By Jared Benoff | Published on September 18, 2023

Destination weddings are a great choice whether you’re looking for an intimate wedding or a large-scale celebration. 

With beautiful settings and luxurious accommodations, a destination wedding is the perfect way to make long-lasting memories with your loved ones.

One of the most common questions around destination weddings is, “How long do guests stay at a destination wedding?” 

The answer to this depends on many factors, including budget, resort requirements, and the wedding date.

What is the average stay at a destination wedding?

The length of time your guests stay usually depends on whether your wedding is on a weekend or weekday. 

On average, destination wedding guests stay for 4.5 nights. 

Most destination wedding resorts’ minimum stay for group contracts is three nights. 

Some resorts now require a minimum 4-night stay, while others require five nights during holiday periods.

How many people should I invite to my wedding?

destination wedding - dance floor - mexico venue ideas

The number of people invited to your wedding depends on the vibe you want. 

If you want an intimate ceremony on the beach, you’ll want to keep your guest list relatively small. 

Alternatively, you could invite as many as 300+ guests if you want a big celebration.

To decide, choose a resort and look at their packages and venues. 

Once you know the capacities and prices, you’ll learn how many people you can invite. 

To create your guest list, focus on close friends and family. 

If this sits within budget, then stick with it. 

If you have room for more, grow your list to include extended family members and colleagues. 

A great way to manage guest numbers is to have an A and B lists. 

Your A list consists of people you must have at your wedding. 

The B list includes everyone else. 

Use the B list as a backup for people you’d like to invite if you have dropouts. 

Prioritize that list in order of importance. 

Send out invitations to everyone on the A list. 

If someone can’t make it, send an additional invite to someone from the B list.

With destination weddings, there will always be guests from the A list who cannot make it. 

That’s where the B list comes in handy. 

This way, you’ll still be able to achieve your desired number of guests.

When doing the A/B list approach, allow enough time to inform the resort of final numbers. 

Each resort will have its own booking deadline, so make sure you send the B list invitations out in plenty of time.

What percentage of destination wedding guests actually attend?

If you opt for a destination wedding, some of your guests will likely be unable to attend. 

That’s normal and expected. 

Before COVID, around 60% of guests invited to a destination wedding attended. 

Straight after COVID, this figure soared to 80% of invited attendees.

We’ve seen more recently that the invite-to-attend ratio has settled back around 60-70%.

What is the average attendance for a destination wedding? 

On average, a destination wedding has around 75 attendees – down slightly from 2021/2022.

We help plan many destination weddings with around 50 guests and some destination weddings as large as hundreds of people

The number of people you invite entirely depends on what you are looking for. 

Some couples like to keep it simple with close friends and family, while others like to invite everyone they know. 

Either way, try to prepare for dropouts to avoid any disappointment. 

Should your guests stay at the same resort?

destination wedding mexico - el dorado royale

Many all-inclusive resorts in Mexico charge additional fees for guests who stay at a different hotel. 

If your guests choose to stay elsewhere, they typically need to pay for a wedding day pass, which can cost up to $150. 

These passes also have restrictions, so guests may have to leave the resort before the celebrations end.

Resorts often have a restriction on the number of off-site guests that can attend a wedding. 

The point of a destination wedding is to maximize celebration time together in paradise, and the best way to do that is for everyone to stay at the same resort.

What if my guests find a “better” deal?

We pride ourselves on delivering value for money. 

Of course, sometimes resorts run promotions, and your guests may find a better deal. 

Generally speaking, a ground contracted rate is discounted from the retail rate, so when a guest comes across a better deal, it is usually only for individual bookings.

If the promotion is an apples-to-apples comparison of the contracted group rate, your travel planner will work to do a price match.

How do you suggest “core dates” for guest travel?

Core dates are the dates you would prefer your guests to stay at the resort. 

Usually, core dates will cover other important events like pre-wedding cocktail parties or rehearsal dinners. 

When suggesting core dates to guests, share that information in your save-the-date and invitations.

Keep it short and friendly, with no pressure wording. 

Your guests will also find these dates on the booking site. 

Ultimately, the guests can choose when they arrive, but core dates will enable them to plan their travel accordingly. 

Recap: How long do guests stay at a destination wedding

Whether you invite 10 guests or 110, destination weddings have something for everyone. 

Of course, if you’re going to get hitched abroad, you’ll need to accept that some of your guests won’t make it. 

On average, guests tend to stay at a destination wedding for at least three nights. 

Need help planning? 

Our experienced wedding planners at Destination Weddings by Vacationeeze are with you every step of the way.

With decades of experience planning hundreds of weddings, our team understands what couples are looking for and how to navigate working with the resorts. 

Our dedicated team will work with all your friends and family so you can focus on planning your dream wedding.

Ready to start planning your big day?

Call us at 215-454-2070 or get in touch with us here

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About The Author

Jared Benoff

Jared is a certified destination wedding travel advisor and has been recognized as a top agent by Palace Resorts, Karisma Resorts, Lomas Hospitality, and Hyatt Inclusive Collection.

He caught the travel bug early in his life as his parents (the founders of Vacationeeze!) instilled a passion for travel and adventure in him and his siblings.


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