Monday, July 6, 2009

The Guest Dilemma

I have been speaking with a lot of brides lately that are so excited about their destination wedding. A few of them have decided to get married without inviting any guests, while others are debating over who to invite, who not to invite, who to pay for and so on. This is probably the aspect of their wedding that destination wedding brides stress out the most.

Why? Many brides say that they do not invite guests because they feel uncomfortable asking them to pay "so much money to go to the wedding." I understand that. I really do. But, it isn't the right way to approach inviting guests to a destination wedding at all. Couples that don't invite the people they want to invite because of worries about money are doing themselves as well as their potential guests a disservice.

Dictating Other People's Budgets
The biggest worry about inviting people is that brides don't want to ask people to spend money to attend the wedding. No offense, but who are you to dictate what someone would and wouldn't spend? How do you know what they can and can't afford? Money - especially in this ecomomy - is a big taboo topic of conversation. My best friend and I have known each other for close to 2 decades. I have no clue as to how much money she and her husband earn, nor do I know what they set aside for vacations. Invite whomever you'd like. Let them decide if they want to come or not.

Limitless Possibilities
When it comes to a traditional wedding and reception, guests have a "per head" price. Often times, a bride and groom decide what their budget is going to be for the reception itself, and figure out how many people they can invite in order to keep within the confines of the budget. For example, if the reception budget is a total of $5000, they should subtract $500 for tips (valet parking, maitre-d, servers, bartenders, coat check), which leaves them with $4500. If they have a $45 per head rate, they can invite 100 people. Now, if you have a big Italian family like I do, you have to pick and choose wisely. Couples end up with a main list, and a back up list of other people to invite in case someone on the main list can't go. Then, they make up some sort of excuse of why the invitation was late, yada yada yada.

Not so with a destination wedding! Couples send out their Save the Date cards (if they want), followed by invitations with the contact information for the travel agent that is coordinating their wedding. Then, it is out of their hands. The guests that want to come will make their own arrangements. They will pay for their flights and such. If the couple decides to have their destination wedding at an all-inclusive resort such as Sandals or Beaches, then virtually everything is paid for. You can invite anyone that you want, and not have to worry about paying for anyone to come to the wedding-- unless you choose an option of doing a sitdown dinner at your destination.

Reason to Be Together
There is no better reason to go on vacation than having something to celebrate. Afterall, that is why people go on a honeymoon! Inviting guests to attend your destination wedding may be the catalyst to celebrate something else. Perhaps Aunt Sally just retired, and wants to celebrate in Jamaica after your wedding. Maybe Cousin Paul got a promotion, and bringing his family on vacation is the way he can celebrate on a cruise. Call it killing two birds with one stone... Call it multi-tasking... Call it what you want. I call it a good time. Your wedding just might be the thing to set it all into motion.
You're Worth It
How many weddings have you attended? Think about the last wedding you went to. How long did it last? How much did you spend on the gift? How much did you spend on your outfit? How much did you spend to get there? I just spoke with a bride that I am working with, and we discussed this exact thing. The last wedding she went to was 5 hours long. She spent $300 on the wedding gift, $80 on her outfit, $120 on her shoes, $150 on gas to drive to and from the venue, $100 on her fiance's outfit, and $50 in tips for the bartender and valet. That is $700 for a one day affair where she didn't even get to spend time with the bride and groom! Think about that a minute, folks. For that amount or just a little more, your guests can have a mini-vacation to attend your wedding.

Summing It Up
Do you have to have guests at your destination wedding? No, of course not. Some people want to elope and have a reception when they get home. But, if you are one of those people that secretly wants to have your friends and family around you as you marry the love of your life, go out on a limb and invite whomever you'd like. Don't settle for "Well, I don't think anyone would come..." This is your wedding, for crying out loud! You shouldn't have to settle for anything.

Candice Cain is the owner of the Candy Cain Travel Co. She is a Certified Sandals Specialist and a Destination Wedding Expert. Please feel free to email her for help with your destination wedding!

No comments:

Post a Comment