Destination wedding: who pays for what ?

Planning a destination wedding is an exciting adventure, for the couple of course but also the guests. It’s a great opportunity to travel and have fun. 

Organizing a destination wedding can raise questions about the distribution of costs. Do guests pay for themselves at destination weddings? Or do we have to pay for our guests at weddings abroad? This article explores the main financial elements of a destination wedding so you can have a proper idea of how do destination weddings work. 


Wedding planner : CEREMONIZE


  1. Flights for destination wedding

Travel expenses often represent a significant part of the budget for a destination wedding. The couple and their guests need to budget for the cost of plane tickets or other transportation to the wedding location. 

– Who pays? Traditionally, each guest pays for their own flights. However, the couple may decide to cover travel expenses for close family members or very close friends, especially if the budget allows. The couple’s family can also help with these costs if they can. 


  1. Hotels or accommodations at a wedding abroad

Accommodation is another crucial expense. The couple needs to arrange accommodations for themselves and often for some of their guests. 

– Who pays? Generally, guests pay for their own accommodation. The couple may book a block of rooms at a discounted rate in a hotel and offer a few nights of accommodation to close family and very close friends. In some cases, when the party venue has rooms, the rental price can include these accommodations. In that case sometimes the couple may ask a contribution to their guests. 


  1. Welcome dinner

The welcome dinner is a great opportunity for the couple to thank their guests for traveling and to kick off the festivities. 

– Who pays? The couple usually covers the costs of the welcome dinner. This meal can be a simple buffet or a more formal dinner, depending on the couple’s budget and preferences.  


Wedding planner : CEREMONIZE


  1. Ceremony

The wedding ceremony itself is the heart of the event. Costs include the venue rental, decorations, flowers, music, and possibly officiant fees. 

– Who pays? The couple typically pays for all the ceremony expenses.  


  1. Services (catering, photographer, activities, etc.)

Additional services such as catering, the photographer, activities, and entertainment add a special touch to the wedding and create unforgettable memories. 

– Who pays? The couple covers the costs of these services just like any other weddings. This includes the caterer for the reception meal, photographer or videographer fees, and any activities or excursions organized for guests. The couple’s family can contribute to these costs, especially for specific or expensive services. 


  1. Wedding planner

A destination wedding planner can greatly ease the organization of a destination wedding by coordinating logistical details and ensuring everything runs smoothly. 

– Who pays? The couple is usually responsible for the wedding planner’s fees. However, if the couple’s parents wish to contribute, they may choose to cover these fees as a way of helping with the wedding arrangements. 



The couple’s family can play a key role in distributing costs. Traditionally, the couple’s parents often contribute financially to the wedding, whether by covering part of the ceremony expenses, helping with travel or accommodation costs, or taking charge of specific elements such as catering or flowers. Clear communication is essential to determine how the family can help and to ensure everyone is comfortable with the financial arrangements. 


Organizing a destination wedding requires careful planning and clear communication with guests about the distribution of costs. There are no set rules as it depends on how each couple imagine their destination wedding. Every detail counts to create a memorable experience for all participants, and with good organization, everyone can appropriately contribute to making this special day a reality. 

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