The Guest List

Looking after your guests.

Over the past few decades, the cost of weddings has risen dramatically – not least for guests! This is especially true if you’re in your mid-twenties to late-thirties, when everyone you ever knew at school or college seems to be getting married. Just when the mantelpiece is already bristling with invitations, yet another fat envelope thumps onto the doormat. You do the maths, and work out that the cost of travelling to the wedding, plus the cost of a new outfit, plus the price of the smallest item on the Gift List equals a week’s wages. And that’s even without reckoning the cost of staying over.

So, who should bear the cost of the accommodation? The wedding couple? The guest? Who pays for the plus-one? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends on so many variables, and like so many things, it mostly comes down to budget – yours and your guests’.

It can be useful to make comparisons with other weddings. What arrangements were made then? The best thing to do is discuss it openly with everyone involved, and let them know from the beginning what you are intending to pay for. Bear in mind that your own specific requests might incur extra costs; you might want supper with the wedding party on the eve of your wedding, or for them to use your choice of hair stylist or make-up artist on the day. If your party members can’t afford the extra expense, you may have to compromise. 

Whoever ends up paying the bill, you can make it easy for guests to find and book local accommodation using the GettingMarried Hotel Planner. Before you publish this information, consider the needs of your close family and friends, as well as elderly guests, or the parents of new-borns, who might require a quiet, easily reached space to retire to at various points during the day.  

Depending on the time of your wedding, guests may not be able to check in to their accommodation before the ceremony starts. Since most weddings are full-day events, with many carrying on into the early hours, it may be worth building a point into the schedule to allow people to leave the venue to check into their rooms. If so, you may want to add details of these timings to your GettingMarried Wedding Website.

Unless the ceremony and reception take place at the same venue, there will be a point in the day when you need to get your guests from A to B. You don’t have to hire a coach (although retro vehicles like Routemaster can add a lot to the fun, and provide great photo opps), but you should consider factors such as parking availability, and how the traffic might affect the timing of your guests’ arrival.

If you do shell out for mass transport between your venues, you’ll need to make the schedule clear to all your guests. Alternatively, you can provide them with contact details for local taxi firms, or put people in touch that might be able to lift-share on the day, all of which can be done on your Wedding Website or by using your handy GettingMarried Guest Messenger.