Andrea
VIP April 2020

Destination Wedding?

Andrea, on December 29, 2018 at 11:36 AM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 29
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Sigh.. here's the situation.


My fiance and I were planning on having an intimate affair where we live (Ontario, Canada) (small chapel wedding, approx 26 ish guests, followed by dinner at a restaurant).. however now that we've been looking at honeymoon destinations, my fiance is becoming increasingly adamant that we throw out our chapel plans and get married in the Caribbean. He figures since we'd be honeymooning in either Cuba, Dominican Republic or Jamaica, we might as well get married there too. I am not completely opposed to the idea, to be honest, but I am worried about the guest turn-out. I have no idea on the etiquette of destination weddings. Do we pay for guests flights? How much time in advance do we give guests to prepare? How about hotels/resort once we get there? What do we pay for? Is it cheaper? Sigh I don't know what to do! I want to give my fiance some info back so I'd love some feedback from those going away for their weddings.

29 Comments

  • Kenisha
    Champion June 2019
    Kenisha ·
    • Flag
    It’s not cheaper than a traditional wedding. If that’s what you two want, I think you should do it. Just be prepared that not all of your guests may be able to attend due to financial restraints.
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  • Andrea
    VIP April 2020
    Andrea ·
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    I wouldn't mind it, to be honest. I never thought at all of getting married outside of Canada.. it seems really different. But, I am open to it. He's all for it, of course, LOL! I see where financial restraints would be an issue for most people. I know for sure we couldn't afford to pay for everyone's flight. That's a fact. Thank you Kenisha!

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  • Yoice
    VIP March 2019
    Yoice ·
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    I’m having a destination wedding and I’m happy with my decision because is something we really wanted to do. However you should be aware that not everyone you want there might be able to make it. I gave my guest a year and 6 months of all info and prices. Had my mom deal with my side of my family and I deal with the rest. Called every family member and friends and said this is the plan, the price and the dates and had a bunch decline on the spot. I was happy about that because I did invite a ton that it was more for compromise than me wanting them there. But there was some that decline later on after I send invites. That was sad because I wish they were there.
    Your guest pay for flight, hotel, everything as a vacation. You pay for all wedding expenses the same way. I had save the dates a year before the wedding and send invites 6 months before to give people enough time to book and plan.
    For hotel you should look for a room block for your guest. I had a group rate that would not recommend because you have to sign a contract and have to be responsible of rooms that don’t get booked. Just do a simple room block and guest can book on their own time.
    Keep in mind you might not want to have a honeymoon at the same hotel your parents would be staying after the wedding.
    For my honeymoon I’m staying in the same country but going about 2 hours to another island.
    Now is not easy! You have to rely on vision and do it all thru emails and phone calls. We took a trip to our destination to check out all vendors, venue and it was really successful but that’s an extra cost. Keep in mind traveling with the dress and all your items is a little mission but is all possible with the help of your family and wedding group.
    It is cheaper than a wedding here (I don’t know about Canada) but it can also get very expensive since some of this places have top of the line vendors.
    Good luck! Smiley smile
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  • Yoice
    VIP March 2019
    Yoice ·
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    Also destination wedding in the Caribbean’s doesn’t mean flower dresses and shorts. Our wedding is not at the beach and is very formal! The guys are wearing tuxes but we do have an ocean front view that’s breathtaking.
    In case you’re not a beach wedding person like me! Is not all about the beach.
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  • Andrea
    VIP April 2020
    Andrea ·
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    Hey Yoice, thank you so much for your feedback! I appreciate it. I know right off the bat that most of our guests will undoubtedly decline our invitation. There's no question, but at the same time too a destination wedding seems more carefree. I don't know. I see from your post where some challenges but also positives.

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  • Pirate & 60s Bride
    Champion March 2017
    Pirate & 60s Bride ·
    • Flag
    What about both?! You two elope/honeymoon in the Caribbean then host a nice reception dinner in a restaurant for your friends & family back home?

