Group wedding shot on beach

Destination Wedding Etiquette: Who Pays for What?

In Planning by Ande Tongco

Planning a destination wedding is becoming increasingly popular as couples seek unique and memorable experiences for their big day. The lure of a beautiful and exotic destination is undeniable, whether a white sandy beach or a centuries-old European city. However, planning a destination wedding has its fair share of etiquette questions. For example, who should be invited to your wedding? And once that’s narrowed down, the next question is usually: who should pay for the wedding expenses? We’ve broken down everything you need to know about etiquette when it comes to expenses around a destination wedding, including who pays for what.


Looking out plane window

Picture this – you live in Sydney and your close friend is getting married in Melbourne. Who would pay for the flights? It’s up to you, the guest. The same goes for a destination wedding overseas. It’s up to the guests if they want to attend, meaning the cost of their airfares is on them too. To help make things a little easier, send out your invitations with plenty of time to spare. It’ll help your friends and family to think of a realistic budget for themselves and to take time off work, saving them and you any last-minute stress!

YOU PAY FOR: Airport transfers

After touching down in an overseas locale, your guests might not exactly feel like chasing up a cab or Uber – especially if they’re new to your chosen destination! Booking a transfer bus or car to ferry them from the airport to their accommodation is a thoughtful and simple way to show your appreciation, plus it’ll hopefully keep everyone together. Remember, some of your guests might not be as well-travelled as you, so eliminate any anxieties by teeing-up a transfer. For travel around your selected destination, tell guests to check out the City Mapper app or provide them with a variety options and passes to choose from.

Already sorted out the budgeting and costs? Check out some unique and travel-friendly gift ideas to thank your bridesmaids!



While it may not be a popular sentiment, the simple fact is that guests are expected to pay for their own accommodation when it comes to destination wedding etiquette.

Our advice? Once you’ve got a rough idea of the numbers to expect, check with your venue (if it’s a resort or hotel) or a nearby accommodation option and see if they can organise somewhere for everyone to stay at a discounted rate. Many hotels are happy to offer an affordable rate for group bookings, taking away the planning woes for your loved ones – check that your guests all approve and agree to stay at your choice before locking anything in.

If you have booked a luxurious resort for you and your partner to stay at (it’s your wedding, after all!) and haven’t been able to pull off an excellent package group rate at a nearby hotel, it’s a good idea to do some research and find accommodation options that are affordable and conveniently located to where you and your partner are staying. Be sure to include these details when inviting your guests to your wedding.

A small disclaimer here: Although the bridal couple is not obligated to pay for their wedding guests’ accommodation, they could consider covering their wedding party’s accommodation.

Regardless of how you go with guest accommodation for your wedding, it is considerate not to expect your guests to do all this work and offer them some options from the beginning so they understand they have options.


YOU PAY FOR: A welcome brunch and any group event you host

A welcome brunch (or first-night drinks) is the perfect way of giving your wedding guests a chance to mingle before the big day.

You could also choose to host a pre wedding dinner or organise a fun group activity like beachside yoga or paddle boarding.

Trying to really save on costs? Consider something like a casual picnic in a beautiful park – instant summer party vibes!

YOUR DESTINATION WEDDNG GUEST PAYS FOR: Unscheduled Activities and extras

Whether it’s jet skiing, scuba diving or just sightseeing, guests should pay for their own leisure activities if they organise any for during their stay (outside of events you’ve organised).


EXTRA TIP: Swap the wedding gifts for something travel-friendly

After all, some of your favourite people are travelling across the country (or overseas!) to celebrate with you. Plus, paying extra for overweight luggage on the way back doesn’t exactly scream wedded bliss. If your loved ones insist on spoiling you with a wedding gift for your destination wedding, (politely) ask them for a gift voucher, a cool experience back home or a donation to your favourite charity.

FINAL NOTE: Consider giving your guests a Welcome Bag


Providing welcome bags is an excellent way to greet your guests and acquaint them with your destination wedding. It’s a thoughtful gesture that helps demonstrate your gratitude to your loved ones for making the trip to attend your holiday wedding. Most welcome bags come pre-packaged in reusable totes or cardboard boxes, but when you are working out what to put in a welcome bag for a destination wedding, you may need more thought (hello, airline weight issues!). Don’t worry – we have a guide to help you determine what to include in your welcome bag for your destination wedding!

Related articles:

Destination Weddings: Where to Splurge and Save

Destination Weddings on a Budget