• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
Destination Weddings

What did you pay for for your guests??

Hi everyone! I am newly engaged (happened July 4th!) and we are considering a DW.

I have many questions lol, but the question I am asking here is what did you pay for for your guests?

A big concern of mine is not being able to have my closest friends attend my wedding because they cannot afford it. I do understand though that some couples have paid for their guests rooms or airfare to help them make the event. I am totally up for helping my friends make it to my big day (no date set yet, but it will probably be spring/fall of 2017).

I'm just curious to know what you provided for your guests and what they had to shell out the dough for.

Thanks so much!


Re: What did you pay for for your guests??

  • Congratulations on your engagement!

    While mine wasn't "truly DW" in that we got married where we were living at the time, about 80% of our guests were from out of town.  

    I paid for an open bar for everyone who was around the Thursday night before the Sat. wedding and a Sunday brunch at the wedding hotel.  I also paid for the reception, obviously.    

    I did not offer to pay air fare or accommodations.  
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    We picked up the attire for the GMs.   Accommodations for a BM (basically we had an extra room at the rental and she stayed in that room.

    DH picked up lunch for the guys on Friday and Saturday before the wedding.   I picked up lunch for some of my BMs on Friday (the others had not arrived in town yet).    I picked up their manis and pedis also.

    We had a huge rental house.  While not all the WP stayed there, they had free rein to come and go as they please.  We stocked the house with breakfast, lunch, snack and beverage (alcoholic and non-alcoholic).      They all would pop in for breakfast or whatever.

    All of the WP were within driving distance.

    Basically we tried to help out with the extras likes meals and stuff that can add up when you travel.

    In the past I've been an OOT WP members and I've had hotels paid for, meals paid for.  Sometimes both.  Never airfare, but I've heard people have done that.

    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • princessleia22princessleia22 Oceanfront Property in Arizona member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer

    We really didn't cover much of anything.  When our parents offered to help financially, we said they only contribution from them we needed was to help make sure our siblings can attend.  DH's parents paid for the whole trip for his sister & her family.  My parents helped out with expenses for my sister & her family. The only VIP that was questionable was the best man. Originally he had planned to come for the whole week with his family, but then decided it was too expensive.  He ended up coming just for 2 days, by himself, for the wedding. We also paid for his suit to further help with his expenses.  We also hosted a welcome party (with pizza & soda) at our hotel the evening before the wedding. Other than that, everyone was on their own.

    We knew a lot of our extended family & friends couldn't afford it, but we decided that we were okay with that, as long as our immediate family and VIP's were there.


  • WinstonsGirlWinstonsGirl The Cold North member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We got married in Hawaii.  We paid for everything at the reception, of course, which included 4 choices for dinner, open bar with slushy drinks and the Polynesian Show (45min) as we didn't have a dance.  We also did Welcome bags for each family, equipment rental on an optional snorkelling day and I paid for my MOH's hair and MU (which is kinda the norm in my circle anyway).  We did pizza lunch while getting ready and the RD for immediate family and WP/SO's.   Oh, and for the WP 'gift', we took them and their SO's to the North Shore for a Shark dive and surfing lesson.  
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
  • Thank you all so much for your replies!!

    I was thinking of paying for VIP's rooms. If we do it at an AI, I think it would cut down on costs a lot for the friends who we want to come. They would only have to pay for their own airfare and any outside activity/dining we do.

  • The first time I got married it was a DW on a cruise (we got married in port before leaving on the cruise). We paid for our parents' airfare and cruise because they were our VIPs. We did not pay for other family and friends' travel costs. We understood that meant we may have people decline. We did obviouslty pay for the reception (food/open bar). 

  • princessleia22princessleia22 Oceanfront Property in Arizona member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer

    I should also state, that when deciding on location of our wedding, we communicated regularly with all our VIP's that we absolutely wanted to have attend.  We decided early on that having our VIP's attend was more important than location.  We had two destination options that varied in price & time and decided on a back-up location at home just in case. We asked all our VIP's which option they preferred or if any options would be impossible for them to attend. We got lucky and they unanimously chose the same option (our top choice). If even one VIP wasn't able to attend that option, we would have dropped to the next choice. We had about 75% decline rate among our non-VIP's, but we were okay with that.


  • We live in Denver, CO and had our wedding in Aspen, CO. Most guests did NOT have to fly in, but everyone still had to drive 4 hours each way to/from Aspen. We didn't cover any hotels/flights/outfits etc. and yet we still had 77 guests attend out of 85 invited! We did very generous welcome bags and gifts for WP.

    We let our friends etc know early on that we were considering Mexico or Aspen so they could plan for it. We created kind of a buzz for a fun vacation among friends/family, which really worked in our favor big time.

    We CONTRACTED hotel room blocks starting at $95/night for 3 nights (a traditional room block would've been $150 - $180/night). We contracted in blocks of 15 to protect ourselves financially, which took a bit of work. But all guests paid for their rooms.

    We also let everyone know early on that we were doing our BP the Friday before the wedding, which worked out perfectly! Friends knew they wouldn't be shelling out extra $$ for a separate destination BP elsewhere, and it's fun to party in a new town.