    DWs are very expensive for guests. Most I’ve been to were a drive away or an inexpensive 1-hour flight. Because of costs, couples usually host “extras” for their guests like a welcome dinner, breakfast, or pay for a hotel night. I think a DW will cost you more than your local wedding idea.
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  • Andrea
    VIP April 2020
    Andrea ·
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    Hey, thank you for your feedback! I can see where it may be difficult for most to afford.... so true.

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  • Erin
    Devoted June 2019
    Erin ·
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    EVERYTHING Yoice said was spot on. I too, am having a DW in the Caribbean. I sent out my save the dates 18 months in advance and my invitations at the year mark.

    In terms of price for us, it is cheaper to do the DW than it is to have here. Here, it would have been over 100k to do the same thing.

    Also, yes people will undoubtedly decline right then and there. I had people who declined on the spot. I was hurt but completely expected it. However, the people who WANT to be there will be there. And yes our wedding is a vacation. They’re getting an all inclusive 5 day 4 night vacation for 525/pp (that includes all food, drink, and accommodations). And they have to pay their flight, no room blocks for us as we have a special set up at the resort.

    We are also also having a formal wedding. It’ll be at the beach but not on the beach.

    Due to this being a DW, I can only afford to go down to see my destination twice before the wedding. That’s it. Luckily, my parents fly back and forth to speak with my wedding planner (being that my parents live closer than I do and are always up for a vacation lol) and I am in constant contact with said wedding planner, photographer and videographer and venue.

    Its challenging planning from afar but, I have complete confidence in my team.

    If you do go forth, make sure you are in constant communication with your vendors. Whether through email, text, fax, or carrier pigeon, you make sure you go over everything twice and with a fine tooth comb.

    Hope this helps and good luck with whatever you decide!! 😊
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  • Colleen
    Master September 2019
    Colleen ·
    • Flag
    If you already had things booked photographer, food, and do on. You will most likely loose that money. Also I do agree with you about guest 10 months for a wedding out of your country could lead to a lot of people not being able to go.
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  • Jen
    VIP July 2018
    Jen ·
    • Flag

    Your guests would pay for their transportation and hotel if they attended the destination wedding. For me, it was VERY important that my large family and close friends attend my wedding so opted to get married in my hometown, near everyone. If you are able to gracefully accept any declines you get as a result of finances, vacation time, or really whatever reason, then I would consider it. It seems like from what I've read on this site though, it isn't really a money saver (except if your guest count is low as a result).

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  • Andrea
    VIP April 2020
    Andrea ·
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    Hi Colleen,


    Our reception would be at a buffet restaurant, so all of that wouldn't be paid for until the day of. I have a close friend of the family doing photography and the chapel that I have in mind is all inclusive so there isn't really anything we would need to provide. Thank you for your input!!

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  • Andrea
    VIP April 2020
    Andrea ·
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    Hey Jen,


    I hear what you're saying.. so true. If anything we'll still do the chapel and then honeymoon in one of those places. Thank you for your input!

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  • Nett
    Devoted January 2019
    Nett ·
    • Flag

    I'm getting married in the Dominican in 18 days. No you don't pay rooms and flight for guest. It is cheaper in the sense you'll have less guest attending. Other than that you'll pay a pretty penny for a nice one. I have 25 guest attending I gave them about nine and a half months notice. If we did a wedding at home we would have easily spent twice as much for the same type of wedding.

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  • Allie
    Master August 2019
    Allie ·
    • Flag

    If you actually want your family members to come, you need to give them a lot of notice so they can have time to save $. I would say about a year. I don't think you have to pay for their flights/hotels unless you are able to and want to. There are some extra things that I think are nice to do if you are having a DW, like welcome baskets/gifts for people who come and maybe paying for an extra meal or two. All up to you of course though. To me, it was too important to have all my family members there and I knew they wouldn't be able to afford it in the time frame we were planning.

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  • Wendy
    Super August 2020
    Wendy ·
    • Flag
    That is exactly what we’re doing. Planning a DW to Cancun at all inclusive resort.. I haven’t found the resort yet... I originally wanted about 30 ppl
    tops. Now we are at 50.. I don’t think everyone is going to make it, but we have pretty much told everyone and they said they will. So we shall see.

