Post # 1
I’m currently planning my destination wedding and had almost finished our full budget when my sister brought up that I need to host a pre wedding dinner/party and brunch the morning after for all of the guests attending (roughly 25-35).
This is not something I had budgeted for, but when she mentioned it, it did make sense to me that our guests would be flying across the world for our wedding, so we should have some things planned.
My question is, should my fiancé and I be paying for the brunch for everyone + dinner/drinks the evening before? If you were a guest at a destination wedding, would you expect that to be fully catered for?
We are getting married in a very exclusive location in Italy, which unfortunately means our small wedding is already incredibly over priced – a simple brunch and casual dinner will easily cost thousands of dollars. We initally planned for an elopement style wedding with 10 or under guests, the number grew when random family members got word and invited themselves (I’m okay with this).
Also, if you were a guest at a destination wedding, and transport was a little difficult, having to take one maybe two ferries and a taxi boat (hour trip to ceremony then reception)- would you expect transport to be provided by the bride and groom? Are we being stingy if we ask guests to take the public ferry + taxi boat?
Again, private trasnport for our guests would cost up to several thousand dollars – the public ferry would be under $200 for everyone.
I guess I’m just looking for general thoughts on what you would expect as a guest attending a similar wedding?
If you’ve been to a destination wedding before, what was included, not incldued for you as a guest?
Any opinions or past experiences welcomed x
Post # 2
Tessku_ : I’ve been to a few destination weddings, one was in the French Alps and we had to take an hour or so shuttle to a town, then take this little trolley thing up to the mountain. We paid for the shuttle (round trip) but the couple paid for the trolley (the trolley was pretty inexpensive).
They hosted a dinner the night before and covered all costs although we did buy extra drinks ourselves. At another Destination Wedding that was in the carribean the couple didn’t cover any of our transportation costs to the resort but they did host a dinner the night before and covered all costs.
Both of the dinners the night before were considered the rehersal dinner, I believe that the grooms parents paid for both of these dinners.
I’ve never had anything the day after the wedding covered and never expected anything like that.
As a guest, it’s obviously nice for the couple to help out with expenses when you’re already spending a shit ton of money to go to a wedding, but I would never expect it. If I’ve decided to come to your Destination Wedding then I’ve already considered the cost and determined I can afford it without any additional help.
Post # 3
I would expect that the transportation to the ceremony and reception would be taken care of, given the difficulties of getting to the location.
The evening drinks and brunch would be a nice touch, given the expense all of these people put into your wedding. I wouldn’t necessarily expect it, but I think I’d be a bit disappointed if there weren’t any extra events with the bride and groom.
For every Destination Wedding I’ve been do, there have almost always been an event the night prior and small brunch the following day. I can’t recall any that haven’t offered at least one of these, at a bare minimum.
Post # 4
Honestly, I would expect at least one of the events but probably the welcome dinner is more important. Also, with highly difficult travel arrangements, I would expect them to be fully coordinated for me and paid for. Especially, if this is the only way to get to the places.
Post # 5
I’m going to say that no, the events aren’t necesary – though if I were to do one it would be “Welcome drinks” – doesn’t have to be elaborate, just pick a bar and open a tab. Have the event start after dinner and order a few group apps/munchies.
The transportation – YES YES YES a million times YES – do NOT expect your guests to take a public ferry
Post # 6
Hi OP, expectations vary widely on this topic. In short: Yes, I would expect an event the night before and a brunch/ activity the next day. I’ve been invited to several destination weddings. All included transportation from the hotels to the wedding activities, and fully hosted pre and post wedding activities for the guests. Most included other pay-as-you-go options, as well.
My stance is that if you don’t want to host part of your guest’s vacations, you shouldn’t invite them on a vacation with you. Very few people want to spend several vacation days and the expense of international flights and hotels for only 5 hours of wedding festivities. You’ve invited them to fly across the world to see your wedding. If you only want to provide entertainment/ food/ etc for one night, it would have been better to do a local wedding.
