What's not to love about a destination wedding? A gorgeous location, fantastic celebration, and a built-in vacation with the people you love — that's hard to beat! The cost however, can be a downside for many of your guests. You're asking friends and family to shell out for flights and hotels, which can really add up if you're heading out of the country or somewhere particularly far-flung. Covering the costs for all of your guests might be way out of your budget (and isn't expected), but what about the wedding party — should you include their travel arrangements in your budget? Our experts weigh in.
While paying for your wedding party's travel and lodging isn't required, it can be a really nice gift to offer them, if you can afford it. You might want to use some of those points you've racked up to pay for their flights (or upgrade them from coach to business class), or look into renting a home or suite at your destination that can house them all, then use the living room area as command central when you're all having your hair and makeup done.
If covering your wedding party's travel or lodging doesn't fit into your budget, see if there are other ways to offset their travel costs. Check with the hotel where you're booking rooms to see if they offer free rooms if a certain number of reservations are made. If they offer a deal, like a free night for every 10 booked, set those free rooms aside for your bridesmaids and groomsmen. When you're asking your wedding party to pay their own way, be sure to emphasize that their presence is gift enough, and that you wouldn't dream of letting them buy you a wedding gift on top of paying for airfare and lodging.
If you're inviting people for an extended trip, consider hosting your wedding party and family for an excursion or a dinner in addition to the welcome dinner and your reception, to ease the cost of their trip (and thank them for being a part of your wedding!).