What To Do When Not Everyone Can Make It To Your Destination Wedding

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One of the benefits of a destination wedding is that it enables you to keep your guest list small. You’re not expected to invite expected family members, coworkers or old friends to a wedding on the other side of the world. Instead, you can focus on your nearest and dearest. You can write a list of the people you really want there, and use that as your guest list. People will understand why you haven’t invited them to your intimate beach wedding a 10 hour flight away.

Benefits of a Destination Wedding

Another benefit to a destination wedding is that it can actually be cheaper to organise. With a smaller guest list, you may be surprised at just how low you’re able to get the cost. The only problem is, your guests may not be thinking the same thing. Attending weddings is always an expensive affair. There are new outfits to buy, gifts to purchase, travel to budget for and accommodation to organise. It’s not cheap, but take that wedding and stick it another country and, well, the costs can easily shoot up for those attending.

The simple fact of the matter is that not everyone will be able to afford to attend your big day. It might be that some of your friends and family members are simply unable to afford a holiday that year, which makes your destination wedding an unachievable goal. So, what should you do if one of your most loved friends or family members simply can’t afford to attend your wedding?

What To Do When Not Everyone Can Make It

1. Look for budget options

Your friend may not be able to afford the flights and accommodation you suggested, but are there budget alternatives available? Could she fly to an airport further away and be picked up by another guest? Or could she stay in a cheaper hotel on the other side of town? What if she stayed for a shorter period of time, would that help to bring the cost down? If you can find a way of bringing the costs down considerably, this may be a solution. However, tread carefully because talking about money is always tricky and it can be easy to offend people. Remember, your friend loves you and wants to attend, so don’t think she isn’t trying.

2. Think about the other issues

It’s not just money which stops people being able to attend destination weddings. Most people have limited vacation time at work, and that means some may simply be unable to get the time off. For teachers or other employees with strict scheduling, they may be unable to take the time off for your wedding simply because of the time of year. If you have heavily pregnant friends, they may be passed the point of being able to fly or simply feel nervous about leaving the country so close to giving birth. It’s not always money that prevents people from attending a destination wedding, so cover all bases when planning your big day.

2. Reassess your own budget

If the person unable to attend is someone you can’t imagine getting married without, such as your elderly granny, sister or best friend, you may want to pay for them to be there. If it’s one of those people, you need to be there when your destination wedding photographer starts taking photos, then you’ll probably do anything you can to get them there. Of course, you’ll need some spare budget to do this, or, at least, the willingness to cut cost elsewhere. If this is a person you really want to be there on your big day, you may need to help out financially to ensure they can attend. If this person is one of your special people, you’re likely to do everything within your power to make sure she attends. Paying for her to be there may sound extreme, but a lot of couples do this to make sure their most important VIPs can celebrate with them on the day.

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3. Back to the drawing board

If more and more invitees are getting back to you with apologies, you may want to go back to the drawing board. Destination weddings vary in cost, from the affordable to the out of this world. It might just be that you’ve picked a wedding destination that is quite simply out of budget for most of your friends and family. Of course, there’s no reason why you can’t just marry the love of your life on a beach surrounded by a handful of family members, but if you were hoping for a bigger wedding party, you might need to find a more affordable destination.

4. Have a blessing

If certain people were unable to attend the wedding itself, but you know they would have loved to see you exchange vows, you could organise a blessing back home. This could be an intimate event for the people you know would have loved to be there or a big wedding-like event. It’s your blessing, so you can set the tone. It might be that second chance you want to wear your wedding dress or a more informal affair. You could follow it up with a formal sit down meal at a beautiful venue, or a simply elegant afternoon tea at a fancy hotel with all your guests. There are no set rules, remember, this is your wedding and you can do whatever you like.

5. Throw a party

One great way to get everybody involved in celebrating your nuptials is to celebrate with a huge party when you get home. This way, you get to enjoy the destination wedding of your dreams with those who can attend, and you get to celebrate with everyone else when you get home. You can think of the party as your wedding reception. You’ll need a good-sized venue, plenty of music, some food, a bar and all of your friends and family. The best thing about a wedding is having all of your nearest and dearests in one place, and this party will be your chance to appreciate that. It’s up to you what you wear, you could wear a wedding dress or go for something understated.

6. Stay friends

It’s all too easy to feel when somebody says they can’t make it to your wedding. Don’t they know this is your big day? Don’t they know how important it is that they appear in your destination wedding photography album? Don’t they want to be there to see you say I do? Well, yes they do. They want to be there just as much as you want them to be there. But, sometimes, life gets in the way. It doesn’t mean they aren’t excited for your big day, or that they won’t be devastated to miss you walking down the aisle. They will be just as heartbroken as you would be if this was the other way round. So don’t punish them for not being able to attend. Remember, they’re still your friend, even if they can’t be there to toast to the bride and groom on the big day. Rest assured that they’ll be toasting to you from home, as you enjoy the glorious sunshine on your wedding day.

So, if you are looking for a Destination Wedding Photographer, please contact me to check my availability.

Showing 5 comments
  • Documentary wedding photographer London

    It is a great article Adam! There are always some solutions so you just need to find the best one.

  • Kevin Belson

    Nicely put Adam. It’s some things we don’t think about when arranging a destination wedding. Especially throwing a party for those who couldn’t make it. That’s what we did many years ago when we got married.

    • Adams Photo Art Photography

      I didn’t know you were married abroad? Where did you go? Yes, think its really important to take care of those you couldn’t make it, so a nice party is good idea for every one :)!

  • Mona Ali

    Some great advice in here Adam – I don’t think couples realise how much easier and cheaper this option can be!

    • Adams Photo Art Photography

      Indeed, it can be not only cheaper but good weather is almost guaranteed :)!

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