If you get invited to a wedding abroad, should you expect to be flown to the venue or should you take care of the travel expense yourself? Do you worry that your flight cost might pinch the host or you just assume that he or she has deep pockets? These are some of the pertinent questions which sometimes have no clear cut answers. In some situations, guests expect to be flown down to the destination however, in others they are understanding enough and take care of all the expenses themselves. Last decade has seen a trend of a plethora of destination weddings where expenses run into stratospheric proportions.
“We have been doing destination weddings for a few years now. It’s actually a dying trend which is crazily expensive. I have come across many unpleasant situations – from people falling sick to jewellery getting lost. I feel Indians who travel abroad to attend these weddings have unrealistic expectations. Their laundry and trunk call bills are astronomical and there are so many unaccountable expenses running into extra thousand dollars.
Expensive blow-drys, manicures and pedicures add to it. Sometimes guests demand sari stylists in the middle of Italy. Some of them demand a car and a driver for their shopping spree which costs a fortune in Europe. Some of them do not have an international driving license and expect a car and a driver to be arranged which costs a fortune. Personally, if I know that my friend can’t afford it, I would not burden him or her with expenses,” says Gurleen Manchanda Puri, a wedding planner.
“If it is an intimate group of family and close friends, I definitely think the host should fly down guests. If you arrange it and invite them, then you should also pay and that goes for pretty much anything at the destination. However, if it is a big destination wedding where your guest list is extensive it is understood that the host is not expected to fly down all the guests. We know that some people do not fly or may not be able to afford to go but we still send them an invite as a mark of courtesy,” says grooming expert Rukshana Eisa.
In most weddings food and drinks served at the party are taken care of but if guests want to order services at their suites then they should take care of those. “Ideally, the host should take care of all expenses and guests too should behave graciously and not abuse their generosity, for example, alcohol served other than the party should be paid for by guests themselves,” says Eisa.
Destination wedding tips
With a destination wedding, ‘save-the-date’ cards are crucial. Send them off as early as possible. Remember, this is a destination wedding, and your guests may be planning their family vacation around it. Giving them a heads-up allows them to shop for the best airfares and work the trip into their budget.
Given the added complications of destination weddings, a good wedding planner can be a God sent. After all, you might have to communicate in a foreign language and deal with people who live in a foreign culture. The best favour you can do yourself is to hire an on site wedding planner.
If you’re going international, be aware of the legalities like visas and vaccinations etc.
Let your guests enjoy the destination. Don’t plan so many get-togethers that your family and friends have no free time at all.
Be creative: A destination wedding really opens up some possibilities. If you still want to have a fairytale wedding, then go for it. But if you’re open to other options, great. By just having a destination wedding, you’re not doing the conventional. You’ve already altered people’s expectations.