Destination Weddings – Who pays for what?

Weddings are complicated enough, trying to please everyone, your new family to be, your old family, your grandmother!!  You will have enough on your plate trying to tick all those boxes, but you now have your heart set on a destination wedding in the Caribbean!!, How are you going to tell everyone, not only that, who’s going to pay for it?!!

This guide will show you who is “typically” responsible for what expense.  It will enable you to manage your budget effectively, and set expectations before you even start your wedding planning journey.  There are always exceptions to the rule, hopefully, this will help you demolish any unnecessary stress and you can jet off to the wedding you have always dreamt of, stress-free!.

The Parents

This remains the same wherever you get married.  A local church or Caribbean sea, It’s whatever they can afford and are comfortable with  I would have to say my clients are 30:70, we have parents who fit the bill (either side) and more and more increasingly we have couples that pay for everything themselves, with the parents hosting a welcome dinner or goodbye brunch. It really does remain the same wherever you decide to host your wedding.

The Couple

Good news is you pick up what you would normally pick up at a local wedding.  You are not obliged to pay for your guests’ airfare, hotel and food. As your wedding planner, I do feel you should help your guests, try and get group rates where you can and secure room booking which is generally more cost-effective.

Many of my clients opt to host an event and or group activity, whether that be a welcome happy hour, post celebratory brunch, or a trip to sting ray city or group paddleboarding session. If you are hosting then, yes, the tab is normally picked up by you.  If you make something optional, it’s not necessarily paid by you, but will be organised by you.  Or me 🙂

If you want to help a guest that has just lost a job due or recently footed a huge expense (buying a house) and the thought of them not being at your wedding is unthinkable, then that is a private matter between you and them.  One of the first things I tell my clients is to take the time together as a couple as a family and decide what you will and will not cover and make it known to your guests from the start.  No one expects an all-inclusive, all expenses paid holiday, but if that’s what you want to do, then go for it!

The Vendors

If you are flying in vendors, normally always, you are responsible for paying for their travel, lodging and meals.  Unless a previous agreement has been made.

The Guests

The best way to think about it is that everything the would pay for on a vacation is what they would pay for at the destination wedding.  This also includes booking and paying for airfare, hotel accommodation etc,  what you can do, is make their lives easier by giving them all of the info, the best places to stay, eat, etc. If you are compiling a wedding website, we can help you ensure you have FAQs covered and add useful info to make the whole process as easy as possible.

Bridesmaids can be a tricky one, and very personal.  Bridesmaids are expected to pay for their own dresses, hair and makeup.  But more and more times i’m seeing the couple pay.  It’s really down to your personal feelings and what you can afford. Groomsmen, you’ll have to shell out for your tuxes and grooming. This rule applies to all other guests, too.

Always ensure your master bill is CLOSED.  The last thing you want is people adding on room service and other incidentals to your bill.  This has happened previously, you can thank me later!

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