them. I worded my STD:

We understand it’s a lot to ask you to fly all the way across the Atlantic
Ocean to come to our wedding. But as special people in our lives we
would love for you to be a part of our ‘Big Day’.
(And you can use this as an excuse to see the bright lights of New York City!)                                                                                 We have been looking into flights and the best deals are on …….. We are also organising special rates at hotels in Manhattan and near the wedding.

 You could word it to suit your situation saying you would like them to come to dinner and breakfast but understand they have already paid alot to come to the actual wedding. That then, without actually saying tells them they will have to pay. If that makes sense? Hope that helped. x 

Post # 18
3 posts

Honestly, if you cannot afford it, I don’t think you should be having a destination wedding.  It’s just tacky to have a destination wedding, have people fly all the way to Florida and pay for lodging, perhaps a rental car, and then give a gift, and then have them pay for their meal on Friday night.  How would you feel if your guests did not give you a gift because they spent all that money on airfare, lodging and their meals?  Also, I am a lawyer and I don’ t have beaucoups of money.  I really hate when people say things like, "oh you are a lawyer, you can afford it."  One of my friends said this about me when I was her bridesmaid as a way of justifying all the expenses for the dresses, the hairdo we were required to get, the lodging, the shower, etc.  It’s a really terrible way to think about other people.  You think that you are hurting with money, but you don’t know what other people have (exorbitant college and law school loans, mortgages, kids’ tuition, car payments, etc.) You should be a little more grateful… Not to be harsh, but I’m just really sensitive to those kind of comments when people make assumptions about your financial situation.

Post # 19
45 posts

I have to agree with ButtercupPrism. Why not do something really casual for Friday night, like rent out a banquet room at a pizza place or something? Or have a picnic in a local park– rent out a pavilion and get a BBQ place to cater, something like that. Even hors d’oeuvres would work. I personally would be put off if I got a program listing prices for me to hang out with the bride & groom. If people are traveling a long way to spend time with you, it’s the least you can do.


Post # 20
2 posts
  • Wedding: November 2008

Personally, I think if you tell them what’s going to be paid for and not paid for they can make the decision on their own if they can afford to attend your wedding.

It’s not tacky at all to make people pay for a Friday night dinner – if they know what they are in for!  Chances are since you’re having a really small wedding, it is going to be really nice.  We’re paying $150 a head for FOOD & BAR on our wedding night and paying for brunch the next day (30 people total).  I personally believe my guests would like a wonderful wedding dinner rather than a step below (or no open bar) and pizza on Friday night.  At least, that’s what I would want. 😉

tobewed09, just over communicate in a polite fashion and your guests will be fine as long as you set expectations.

Post # 22
99 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2008


When you post on these boards you are opening yourself up to the ideas/comments/opinions of others, both good and bad. Could some of the negative reactions to your plans be worded more gently or more tactfully…probably, yes. Are people entitled to their opinions when you make your choices public? That’s also a yes.

Some people will expect to be treated to a rehearsal type dinner if they are traveling to a wedding. Not being treated to a rehearsal dinner might make some people upset and others might not care at all. But it sounds like you know that already.

I think we are all offering our advice/suggestions/opinions based on our experiences with our own weddings and weddings we have attended. Based on that, I stick to my original opinion that not providing a rehearsal dinner to the group of people who traveled to your wedding is not very hospitable. I don’t mean to offend you or upset you by saying that…it is just my opinion based on my experiences. Other people will, obviously, feel differently.

If you feel that having no host events is appropriate for you and your wedding then, go for it. Just please recognize that other people have different experiences and different ideas about how weddings go. Not necessarily better or worse…just different. Good luck with your planning.

Post # 23
210 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

Well there you go!  In my mind planning a destination wedding just for the purpose of cutting your list so some people who are short on cash like you can’t make it, is the tackiest of all.

Post # 24
61 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2009

To Candi1024’s comment…well then I’m tacky too! If I had my wedding locally (and we are paying for the whole shabang) we would be inviting close to 200 peeps and a good chunk of them I would barely know. Having a destination wedding allowed me to cut my guest list enormously and be able to just invite close family and friends.

Maybe I should start a tacky destination wedding club. Tobewed09, would you like to join me?!

Post # 25
800 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

Wow. I’m not sure when it became tacky not to pay for things for your guests (other than your reception, of course.) It’s a nice gesture if you can afford it but if you can’t, you shouldn’t worry about it. Seriously. If your guests are upset, they’re spoiled.

Clearly listing the prices will a) let people know the events aren’t free and b) give them a sense of whether or not they can afford to attend. I think that’s a great idea. 

Post # 26
380 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2010


Sign me up for the tacky destination wedding club too!

I am also planning a destination wedding.  We are doing partly because we love our location and partly to ensure the intimate, family feel I have always wanted for my wedding.   None of my family is rolling in cash, but they have all expressed willingness to splurge for this once in a lifetime event and I love them for it.  Other people will be invited and I hope they can make it.  If they can’t (or don’t want to spend the money, a perfectly understandable concern) they will be invited to a small party at our new home shortly after the wedding.  Really, as long as my Fiance is there, I will have a wonderful time.  Other people willing to come along are a welcome bonus, but not one I can afford to pay the bill for all weekend long.  

I think there is nothing wrong with Tobewed09’s concept.  

Post # 27
74 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

In my mind, it’s not about being tacky or not, it’s just a matter of being a gracious host.  There is definitely no requirement that you provide multiple meals, and not providing it doesn’t make you un-gracious, but I think there is a sense that the event should match the location.  If you’re having a wedding at a fancy ballroom, then it probably shouldn’t be a casual dessert only affair with a cash bar.

I think, generally,  that if most people have to fly long distances (which often means taking a day off work) you should try and extend as much hospitality to them as possible, and generally i think that means providing an additional meal.  It can be super casual and low-key, but ideally it’s something. 

To me, it’s not "tacky" if you don’t do it, it’s just not as gracious. 

Post # 28
10 posts
  • Wedding: November 2007

I don’t see what the deal is with people being miffed over this topic. Like Livvie just said, it’s not tacky if you don’t do it, but it certainly isn’t as gracious. Regardless of the fact that one’s guest list includes people who are financially advanced doesn’t really change the fact that those people are still taking time off from work, kids, families, etc to attend your wedding. Sure, they can probably afford to buy their own dinners if they managed to attend your destination wedding at all, but really, shouldn’t it be seen as a gesture of appreciation if you treated these people to a simple meal? Why wouldn’t you want to thank people for coming and celebrating with you?

Personally, I’ve long given up on when to "expect" hosts to pay for things. These days, it seems anything goes, so if I attend an event (whether as a guest or in this case, member of the bridal party), it’s worked in my favor to make sure I can pay for everything myself if I need to. When the host decides to be gracious and foot the bill, it’s then a pleasant surprise.

Post # 29
3 posts
  • Wedding: February 2009

"Tacky" or not, if you can’t afford it, you can’t do it.  Some of the guests might be "miffed," but you are keeping yourself from going into debt by spending money you don’t have to feed them 3 meals.  I’m sure everyone will remember the beautiful intimate wedding reception that you paid for, and not the prewedding dinner or post wedding brunch. 

Post # 30
9 posts

Honestly, I think that the bride will know what is "tacky" or not for her own wedding.  I’m from a rural town in the Midwest and am sometimes baffled at what some of you say is "necessary spending" or "tacky", because it is unheard of in my area/culture, and think that a lot of what you spend money on is "wasteful" or "extremely unnecessary and a huge waste of money".  So, even though this is on a board, I think it is important to remember that in the bride’s family or friend circle, what she is doing may be perfecly okay, and that what you think involves being a "gracious hostess" or "not tacky" may seem really necessary for you and your family.  It just depends on everybody’s situation—and I think that this can be expressed in board posts without hurting feelings. 

I’m basically just saying that when I read this thread I was appalled at how some of the posts were name-calling, and think that we should be more considerate when posting.  After being married for a year, I can really say that you will not remember what people thought about your wedding, because someone will think that it was weird or really cool or just okay or whatever–but the thing that matters is that you will be married to the one you love the most. 

 Really—that is the ONE complaint I have about weddingbee.  I don’t think that small town weddings are represented enough on the blog and think it would be refreshing to see a bee who is from a small town (i.e. population of 3,000-5,000) at some point.  I wish I would have known about Weddingbee when I was planning my wedding so I could have tried out!  :-/

Post # 31
468 posts
Helper bee

Oh dear… we were planning on having an after party after our reception at a local bar for just our close friends- without all those peripheral socially necessary invites.  And we’re not going to pay because we’re poor!  And we were just going to invite people along informally … oh but now we can’t… too tacky.  Instead I guess we’ll just have to go home after our daytime reception ends and not see them again…  since we can’t afford to pay.  wouldn’t want to offend anyone.

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