If you haven’t already, please also consider identifying fun activities and sites of interest for your guests and add them to your wedding website. You’re not fully responsible for your guests having a good trip, but if they’re in a country as a result of your invitation, I think it’s proper form to facilitate their enjoyment– especially if the guests don’t speak the local language.
Post # 7
Thanks for great perspective on this topic. As much as I didn’t want to bite the expensive transport bullet, I think paying for a private boat for our guests is the way to go. I would hate for someone to get lost or confused on the way, and a public ferry could take away from the experience. @futuremrs2020 the trolley sounds like an exciting adventure though!
@Anonbee2019 – I think a casual welcome drinks and finger foods could be the right solution. A sit down dinner feels a bit formal to me, knowing there will be another formal dinner the day after. (Rehearsal dinners aren’t really a thing in Australia)
@coffeecakez – completely agree re expectation on inviting them on vacation and being prepared to cater for that – in our case, almost all of the guests have invited themselves. Initially it was just meant to be our siblings and parents and keeping the wedding very low key, dinner at a restaurant after ceremony, nothing fussy.
Of course our parents talked and lots of cousins and aunties and now friends said they’re coming. We’re okay with it, because I take it as a compliment that they’re very willing to travel to see us get married, I wouldn’t have the heart to say no you can’t come. However, our $10,000 wedding is now in excess of $40,000 because of this, which in my mind is excessive for 20-35 people. I think that’s why the extra costs of transport/wedding events is stressing me out a little. I feel a little guilty as I sold the idea to my fiancé as a very luxurious wedding location, but affordable as its just parents/siblings…and now its not very affordable and most of the guests are from my side.
But, when there’s a will there’s a way. I think my takeaway here is that we save for transport for everyone, a casual light dinner/drinks night before and we would like to pay for a brunch too. Just might have to cut down a bit $ on the honeymoon to make the wedding more enjoyable for our guests.
Thanks everyone for your thoughts and opinions!
Post # 8
Tessku_ : OP, people can’t just “say they’re coming” to your wedding. Your parents don’t get to invite people to an event they’re not paying for. If you’ve made an agreement to keep this event cost-effective with your fiancee, I implore you to try to keep to the figure.
$10k is a very different figure than $40k, and a $30k overrun is not fair to pin on your partner and may cause serious resentment later on. I’m not sure what you’ve already booked, but if you haven’t put deposits down, I would recommend a $10k local wedding for your guests and the luxurious honeymoon you sold your spouse to be on. A $30k cost overrun and a dramatically different wedding plan is usually not a great way to start a marriage.
Post # 9
We had a destination wedding in Puerto Vallarta with about 65 guests. Beyond the rehearsal dinner, we did not plan any additional meals or activities. But, everyone was also staying at the same all inclusive resort, so everyone’s Food and drinks were taken care of.
We got married on an island, and the venue included transportation on a private catamaran to the venue and back. We arranged and paid separately for a large bus to transport everyone from the hotel to the marina, and back to the hotel after the wedding was over. I think this cost about $2k, I can’t remember the exact cost. We didn’t want our guests to be scrambling for a taxi in a foreign country, especially late at night when the wedding was over. I would highly recommend arranging transportation, your guests will definitely appreciate the guesture.
Post # 10
What are you serving that results in a > $1,000 per person weddiing?
Post # 11
Coffeecakez, I didn’t ask for opinions on where we’ll have our wedding or how it could potentially affect our marriage. Sorry, that was my fault – I probably worded it wrong to suggest that it could cause financial strain, as that is not the case. I’m the one who suggested the cheap elopement wedding, in which the cost is still less than a local one due to higher guest numbers.
Pigpug, Puerto Vallarta would be amazing – I wish we had that convenience of the same resort, catamaran sounds amazing. That price isn’t too far of what we’ve been quoted for our transport so I feel a bit better about it now. We’ll definitely arrange transport from a central location and return.
Zl27, the main cost increase is the ceremony location hire fee increases significantly once we hit over 20 guests. Our ceremony spot is the most expensive element of the wedding and a complete non negotioable for us. Food is roughly $350 per head, 8 course meal, they better serve damn good pasta and pizza for that price. 😉