Weddings abroad

Guests dropping out...


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I'm feeling a bit fed up today and just wondered if any brides/brides to be could give me some advice. 

We are getting married abroad- Santorini June 2017. I am really excited as it's my dream wedding destination but I have always known that it's my dream and not necessarily that of my family or guests. As such I knew front the start that getting married abroad could mean some people wouldn't necessarily attend for varying reasons. For this reason we are having a big party when we get back home. At the start of the year I made save the dates to try give people as much notice as possible and get a rough idea of potential numbers. Based on responses we paid deposit for venue and confirmed booking. At this point there were about 45 people coming- a few of which are my hubby's best friends and anticipated to be part of bridal party. As the year has gone on more and more people have dropped out. My partner was really disappointed as this includes 3 of his best friends. Finances have been main reason which my partner has struggled with as most are fairly comfortable finance wise (or so appear). It really caused him upset initially and did make us question wedding abroad as we had always assumed drop outs, just not from our best friends. He's okay with this now but took a while.

Roll on to now and about 20 people have reserved accommodation. To save money most guests (ourselves inc) have forgone travel agent and booked with hotels direct or and will be getting flights from easyjet when released sept/Oct. But a few of my closet friends and family haven't booked anything. I researched loads of hotels and made a website showing prices and hotel info etc and majority of these are now fully booked. I've tried encouraging friends to just reserve something even if later cancel (alot are free cancellation with no deposit to pay yet) but nothing. I'm starting to think they won't be coming but don't want to hurt my feelings. I'm also worried that those who have reserved accommodation don't yet have flights so could potentially be more drop outs to come.

Obviously it's disappointing that people can't come who we thought were nailed on but I'm actually okay with that. What is stressing me out is that we've booked a reception venue which has a minimum of 35 people- you can have less than that but still have to pay equivalent of food for 35. We are now worried that the hall we have chosen will look empty and we will be paying over the odds as might only be 22 of us at this rate. But if we cancel we lose deposit and have stress of trying to find a new venue.. Most of which are booked upto 2 yr in advance. I'm stressed and I know its majorly stressing my partner out who is now saying he wishes we had just gone somewhere in carribean or similar with parents instead :-( x


This is a tricky one and I feel sorry for you. I'm not going to say 'you should know this will happen for an abroad wedding!' as it looks like you went in eyes open to this possibility.

The only thing I can say is they probably did have good intentions of coming originally, but when it's come to crunch time- booking hotels- they suddenly start having doubts or maybe start actually thinking about it in a practical way and realise they can't afford it or can't get time off. I know it may seem that they are well off financially, but when it comes to a choice between an abroad wedding- in a location they didn't choose at a time they didn't choose- and a holiday somewhere they really want to go instead- they might flake out on the wedding. At the end of the day, people are flakey. Even for a UK wedding- even for one down the road from their house- you still get people deciding they can't come, often at the last minute.

I think your best option is to carry on as you are. It sounds like there are still 20 people who are intending to come and are willing to use their holiday days and cash to attend your wedding, so it would be a shame to cancel or change plans. You might have too much food, the room might be too big, but you'll still have an amazing time. And who knows, those flakey guests may change their mind and decide to come later on.


Thanks Sammy Kate I definitely think you're right about guests having best intentions and I said same thing to my partner about holiday not being unaffordable for some but not a priority for their finances which he gets now. And they will be at the party at home. 

Sal yes its a risk and yes we went on with eyes open to possibility that people could cancel and would be a very big ask. I was more looking for advice on the booking issue. 

Sammy Kate I think maybe you're right and not to panic and start changing just yet x


In terms of the booking is it a minimum spend type of thing? I.E can you go for a more expensive meal option / added extra choices etc rather than just paying for extra meals that wont get eaten? It always worth asking if the venue is willing to be flexible on this. I wouldn't worry too much about the venue looking empty, hard to say of course without seeing the venue but i'm sure with tables etc in there it will still look good.

Wedding thread:


Sometimes with this I think if guests know there is the option of a UK party they can be a bit more flaky because they know they can celebrate with you later.

I personally love weddings abroad and some of my best holidays have been to a destination wedding and often got us going to places we wouldn't have picked for a holiday.

Even 20 guests you will have a great time, often the smaller groups have more fun and the guests all get to know each other in the days leading up to the wedding. I went to a great one in the Caymans which had about 30 guests. We all spent the week together in the same hotel, it was fab, we made loads of new friends and we had lots of group activities planned. There was a sunday brunch, a boat trip and an afternoon sitting in the see drinking beer.....


Ohh that sounds amazing Mrs Twizbe! One of the reasons I was so keen to go abroad was the lure of a more intimate wedding and opportunity to spend a week in the sunshine with some of our favourites. Good to hear that you enjoyed the planned activities too as I was wondering about arranging a couple of things and inviting everyone but didn't want people to feel we were taking over. 

Wed172B that's a really good point about changing the menu if poss and seeing if they will be flexible. As far as I can recall it's about a minimum spend so perhaps they might let us put the costs towards nicer meal or something. Certainly worth asking so thank you :-)


The key with group activities is to let people know in advance, have a range of cheap / free and paid for activities and have a day off or two planned.

For the Cayman one it went like this.

Friday - arrive in Grand Cayman

Saturday - day time BBQ in their 'garden' which was a patch of sand next to the main beach which included the beer in the sea

Sunday - brunch (never eaten so much food) followed by stag and hens

Monday - free day

Tuesday - wedding

Weds - boat trip to see the stingrays, we had our own boat

Thursday - free day

Friday - farewell BBQ at their place again (evening this time)



Thank you for the tips and sharing the itinerary Mrs Twizbe. I was thinking welcome meal on Mon (not paid for but will probably include some drinks) free day Tuesday, wed eve girls night (wine tasting which I'll cover), Thursday eve guys night- no idea what the guys are planning, Fri free day, sat wedding, sun free day then depending on flight time inviting everyone for a farewell meal/drink on the Mon. Does that sound okay? x

Wedding addict

Im really sorry to hear that people have been dropping out and even though expected to an extent I dont think that makes it any easier.

We went to a friends wedding in Rome a couple of years ago and we didnt book flights or accommodation until a few months before the wedding. This was before I was a bride to be so I wasnt thinking about how stressfull it may be for them wondering whether we will actually book everything so maybe your friends and family are the same.  June 2017 is still some time away and although its important to you to have things booked early it probably isnt top of everyone elses list.

I think as it gets closer to the time more people will book up. If they are still saying they are coming I think it would be incredibly rude to drop out closer to the time so hopefully it will all be fine.


I got married in Rhodes I had ppl say they were coming then didn't I also had ppl who said they weren't coming and ended up coming so as annoying as it is it's just a waiting game as uv said it's the chance u take going abroad xx

New bride


You must not worry about the guests that they will not come, you will make a great party back to your country with everyone and you will show them the great photos.

I think you must search for a different venue and maybe the price with 22 guests (plus lost deposit) will be lower in the new venue than the first one with the 35.

My husband is a photographer in Santorini and he knows many venues, economies or not, so maybe he can help you. For example Pyrgos Restaurant is one of the most famous and is not so expensive, where you can have music more than 12:00 night. 

His company name is Ben photography and his facebook page is: 




In the weirdest possible way; I believe this situation is a testament to all who contemplate destination weddings... This is a really unfortunate predicament; however, at least you have the UK party to share the experience with all who couldn't attend. I know you said H2B's friends seem financially comfortable, but trust me, you never know what's going on in other peoples lives. I went out of my way to ensure guests attending my wedding will be least inconvenienced on the day because I am fully aware of how expensive things can get for guests... As it's been stated already; the cost to attend a bog standard wedding in the UK is already pricey much less to include the costs of flights, hotel, food and drink/spending money. I have friends who missed their siblings weddings because they couldn't afford it - some people also may not be able to take the time off - they may not be able to get a sitter, etc, etc, etc. There are so many complexities where destination weddings are concerned that it's better to just elope than rely on guests. It's a shame that you could be left out of pocket; but at least you know that those in attendance are there because they really want to be and not because they're your second cousin twice removed 😉


Thanks for everyone's responses. I had replied earlier but just realised it's not posted so keeping it short and sweet 


Mrs..C..2be did you stick with your original booking for a venue? We are sitting about 25 guests and feel as well like the area we have booked might be too large. xx


Hi Gill, 

We didn't amend the booking and left it as it was. We now have 28 confirmed guests so will be 30 of us in the room supposed to be for 35 plus. Which room have you booked? x


Hey Hun,

we went for panorama hall with the private terrace! Is that the same one youre in? Xx


I think we're in the Aghi Fonti one on the ground floor x


They are all lovely it will be amazing! Ah I can't wait now xx


I know me too When is yours again Gill? xx


We are June 2018 at Dana Villas and then panorama hall at pyrgos! I've been having crazy dreams the last few nights after thinking about it all hopefully it will go away lol! 

when is yours? have you got your dress all organised xx