    You don’t pay for anything unless you want to. I attended my fiancé’s best friend wedding in Mexico 3yrs ago and we paid for everything. The flight, the hotel, any excursions and so on. The food and drinks were all part of the hotel (inclusive resort). We spent about $2,000 on a 3 ay trip. Thankfully we had the means to go because his friend didn’t tell us till about 4 months out. So what I learned from that is. Tell your guests way in advance, as much as possible so that they can start saving if they really want to go. many will not want to spend so much money to attend and you will have to be okay with that. For me, as long as my family, his family and our best friends are there, that’s all I care...
    • Reply
  • Mrs. Cohen
    Super October 2018
    Mrs. Cohen ·
    • Flag

    I've been invited to 2 destination weddings and did not attend either because not only was it incredibly expensive to travel to, but having to take additional time off work was difficult.

    One destination wedding was my ex's cousin. They were marrying in the Dominican Republic and expected guests to pay for their own flights, but they would cover 3 nights at the hotel for guests. Well, roundtrip flights would have been $1,300 for the two of us, which we could not afford, plus we would have had to take 2 days off from work, which would have only allowed us to enjoy their wedding; we would not have had time to explore the Dominican or make a mini vacation out of it. So we ended up declining the invitation. Turns out that 90 of the 100 invited guests also declined (only 10 were willing to go). The bride & groom got so upset that they started harassing all of us who RSVP'd "no", thus ending relationships/friendships with those guests. It was a hot mess of a situation.

    So I guess the advice I'd give from this experience is to only have a destination wedding if you're completely okay with having very few guests (or maybe even no guests). If having your family/friends celebrate this day with you is important, then I would definitely not have a destination wedding. It puts too much of a burden on your guests, financially and time wise.

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  • Andrea
    VIP April 2020
    Andrea ·
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    Hey Mrs. Cohen,


    Wow, that's crazy that your ex's cousin and himself were harassing people just because most couldn't afford it. I understand your reasoning as well. My fiance and I spoke about it more and we're MOST LIKELY going to just honeymoon in Punta Cana but get married here in Toronto. Really small wedding. We'e even thinking about doing City Hall. To have as much money as possible for our honeymoon. Our wedding plans just keep changing, LOL! Some are going to be upset but they need to understand. Plus seems more complicated to get married in the Caribbean than I expected in terms of legal papers and stuff like that. Just a headache! But yeah I understand totally what you're saying. My fiance was really pushing to get married there but when I explained what all of you kind hearts have conveyed to me, he's now reconsidering. Thank you so much.

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  • Wendy
    Super August 2020
    Wendy ·
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    Yoice,

    where are you getting married at? I am also doing a DW and I haven’t found a place yet.. there is so much.. I have narrowed it down to Cancun but then I see other places and well.. haven’t decided yet lol.
    • Reply
  • Yoice
    VIP March 2019
    Yoice ·
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    We are getting married at Playa Paraiso. Is after Cancun and right before Playa Del Carmen. I didn’t want a all inclusive resort so our wedding is at a Villa and I’m able to bring all my own vendors. Is a lot more work but to me is worth it. You save money and you don’t settle for vendors but there are a lot of hotels to pick from. There are ome haciendas if you’re looking for that feel as well. I knew when I found my place that it was our place. It felt so right.
    Please let me know if I can help! I have being following my vendors for over a year now and I get to see a bunch of venues they go to. I can also share some vendors with you.
    Good luck!
    • Reply
  • Yoice
    VIP March 2019
    Yoice ·
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    Me again Wendy
    When deciding the country I checked for various things:
    - close to home
    - airport access for all international travels with multiple daily flights (I have people coming from Spain, Panama, Cuba)
    - flight prices on season and off season (this is important, found some flights to Costa Rica for over $1000. Some people might not be able to pay for a family of 4 for flight and hotel)
    - the season you want to get married with the weather of the country
    - hotel variation (You might do a block room but there’s alswahs someone that might want a different hotel and you want to make sure they have a lot of options to choose from and still be close)
    - hospitality and service (this was my biggest decision to pick Mexico vs DR. The way they were able to answer all my questions right away and how helpful they always were. Every vendor made the process so easy for us)

    Hope this helps!
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