Planning My Wedding: How Should I “Treat” My Guests?

Dear Readers,

As many of you know, I am in the process of planning my wedding, and I would love more of your advice. Last summer, I designed a destination wedding in France for the most generous client I have ever encountered. Not only did they hire a private jet for their guests, they paid for all of the expenses relating to the hotel and food. They even went so far as to spoil their guests with serious extras. My favorite comment was, “If my guests go shopping, I want them to leave their credit cards at home.”  That is some serious generosity!

Mine and Theo’s wedding will take place in our hometown of New York City.  We have guests flying in from Peru, Norway, Singapore, Jakarta, China, Abu dhabi, Europe, and many cities here in the United States.  I have been on the receiving end of much generosity bestowed upon me when I visited friends in their home countries.  Though we do not have the deep pockets enjoyed by the clients mentioned above, we did manage to to secure very good rates at a lovely hotel here in the city.

I would like to ask all of you, do you think I should:

A. Expect my guests to cover their expenses and provide suggestions of low, medium ,and high-end hotels in the area.

B. Pay for their hotel and food with the understanding that they pay for their own flight.

C. Have them cover their travel and lodging expenses but make sure I entertain them royally while in New York City.

It likely comes as no surprise that I would prefer to invest most of my money on decor!

 What do you think?



(Photo Courtesy of Whatever You Want)
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  • julia Hewitt

    It is between b and c for me and I would probably choose c for myself and assuming your wedding is on Saturday I would host a dinner on Friday night and a brunch on Sunday morning and possibly arrange a special room at the hotel where most of your guests are staying for a “concierge floor” experience and keep this stocked with drinks and food and snacks etc


    B does it for me. A IS a definite NO NO AND C is not bad

  • http://YOURWEBSITE Kerry-Ann

    I would say C go with what your pocket can afford. They’ll appreciate it more, because they love you guys they will travel this distance to celebrate with you.

  • http://YOURWEBSITE Angela

    c… preston and i cant wait leaving the place like true royalty…. lol!!!

  • Shazia M.

    Let them know about the hotel where you have secured a great rate (a rarity in NYC)but leave the decision on where to stay up to them.
    I did exactly what Julia mentioned above for a wedding in Chicago a few years back.
    The guests to this day talk about the pre-wedding dinner and other festivities with as much fondness as they do about the wedding

  • http://YOURWEBSITE Beth

    C sounds like the best option. As you well know, your wedding should reflect you both as a couple. So spend money on what is important to you. People who care to share the day with you will be willing to pick up the rest of the expenses.

  • Mishka

    I would agree with most – I would go with “C” as well as some really nice “welcome bags” and I would also let them know where you have secured the great rate in NYC :). Can’t wait to see the pictures of the wedding and wish you both the very very best – full of love, happiness and peace :).


    I love your honesty in everything.
    It is C, people who love you are going to show up and you should stick to your budget as wedding expenses can really break you.

  • http://YOURWEBSITE pam ramirez

    it’s your wedding. treat yourself like a client. do what YOU want. at my wedding my mother questioned some things but I stood strong… the most expensive thing in the whole Wedding? the cake….. I am pastry chef so…. the cake has to be magical. and it was even a year later. your friends don’t care about paying they just want to see you happy

  • http://YOURWEBSITE Laura

    Dear Preston,

    I think I would go with C. While it is wonderful to have the host pay for the hotel/food and/or flight, I don’t think it is something that your guests will expect – it is kind of like a luxery to have. I think that your guests would be delighted to fly in to share the joyous day with you because they care about you. As something nice for them, I would entertain them royally though because it is a nice way to show them some generousity, as you want, but not too over the top and into your deep pockets. I think they will still appreciate that very much so.

    I’m sure whatever wedding you have for yourself will be divinely exquisite, breath-taking, and beautiful. I absolutely look forward to reading about your wedding and seeing lots of pictures! As an aspiring planner myself, I look up to you as a role model not only for your accomplishments but for the deep love/passion you have for it along with your genuine kind soul. God bless the relationship of you and Theo!

  • Bern

    My vote’s C! Especially since yours isn’t a destination wedding. I had a destination wedding and I went with C as well. The only exception, i think, to the guests-bearing-their-own-expenses rule is, maybe, for family (not the nasty ones, of course!)

  • Cathryn

    I think C is the best way to go. I like the idea of a special concierge lounge assuming everyone will stay at the same hotel. Maybe welcome bags with Broadway show tickets?

  • http://laurelevents.weddings.bodas america

    I support you with C

  • teapea

    They pay for their travel and lodging. You give them the royal treatment throughout their stay.

  • http://YOURWEBSITE Fay

    Option C
    Have them cover their own travel and lodging expenses but entertain them royally

    Make sure that they have hair and make up appointments for your big day
    If they are there for few days, take them to dinner or lunch or picnic in the park with other wedding guest and the two of you
    For evenings you not entertaining them, let them know what happening at theaters or other interest and where they can get tickets etc or have one of your staff arrange tickets etc for them. Make them feel as special as they obviously are

  • http://YOURWEBSITE Livia Nava

    Hola Preston, ante todo te felicito por tu trabajo y la gran idea de compartir tus inquietudes con todos los que te seguimos por tan maravilloso trabajo y persona que eres, Las opciones que planteas son fabulosas, pero….. debes cumplir lo que te dicte tu corazón ademas de tu extremada generosidad, yo me iría por la opción C, ofreciendo lo mejor de ti, siempre y cuando no te agobies con tantas responsabilidades, el que asiste es porque te aprecia, no por lo que les vayas a ofrecer extra-boda, haz algo espectacular con todas las atenciones que les puede ofrecer un anfitrión a sus invitados, que sientan que haber asistido fue la mejor decisión, organizo eventos, sé lo que es eso, también gran admiradora tuya, sigue cosechando éxitos te lo mereces!!!!! (Si quieres te ayudo jejejejejej, estoy a la orden) Bendiciones como tu dices!!!

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  • http://YOURWEBSITE Sandra

    I think you can not group everyone in a lump group. There will be some guest who can afford to pay for everything and others who would love to come and you mean a lot to them but can not afford it, and for those guest you can pay for them..This has nothing to do with have and have not but your love ones sharing this day with you(As I told you before this is your destiny and it should be shared by all.). So you should take that in account. As for as entertaining your guest I think you should stay traditional.Dinner the day before the wedding because everyone will be excited to see each other and excited about the wedding The dinner maybe an all white affair (smiles)That’s all you need to do. Your guest can take care of the rest.while in New York and you can spend money on your passion.

  • Beatriz Alcázar

    Hi Preston, It would be a pleasure to be invited to you wedding. I will be this week in Florida… We met at your NY offices… I am peruvian, Xoua knows me very well. I know your wedding will be delightfull..