Destination Wedding is not ‘Owambe’


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It’s wedding season!! (Well when is it ever not wedding season lol.) So I thought we could discuss something that’s been on my mind for a bit, well I ramble and you add your two cents lol. Destination weddings! 😀 Not just how pretty they are, or how expensive they are, but whether your ‘friends’ are obligated to attend.

Apologies for the brief hiatus guys, had to settle into a new phase in my life (might do a little post on that later if you’re lucky).

So as always, with any topic that’s been on my mind, I’ve been discussing (or arguing, might be a better word to use…) over this with my loved ones. I thought it was quite clean cut but apparently it isn’t. Now I was going to do a brief post on how obligated friends/family are to attending destination weddings but didn’t think that would be fair as I’ve been away for so long 😦 And as you should know by now, I’m a talker, so it shouldn’t be too hard for me to ramble away on this topic lol.

So the key aspects for me are as follows:

1. Party size

2. What the couple (couple’s family or whoever is fitting the majority of the bills) should pay for

3. What guests/bridal party should be expected to pay for

Now in case you’re wondering if this similar to the post I wrote earlier ‘Bridal Train: To pay or not to pay….’ this is for a destination wedding so the argument isn’t exactly the same as different factors are included, this wedding thing is complicated right? *sigh*

So let’s look at the party size (and also my original point before I abandoned you all for a while, who is obligated to attend). Now for me, if I’m having a destination wedding (and noooooooo, Nigeria is not a destination wedding! Don’t argue, just accept it!) I’m generally not expecting hundreds of guests and I wouldn’t have invited that many as the whole point of it is that it will be a small wedding with just my loved ones in a faraway land. My fantasy 🙂 So you’d have to be super close to me for me to even consider inviting you. As the title says ‘Destination wedding is not ‘owambe”, well for me anyway, I’, guessing if you were a celebrity, the case would be different (For my non-Nigerians, the word ‘owambe’ refers to a large, lavish party held by Nigerians, particularly people of the Yoruba heritage). Anything from 2-200 is satisfactory.

Saying this, for my closests, my inner circle, my personal people, there are only a few reasons I’d accept for you not attending my wedding, no matter the location, especially if I have given you plenty of notice, without sounding too selfish. Of course I’d take your financial situation into consideration, illness, family emergency or even work not letting you have time off for that period. These are the excuses I’d probably accept. But if it’s that ‘you just can’t make it’? The fun wouldn’t stop, it will still be the best day ever, but when I get back into reality, I’d have to reassess that friendship. With family, I’d only expect my immediate family to attend, I wouldn’t jump across the world for everyone so I don’t expect it to be done for me either. As a good friend said, just because I have chosen to have my wedding in another part of the world, doesn’t mean everyone should be expected to follow me. Agree? Let me know your thoughts.

So next is, the costing. What should the couple/host pay for? Not as clean cut as I thought apparently. According to the go-to wedding site The Knot the hosts are traditionally expected to pay for the following at destination weddings:

  • The wedding reception (whether it’s a five-course meal or a beer-and-burgers bash)
  • A rehearsal dinner
  • A welcome party
  • A morning-after brunch (a friend or family member may volunteer to host this for you as a gift)

Seems fair to me.

The Knot also add the following expenses IF the host are feeling extra generous:

  • Selected activities (a group sailing trip, a tour around town)
  • Transportation to and from the ceremony and reception sites
  • A shuttle to pick up your guests at the airport when they arrive
  • Attendant hotel rooms. According to tradition, the bride and her family should cover lodging for the bridesmaids; the groom or his family should do the same for the groomsmen. If these expenses will burst your budget, tell your attendants their presence is a gift to you. (Keep in mind: If hotel room rates are $400 a night, that may be more of a present than they intended to give!)
  • Travel expenses for VIPs with no other means to make it to the wedding (think: elderly relatives or the starving-artist bridesmaid)

Very kind if you ask me, again, like I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been accused of having ‘stingy Jand folk’ mentality lol. I wouldn’t cover hotel costs for everyone though.

BUT….according to a few friends, if you’re having a wedding of few guests, then travel expenses should be covered for all of the guests. I think not.  It was also mentioned to me that the guests should be given spending money, I definitely think not! Is this list accurate?

Then finally, what are the guests/bridal party expected to pay for at a destination wedding. This part isn’t so clean cut. So here are my thoughts:

  • Bridal party: Unlike a local wedding where I would usually insist that the bridesmaids pay for their own gowns, groomsmen likewise, with a destination wedding, they’re spending much more so it’s fair to cover some of the costs. You can choose to pay for their gowns while they pay for their travel, hotel accommodation, professional hair & make up etc, or pay for another aspect of the above but to say it’s up to the bridal party to pay for EVERYTHING, that’s not very considerate, seeing as they wouldn’t be spending nearly as much if the wedding was at home.
  • Guests: it really shouldn’t be mandatory for the hosts to pay for their guests’ flight tickets unless, like it says above, if there is a guest you really would love to be there but they simply can’t afford it.

So when you look it, they may be spending to go across the world, but they are getting so much more of a better experience in this faraway land wedding which isn’t coming from their pockets solely. Our experts, The Knot, have a little more to add to this:

Guests should expect to pay for:

  • Their plane ticket to and from the destination
  • Their hotel room stay
  • Any meals or beverages that are not part of the wedding festivities
  • Any non-wedding activities that choose to participate in

Attendants should expect to pay for:

  • Travel to and from the destination
  • Formalwear and accessories
  • Hair and makeup or spa appointments
  • Food and drinks that aren’t part of a wedding event

Again, quite fair, even though I’m a little more generous than them for once it seems lol. While I still have some friends who believe the hosts should pay for everything, including flight tickets, outfits, accommodation… (crazy right?) If you can afford it, and your father is Dangote, be my guest. But it shouldn’t be expected.

So l know I have rambled on quite a bit, and I could still go on to be honest, but didn’t think it was fair to come back with a brief piece after 4 weeks….:-)

So again, don’t leave me to ramble alone, let me know what you think on this matter, guys too, I’m particularly interested to hear what males have to say on this lo. Leave a comment below, let’s discuss 🙂

Till next week sweets (I promise)

sign off




One Reply to “Destination Wedding is not ‘Owambe’”

  1. Very insightful. However, I do feel that wih a destination wedding even if your guests are extremly close to you they all have the option to decline and I feel you have to be okay with it. Its a hard one as people must also consider you are making some guests by force have to go away and to a destination they may not care to go to. You therefore have to expect that maybe only 10 people would attend and be comfortable with that. With weddings these days the guests are fronting the costs much more than the bride and grrom, and they have to understand its all optional because everyones pockets aren’t that deep. Especially sometimes with African families (including our parents) if its not on their terms you can’t expect them to attend. Its a hard one but I do believe that the bride and groom should try and front as much costs as possible. With a destination wedding people have to be preparred for a low attendence and not having all your ‘nearesrt and dearests’.


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