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Lake Bled Wedding by Petra Starbek

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Lake Bled Wedding

Bride calculating expenses and asks who pays wedding

So, if you are having a destination wedding, who pays for what?

Destination weddings can be tricky—but we have the answers as to who pays for what. The first thing you should know is it’s not on the couple to cover guest accommodations and airfare. This is a common misconception. Either way, your guests are traveling far and wide to get there. That will include extra expenses such as airfare and accommodations. And that’s where it gets tricky—who’s expected to pay for what when it comes to faraway nuptials? While some things should be covered by the couple, your guests should expect to pay for many aspects of the weekend. Find out my guide below.


What you will pay at your wedding and what you aren’t responsible for?


Don’t feel responsible for everyone’s airfare and accommodations

Consider this: Nobody ever pays for out-of-town guests as a matter of tradition or etiquette, and choosing to have a destination wedding does not change the rules. It simply levels the playing field for your guests: Everybody has to travel and, therefore, everybody has expenses.


If you want you can discreetly pay for a few guests who couldn’t otherwise make it

In some special cases, however, you may feel compelled to help out a few specific family members, friends, or wedding party members who you know couldn’t afford to make the trip otherwise. But this should be done very discreetly, and you shouldn’t tell anyone else about it. Others might feel put off that you didn’t think they were entitled to assistance, and the receiver of your help could be embarrassed. Use serious judgment about whom to pay for before you make any offers though. Only do so when the person you’re helping is someone you absolutely, positively have to have at your wedding. You might even be able to use some of those points you’ve racked up to cover the cost of a flight.


Invite all of your destination wedding guests to the rehearsal dinner, welcome event or farewell brunch

You are probably doing far more for your guests at a destination wedding than most brides and grooms do for wedding guests at home. At a destination wedding, everybody is from out of town. Therefore, everybody should be invited to attend all planned events. Everyone made such an effort to be there for your wedding. These events give you more time to spend with them, as well as the opportunity to show your appreciation one more time.

  • Case in point: the rehearsal dinner. Traditionally, only the wedding party, family, and some out-of-town guests are invited to the rehearsal dinner.
  • Most destination wedding couples have some kind of welcome event or farewell brunch. Consider throwing a beach Lake Bled party or casual picnic instead of a traditional formal sit-down affair for these events.

Attendants should pay for any meal or drinks that are not part of the wedding festivities as well as non-wedding activities that they opt to join in (such as special trips and tours at the destination).


Beautiful Lake Bled in Slovenia - top destination wedding location

Image by Nika in Grega photography


Offset your guests’ destination wedding costs

Though you won’t be paying everyone’s way, you can do things to offset their costs, especially for your wedding party. For example, you can check with the hotel where you’re booking rooms to see if they offer any free rooms if a certain number of reservations are made. If they offer a deal—like a free night for every 10 booked—set those free rooms aside for your bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Wedding without gifts

Another idea to consider is requesting that your guests not give gifts. Emphasize that their presence is gift enough and that you wouldn’t dream of letting them buy you a wedding gift on top of paying for airfare and lodging. Even if you don’t extend this request to all your guests, it’s a good destination wedding etiquette to tell your wedding party that gifts are unnecessary.

The wedding party

There are several things bridesmaids and groomsmen should expect to pay for out of pocket. This includes travel and accommodations, formalwear and accessories (per usual), hair and makeup… My suggestion is that’s some of these costs (for her attendants, and if not, it should be optional) and food and drinks that aren’t part of the wedding events) cover the couple, if they can.

Selected activities, trips

I also recommend paying for selected activities (maybe a bus tour around Slovenia, seaside, coves), transportation to and from the ceremony and reception sites, as well as a shuttle to pick up your guests at the airport when they arrive to make the weekend go off as seamlessly as possible.





I’m here for you.

Wherever you are in the world, if you are planning a wedding and you’d like expert support by your side – I’m here for you. I can give you comprehensive guidance, or just peace of mind on the certain elements you need help with. To get in touch, you can fill out my contact form or just email me at