Who's footing the Destination Wedding Bill?

Couples often ask me "Who is responsible for this or that?" when they are planning their budget for their destination wedding. For example, "Do the bride and groom pay for everything?" "What about hotel rooms and airfare for their guests?" Here are a few tips to help you sort it all out;  

The Bride and Groom (and/or their parents) are expected to pay for?
  • The wedding reception (whether it's a five-course meal or a pig roast on the beach)
  • A rehearsal dinner
  • A welcome party
  • A morning-after brunch (a friend or a family member may volunteer to host this for you as a gift)
We highly recommend the hosts also cover:
  • Selected activities (a group sailing trip, a tour around town)
  • Transportation to and from the ceremony and reception sites
  • A shuttle to pick up guets at the airport when they arrive
  • Attendant hotel rooms. According to tradition, the bride or her family should cover lodging for the bridesmaids; the groom or his family should do the same for the groomsmen. If these expenses will burst your budget, tell your attendants their presence is their gift to you. (Keep in mind: If hotel room rates are $400 a night, that may be more of a present than they intended to give!)
  • Travel expenses for VIP's with no other means to make it to the wedding (think:elderly relatives or the starving-artist maid of honor)
Guests should expect to pay for:
  • Their plane ticket to and from the destination
  • Their hotel room stay
  • Any meals or beverages that aren't part of the wedding festivities
  • Any nonwedding activities they choose to participate in
Attendants should expect to pay for:
  • Travel to and from the destination
  • Formalwear and accessories
  • Hair and makeup or spa appointments
  • Food and drinks that aren't part of ta wedding event
I hope this is helpful to couples putting together a destination wedding budget. Remember though if something is out of your budget, scale down.  Reexamine your bridal party... do you need 8?  Double check your guest list... does Uncle John's ex-girlfriend and new boyfriend really need to be invited?  Can I make my own bouquet of flowers? etc.  Their are many ways to tighten the wedding budget you just have to be creative.  

Good luck budgeting!

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