    The Saturday night before the wedding we hosted a happy hour in Aspen for all guests from 4-6, INSTEAD of doing a rehearsal dinner for just WP. All booze & apps etc total was $2k. We encouraged people to get out for dinner on their own, which a most guests APPRECIATED! And we got to relax and rest before the big day.

    I suggest NOT scheduling too many wedding festivities, so people can actually vacation too. I went to a DW in Ireland, and 6 of our 10 days revolved around the wedding. Sure, we were there for the wedding, but we didn't save up $7k JUST to attend the wedding. It was supposed to be our vacation too... So we encouraged people to vacation and didn't pressure them into the bach parties or HH etc.
  • primafaba15primafaba15 member
    100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited July 2015
    Our wedding is technically not a DW (we live here, as does most of FI's family), but my family does not and several of our friends are having to fly or train long distances to be with us. We are more financially stable than many of our friends (most of us are late 20s and struggling with student loan debt), but we had a limited budget too so covering airfare would have been crazy.

    Note that a lot of what we did for our friends works well because they are mutual friends who know FI's family. This allowed us to do a lot for those mutual friends without a huge financial burden. 

    OOT Friends: 

    - We are picking up/dropping off as many OOT friends as humanly possible to save them transit from the airport. The exceptions will be 1 friend who comes in during the RD (working on those plans) and 1 couple who are taking a red-eye in the morning of the wedding and will rent a car. 

    - We've made arrangements for pretty much every OOT friend who's not in the BP to caravan with family members to the ceremony, reception and then back to their hotels. 

    - Multiple friends are crashing with us (most don't get to this coast often, so they're coming in 2-7 days before and staying 2 days after). We are borrowing cots and air mattresses from family, which most friends would prefer over paying for a hotel. The exception is the wedding night (because the apartment has strict rules about guests when we're not there). That night they will either stay with family or use an extra room that FI's grandmother got using her hotel points.  

    - There are a couple of friends who couldn't stay with us for space and other reasons, so instead we recommended an inexpensive and well-located hotel (they couldn't afford the ones where our families blocked rooms). 

    - Multiple OOT friends are actually participating in the ceremony and thus attending the RD. Because we are required to go from RD to something with my family (hosted by my parents), we won't be able to host anything else that night unfortunately. We are planning a get-together with the folks who are left Sunday morning into afternoon (I have to pack up my apartment, so it won't be anything fancy, probably pizza and beer). 

    OOT Family: 

    - Our families are doing a lot to help with out-of-town relatives (note: they offered first, we did not ask them).  My parents and his grandmother have Hilton Points they are using to pay for the respective parents' rooms, grandmothers, and relatives escorting the grandmothers who are traveling. Both also reserved hotel blocks (but my only other relative RSVPed a week late and booked too late to use it). Most of FI's family is within a 2 hour drive. 

    - My parents are handling all transportation for relatives on my side who are not comfortable renting a car from the airport. FI's family will be "caravan-ing" among themselves and with a handful of OOT friends. 

    ETA: Just be thoughtful, if you plan to pay for VIP's hotel rooms, who isn't included in that number. We could have stretched ourselves to cover some of the extra costs, but not for everyone, so we would have had to make judgement calls over who 'needed it most' which since most of the group is close would have caused issues. So we ended up having to let it go and just do what we can as far as driving etc. that we can do for almost everyone equally. 
  • Thank you all!

    My fiancé and I are in different opinions on this because I want to help my friends make it to my wedding. This would be maybe 3-5 people and they would be in the BP. I told my fiancé my opinion about helping our friends out and he wasn't very enthusiastic. He doesn't think we will have the money to be able to help them and that they will have the same amount of time to save as we will anyway, so what's the point. He said if his some of his friends weren't able to make it, then oh well.

    Granted, he has more friends that I do, so he may be thinking that I am suggesting we help ALL the friends we are inviting. I am pretty much talking only of the BP (though I'm not sure if he is going to have groomsmen or just a Best Man).

    As I'm typing this out, I realize that him and I need to discuss this more lol. But I know that even if he does not feel the need to help his friends out, I know I still will whether that is paying for their room for a few days, part of their airfare, or just the small stuff (hair, makeup, dresses, etc...)

  • When I went to a DW in Vegas the bride & groom only covered dinner & two drinks @ dinner for everyone. Rest of the trip I covered myself.

    Just an idea, not sure if this is something that can even be done. But call a travel agent to see if they are able to get you a group rate on flights. Even if people are traveling from different towns, you never know what a travel agent can arrange. Also contact the resort where you would be staying at to see how many rooms you need to book to get a group rate there. If the resort doesn't offer a shuttle service, instead of paying for rooms, if your guests are all coming in around the same time, say within an 1-2 hours of each other, arrange for a transportation service to pick up your guests & take them to the hotel. This will save them money on a rental car or taxi). If your ceremony and/or reception is going to be at a different location then where you will be staying, again, consider hiring a transportation service to pick up your guests from the hotel to get them to the needed location. And don't forget transportation back to the airport.  Believe it or not, stuff like that is what will make things more enjoyable for all of your guests.

    For your BM, if you want to save up to cover their hair and or nails, or even just a portion of it, that is generous and very kind of you.

This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards