Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wedding Week, Day #4: Do NOT Have a Destination Wedding

One of many fantastic things that would not have happened if we'd had a destination wedding - because few (if any) of these wonderful people would have been able to come.

According to the latest statistics, 24% of you out there decide to have destination weddings. Our apologies to anyone who had/is having a destination wedding, but we think it was/is a bad idea. Personally, I don't think that "do not have a destination wedding" should be advice - I think it should be a rule.

Destination weddings embody the epitome of the "it's all about me" mentality. Think about it - you're essentially forcing your friends and family to take extra time off work and take a vacation to somewhere not of their own choosing while you're the center of attention for the whole vacation. It's so preposterous that I'm surprised this trend ever got started in the first place.

In addition to not being very considerate of the (probably relatively few) friends and family who will be able to afford to attend a destination wedding, you are (unless you run in fabulously wealthy circles) probably cutting most of your friends and family out of celebrating your wedding with you - and remember that they want to celebrate with you; they just don't want to celebrate completely on your terms.

Personally, we have only attended one destination wedding (at a picturesque lake somewhere in Europe), and honestly, we only attended because we just happened to be living in an adjoining country at the time - we never would have come if we'd had to travel from the USA like the rest of the wedding party. The only people who could attend were a few family members and one friend - even the parents of the bride couldn't attend!

By contrast, we held our wedding in our hometown, and we were able to host a gigantic party for 80 of our family members and closest friends - all for far less than what the airfare alone would cost for a destination wedding.

From our (limited) experience, in addition to being a significant time and financial burden on the few people who can attend and shutting out most of your friends and family from coming, having a destination wedding adds even more stress to the engaged couple. After all, you're adding vacation stress (travel and logistics in an unfamiliar place; not knowing the language; dealing with strange food; dealing with strange hairdressers and tailors in a foreign language; etc.) to the normal wedding stress - not a good combination. And unless you're going somewhere so remote that your wedding party is the only group around, everyone else at your destination wedding location will be conspicuously gawking at the bizarre spectacle unfolding before them - I am remembering a town full of Europeans who watched this American girl run around their tiny town in street clothes and a veil, and then in a wedding dress, for an entire day - they were utterly perplexed, and they did not try to hide their confusion.

Please please please, save everyone time, nerves, and money - don't have a destination wedding. Hold your wedding in one of your hometowns (even if you rarely go there anymore, like us), or if you really can't stand either of your hometowns, in an easily accessible, neutral third location, preferably somewhere about halfway between where your respective families live. Trust me - you'll thank me.

I'm guessing at least 24% of you vehemently disagree with this post; feel free to explain in the comments why a destination wedding was the only thing that made sense for you. And please go into a little more depth than "it was the only way to limit the number of guests" - while that may be true, I hope that's not all there is to it, since it's easy enough to limit guest numbers in other ways. (My new favorite way of limiting the number of guests is to hold the wedding on a random day, like a Tuesday.)

*NOTE TO COMMENTERS [8-25-2014]: I'm thrilled that this post continues to draw passionate comments three years after I originally put it up - but the number of comments on this post has revealed some problems with Blogger's commenting system. To see all the comments on this post, you'll need to push "Load more comments" at the bottom of the page below the comments - probably more than once, until you no longer see the option to "Load more comments". You'll also probably have to do this to see your own comment after you post it. Thanks for commenting!*

So, after a big "don't" today, tomorrow we'll get back into the swing of things with a big "do."

264 comments:

  1. If you are mostly referring to people who are from the States going out of the country to marry, then yes, I wholeheartedly agree with you. However, if a couple that's (for example) from the US having a destination wedding within the US, I don't think that's a horrible idea. In my case, my husband's family lives over 12 hours away from my family so it's a matter of who is going to have to travel. Plus now, many of the typical US destination weddings have business that do it all for you so it's way less stressful! Sometimes those kind of weddings are the better compromise.
    -Robin Z.

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  2. Hi Robin,

    Yes, that definitely makes sense sometimes - as (I think) the above post implies, I am mostly referring to the kind of destination weddings that take place in Alaska, Hawaii, Bali, Europe, South America, etc. if you live in, say, Springfield, IL.

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  3. Well, I am part of the 24% who disagree with this post. As Robin mentioned above, no matter where we had our wedding, a majority of the people would have had to travel. Since that was the case, we decided to make it a destination that a lot of people had never been to, but that we knew they would all love.

    The average travel time to our destination was probably 9 hours driving and 4 hours if flying. Despite that, we had 230 people show up.

    It may not be for every couple, but I do not think that destination weddings should be a Don't.

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    1. Im with you. I totally disagree with this article too. First, It seems to assume that all people who attend home town weddings want to be there. That's just not true. How many people come because they feel obligated to, because they are someone plus one, or because they want free booze. If you have a destination wedding only the people who really want to will be there. Also, you wont have to spend thousands of dollars trying to please a bunch of people who are coming for all the wrong reasons. Having an intimate destination wedding is actually humble, in my opinion. You can have a small, intimate gathering/vacation with your closest friends and family without the self centered notion that hundreds of people actually WANT to be at YOUR wedding. And you are likely only having a home town wedding bc you dont have a bunch of friends from all around the country and you want people to spend money on your gift as opposed to having your close family all together for a once in a lifetime group vacation. When else will you get the grooms and brides parents and siblings together for a trip? It sounds perfect to me!

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    2. Anonymous: You are totally, completely wrong, both in your (poor) assumptions you make about me and in your assertions about weddings.

      It is beyond ridiculous to say that "having an intimate destination wedding is actually humble" - forcing your friends and family to come on a vacation with you (and thereby pay for most of your wedding) is humble? How? You're essentially laying a challenge out to them - you'll pay to come to my wedding, or you obviously don't love me enough.

      "you are likely only having a home town wedding bc you dont have a bunch of friends from all around the country" - another bad assumption about me. In the ten years leading up to my wedding, I lived in 3 different US States and *4 different countries* - and 90% of our guests were STILL within a 4 hour drive of our hometown.

      "you want people to spend money on your gift as opposed to having your close family all together for a once in a lifetime group vacation" - I didn't care who brought gifts and who didn't - what I wanted was people's company. And I was able to enjoy the company of many, many people because I didn't have a destination wedding, thereby shutting out most of my friends and family from attending.

      And all YOU apparently want is to force your friends and family to come on a vacation somewhere you want to go (not where they want to go) - a vacation where you get to be the center of attention the entire trip. How selfish. And if you think you're guests don't think the same thing, perhaps you should read all the stories of destination wedding guests in the comments below.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    3. I was actually half on board for some destination weddings until Anonymous' comment. Unfortunately, I think 50% of DW couples have these mentality. "People who really want to be there will be there"= people who feel obligated to be there will suffer in silence to find the money and vacation time to be there. Don't delude yourself. People always pretend to be fine with people not attending because they know that many people will bend over backwards to be there and not say a word. Would you be fine if half your favoured guest list couldn't make it? Easy to say, but it's funny how much resentment crops up in these circumstances. Unbelievable self absorption.

      There are times when a DW makes sense. When a large portion of families and friends do not live within local distance to you, it's a DW no matter if it's home base. But seriously, not caring who shows up= modified elopement. Destination wedding is an expectation on guests masked with a fake easygoing attitude of the couple. You DO care that people show up, or you would have eloped.

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  4. Also part of the 24% who disagree, but possibly being involved in and promoting Destination Weddings, I see the benefits for the couple and their invited guests. For the couple it is their wedding day and they should be the center of attention and free to chose where they want to celebrate the event. Many guests, who have to be invited to a local based wedding, only attend to enjoy a free reception meal and drinks at the couples, or their families expense. Destination weddings limit those who attend to people who really want to share in the celebrations. With families often widely spread many would have to travel in any case so why not somewhere exotic, romantic and different to celebrate the event and have a holiday at the same time. Our venues are private villas so no locals, other than the staff, to "gawk" at the bride or become involved or bemused at what is going on. We also have resident wedding planners to organize everything for the couple so far from being more stressful it is just the opposite. The whole wedding day, holiday, reception and ceremony planned as the bride and groom want it to but done for them so they and their guests can just relax and enjoy themselves.

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  5. Hmmm, Adrian, normally I bring down the spam hammer upon any comments that are even just somewhat spammy in nature (such as hotlinking to your business's website in your username), but since you put some thought into your reply (even if it is a bit spammy), I guess I'll allow it, just this once.

    Tyler, that's a super-impressive turnout for a wedding so far away - perhaps I'm just not as beloved as you, but I seriously doubt we would have gotten that kind of turnout if we'd made everyone drive/fly so far, and we were happy to have everyone there with us. But, I'm glad it worked out for you (and many of your friends and family, it seems)!

    -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  6. I agree with you, Angry Bureaucrat, though with Tyler's caveat that it can sometimes be about optimizing a situation where everyone is going to have to travel anyways.

    You might in the future more clearly differentiate "destination weddings" from "weddings where we live but still pretty far for a lot of people", as those are quite distinct beasts. It sounds like Robin Z's wedding was like the second type, and that Tyler's would have been. Mine was as well; it was in France, where we lived, near the bride's hometown, and few from my side could make the trip. Which was too bad, but our family had the means more than hers did.

    You do well to point out that for people of larger means (high salaries, lots of vacation or off time--- both of which are luxuries in the U.S.), destination weddings are not so onerous. But the problem with the wedding industry is that it is suckering people of not so grand means into spending like they do, on the grounds that it's "just this once".

    And spreading the logistics of vacations does stress the guests out, especially if they want to bring their families along. As Adrian points out, you can hire people to lessen that stress, but that just adds more exorbitant costs.

    --Andrew Mc

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  7. I agree with this post. I think that if you do a destination wedding, you cannot expect people to come. My brother in law is getting married on the other side of the country even though they live in the same town as my wife and I. Also, all their relatives are either here or 600 miles away. Instead, they make it further for everyone just so they can have a beach wedding.

    I wish we could go, but committing to take time off work and the cost of airfare, it would just not be responsible to spend all that money to go.

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    1. I am all for destination weddings, however I like your post. You said it's just not responsible for you and that fine, you didn't go on a rant like it's somebody else fault that you will not be able to make it because of your situation...

      I believe the couple can have their wedding were they want and no matter what the couple decides somebody is not going to be happy. I agree the couple should understand that most people will not be able to make it and on the flip side the people who can't make it should not blame it on the couple and have bad things to say, like "the couple is selfish". It's selfish to complain because of your financial situation, beacause Im sure If you had it you would be there, but is that the couples problem?

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    2. Anonymous:

      "is that the couples problem" - it's the couple's problem if the couple wants their friends and family to attend.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  8. Andrew: Indeed, I agree and understand about situations where your family is truly so spread out that it doesn't much matter where you have your wedding as most people will have to travel long distances - but for most people, that's simply not the case. Instead, for most people, I think it is about "suckering people of not so grand means into spending like they do, on the grounds that it's 'just this once'", as you said.

    Anonymous: I'm sorry to hear about your situation - that seriously sucks that you and your wife will have to miss out on her brother's wedding just because they wanted to do it on the beach. That's what a honeymoon is for - beach pictures! Oh well - next time, point people to this post, and perhaps they'll make a wiser decision ;) But seriously, I give you my condolences - that is a disappointing situation.

    -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  9. I wish this post considered how exploitative destination weddings are. It's one thing to consume products that have been manufactored in developing countries for western consumption - some of which are needed- but destination weddings are both exploitative and completely unnecessary.

    While I realize that some destination weddings do occur in developed countries, my experience has been with friends wanting to get married in the Carribean or currently, Cuba. How privileged we are leave our jobs, fly to another country, use their resources and land for our own pleasure, practice patriarchal traditions and then return to our own country.

    Most people in developing countries live in such poverty that they will not be able to experience the week vacation that a destination wedding takes - most people in developing countries cannot afford to live in the country that westerners choose to wed in. They are not able to breeze through customs and leave the country that they were born in for a month or a day. Many developing countries are tied into Structual Adjustment Programs with the IMF and so while some people would argue that the tourism industry generates income into the economy, many developing economies are so restricted into exports that nothing gets reintegrated into the community. Therefore tourism is doing nothing by providing minimal jobs and putting capital into corporations pockets - corps. that are not owned by locals.

    So maybe reasoning for not planning a destination wedding other then the fact that's it is inconsiderate for friends and family is that it is very exploitative for the people who live in the destined country.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-ZE2L3_980

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    1. Totally exploitative..what with all the money the countries bring in, dollars they spend on advertising, and all those awful jobs the resorts create that host the weddings... OH, wait, sounds like the countries benefit from tourism- who would have thought?

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  10. Counterpoint: That's a good point that I hadn't considered before, as I've never been invited to a destination wedding in a developing country. However, as far as planting reasons in the American public's mind as to why they shouldn't have a destination wedding, I suspect that arguing that it's horribly inconsiderate to family and friends will be more effective than arguing that it's exploiting the people who live in the destination country, even if the latter point is more important in the grand scheme of things.

    -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  11. I am part of the 24% that does not agree with you, Angry Bureaucrat.

    We will soon be getting married in Mexico and have 36 people joining us for the wedding.

    Our situation: we have half of our family coming from Peru, and the others are spread out from coast to coast in Canada - we live in the middle of Canada, but I am from the East coast, and my brother and his wife are on the West coast.

    Cost and travel logistics wise, it ends up being much easier on our guests (apart from those living in middle Canada) to go to Mexico for a week, than it is to buy airfare and hotel accomodations in Canada. Keep in mind that to fly from the East to the West coast in Canada is 700$ (and that's a good price).

    Attending our wedding is costing guests between around 1000$ to 1200$ per person for 7 days - we chose the resort based on what it would cost our guests.

    Also, I must agree with the comment that hosting a wedding in your home town to have more guests attend is not for me. Those most important to me wanted to come to Mexico with us and were consulted before we chose that route. Thet all thought it was nice to get a vacation out of it and spend a week together in a sunny, laid back place.


    With regards to the exploitative nature of going to a developing country: my husband and I have travelled extensively, with our backpacks and tents - this is our first time at a resort. I completly support alternative travel.

    However, it is not as black and white as Counterpoint makes it. Developing countries do gain jobs from tourism, even the big resort type. (Cuba is a seperate example however, because money, employment and tourism are handled completly different there than in other countries.)

    For example, two of our friends attending our wedding are Mexicans, living in Cancun and they both work in the tourism trade.

    I have also spent a lot of time at non-exploited beaches (with no resorts) in Peru - and let me tell you that locals do a pretty good job at polluting it themselves. For lack of education and effective littering laws, locals often dump their garbage right on the beach, plastic containers and beer bottles and all. Spoiling natural ressources cannot therefore solely be pinned on foreigners or resorts.

    That said, we did try to find a non all-inclusive resort to host our wedding, with the idea of supporting small local business. Unfortunately, the prices they wanted to charge us were quite high. It was fine for us, but we could not ask our guest to pay double in order to support local business. If we could have, we would have.

    That said, I think each couple should do what they think is right, at home or at a destination - or not get married at all, for that matter. Lol.

    By the way - I am also an Angry Bureaucrat, a Canadian one.

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    1. Canadian Angry Bureaucrat: Wow, that is a seriously spread out family. In your case, all of that makes sense, obviously. With half of your family in Canada and the other half in Peru, getting married in Mexico is splitting the distance pretty well, actually - but I rather doubt that's the case for most people. I hope it all goes brilliantly for you, fellow Angry Bureaucrat!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  12. I suppose I am in the 24% because I cannot get behind a bright-line rule against destination weddings. But, I found this post because I am really struggling with my own wedding plans right now, so I can't say that I am totally supportive of destination weddings.
    We live in Houston and are considering a wedding in Atlantic City. It would be so much fun to be there with the people I love the most, but I worry about my close friends and family spending money on flights and hotels. We can't afford to cover their travel expenses. If people choose to come, that would be the greatest and only wedding gift we would ever want. Of course, we will completely understand if people can’t come, but it does make me sad that some of the people I love the most might not be there. This is what I am struggling with right now. I feel selfish for forcing my loved ones to make an awful choice between a trip that will be financially burdensome and the sadness of not being at my wedding. However, imagining a hometown wedding causes more stress than the thoughts of my selfishness.
    My fiancé (PG) and I were originally planning a hometown wedding like the one Angry Bureaucrat (AB) described. By hometown I mean our actual hometown where our families live, population 110,000. It seemed like the best thing to do because it would be so easy for our loved ones to attend. When I thought about having a big party with lots of friends and family it seemed fantastic. But after a while, the idea of the hometown wedding stopped seeming fantastic and started sounding really overwhelming.
    I know AB said that limiting the number of guests is not a good enough reason to justify a destination wedding, but I don't understand why. To me, it's not just a good enough reason, it's a GREAT reason. If PG and I have a hometown wedding, we cannot escape inviting 150 people. There is simply no way around it. (It really isn’t “easy enough” to limit the guests, and we don’t want to have our wedding on a Tuesday.) There are many people that would be hurt if we didn't invite them, and I understand why. But we hardly ever see those people. They don't call or write, or meet us for dinner or drinks. To be fair, we don't call them either, but we do care about them and enjoy their company--when they are buying their own drinks.
    At our wedding, however, we will be buying the drinks. And those people are going to cost at least $50 each. And those people are going to bring dates that we don't even know. They might even bring their kids; maybe their dates' kids, too. So that person that I love seeing out every now and then will end up costing us hundreds of dollars for four hours of my life. Now, multiply that by at least 50, because that's my low-ball estimate of obligatory hometown invitees. Even if those 50 invitees only bring a date and leave the kids at home, at $50 a head that's $5000. $5000. I wish I could make the font bigger. FIVE. THOUSAND. DOLLARS. Yuck. Those people will be fun, but, let’s face it, not $5000 fun. And we still have 100 more invitees who will also bring dates, kids, etc.

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  13. [continued. sorry for length and lack of paragraph breaks above]

    By having the destination wedding, we can cut the 50 obligatory invitees off the list, plus 25 more. Then, we can safely say "no kids" because it's appropriate to invite "adults only" to a casino town for the weekend. That leaves 75 invitees who would be worth paying $50 or $60 or $70 a head to share our wedding day with. Of those 75, probably at least 20 won't come, and that's ok. If only 35 people come then we can spend more time with each of them.

    And one very important reason for the destination wedding is to have an adventure with the people we love. When else will we ever have a chance to gather our favorite people from all areas and times of our lives in an exciting place we've never been? Never. There will never be another opportunity to like our wedding. I want all of my people to get to know each other at least a little--which really won't happen in a 4 hour wedding. I want all my people and his people to have a great time together. Mostly, I want the trip to be a cherished memory for all of us. Yes, I suppose I am being selfish even in wanting those things, but at some point, we have to get out there and make great memories with the people we love while we still can, even if it costs some money.

    Anyway, that's just some insight into one bride's destination wedding logic. I just want to joyfully anticipate our wedding rather than dread it. So far, Atlantic City gives me the most to look forward to and the least stress, though it is certainly not a stress-free decision.

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    1. Anonymous: I understand your justifications - I just don't agree with them ;) We made our "hometown" wedding a multi-day affair, with the people we were closest to spending 3+ days with us, while the people we felt we "had" to invite only came to the ceremony and (inexpensive) reception immediately after the ceremony at the church. We saved the (comparably) big bucks for a more exclusive dinner and party for about 75 of the 175 or so people who came to the ceremony. You should read the rest of the posts in the Wedding Week series (check out the "blog archive" on the above and right) for more ideas about how to make a hometown wedding work - maybe you'll be able to figure out a way to allow more people to celebrate with you, which is all they really want.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    2. My fiance and I are having a destination wedding in Mexico next year we are both taking some college classes and working, so a destination wedding works. My family is small and My mother passed away a couple of years ago. His family is huge on both sides, with that being said, why should we have to have a hometown wedding just to make some family members happy, to be honest no matter what, someone will have something to say, like why you choose that color,venue,time,pastor,etc.

      We had a talk with our families 2 years ago about a wedding in Mexico and they were all excited and said you know we will be there and now that it's here its a problem for some, cost $659pp-all inclusive resort + your airfare, you also have a payment plan and have 1 year to pay. We are considered selfish, they feel left out of the plans. With all do respect planning a DW is much less stressful, you tell the planners what you want they take care of it and thats that.

      Our plan was for everyone to enjoy themselves without any of our family members having to do anything. I've heard that some traditional weddings, family member and the bride are so busy planner and taking care of small details down to the last minute, they didn't get a chance to enjoy and were so sleepy the wedding nite.

      Nothing is perfect but our plan is to have all family members who can attend to just enjoy and dont have to do anything but eat,drink, give a speech and dance. your attendance will be your gift to us. If you can't make it we understand, but dont take your situation out on us becuz you cant make it. Is that the couples fault?

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    3. Anonymous:

      "Is that the couples fault?" - yes, it is. After all, you are the ones who are planning a wedding that they can't attend. There's a big difference between picking a wedding color that some relative doesn't love and planning a wedding that cuts out a big swath of your friends and family.

      If you want to know what your guests are thinking about your wedding, read the other comments on this post - almost no guest likes the fact that they are being invited to a destination wedding, and for some people, it is ruining relationships with their family or close friends.

      Since his family is huge and apparently lives in one geographic area, it simply doesn't make sense to have a wedding elsewhere and make everyone travel or not come.

      "We had a talk with our families 2 years ago about a wedding in Mexico and they were all excited and said you know we will be there" - yes, they were lying to your face to spare your feelings, probably hoping that you'd come to your senses and change your mind.
      I've heard that some traditional weddings, family member and the bride are so busy planner and taking care of small details down to the last minute, they didn't get a chance to enjoy and were so sleepy the wedding nite." - that depends mostly on how your approach your wedding. You don't HAVE to be stressed about it all - that's something that a number of brides choose to impose on themselves. But, my bride didn't, and we had a wonderful time at our self-organized, hometown wedding, for far less than $660/person.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    4. Well, Angry Bureaucrat,if I were invited to attend a ceremony only, and not the reception, I would be pissed. This would not vary if it were the wedding of a family member or a friend. Nice way to tell your "friend" that they are second tier in your circle. This entire discussion is predicated on that kind of differentiation, and is a bit on the "me, me, me, all the time me . . ." conversation. I love weddings; and I love witnessing people I love at their weddings. I'm not sure what planet you are from.

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    5. Anonymous: I'm not entirely sure what you're talking about, but I assure you no one felt "left out" or "second class" at our wedding. There were 4 big events at my wedding. Here they are, along with who was invited to each:

      1. Rehearsal dinner: wedding party, family, close friends, out-of-town guests, a few parents' church friends.
      2. Ceremony - everyone under the sun.
      3. Reception at church - everyone under the sun.
      4. Dinner, party, and dancing - wedding party, family, close friends, out-of-town guests.

      So, pretty much everyone was invited to the dinner, except for in-town friends of parents only and in-town people attending from our home churches who we barely knew anymore, but who wanted to come to the wedding because they saw us grow up. Most of these people wouldn't have wanted to come to the dinner anyway, since they would have felt rather out-of-place.

      However, if you received an invitation from us personally (instead of attending because of an invitation extended by our parents only or because of one we sent to the entire congregations of our home churches), you would have been invited to everything. So, no, I don't think anyone felt left out.

      Nice try, though. Nevertheless, I guarantee people always feel left out of a destination wedding, and a bunch of the people who feel like they HAVE to shell out the money to attend resent having to do so.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    6. First, your entire article assumes your situation as 'married-to-be' is the same as everyone else. And you said

      "but I assure you no one felt "left out" or "second class" at our wedding"

      and at the same time dismissing above with

      "yes, they were lying to your face to spare your feelings, probably hoping that you'd come to your senses and change your mind."

      I believe you are trying to convince us that your friends and family did not lie to your face about their feelings at your wedding but you conclude his family and friends must have lied to his face just to justify your article.

      You cannot decide for someone else how they want their wedding to be and you cannot presume to have knowledge of their circle of friends and family just because you feel hurt or think you will feel hurt if anyone in your circle was to have a destination wedding.

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    7. Anonymous: I'm not sure how to be more explicit with you - ALL OF OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY WERE INVITED TO ALL OF OUR WEDDING EVENTS. The only people who weren't invited to the final dinner/party were people who didn't receive a personal invitation but came to the ceremony and reception (e.g. our parents' church friends).

      So, yes, I'm sure no one felt left out at our wedding. And yes, I'm sure (at least some of) your friends are lying to your face about your decision to have a destination wedding, to spare your feelings while hoping that you come to your senses.

      And you're correct - I can't prevent people from doing stupid things like having destination weddings. But I can point out that their decision to have a destination wedding is a stupid one.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    8. Me me me me that's all the the angry bureaucrat cares about. The couples wedding is about them not about the guest. I have been to a few destination weddings and that's the only way I would ever get married. There's always someone who can't come for different reasons and that's not a problem. Most of the time there will be a reception back home after the wedding that they can attend. There's no guilt and I wouldn't expect anyone to come. If you do great if not...see you when I get back.

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    9. Anonymous: Yeah, I simply don't believe you.

      "There's no guilt and I wouldn't expect anyone to come."

      You'd be fine if your parents didn't come? Your siblings? Your best friend from high school / college / work / wherever? You'd be totally OK with that?

      If not (and, like I said, I don't believe you), you're lying to me, and you're lying to yourself.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  14. What an assumption to say that those people that love you the most, will suck it up and spend the money. How unfair, and how selfish. I despise such grandiose events and the foolish justifications. If you want to go away and have a lavish affair, then have at it. But it's unfair and selfish of you to ask your family and friends to pony up the $$ to join you.

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    1. Chess: I'd mostly agree. Perhaps there occasionally are situations like one of the commenters above (such as half the family is in Canada and the other half in Peru) where a destination wedding in Mexico really is the best arrangement for most people. But my sense is that far too many people use destination weddings as a way to force their friends and family to go on an expensive vacation somewhere with them. If that's what they want to do, I'd suggest trying to arrange that kind of event separately, when they aren't wielding the guilt of wedding attendance over their friends' and families' heads to try to get them to come.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    2. Who said that invitees are being forced to go? They aren't being served - they receive an invitation to join in. They have the choice of accepting or declining.

      Of course no couple should hold it against anyone who cannot attend (whatever the reason may be). For many destination weddings, the bride and groom are not "wielding the guilt of wedding attendance" to anyone.

      To some, inviting close friends and family to a destination wedding is less selfish than simply eloping, because then it could be seen as "witholding the joy of a wedding" from everyone else.

      Here's some advice for you - if you can't go, don't. If the couple is upset, they probably aren't very good people so let it go.

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    3. Anonymous: Oh, if only everyone (both the couple and guests) could/would be so nonchalant about weddings - but for the most part, people aren't. After all, a wedding is one of the few major life events we have left that is celebrated publicly, with a large group of friends, family, and acquaintances - and the couple often resents people who don't come, and guests resent not being invited / being invited to a wedding they can't afford to attend.

      I think your arguments are mostly strawmen - "For many destination weddings, the bride and groom are not "wielding the guilt of wedding attendance" to anyone" - I disagree; I think this is an implicit message in MOST destination weddings.

      "inviting close friends and family to a destination wedding is less selfish than simply eloping" - that is true, but I would think that for almost all destination wedding couples, the choice isn't between eloping and a destination wedding; instead, they don't feel that they can afford their "dream" wedding at home, so they do a destination wedding so they can push most of the wedding costs onto their guests - though what they should be doing instead is scaling back their "dream" wedding to what's important, i.e. celebrating with friends and family.

      "If the couple is upset, they probably aren't very good people so let it go" - oh, yes, good solution, I'll just never talk to my sister or best friend again. That's totally reasonable.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  15. I stumbled across this post and couldn't help but write a reflection. I feel that a wedding is about choice. I believe that no wedding is 'right' or 'wrong.' I celebrate difference and free choice. I believe that each couple has made a decision about what is right for them. I support and trust that. If you don't choose to attend the wedding. Don't go. It's as simple as that. If family and friends can't make the day, that's ok. I'm sure the couple will hold them in their minds on the day knowing that they have made a decision that is right for them. So take a breath. Relax... and allow couples to do what suits them. It sounds like you made a choice that worked for you. Enjoy knowing that and allow other couples to do the same.

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    1. Anonymous: I'm guessing you didn't read the rest of my Wedding Week posts. Upfront, I reject the idea that a couple should make "a decision about what is right for them" utterly without regard to the feelings and desires of their friends and family. If you want to understand where I'm coming from, please read the rest of the Wedding Week posts (especially this one - http://www.angrybureaucrat.com/2011/08/critical-wedding-guiding-principle-its.html). Even if you end up not agreeing with me, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  16. 100% agree. I think one of the ONLY times this type of wedding is acceptable is if the bride and groom completely pay for the group of guests and have a reception later for everyone back in the states. I respect that sometimes an international DW is appropriate when there is family all over the world. But I would consider these reasons the small exceptions. I apologize in advance at my long response, but I hope it gives some insight to future brides and grooms considering the DW option.

    In our case, the bride to be had no qualms sending out a save the date email surprising us with the news of a DW and telling us we have until the end of this month (two weeks) to make a monetary deposit for a destination wedding happening next year- otherwise we won't get their "wonderful room rate".

    Reality is, it can be absolutely insulting to have to read a gushing note from the bride-to-be telling her invitees that this will be a "much needed vacation for everyone". No, it's not. It's a forced 3 day (because most people can not even consider staying longer), $2,000+ stay in a foreign country of the couple's choosing so that the guests can help pay for a extravagant dream wedding and honeymoon that the couple would never be able to afford. When couples talk about how much cheaper the wedding is going to be at a DW, it's laughable. If they honestly count all the costs to their guests, tack on at least another $30,000- $50,000 to the actual wedding costs that they are clearly not taking into account because they don't have to pay it. The kick backs the bride and groom receive for getting certain numbers to buy in, go to help pay for the wedding and honeymoon as well. This makes these situations even more opportunistic and disturbing.

    Who are the travel agents that convince the bride and groom that this is all completely acceptable? (I say this looking at the comment above from Adrian, and cringing- is THAT what you tell the couple? That most people attend weddings just for a free meal and drinks? That is a horrible thing to say or believe.) I shake my head at wedding forums where brides tell other brides that anyone who questions the DW choice is just a whiney jerk, selfish, or controlling nasty person. No one can say anything. It's a no-win situation.

    Culturally, my husband and his mother's side of the family feel a deep sense of obligation (as a act of family love, support, and loyalty) to attend all large events like weddings- especially since my husband's mother passed some time ago. The matriarchal aunt spent 30 minutes admonishing my husband for even considering not going since my husband is the oldest- and therefore carries even more cultural obligations. The burden it is going to place on that side of the family is outrageous, and I can't help but have strong feelings that there was so little consideration towards them.

    I love my brother in law dearly. We know he wants us there- he got choked up when my husband told him we might not be able to make it. My husband and I are totally stressed out. In a situation like this, and many others, for the bride and groom to actually think that people can "just say no and get over it" is asinine.

    So, my husband and I are ponying up for our way into a destination wedding in a location we would never pick to spend thousands of dollars.

    I think the trend in DW really says a lot about the content of people's characters, lack of healthy boundaries, and maturity levels in general. It saddens me to see what a monster the wedding industry has become and how it damages relationships and consumes people in it's path. This is where I think people need to start standing up to the "it's MY day" mentality when it goes too far. But how? It seems to be a pretty complicit cycle...after all, we ARE going...and we will make the best of it because we love our brother. *sigh*

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    1. Anonymous: I definitely sympathize with your situation, and I'm sorry that your brother in law and his bride-to-be have put you and your family in this situation. Wedding couples should absolutely take into consideration the total costs of whatever they're deciding to do - the costs to both them personally and to all of their guests - and it sounds like your brother in law and his bride failed to do that.

      I also agree that the "much needed vacation for everyone" comment is more than a little tacky and definitely demonstrates that the bride may be completely out-of-touch with the feelings of her guests. Has she ever attended a wedding, let alone a destination wedding? There are few people who would describe a wedding of any sort as a "much needed vacation." We had an awesome time at our wedding and loved (almost) every minute of it, but it left us very tired and exhausted by the end - hardly a vacation. There's a reason that many people go on vacation right after their wedding.

      I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling with your situation, but I hope you're able to make the most of it, in spite of the financial burden. I'd recommend trying to immunize yourself against the inevitable stress that will be emanating from the bride and groom and to enjoy the wedding as a vacation, however forced it may be.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  17. I just stumbled upon this after much angst about my "destination wedding", which will take place in Belfast, Northern Ireland. This is my hometown and my parents live there. I have had guests complaining at me from both sides - friends and family of the groom, who live in his hometown 40 miles away from Belfast, and also some of my friends who live in Manchester, England where we now live. How best to pick a venue in this case? I have always wanted to get married "at home" rather than in England, and in any case the Irish contingent would complain about having to come to England (a one hour flight) and the groom's home town would be a nightmare to get to, being rural Northern Ireland with dubious public transport, whereas at least Belfast has its own airport and is the capital. Ho hum.

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    1. uglybuffy: I think you are totally within your rights to want to get married in your hometown and expect your husband's family and your English friends to accept this decision with little or no complaint. A wedding in your hometown is not a destination wedding, especially if your family still lives there. I'd say it's up to you and your fiance as to whether to have the wedding in your hometown or his - if you decide to have it in your hometown, he should be the one to manage his family's and friends' complaints.

      (I'll also point out that traveling 40 miles for a wedding is NOTHING and they shouldn't be complaining about it in the first place. Some people traveled 4500 miles to attend my wedding in my hometown - and they didn't complain.)

      As far as your English friends go, they too should understand your completely natural desire to get married in Belfast - it's where you grew up and where your family still live! I'd suggest you invite the English friends you want to invite, but you might also plan to have a party back in Manchester sometime soon after the wedding to celebrate your wedding with your English friends who couldn't make it to your wedding in Ireland. I'm guessing your English friends' complaints are a defense mechanism against their disappointment of not being able to celebrate with you, which I'm sure they want to do. So, you might consider offering them a different outlet to celebrate with you, if they can't make it to the wedding proper.

      Good luck with everything - I just wanted to let you know that I think you're completely right, and anyone who's complaining about your "destination wedding" doesn't understand what a destination wedding actually is!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    2. [My apologies, uglybuffy - I accidentally deleted your response. I'm reposing it here:]

      Thank you Angry Bureaucrat! I noticed the comments so far have been US based and American readers would probably laugh at the tiny distances involved! I think I will be planning something after the wedding in Manchester as there are so many people I wanted to invite but couldn't!

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  18. David WainwrightJuly 22, 2012 at 5:08 AM

    Angry Bureaucrat, I consider destination weddings (DWs) a massive breach of etiquette. It's inappropriate force guests to spend a large amount of money to attend an event to which they've been invited to. Besides the high costs, there is the time committment. Many people are limited in the amount of vacation time that they get at work, and a DW force them to take a vacation that they might not have wanted to. Furthermore, a wedding normally includes both family and friends. While your friends may think flying to a Caribbean resort might be fun, your 80-year-old great-aunt may not think so.

    There are few valid cases such as when the two families live in different states or countries, but that's the exception. Most people marry people from the same vicinity, and most DWs are simply the product of self-centered couples. If both the bride and groom come from the same general area, then that's where the wedding should be. I have no problem driving a little distance for a couple who wants a nicer wedding venue, but I'm not getting on an airplane or cruise ship, spending $1000, and giving up several days of my time to please some self-absorbed bride and groom.

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    1. David: Thanks for your thoughts! I'd definitely agree with most of them.

      What I find particularly irritating is when people get upset when they invite you to a destination wedding (that's truly to a resort destination just for the sake of the resort destination) and then get upset if you politely decline. Though perhaps I shouldn't be surprised - after all, they decided to be self-centered when planning their wedding, so I suppose it's to be expected that they'd be self-centered when reacting to non-RSVPs.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  19. I've known 6 couples to get married in the last 2 weekends. All of them had traditional or "hometown weddings." All of them expressed nothing but rediculous amounts of stress before and after the wedding. The problem is that these couples spend all this time and money stressing out and trying to please their family and friends even though the wedding is supposed to be about the bride and groom. You are nothing but selfish if you get mad at the couple because you either aren't invited or can't attend a loved ones wedding. I think destination weddings are the perfect way to avoid the politics of hometown weddings. If I followed the politics of a traditional wedding, that would mean having to feed and accommodate over 300 guests. I'm sorry but I'm not going into debt and not be able to put a good down payment on a house and not be able to have a honeymoon just because everybody can't fly out somewhere. Are they paying for my wedding? Nope! So they have no say. Period point blank. I couldn't attend my own brothers wedding but you better believe i was happy as I could be for him. A wedding IS about the bride and groom. If you want what's best for them then you won't act like a child and get upset because YOU are inconvenienced.

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    1. Cholly: It sounds to me that the 6 couples you know have deeper family issues that need to be resolved - and these issues just came out under the strain of the wedding, but that's not exactly the fault of the wedding. If you have such huge family problems that you need to actively avoid your family by having a destination wedding, you have bigger problems you should deal with, rather than fretting over the details of any wedding, hometown or destination.

      And as far as the cost component - I don't think anyone would expect you to provide hotel accommodations for 300 people. In addition, food for 300 people just isn't that much, compared with the cost of a destination wedding. Even if you're WAAAAY overpaying for catered food and drink at $50 / person, that's $15,000 for food and drink - which is about what airfare alone would cost for 15 people to a destination wedding.

      My point is that if you have a destination wedding, you ARE indeed asking people to pay for large parts of your wedding, even if only indirectly - you're shifting much of the wedding costs from you to your guests, and you should think about the consequences of that for your relationships with your friends and family.

      I just wanted to point out that I have never gotten upset when either attending or being invited to a destination wedding. I had a great time attending the destination wedding I attended - but the bride and groom didn't. Also, I have no problem saying "I can't come" when people invite me to a destination wedding - but then THEY'RE the ones who get upset when I say I'm not going to come, to which I say, "well, if you wanted me to come, you shouldn't have planned a destination wedding."

      And I agree with you - a wedding is about the bride and groom. But, as I argue in this series of wedding posts, a wedding is not ONLY about the bride and groom. It all takes a village.

      Didn't it upset you that you couldn't attend your own brother's wedding? It was good of you not to make an issue out of it, but I can't help but think that you're lying to yourself if you say that you weren't disappointed that you couldn't attend - and I'm sure you weren't the only one. And those are the kinds of things your brother should have thought about when planning his wedding.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  20. Hello there! While I understand your points, I honestly think that each case and person is extremely different. I think that a wedding should be about what the couple wants. Isn't marriage about the couple? I don't see what is wrong about being selfish and doing what you want. I'm not marrying my uncles and aunts, I'm marrying my fiance. Life is short, and you shouldn't sit there and worry about what everyone else wants because you can't make everybody happy. Let's be honest, at every wedding there is always someone complaining about how they didn't like the food, or it wasn't open bar, or they didn't like the music, etc. You can't make everyone happy at a wedding, even in your hometown.
    My fiance and I have been together since high school. I'm currently in medical school, and he is working but with 50,000 dollars in debt. I received some money from my grandmother when she passed away which is a small amount we are going to use for our wedding. Being a female is tough in medical school because I have absolutely no time or money to plan a wedding. There is also no way that my fiance would be able to plan it by himself. He has a huge family with older cousins who would all want dates. I couldn't have a wedding at home and be able to accommodate everyone. His family would be completely offended if we had a hometown wedding and didn't invite every single person.
    This summer will be the only time that I will have any time off. So, we are taking the money and going to Hawaii. Neither of us have been there, and probably won't be able to go on such a big trip again for a long time. I'm not really into the dj/reception thing, so going to a luau afterwards. That way I can relax and enjoy a show while being with husband. We are starting to tell other people about it, and some of them are saying, hey why not?! We are just basically saying, hey we are going to go get married in Hawaii. If it happens to be on your list of places to go, and it's something you want to do, then we'll see you there. I don't know if they'll actually go, but I would never, ever expect anyone to go. I know it's expensive, and time consuming. I don't understand why other people get mad about people not attending their wedding. I just want to have a great life experience with someone that I truly love.

    I think you are just a very family oriented person, and that's really great. I do love all my friends and family and would love to share this with them. At the same time, I'm a people pleaser, and I would just worry the whole day about whether every single person is happy. In the end I just want to enjoy the day with the person that I love. I learned over many years that relationships take a lot of work, and I just want to focus on him that day.

    Life is short. Do what you want. If having all of your family there is what makes you happy, do it. If you want to elope, go ahead. Those who love you will just want you to be happy. I think there are certain times in life when it's okay to be a little selfish.

    We'll just have to agree to disagree. Have a great day!

    Now it's time to study! Probably won't be back...

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    1. Jess: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. However, I still disagree with your attitude that your wedding is all about you - people want the ability to celebrate with you. I hope you'll at least throw a couple of parties back in your hometowns to give people the chance to celebrate!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  21. A few years ago my friend decided to have a destination wedding. It was right at christmas and would have been $3,000 a person. i have two small children, and she kept nagging me about it, thinking the only 'issue' I had with coming was to find someone to watch the kids. I would feel terrible saying to the kids "You're going to this person's house for Christmas and I'm going away. Oh and no presents this year, I've got to pay out $3,000 for this wedding." My friends other solution to this was for me to bring the kids with me. I cannot afford, nor did I want to spend nearly $10,00 to go to her wedding. I have been friends with her for about 20 yrs now, and she hasn't really talked to me since I didn't go. The cost was not something I could afford, neither was the timing of it.

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    1. Anonymous: Sigh, I'm deeply sorry to hear that your (former?) friend's thoughtlessness came between you. I'd say that I hope you're able to reconnect, but since it's been a few years, I don't know how likely that is. It's reasons like this that I wish people would seriously think about the consequences of having a destination wedding before they decide on that option.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  22. I think there is a difference between a "destination wedding" and a wedding where many guests would have to fly anyway. The latter, I think, is completely appropriate. Another thing to consider: my cousin's wedding was about 3.5 hours driving time away from her side of the family, but her husband's father was very sick and was able to attend the wedding only because it was in the town where he lived.

    As for the 'picking your guests' vacation for them' argument, it depends on your destination. A larger city (NYC, Chicago) usually has something for almost everyone, so that argument is not always true.

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    1. M: I agree, there's a difference between most people having to fly (see the above comment about the Canadian/Peruvian couple getting married in Mexico). However, I think lots of people stretch this excuse beyond credulity - I'd say that the cases were that is truly the case, i.e. that most people would have to fly even if you had it in one of your hometowns, are relatively few and far between. And driving 3.5 hours to a wedding (at least in the US) is nothing, I'd say, especially if there were serious medical reasons to hold it in a particular location!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  23. I've been on the computer for days doing research, we are trying to keep costs down, by eliminating certain "traditional" things that we decided just weren't for us. but this topic has got me wondering if we made a mistake with our plans. We have plenty of time to change things if need be. I would just like to know what your thoughts are in regards to the place we picked out. They provide everything we need so it does help with the stress factor. But it's only an 1 1/2 hour drive from our "hometown" I was calling the event we are doing a destination wedding but I'm not sure qualifies. I've never planned a wedding and we are trying to save every where we can. This is actually a renewal of vows event. My sister who got married at the court house is now able to afford a "bigger" wedding. At her first wedding it was just a handful of us in a tiny room. Our father wasn't even at the first wedding. Now that we are able to, we would like to be able to invite our close family and friends and have our dad walk her down the aisle to give her away. My only concern is, is it too much to ask of our guest to travel 1 1/2 hours to attend our event? They won't be "required" to spend the night, but it is an option if they would like to spend the night. We are looking into getting discounts for the rooms and transportation. But I'm wondering if we are "wrong" for wanting to host our event at this place.

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    1. Nemeanleo: Hmmmmm, it's a little tough to say - I guess whether it qualifies as a "destination wedding" depends a bit on your cultural context and on the guests you're inviting (and want to attend) the event.

      For example, one of the commenters above said that some of her fiance's family were giving her flack about having to travel 40 miles to her hometown for their wedding - but that was in England, where the cultural attitudes towards travel are very different from the US, where I currently live. So, I'll assume you're talking about the US.

      For most people in the US, traveling 90 minutes to attend an event like this isn't a huge deal, especially if the people you're inviting are family and close friends. I've had to travel to a few events at about that distance, and at worst, I was mildly irked, so no big deal.

      At my wedding, however, we also had a lot of elderly people from our parents' churches who have known us our whole lives and who also wanted to attend (just the ceremony, not the rest). For many of them, traveling 90 minutes would have been a substantial burden, and many of them would not have been able to come if they'd needed to travel 90 minutes to get to our ceremony.

      Since I don't know the details about the event, I'll also ask - does the day's plan make it reasonable for people to be able to drive 90 minutes to the event and 90 minutes home, without having to stay the night? By this I mean, things aren't starting extremely early or going to run until midnight, are they? If so, you might want to rethink your plan.

      So, assuming you're in the US, I'd say that 90 minutes of travel generally isn't a big deal, but that you need to make sure it's not a substantial burden on any particular subset of your guest list, and you need to make sure that the day's schedule accommodates 90 minutes of travel x 2.

      I hope this helps - let me know if you have any more questions!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    2. [My apologies - I accidentally deleted your reply, so I'm posting it back:]

      Thank you! This really did help. The event is in Dec of next year. So like I said we have plenty of time to change things. We are trying to plan the event early enough in the day to accommodate travel time if the guest decide they don't want to spend the night. Because we know hotel rooms can get pricey. Also some of them may bring their children and that is probably another reason they may want to travel home. And Yes the event is in the US. There won't be too many elderly guest, my father will be the oldest person there and he is 59 and He is traveling with me. But we are concerned about our guest who are traveling with children. Thank you so much for your advice I really appreciate it! I will take all of what you have said into consideration. We are now considering a party in our hometown for those who can't attend. Thanks again

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    3. Nemeanlo: Thanks - I'm glad you found it helpful! That's why I wrote the post, to try to help people and keep them from making bad decisions ;) You should read the rest of my wedding posts from this week (scroll up to the blog archive on the right side of the page to see my other wedding posts) - they might also give you some productive ideas. If you have any other questions, I'll be happy to do my best to respond. Take care, and good luck!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  24. My daughter is getting ready to plan a destination wedding, and I am in agreement with her! Whether here or somewhere else, it's an exploitation of goods and services considering the prices many venues charge in the US. She will have a more affordable wedding with those that truly want to be there. With over a year of planning away, everyone has time to save. It's their choice. Either way, we will have a wonderful time and THEY will have the wedding of THEIR dreams...like it or not, it IS about them! Suck it up Mr. Bureaucrat. While I would like to have a small celebration after the fact in our hometown, they really don't want the "drama" often involved in those types of situations. This alleviates that problem...and as I said, will involve only those that truly are there for the couple!

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    1. Anonymous: There are lots of ways to decrease the cost of a wedding in the US - I outline a number of ways in my other Wedding Week posts. You can check them out via the Blog Archive on the upper right part of this page. One easy way - tell vendors that you're having a family reunion instead of a wedding; this can save you a lot during the initial negotiations.

      I'm glad that their decision to have a destination wedding hasn't driven a wedge between you and them - but I suspect it will drive a wedge between them and SOMEBODY. This decision will not save them any drama - if anything, it will increase the drama.

      You say people have a year to save - that sounds to me like you're saying to them, "Listen, you'll save and spend a ton of money to go on this forced vacation with us to a place not of your choosing where the couple will be the center of attention - and if you don't you're obviously not a good friend / don't love them enough." I think that's a harsh, unfair decision to force people to make, and I don't think that gets the guests down to only those that are there for the couple. Take a vacation after the wedding - not during the wedding.

      And I never said their wedding isn't about them - I just said it's not ALL about them, to the complete exclusion of everyone else's feelings.

      Oh, and they aren't having a "more affordable" wedding - they're just shifting much of the cost of the wedding from themselves onto their guests, which isn't a very kind thing to do.

      If they continue down this path, I hope it works out well for them - but obviously, I think they're making a mistake.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  25. Thanks for this blog post!
    I am lucky enough to be blessed with the honour of being the "Maid of Honor" at my best friends wedding, I was over the moon,until recently.
    Due to our circumstances this year -bf finishing college, moving to a new town, new jobs for both of us.. the timing is not right for a $1400+/ea price tag for the destination wedding that the bride has chosen.
    I have mentioned this to her on numerous occassions that it is expensive and i am really going to struggle to be able to afford to attend. but she always will have an exuse, like "thats why we are giving people a years notice" or "its such a good deal, and a normal price", or "we are paying for your dress and hair and makeup" or "its a direct flight"... etc..

    For both me and my bf to go it will end up costing is upwards of $4000 which is just not realisitic or responsible for us to blow that kind of money.
    Not only will be both be starting new jobs so time off work is not going to be easy, but we have our own lives and own responsibilities, We have been together for ten years and cannot afford to get married ourselves let alone go on a holiday to celebrate our own anniversary, we have our own expensese like buying a new car that we desperatly need, moving expenses,emergency funds, getting married ourselves..etc
    $4000 could be used in much more responsible ways.
    Even if I just tried to go and left my bf at home, which i have mentioned to the bride may just have to happen.. I would be stuck sharing a room with her little brother or another couple and their baby. :( which is not how i would like to spend my hard earned money), But I refuse to go into debt over this. as a MOH there is already expected added expenses like bridal shower, bacholorette party..etc. I know that the bride and groom are doing a destination wedding as they have "too many family members" that if they invited everyone they would be footing the bill, so I guess this is the compromise and will be "way cheaper in the end" because the guests are footing most of the bill.. :(

    I am at a loss for what to do now. Luckily they are in the preliminary stages of planning so i do have time to sit down with the bride and give her the unfortunate news of why i cant afford it (AGAIN)
    but i feel like i am crushing her dreams of her resort wedding by flat out telling her No! She is already "stressed out to the nines" because her mother in law has already told her that she will be heartbroken as many will not be able to come because of the pricetag, and she thought that was mean of her to say :( i cant believe the stress this puts on the guests.
    Destination weddings are fine if you are "Beyonce and Jay Z" and can afford to pay for your guests to spend a week at an all inclusive resort in mexico. but when the guests and wedding party has to foot their own bill, its just not fair. As dreamy as destination weddings sound, my bf and i would never choose it because we know that we would be leaving people we loved out and putting an unfair financial burden on our loved ones that feel obligated to come. Please any advice you can give is appriciated! I know im just going to have to Flat out tell her the unfortunate news, but I know it will stress her out even more.

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    1. Anonymous: I'm sorry to hear about your situation - that's really difficult. I don't know if I have any particular words of wisdom that will help, but I'll try.

      If she's your best friend, I would just be as open and honest as possible with her - I'd tell her that you are indeed honored and overjoyed that she asked you to be her maid of honor, but that you simply cannot afford to participate in a destination wedding. Don't say something like "it would be really difficult" - that gives too much room for potential negotiation - you have to tell her "it's not possible - if you want me to be your maid of honor, you have to rethink the "destination" part of your wedding." It might sound a little sneaky, but you can also enlist the mother-in-law to support you, and through her, the groom.

      You can also point her to this post and see my advice on the matter and read the stories from lots of people above - how they felt when they were invited to destination weddings, how stressful it was for them as guests, and how they felt like the bride and groom were trying to place a huge amount of the wedding costs on their guests.

      My other Wedding Week posts offer a lot of advice on how to have a wonderful, mostly traditional, wedding while saving a ton of money - just check out the other Wedding Week posts via the blog archive (up and on the right of the page).

      One final thought - if she is DEAD SET on having both a destination wedding AND is DEAD SET on having you attend, ask her family to pay your way. I'm serious - I was asked to be one of the groomsmen in a wedding once while I was living abroad and earning practically no money. Since I wouldn't have been able to attend otherwise (and told the groom that quite honestly), the father of the groom used his frequent flyer miles to pay for my ticket so I could come, and they also covered the cost of my hotel room, etc. So, if it's just about solving YOUR financial situation, then tell them you can't simply can't pay for it and that's that - and that they have to pay for you to attend, if it's important to them.

      I don't know if the above helps - if you have any other questions, I'll do my best to answer.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  26. I'm currently debating on whether I should have a destination wedding and I stumbled upon this blog. I'm planning my wedding and we did our first draft guest list and it totaled 500 people because we both come from huge families. I know for a fact that if certain people are not invited they will take offense and will leave a sour taste in their mouth for YEARS!! Spending $50,000 on a wedding for everyone to attend is unrealistic to me and my fiance because we both have student loans and would like to own a home in the next two years. This is why we are considering a destination cruise wedding then small reception in our hometown for those who can't make it. We plan on paying for the bridal party to attend since we asked them to be apart of our day. Cutting the guest list is not an option unfortunately.

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    1. classyhoney: I'm guessing that if you have a destination wedding and if being present for family milestones is really important to your family, then some of your family members will have a sour taste in their mouths for years because you have a destination wedding. So, I don't think that a destination wedding will avoid that for you - it will just be a different kind of sour taste.

      But, I appreciate that you're in a bit of a difficult situation. Nevertheless, before you decide on a destination wedding, I'd suggest you add up all the costs (to both you and your guests) and see what the total is - my guess is that it will be closer to the cost of a big hometown wedding than you think, and it might actually even be more expensive. Kudos on planning to pay for your bridal party to attend, by the way!

      If family is really important to you (and maybe it's not - if so, feel free to do whatever the hell you want, and damn the desires of your family ;) ), then another way to go would be to have a huge family reunion and treat is as such - an informal, low-key affair - at which your wedding happens to break out. That way, you could focus on having fun with family without wasting money on all the unnecessary trappings of a traditional wedding.

      My other Wedding Week posts offer a lot of advice on how to throw a big hometown wedding while saving a ton of money - you can check them out via the blog archive up and on the right.

      Good luck with your decision, and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  27. I stumbled across this as I was trying to find a way to make up with my brother.

    He is planning a destination wedding, as he and his fiance do not live where either of there families are. They have gone to other destination weddings on resorts and had a wonderful time. They were thinking next summer. My reaction: great - wonderful - yes, we can plan a vacation there. I didn't say resorts are a bit much for us, but figured we'd make something nearby work for us.

    Well, my brother & fiance don't want kids there. Ok, fiance is an only child and my brother has two sisters, both of whom have kids. My brother says there is a game room there for the teenagers and baby sitter for the young one - they've thought this out. I think, well, older kids can watch young one, we can make that work. Young one doesn't do well with strangers, and also that's money that we really don't need to spend. It will be ok. We can make this work.

    Well, now my brother is thinking fall because rates are cheaper at the resort, so everyone can save money: bride & groom on the wedding and guests for the rooms. Whoa - now big problem. I think I should try to explain to my brother how difficult it is once school starts, since 4 of the 5 kids as well is my husband are all in school (husband teaches). Time out of school is really hard to pull off for the kids, and husband can not take any days off. Plus, now is just a weekend which requires flying. Expenses for the weekend are now what we planned to pay for a whole week's vacation. And remember, kids aren't invited to wedding. Could end up just too hard. I try to explain that it might just be me. As for our sister, she does not have money to fly. And with our parents and extended family at the wedding, she has absolutely no one to watch kids, so if she wants to go, they need to come. So I try to explain that it just might not work for her, either. That it might just be me and only me.

    My brother is now furious with me, that I game him an ultimatum. Regardless of what I said or how I said it, whether or not is was my intention, it was his perception.

    I know it's his day. I know that's where he and his finance want to be married. I have no issue with that. Really. I just wanted to let him know early how hard it will be for his sisters, and that it might just not work. That the day is for the bride and groom and what they want. We just want him to know now the difficulties the timing creates.

    I know his two sisters have more financial difficulties than any of their friends or cousins. He and his fiance are older; they both have careers with good incomes. I really tried not to say anything negative when he was relaying how he had considered everything that was important when selecting a resort. I know we can't do resort and spas, but I didn't need to say any of that. I only said something when the timing changed from summer to fall. I only wanted to relay early on that could be a very big issue for all his immediate family to attend. And because they are, as a previous poster said, of "larger means" . . . I was trying to be clear. My mistake.

    Now I don't know what or how to talk to him.

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    1. Anonymous: Yikes, I'm sorry to hear about that - that's a really difficult situation to be in.

      It sounds like you've tried to be reasonable and sensitive, to share with him what a burden he is asking your family (and your sister) to bear in deciding to have this wedding, so I'm really not sure what else to do - email him a link to this blog post? ;)

      More seriously - is there anyone else in the family you can ask to talk with him on your behalf? Your parents? Other extended family? The point isn't (necessarily) to try to get them to change their mind - just to understand the burden they're placing on you all and to take that into account in their decision-making, which it doesn't seem like they're doing right now. You might also try writing a letter rather than a phone call or talking, so everything is worded precisely and he can't cut you off, if that's a problem.

      And, as I said above to someone else, if they really are THAT much better off than you and your sister, you can ask them to pay for you to attend, especially if you're in the wedding party. I know some people would find that tacky, but they might do it, and it would be better than missing the wedding and causing even more internal family grief.

      I'm sorry I don't have more words of advice - good luck, post again if you have any more questions we might be able to help with (be sure to check out Nemeanleo's response to your post below, if you missed it), and let us know how things work out.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  28. It sounds like they are more concerned about saving themselves money then they are about saving the family money. Because I'm sure the room rates don't drop by much during the fall, so really he is saving you 10-20 bucks on a room, that you will end up having to put into a plane ticket since the timing is all off. That is a tough situation. Did your brother know that you had planned on turning it into a vacation too? I know miscommunication is a big factor when my brother and I fight. I would suggest sending an email or letter so that way you can fully get out everything you need to say and fully explain your situation with out getting cut off or offending him with they way you may or may not say something. maybe start off with an apology and explain you'd appreciate his understanding of your situation and if he is truly trying to save you money that he'd really be helping you and the family save more if he keeps the wedding during the summer. Make sure he knows the key points, like having to get a plane ticket since you won't have a week off to go, it will have to be a quick weekend trip and all the money you have saved for a week vacation will be used for a plane ticket just to get one person there for a weekend. and like you said you could probably find a near by hotel for less anyway. maybe do some research on the near by hotels and find one that is reasonably priced and I'm sure if you get a bunch of people to book there you could get a group discount which is even better. So maybe if he see's that you are trying to help, maybe he'll get over his anger with you. I hope you two are able to work it out, I know I hate fighting with my brother good luck.

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  29. I'm having a destination wedding, but it's just going to be the two of us...we're going to have a big tropical themed wedding party/reception at home to celebrate with friends and family, but my fiance and I are getting married alone in Jamaica. I feel it's important to celebrate with family/friends, but I also feel getting married is a very intimate bond (plus I hate being the center of attention! anxiety!) I agree with you - I would never expect people to pay and come out to the Caribbean!

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    1. Anonymous: That's just about the most sensible-sounding destination wedding I've ever heard of - I congratulate you on not demanding unreasonable things from your friends and family :D Have fun, and all the best!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  30. My "best friend" and I are definatly on a rocky path right now due to her Destination wedding and me not being able to afford it. It has caused a huge rift in our friendship that may never be fixed. I flat out told her before she decided on a fancy resort in Carribian that i would not be able to afford the $4000 price tag due to alot of changes coming up this year. (moving, new jobs, car..etc)

    I went from being a Maid of Honor, to a bridesmaid (at her second celebration) to nothing because "it would look bad in pictures" she has become the biggest bridezilla over this and says terrible things all the time. I try to be supportive but she is most definatly punishing me for not spending $4000 on her wedding. It is very sad. She invited 250 people to her wedding hoping that only 100 would show up- because she couldnt afford dinner for more then that (even though each guest will pay 1500 just to be there) so her thought process is that she will invite all the people she feels obligated to invite knowing they wont all show up so she wont have to pay for them, But is FURIOUS that im not making it. As she quoted "the people that care will be the ones that show up". I am really still trying to be supportive but she is being horrible. I know it is her day and all, but this may just be the end of our friendship.


    Moral of the story:
    DONT HAVE DESTINATION WEDDINGS!! especially when MOST of your family and friends live paycheque to paycheque.

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    1. Anonymous: Oof, I'm sorry to hear that your "best friend's" destination wedding has become such a source of strife between you two. It seems like she's not going to back off her plans, so I guess you'll just have to ride it out - then hopefully you'll be able to repair the friendship after the wedding. Good luck - let us know how it turns out for you all!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  31. I disagree as well. My fiancee and I are having a destination wedding that is half way between our respective home countries (in France, between Los Angeles, and Mumbai). We didn't think it was fair to make the wedding parties travel across the world for two separate weddings, so this makes it a bit easier for each set of family to get to the wedding. With the cost savings we are hosting receptions in our hometowns. It's not all selfish and bad.

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    1. I think that is a wonderful reason to have a destination wedding. Trying to make it EASIER for your family to attend your wedding! You are actually thinking about your family and how much they would want to attend your wedding. That’s a tad different then being selfish and expecting your family to pay a ridicules amount of money, and go out of their way to attend your wedding, when it benefits no one but yourself.

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    2. Po: Sorry to be a little late to the reply party! Being a new parent is tough, and time-consuming ....

      I agree with Anonymous - if your family is really that spread out, then a "destination wedding" like the one you describe can make sense - see my reply to a Canadian (and fellow angry bureaucrat) above who was/is in a similar situation.

      But, my guess is that cases like yours only account for a VERY small percentage of the 24% of all weddings that are destination weddings.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  32. I agree wholeheartedly with your post. I think it’s selfish. Two of my cousins are currently planning their wedding for this summer. BOTH (a brother and a sister) are planning on having a destination wedding. They will be within months of each other. One is on a cruise ship and the other on the Caribbean islands. Many of our family members are not going to be able to afford to attend even one of these weddings (let alone two). Their mother has to take a loan out just to be able to attend their weddings.

    We come from a LARGE Irish family. My mom is one of 12. There are over 25 aunts and uncles and 50 cousins in the family and we all live within a 10 miles radius of each other. There is no “outside” family that would have to travel. If they had their weddings here then EVERY ONE of our family members could attend without traveling more then 30 minutes to get there.

    But they chose to go away and get married? One of my cousin’s fiancée has two children. He chose to have a wedding where children are not permitted; his children won’t even be allowed to attend!!!! It would be one thing if they were going to elope, if they went away and came back married. BUT to have a destination wedding where you are basically saying “Only the people who can afford to attend can come” is frustrating and rude. This situation has made me realize the kind of people my cousins are and the kind of people they are marrying.

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    1. Anonymous: Yikes, that is a really bad situation, and terribly tactless (and tacky) of your cousins, I think. I just don't get it - why not have a big wedding at home, and THEN take a great vacation afterwards? Why force everyone to go along with you? It just baffles me. Maybe their own mother should refuse to go - maybe then they'd rethink their plans.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  33. "Think about it - you're essentially forcing your friends and family to take extra time off work and take a vacation to somewhere not of their own choosing while you're the center of attention for the whole vacation.”

    I disagree—I’m not forcing anyone by extending an invite. Really the most important people I expect at my wedding will be my immediate family, who have supported me in more ways than I can thank, my best friends, and the person who will be standing in front of me when I say, "I do". If that’s forcing them then I’m sorry they feel they need to be forced to attend their daughter’s/sister’s wedding. I know I would bend over backwards if the roles were reversed. If there was an issue we would work it out together to make it happen. I understand if other invited guests cannot make it. Let’s be real, they’re only missing a quick 20 minute ceremony, that’s it, then it’s spring break for the remainder of the time. It’s not like we’re going to have a traditional reception; we’ll probably just enjoy each other’s company at the pool bar and maybe visit the disco later. It most definitely will not be all about us the whole week because it’s our honeymoon too and do you really think we want to spend THAT much time with our guests? We want “us” time too ;) When we return we’ll send out announcements inviting everyone to join us in a simple celebration.

    "you are (unless you run in fabulously wealthy circles) probably cutting most of your friends and family out of celebrating your wedding with you - and remember that they want to celebrate with you; they just don't want to celebrate completely on your terms."

    The absolute most important people will be invited to my DW. The people who feel “cut out” are probably people I don't see/talk to often which, in my opinion, I'd only be inviting because I feel obligated to, so why bother? Again, we can celebrate at a later time.

    "having a destination wedding adds even more stress to the engaged couple"

    Unless the couple are trying to throw the equivalent of a LW at a destination location, DW’s are way less stressful and involved than LW’s. These days all resorts/cruises have complimentary wedding planners to assist with this. Some resorts even include free ceremonies/celebrations when you stay with them. Most couples who plan destination weddings, from my research, have visited the island already. Most Caribbean islands are the same for culture, food, expectations etc. so they already know what they're getting themselves into otherwise I hope they're smart enough to do their research first.

    "everyone else at your destination wedding location will be conspicuously gawking at the bizarre spectacle unfolding before them"

    All of the major resorts that advertise DW's organize like 4/day so I'm pretty sure the gawking tourists also vacationing there can figure out what's going on. Depending on how social you are you may even end up with some more people to celebrate with.

    It almost sounds like you have a much skewed idea of what's involved in the DW considering the DW you attended took place in Europe. You make it sound so much more involved like a chicken running around with its head cut off and no organization. After reading your post I'm getting the impression that you're writing your post from a guest’s point of view that would be inconvenienced by feeling obligated to attend a DW they cannot attend for which ever reason. In the end I believe the wedding day IS all about the wedding couple but I also believe the wedding day is all about the ceremony not the party afterwards.


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    1. Anonymous: Well, I guess we're just going to have to disagree about most of this ;) I'll go point-by-point like you did:

      "I’m not forcing anyone by extending an invite"

      Really? You'd be OK if your siblings or parents didn't come? And they'd be OK with that? If the answer is "no", then yes, you're forcing them to take time off and go on vacation with you. Some people might be OK with that, but you're still forcing them - and I guarantee that some of the people who are telling you that they're fine with it are lying to you, just to save face and your feelings.

      "Let’s be real, they’re only missing a quick 20 minute ceremony, that’s it, then it’s spring break for the remainder of the time." and "I also believe the wedding day is all about the ceremony not the party afterwards."

      If those are true, then why not have a simple ceremony and reception in your home town that everyone can attend, and then go on "spring break" with whoever wants to go afterwards? Why force people to go on vacation with you when at least some of them don't want to, and, at the same time, cut out a lot of people who might want to attend your ceremony?

      "The absolute most important people will be invited to my DW. The people who feel “cut out” are probably people I don't see/talk to often which, in my opinion, I'd only be inviting because I feel obligated to, so why bother?"

      Because at some point in time, they were probably very important to your life, even if you don't see them often anymore - and they'd love to come to your wedding. (A good example for me: my high school English teacher. I rarely see her anymore, but she was very important to my development as a person, and I was very happy that she attended my wedding.) Then you can go party wherever, with whomever wants to come.

      "you're writing your post from a guest’s point of view"

      Absolutely - people getting married should think about the wishes of their guests, at least a little bit.

      "In the end I believe the wedding day IS all about the wedding couple"

      Well, I don't - see my post here: http://www.angrybureaucrat.com/2011/08/critical-wedding-guiding-principle-its.html

      "I also believe the wedding day is all about the ceremony not the party afterwards"

      As I said before, then why not have a ceremony that everyone can attend who wants to, and then have your "spring break" party vacation afterwards with whomever wants to come? My guess is that fewer people will want to come, since you're not beating them about the head with a wedding ceremony in order to force them to come on vacation with you.

      You're welcome to continue to try to convince me why a destination wedding is best for you, but I warn you, it will likely be an uphill battle.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    2. "You'd be OK if your siblings or parents didn't come?"

      As an important person in my life you should WANT to come. Of course there are limitations such as health related issues, or events that are completely out of their hands, but if these are unforeseen, and I have no reason to believe anything bad happening in the near future, I'd arrange for a DW. If negative events were foreseen we'd obviously reconsider a DW. If it were my brother or sister I would gladly give up my vacation time. I can give up one week in my entire life to attend a wedding of someone who is extremely important to me. Asking your guests to take a weekend off vs a week is still asking them to take time regardless. It just depends on how flexible they want to be and how important you truly view one another. If you really want your teacher to attend, someone who is in my opinion a (professional) acquaintance, then you'd prob have a LW because asking someone you're not extremely close with to spend that much money on a DW is ridiculous.

      "Because at some point in time, they were probably very important to your life"

      Maybe it's a matter of who you classify as important. Maybe you're the type of person that would also invite your hair dresser that you gossip with once a month because any friendship is worth an invite to you. I on the other hand would only invite my immediate family and closest friends, the people I connect with regularly, because there is no reason, in my opinion, that you would get so busy with life you can't stop and take the time to re-connect whether it's 5 mins on the phone, a quick text, or a quick drop in. The people you don't talk to often anymore, because they moved half way across the country, aren't people that are important to you anymore, because if they were, you would make the time to connect.

      "Why not have a simple ceremony and reception in your home town"; "cut out a lot of people who might want to attend your ceremony?"

      We want a spring/summer ceremony but in November, when we met, because that date is important to us-obviously summer doesn't happen in November up here so south it is. We also don't want to have to spend a bunch of money on people we feel obligated to have to invite. Obviously our preferences are different to yours which is why we wouldn't want to go with a community involved wedding budget just so everyone who felt they should be invited, and wanted to celebrate, could attend.

      Will you also invite all of those people to your baby shower? Child's 1st birthday? New home party? Milestone birthdays? Retirement party? Those are the people I'd want at my wedding. The people I celebrate everything with in some way or another and vice versa.

      "You wouldn't be who you are without all of these people; that's why they're at your wedding." (and I assume why it's not all about us?)

      In reality, I am who I am because of a wide variety of people and experiences I've come across through my life, not just my family. With that said I could invite almost everyone that has touched my life in one way or another and that would be ridiculous because that would be a lot of people. In a way a DW is like eloping but we're including the most important people in our lives with VIP invites to witness. From my view it seems like you’d rather invite all of those people and have a community wedding so you could afford to have everyone there even if they’re just slightly important. Important to you is important. Period.

      "They just want to celebrate with you"

      So does this mean they really don't care about the ceremony? They could watch it on the big screen and we can party afterwards? If not, as a guest would you be ok with witnessing a symbolic ceremony, but you wouldn't know that it was, and we still have our regularly planned event DW with those who want/can attend?


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    3. "As an important person in my life you should WANT to come"

      Yes, undoubtedly they WANT to come to your wedding - however, I'm guessing a number of them don't WANT to come to a destination wedding - or, perhaps more precisely, they have a STRONG PREFERENCE for you to not have a destination wedding but are keeping their mouths shut about it. The point is that you're forcing them to go on vacation with you when at least some of them would prefer not to - and that's not particularly nice.

      "It just depends on how flexible they want to be and how important you truly view one another"

      I.e. 'if you love me enough, you'll use all this vacation time and spend all this money to come to my wedding; if you don't, then you obviously don't really love me' - again, not very nice.

      "We also don't want to have to spend a bunch of money on people we feel obligated to have to invite"

      So instead you're going to force your guests to spend a lot of money on you? Again, not nice.

      "So does this mean they really don't care about the ceremony? They could watch it on the big screen and we can party afterwards? If not, as a guest would you be ok with witnessing a symbolic ceremony, but you wouldn't know that it was, and we still have our regularly planned event DW with those who want/can attend?"

      Now I feel like you're deliberately misunderstanding me - by "celebrate" I mean anything from "attend your ceremony and congratulate you afterwards" (like my English teacher) to "party for three days and nights with you" (like my wedding party did). Everyone cares about the ceremony - in fact, it's what most people care most about, and it is by far the cheapest part of the wedding. So, why not invite tons of people to the ceremony and a simple reception afterwards, and then go on a trip with whomever you really want to invite and whoever really wants to come?

      Again, I doubt you're going to convince me - perhaps you should head over to http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/f/ where you can commiserate with other DW brides who are upset at how people are reacting to their decision to have a DW.

      But if you want to know how your guests REALLY feel about being invited to a DW (what they're not willing to admit to your face), then read the other comments on this post. It might be enlightening.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    4. Again, I'm not forcing anyone. You have a choice. Either you can decide to come or not. I'm not going to feel you love me any less if you don't go and guests shouldn't react in a negative way either. Guests should respect the bride and grooms decision and vice versa. If you can't make it we'll celebrate at a different time. I don't have a problem inviting the entire neighbourhood to the ceremony but our choice of location isn't a local beach, backyard, botanical garden or church. I'd rather go away and kill 3 birds with 1 stone for under $5000 with the very few people that are most important in my life.

      I've been involved in weddings where the grooms parents put up a fuss over having a wedding take place less than an hour away from their hometown as well as what music was going to be "allowed" at the wedding (trying to plan the wedding around entertaining and accommodating the guests first). Guests, including family, will always have something to complain about no matter what it is--location, venue, food, music etc. so in the end we're going to do what makes us happy, not them. It is all about us not our guests and what they want.

      To force the bride and groom to plan around their guests is selfish of the guests. In fact, any expectations from the guests is selfish. They had their day, or not, and this day is about how the bride and groom want to celebrate their marriage and who they want to include. It's not selfish to ask guests if they would like to join us. It's selfish to ask then react negatively when they can't or don't want to attend.

      Maybe you should consider that DW's are ok but only in certain circumstances. If you're going to invite all of your family and friends (acquaintances etc) DW's shouldn't be an option, unless everyone's loaded. Small intimate weddings though I feel are ok to consider for DW's as long as you discuss the idea with everyone involved and everyone's ok with the decision whichever that may be.


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    5. I'm curious as to how many people you invited to your wedding and (approx) how much, including honeymoon, your wedding cost?

      I can't wrap my head around holding a wedding locally for 120 people and keeping the cost under $5000 when the honeymoon itseld will be $2400.

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    6. Anonymous: You may not be technically forcing people to come to your DW, but again, would you be OK with your parents not coming? Your siblings? Your best friend? Would they be OK with not coming? If the answer to either is "no," then you are indeed forcing at least some people to (pay to) travel who probably don't want to, and I think that's a crappy thing to do to people, especially people you love. And to say that "they'll suck it up and spend the money if they love me" is selfish and manipulative. I guarantee everyone's not "OK" with the decision, even if they tell you to your face that they are. Again, see the other comments for what people really think about being invited to a DW.

      Nowhere do I say that brides and grooms should plan around their guests - just that brides and grooms shouldn't plan with absolutely no consideration of their guests whatsoever. In most cases (but admittedly not all - see the comments for a couple of examples of wise DWs), a DW means that the bride and groom are wedding planning without any consideration of their guests. Certainly, your wedding should be (and inevitably will be) mostly about you, but it's not (and shouldn't be) ALL about you.

      As to your final question - I'd suggest you read the rest of my Wedding Week blog posts for all the details of my wedding (you can see them via the blog archive on the right side of the page). But about the numbers - there were about 50 people at my rehearsal dinner, 175 at the ceremony and reception at the church right after the ceremony, and 80 at the dinner and party that went on all evening and night after the wedding and first reception.

      For everything (and I mean EVERYTHING), we spent about $10k on our wedding, give or take a few hundred dollars. Again, I detail how we partied so much with so many people for so little money in the other Wedding Week posts. And everyone there said we had the "second best wedding" they'd ever attended (after their own, of course) - which means it was probably one of the best weddings ever, on a small, reasonable budget - far less than the "average" US wedding, and less than the total cost of practically all DWs, I'd wager.

      I'm going to go out on a limb and say that your $5k DW figure doesn't include flight, hotel, etc. costs for your guests - which you should definitely take into account. Because with your DW, you're essentially shifting much (most?) of the cost of your wedding from you onto your guests, which, again, is a crappy thing to do.

      If you're careful about budgeting, and if you cut out all the crap that really doesn't matter to you (e.g. my wife wore a dress she already owned, because the dress didn't matter to us - you can see from our pictures whether you think a $3k+ dress would have improved our wedding in the slightest), it's not that hard to have a hometown wedding at a reasonable cost - in fact, if we had needed to, we could have easily cut that $10k figure to $5k, by cutting out the dinner and party. But, that was important to us, so we ponied up for it - and we would have felt terrible if we had tried to foist those costs on our guests.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    7. I've already passed the idea around to my parents, siblings, and closest family/friends and they've all said they don't mind the idea as long as we give them enough notice, which two years they were ok with. These are people we've cruised with and vacationed with so we all share the same likes for vacation experiences. My important people are already on board and if they had a problem I'm sure, if anyone, my family would tell me before my distant relatives/friends. Whether you believe it or not, they are OK with it. Also, I don't recall ever saying they should "suck it up if they love me". That's not classy and I would never suggest that ;)

      I've read the other comments and there seems to be a pretty good 50/50 debate on the topic. From what I've read the people complaining aren't major roles in the couples life or they have their own strong values which clash with the couples. The gentleman who was invited to his best friends son's wedding is a good example. I can see why he would be irritated. Expecting someone who prob isn't that close with the groom himself to come then reacting the way his friend did is uncalled for and just adds to the percent of people against DW's. A lot of stories also include short notices such as the lady who was given an invitation that stated she had two weeks to put her deposit down. Poor communication is a huge reason DW's fail and become failures in the eyes of many because without that and good planning many people are left out. Also the cousins who planned their weddings one year after another...that's like holding your wedding right before Christmas when everyone's broke and not giving them a heads up way in advance or over an awesome long weekend that guests now have to compromise for the wedding.

      Our budget, whether local or destination, doesn't account for any travel or accommodation arrangements for our guests. That $5000 is the cost for our honeymoon, ceremony/reception and all the trimmings. If we held a local $5000 wedding with all 120 guests we'd have to compromise huge on certain things that are important to us. If we're going to have it local then we want to do it right with all the fixings of a local wedding with the DJ, decorations, excellent catering, limo etc...We would be disappointed with the outcome if we had to half ass it and cheap out on certain things just to be able to accommodate more people and we're not ok with the idea of only inviting certain people to the dinner reception afterwards. It just wouldn't work out that way with our circle. People who weren't invited would find out and we wouldn't want to risk someone feeling left out. I realize that having the DW would be leaving out a lot more people but we'd rather that than single out a few families.

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    8. Anonymous: Well, I doubt I'm going to convince you, and I doubt you're going to convince me, but I'll reply once more.

      "Whether you believe it or not, they are OK with it."

      Nope, I simply don't believe that all of them are completely OK with it, regardless of what they've told you to your face. I'm sure that at least some of them aren't fighting you on it to spare your feelings.

      "I don't recall ever saying they should "suck it up if they love me""

      Just because you didn't explicitly say it doesn't mean that it wasn't part of the message - I think that's an implicit part of the message with EVERY DW.

      "Our budget, whether local or destination, doesn't account for any travel or accommodation arrangements for our guests"

      Well, I am of the opinion that it should. I am inviting guests, and they are MY guests, and it should matter to me whether it costs them $300 or $3,000 each to attend my wedding - when you multiply that times just 10 people, you're looking at asking your friends and family to pay $30k v. $3k to attend your wedding, which is huge - it would be far better to pay $10k instead of $5k out-of-pocket and spare everyone else the huge expense. They are YOUR guests, after all.

      "If we're going to have it local then we want to do it right with all the fixings of a local wedding"

      Ah, now what this really tells me is that you've been taken in by the "princess-for-a-day, spare-no-expense" wedding industry, which exists solely to make you feel entitled and to separate you (or, with DWs, your friend and family) from your/their money. All those "local wedding" trimmings you mention - DJ, decorations, catering, limo - are all extraneous to the real purpose of a wedding, which is to unite two families, in celebration with your loved ones and friends. However, you've been conned into believing that you want/need them - and of course, it's difficult to afford all that crap, since it's all expensive (and mostly unnecessary). As I outline in my posts, we had an awesome wedding and celebrated (to varying degrees) with almost 200 people for about $10k - and it could have been less, if we'd needed it to be.

      So, instead of deciding what's really important to you in your wedding and maximizing the celebration with your community, you've instead decided to have your entitled, fairytale wedding of a different sort - and you've decided to pay for most of it by shifting most of the cost of the wedding onto your guests. And I think that is selfish, crappy, tacky, and inappropriate - but that's the way practically all DWs work.

      Obviously, you think differently - but I promise you that at least some of your guests think like I do and that some (many?) of your family and friends will be left with a sour taste in their mouths because they were left out. I assume it's too late for you to back out of this path now, so I truly wish you all the best, and I hope that your decision to go through with this doesn't cause any long-term damage to any of the relationships important to you.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    9. You are just in the business of making conclusions for others ...

      "Whether you believe it or not, they are OK with it."

      Nope, I simply don't believe that all of them are completely OK with it, regardless of what they've told you to your face. I'm sure that at least some of them aren't fighting you on it to spare your feelings.

      "I don't recall ever saying they should "suck it up if they love me""

      Just because you didn't explicitly say it doesn't mean that it wasn't part of the message - I think that's an implicit part of the message with EVERY DW.

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    10. I've got to agree with the 2nd Anonymous here - I'm sure some of them are lying to you to spare your feelings.

      And it's DEFINITELY an implicit message with every destination wedding that "you should suck it up and pay out if you love me, and if you won't, then you obviously don't love me." There's no getting around that.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    11. Wow! You got a degree in mind reading?

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    12. Anonymous: I don't need one - read the comments of all the people who have been asked to attend destination weddings here, even the ones who are going - almost all of them felt that way. So, I'd say that the odds are high that your family feels the same way too. Though I will always allow for the (very small) possibility that your family is an outlier for whom that is not true, but I'm not inclined to believe it, without further evidence.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  34. Angry Bureaucrat, I couldn’t agree with you more. The destination wedding is one of the most selfish, divisive and arrogant behaviors of our current culture. I am presently experiencing all of the negative aspects of your post. The son of my best friend of thirty years is having a wedding in am unbelievably remote site in the Caribbean. It’s in a place that, after a flight to Nassau, Bahamas, the guests have to take a puddle jumper and then a jeep ride to the site. I agree with all of the objections you and other posters have listed but no one has spoken about another problem, the physical problem. This trip, at the least, will take 11 hours from the East Coast. Unless someone is flying first class, the discomfort is huge and taking a puddle jumper is for many, including myself, terrifying. I have an additional problem. I had a right hip replacement that is giving me bad pain and I will need to have the implant replaced soon. I can barely sit through a movie without experiencing terrible pain so I can’t imagine what I would go through on this trip. I told my friend that I wasn’t going and instead of being understanding, he said that he was furious with me. I then asked him about his father-in-law who is 92. He said he’s not going because the trip is too much for him. So I believe this proves your point. These kids are so selfish that they would rather eliminate their only living grandparent from this “greatest day of their lives” then have the wedding in a reasonably exotic place like Nassau.

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    1. Does your friends son view you on the same level of importance as your friend or did your friend want you to have the invite? In the end it's the son's wedding not your friends party. You shouldn't feel obligated to attend and that's not a good friend to make you feel that way for not being able to attend. You can take his son out for drinks when they return.

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    2. Anonymous #1: That is really difficult - I'm sorry to hear about that. I can't believe that your friend is OK with his son having a wedding in a location that your friend's own father can't attend.

      If, in 25-30 years, my daughter wants to engage in such ridiculousness, she'll have to do it without the support (financial, logistical, or emotional) of her parents - what foolishness.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  35. Agreed!! I have been invited to a destination wedding in Jamaica. The bride and the groom lives here in the states. The reason for the destination wedding is that they don't have much money and pending the number of guests they have their wedding is discounted/free. I am not okay with paying the required amount to attend this wedding. Room and board is $600+ for the weekend. Then there is the airfare and money for leisure. because there she has arranged to have activities for the guests (we have to pay for said activities). If I choose to not stay at the required location, I have to pay a fee the day of the ceremony in order to enter. I think if you are having a destination wedding you (groom and bride) should be responsible for taking care of accommodations. But since they clearly can't afford to have the wedding she has always wanted, they decided to go this route. My issue isn't the money though; I just can't wrap my head around the fact that anyone would risk having their loved ones attend their big day because they are unable to attend do to physical or financial reasons.

    My husband and I didn't require anything of our guests outside of showing up and having a good time in the name of love. How dare I charge my friends and family to share in my happiness?! I don't get it.

    Dare I say, I agree that this is an extremely selfish move.

    Simone

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    1. "I am not okay with paying the required amount to attend this wedding"......."My issue isn't the money though"

      ??????????

      I'm all onboard for the destination wedding. I agree with you about making guests pay for excursions they don't necessarily want to participate in and also having to pay for the daily fee. If it were me, I'd give the option to join the excursion, or pay for it myself, and I'd pay for the daily fee if the reason you were staying elsewhere was because there's a huge price difference. Try discussing this with the bride and groom. If they're on a tight budget they should be understanding of their guests.

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    2. Simone: How ridiculously tacky - all of it - especially the required, non-free leisure activities, or the entry fee for the ceremony otherwise. Good luck as you decide whether to go!

      Anonymous: Stop harassing my other posters ;) Obviously, the poster meant that, yes, she resents having to pay the required amount to attend this wedding, but EVEN MORE that that, she doesn't understanding cutting family members out of a wedding for financial and/or physical reasons by having a destination wedding. And neither do I.

      "If they're on a tight budget they should be understanding of their guests" - they should be understanding of their guests from the beginning, which would probably mean not having a destination wedding, in my humble opinion ;)

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  36. Please excuse my typos!!

    Simone

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  37. Dear Angry -

    My partner and I have been together for over ten years and recently decided to officially tie the knot.

    To be honest, I think that you make quite a few assumptions in your articles. Perhaps our lives are very different (and our families and social circles as well), but I think it's rather unfair to assume that your way of seeing the world is the only right one. You really are ruthless in calling people selfish and tacky, without truly understanding who they are and what their circumstances are. I feel bad that your only experiences with Destination Weddings have been with very demanding couples (in my personal experience, demanding bridezillas exist at home and at DWs).

    Both my family and my partner's families live very far away from us, so our wedding would be 'destination' regardless. My parents live on the west coast (we live in Ottawa, Canada) and my partner's family is a 12 hour drive away.

    My family lives in B.C. (and most live in remote parts in the North or on Vancouver Island). Their flights are extremely expensive to come to this part of the country. In fact, the cost of a reasonable Destination Resort will cost less then their travel costs (because of distance to airports, they would need to play for a night in a hotel before their flight out east). That's before any other costs (such as a night or two at a cheap motel in Ottawa - and my family has made it clear that if they are shelling out that much for a flight to Ottawa, they would rather visit for at least a week).

    My partner's family also has said that if the wedding is held in Ottawa, they would at the very least like to stay in the city Wednesday - Sunday (to have time to relax and adjust, before and after a long drive). Regardless they would be shelling out a lot of money for a hotel. We have found some decently priced motels ($80-$90 per night, but they said that they would rather pay more and stay in a 'classy' place).

    Our first idea was to host a cottage type wedding in the Gatineau Hills and we have been trying to make it as affordable as possible for our guests. It would be open bar, in an old farmhouse, and we would have campfires. We suggested this idea, but, nope, our family and out of town guests are pushing for a wedding in Cuba, as the cost will still be cheaper for them.

    My partner and I have tried to come up with renting condos or houses that might be a bit less expensive, but our families said they preferred a destination wedding because it would be all-inclusive. Again, our families keep vetoing the idea of us renting a couple of guest homes for them... Even my 90 year-old grandmother really, really wants to go down south. Go figure?!

    I already know what you're about to say, you don't believe me. Fine. You clearly have your opinion and just argue with anyone whose life might be different then yours. We also have guests traveling from mainland China, Taiwan, Great Britain, Switzerland, and Italy (and again, they package deals that DW offer - flight, food, accommodation will be much more affordable to them).

    Do most people really live in the same cities as their families these days? Perhaps our situation is different (as we live in a capital city, where almost everyone we know is from 'away'), but most of the people who know do not live near their families at all.

    I suppose we run in different circles.

    While I totally agree that weddings are a celebration of the people you love (not just the bride & groom), I think that you should perhaps realize that many of us considering DWs are making the choice based on what is best for OUR families and friends.

    All the best to you,
    Kate

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    1. Kate: Oh, I make lots of assumptions, but my assumptions are correct for MOST (though not all) people. I agree with a couple of commenters on this article that a destination wedding IS the best choice for them - for example, the Canadian who is marrying a Peruvian and getting married in Mexico - they might as well spread the travel pain around rather than making one family fly across the entire hemisphere.

      From what you say, perhaps you are one of the rare people for whom a destination wedding really is the best choice - but if so, you are an exception. For most people deciding to do a destination wedding, they are doing it because they can't afford their "dream" wedding at home and are trying to have a different kind of "dream" wedding by pushing much of the cost of their wedding onto their guests - this is obviously the motivation for many of the commenters on this post who are trying to convince me that destination weddings are fine and dandy.

      "Do most people really live in the same cities as their families these days?" - no, people often don't - I don't live anywhere close to my family, for example. But, my family still lives relatively close to each other (which I am guessing IS the case for most people), so we had our wedding in my hometown, even though I don't live there anymore.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    2. You know, after reading quite a few of the responses from couples who are throwing destination weddings, I think most of this article has just been invalidated:

      1. The author admitted there are indeed instances when destination weddings are appropriate,

      2. I have read in this very comments section about couples who are mindful of the costs and do no expect their families to bear the financial burden of traveling for these weddings,

      3) the author does not seem to really understand that there are different kinds of weddings, and that not all of them have large, or any, guests,

      4) the author seems to make a case by case evaluation of what qualifies as a "destination wedding" with no standard guide

      and finally

      5) every one of the author's claims are made up by him or herself. Besides the one statistic of how many destination weddings happen annually, there is nothing but anecdotal claims from the author about why these weddings suck or do not count or are bad. The author assumes that couples make relatives foot their bills, or that these couples want guests to attend, or that guests hate traveling or will have to travel for a whole week, or...pretty much everything.

      Which is why it's so hard to take this article and its conclusions seriously. Every reason, every adamantly defended conclusion is based on the author's (1!) bad experience. And of course there will be plenty of comments on a web page dedicated to riffing on these weddings that, yes, of course, these weddings are bad. Worse, any comments to the contrary are swept under the rug!

      Furthermore and finally, I feel like this needs to be pointed out: the author did not actually have a destination wedding! He or she does not seem to be a wedding consultant or even a wedding blogger, who might be dealing with complaining guests or regretful brides on a regular basis. In other words, what does the author actually KNOW of THROWING a destination wedding besides what they have heard?

      I sincerely suggest that if you are a couple considering throwing a destination wedding you conduct plenty of research of the pros and cons, survey (any) guests you feel are vital to your nuptials, and reflect on what is important for you to get from a wedding day. Then maybe think about your community, and what you or they are willing to sacrifice to celebrate together. Check out actual wedding blogs with professionals/semi-professionals who deal with your issues on a regular basis and can give you reasonable and practical advice. And for Heaven's sake--don't make or break your wedding plans based on what someone from the web tells you--yes, even me, obviously.

      Good luck, people, and please stop reading and endorsing garbage like this. It only makes bloggers like this feel entitled to throw their opinions at you as if they are your friends and know you, as if they matter in the grand scheme of your wedding plans, and as if they own what the definition of a wedding is.

      -Why Did I Read This

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  38. Because my fiance and I have a combined family of about 500 people, and only enough money to celebrate with 10. We do not want to wait untill we are rich enough to wine and dine all of our family before we get married. We are financially helping the 10 that will be traveling and, even so, this is only a fraction of the cost we would incur if we had a wedding for all. Besides, those 10 are the only ones who really matter to us anyway. If weddings are about celebrating your day with people you love, why invite others who don't fit into that category? I refuse to go into debt just to make people I don't care about happy.

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    1. Anonymous: IF you're paying for much of the travel costs for your guests, then you are an atypical destination wedding couple - if more people took that approach to a destination wedding, then 1) there would be far fewer destination weddings, and 2) they wouldn't suck nearly as much.

      Just as long as you're not asking your guests to go into debt to attend your wedding - that's even crappier than them expecting you to go into debt for your wedding, as YOU have invited them to come to YOUR wedding as guests, and they weren't the ones who invited you out on a vacation.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  39. You know what's awesome? A destination wedding without any guests! I would be curious to see how many out of these 24% did just that - avoid the unnecessary expensive and stressful fuss of a wedding and instead spending money for a lovely vacation for the two of them. If their family and friends love them, they will understand.

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    1. Anonymous: I suppose I'd ask - what's the point of having a destination wedding, in that case? Why not just go down to the courthouse and get married (and maybe invite parents and siblings to watch/witness), and then go on a honeymoon? Why bother with doing a destination wedding at all?

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    2. Are you saying that as long as nobody is invited, the couple does not deserve a nice atmosphere? I suppose I'd ask - if I and my fiance are am going to an island which resembles a heaven on Earth next week, why get married in an ugly grey courthouse beforehand? Why not do the two lovely things (ceremony + trip) together? You'll get beautiful pictures for the future memories & beautiful atmosphere - the intimacy of just the two of you at your wedding at a special place, not five minutes in a court house with ten other couples type of affair.
      Look, I get the gist of your post, and I agree that if couples want their friends to travel to their destination weddings, most of the times that's quite selfish. I just thought it was a bit presumptive to assume that that is what all destination weddings are. I always thought of DW as what I posted: a fantastic intimate and picturesque affair for the couple alone. I actually was surprised the first time I found out people actually invite somebody to these things. Then again, I've been brought up in a very supportive environment for that. My mother always used to say that should I ever get married, she'd be absolutely fine with me flying off somewhere and having a blast, because a wedding is about us making a decision together, not a theater for everybody else. So we're not the kind of family where it's considered a stabbing in the back causing bitterness. I guess that does not apply everywhere.

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    3. Anonymous: Again, I'd say that I don't understand the point of having a wedding at all, then, if none of your friends or family are there to share the moment with you. You can get pretty pictures on a vacation - so I just don't understand what you're proposing in the least.

      And you're right - if your family feels that way and would be totally OK with that, you're in the minority - you can check out the rest of the comments on this post for what I would say is more representative for how families react to a decision to have a destination wedding.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    4. I was quite sure that we would agree to partially disagree beforehand, but your response is more baffling than anything I have ever heard about weddings that it prompts me to write one more response. You don't understand the point of having a wedding at all "in the least", if there are no other people? Is it truly that hard to merely emphasize with people who want to celebrate their love together, make a binding and symbolic promise to each other an in intimate and beautiful atmosphere but following their religion/make it legally binding, but do not need to make a big deal out of it for the world? (As for the pictures - I was thinking of a pictures mainly for the children in future, not plastering them right into everybody's face...). That is such a ridiculous mindset, it's like saying "I won't give my wife flowers for our anniversary/valentine/whatever occasion" unless she posts the picture on facebook.

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    5. Anonymous: Perhaps I am just an old-fashioned relatively young person, but yes, I find it difficult to empathize with people who want to get married in some random far-flung corner of the world by themselves. I mean, if you're getting married, you're joining two families, not just two people - that's part of the reason weddings have traditionally been public events celebrated by large swaths of the community, at all socioeconomic levels, back to the earliest history of human civilization. You were making a commitment to each other in front of your families, your friends, your community, and God all at the same time.

      And my "mindset" much less like refusing to give a loved one flowers unless you get credit for it on Facebook - rather, my mindset views your proposal as if you were throwing yourself an enormous, elaborate birthday party and then not inviting anyone to come; it just seems quite useless and pointless to me. I get that it might be (some?) fun for the person throwing the birthday party / having a 2-person destination wedding, but I don't understand the purpose - it just seems like a waste of time/money/effort that is likely to breed unnecessary ill-will among family members.

      Having an intimate vacation in an exotic place to get pretty pictures is what the honeymoon is for, no? Why shut everyone out of the actual wedding?

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  40. I am struggling with DW scenario, it would be a DW for everyone but me and my Fiance. We live in San Diego, but our families are so spread out. Majority of his family is in TX, majority of my friends and family are in AZ, and the rest are spread out from coast to coast. We looked into AZ as that is my hometown and it might make for easier accommodations some of MY friends and a few of MY immediate family, but his would all still have to travel. Point being, we cannot escape travel for our families, we can accommodate one side a little but not the other and that doesn't feel right either! Most of the family and friends we have spoken to are okay with coming out here for the wedding and making it a vacation and they all say the same thing "it is your wedding, do what you want and stop worrying about us, you will never make everyone happy". I struggle with this as I would like to be able to make it easier on everyone if I could. It is not an easy decision to make as EVERYONE will have to travel. I feel bad about that but right now that is the best option we can find. I would never be upset that someone could not attend due to costs and if they were a sibling or bridal party member we would do whatever we could to help them come out here (we are not wealthy by any means but surely we would try our best)...and I would hope they would understand how thankful and grateful we are to all those who will be able to come out and attend. Hopefully they would also understand, this may not be my or my fiance's hometown, but it is OUR Hometown. Are we selfish, tacky, rude!? I don't know...but we love each other, we love San Diego and we want to share our special day with our closest friends and family in a place that we love.

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    1. Nicole: That's a difficult situation - but, I'm not sure I'd say it's a "destination wedding" situation (since you're not dragging your families to Cabo or some nonsense) - instead, you're trying to balance location/travel responsibilities/cost/etc.

      I'm not sure what my advice would be - if it were me, I'd probably pick either AZ or TX and then deal with the rest - after all, you're minimizing overall travel responsibilities and probably overall cost and stress that way. But, it might also be best for you to have it in your "new" hometown and invite your families there - knowing so few details, it's hard for me to offer an informed opinion.

      But, no matter which you choose, I don't think this is a destination wedding situation - for which I'm sure your families are thankful ;) Good luck with working it all out!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  41. I too stumbled upon this and, wow, it's certainly been good therapy for me. Contrary to the earlier post from the ultra supportive mother-of-the-bride, I wanted to offer a counterpoint. Call me a traditionalist, but the purpose of a wedding is to join two people together in the presence of family and friends who will be there to provide support/encouragement in good and bad times. Also, to create memories and share in the fun and joy of the most (or one of the most) critical decisions you will ever make in your life. This is NOT, I repeat NOT, a vacation and I can assure you those who cannot afford this misunderstood interpretation of what a wedding is, do not view this as missing out on a vacation. To those who are close to the bride and groom, the decision to not be able to afford to attend is likely a very painful one. So, to simply suggest "well it's their decision, if they really wanted to attend they would find a way" is totally off base and, well, ignorant. Cost should never, ever, ever prevent someone from attending a celebration. In my case, the costs including travel and housing and all the additional "hidden" expenses (and there are plenty, by the way) is well beyond what would have been spent keeping it local or even anywhere in the United States. And, let me also address the misconception about how much stress it saves in planning an event. While the pictures might be fabulous, this essentially boils down to a wedding factory situation, with you putting a complete stranger in charge of a very important milestone in your life. While your friends who stay nearby will be giving their wedding a personal touch, picking out their flowers, tasting cakes, selecting a photographer to capture the day, putting together a music list for the father/daughter dance, etc. you will be communicating by email with a complete stranger hoping for the best. And, if you decide to have a "send off" or "return" activity, you are definitely planning a reception so you won't save anything there. But, in my opinion, no price tag can be put on the emotional turmoil these weddings produce in a family. If you really appreciate your family and friends, keep your day simple and go have a wonderful honeymoon at whatever destination you want to explore. Bring back lots of pictures and stories to share but please spare us the "adventure". Your day should be shared with those who do and do not have the financial resources to travel abroad. For, if you tally up the financial cost and emotional damage, it's just not worth it.

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    1. Anonymous: I'm sorry if you're facing a destination wedding situation - but I'm glad that this post (and most of the comments) have proven therapeutic. Feel free to share more details, ask questions, or generally vent - I'm 100% behind you!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  42. Why do you believe you know what kind of weddings people should have? Do you realize everyone is different, and is entitled to their own opinions? Certain families prefer destination weddings, and other families enjoy formal weddings. What ever the preference, people should have whatever kind of wedding they want, and contrary to your belief, not every family lies about being "okay" with destination weddings. I don't know what kind of beliefs your family instilled in you, but my families, my friend's families, and my fiance's families are all very honest with their opinions.

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    1. Certainly everyone is entitled to their opinion and that is what makes this blog beneficial. It's a forum to share experiences that are truthful and honest, whether that applies to your particular situation is for you to decide. While there are plenty of sites that glorify this decision (likely because they are being supported by travel agents, resorts, and others who have a vested interest) this blog is different..both sides can offer their opinion. And, with regard to honesty, it is indeed highly valued by me and my opinions have been exceptionally clear. Unfortunately for too many brides to be, this is an overwhelmingly emotional time, so some are not always using logic in their decision making. In my experience, the response back to any criticism is a parroting of the same content from the proponents on this site (and other sites), "it's going to be an "adventure" for your guests".."they can use this as your vacation".."it's going to be a no hassle wedding"..on and on. My point is that you really, really, really (emphasis completely intended) need to consider all the implications of this decision beyond just the pretty pictures from the resort the travel agent has shown you. Keep in mind, the travel agent is paid to promote these types of weddings. For many, particularly if your family is not wealthy, it's very highly likely going to harm relationships and create lots of, perhaps unintended, emotional chaos. I know of several families that no longer talk just because of a destination wedding decision. To me that is too high a price. So I would say if you insist, be prepared, and accept the consequences. I've seen two different approaches and can assure you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, for my family a small hometown wedding is a better choice since we love and value the time spent will all of the members of our family, not just those who can afford to travel.

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    2. And, I'll offer one other piece of information to ponder. A destination wedding is quite a bit like a "pyramid scheme" whereby you "recruit" family and friends to accompany you to financially underwrite the perceived cost of your wedding. Again, as a traditionalist, something just doesn't seem right with that approach.

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    3. Anonymous #1: Well, I don't have much to add to what Anonymous #2 had to say - Anonymous #2 summarized my arguments against destination weddings quite well.

      I'll just add this - I don't pretend to know what kind of wedding EVERY single person should have. For example, there are a few couples from different countries (see the comments above) that have families that live literally halfway around the world from each other - for them, a destination wedding might make the most sense.

      But, statistically speaking, it is very unlikely that you are such a person. Therefore, a destination wedding is probably a stupid, selfish thing for you to do.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  43. My fiance is from Sweden and I am from Louisiana. If we have the wedding in my hometown, it will be 90% my family and friends and a few of his family and friends. If we go somewhere, it levels out the playing field. Not only that but we are both divers and we met on a beach-- we think its only suiting for us to be married on a beach. Therefore, a destination is perfect for us. We want a small ceremony, limited number of guest-- with a destination wedding-- you'll really get the people who care enough about you to travel to see you get married. AND we are very respectful of everyone's budgets-- we are providing an array of options for accommodation ranging from 20$ a night to 300$ a night. Most of the people we really want to come are from other countries anyways. So, for us, a destination wedding is the perfect wedding.

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    1. Freedom: Well, perhaps you're one of the few for whom destination weddings really make sense, since your families are so spread apart - though I rather doubt that, honestly. But, thankfully, you don't have to convince me (which, as my replies to previous commenters should make clear, would be quite difficult to do) - you just have to justify it to yourself, which you're obviously perfectly capable of. Hooray for self-rationalization!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  44. Thank you, Angry Bureaucrat! I have been invited to a destination wedding that I'm obligated to attend, and to help my aging parents to attend. I am dumbfounded by the lack of consideration shown by the bride and groom. This trip will be the most expensive trip my boyfriend and I have taken to date. The insult to injury is that bride and groom haven't arranged or suggested any discounted hotels or flights - we're supposed to fend for ourselves! Seriously, all you 24%-ers, if the day is only about you and your tropical beach, then don't bother sending the invitations.

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    1. Anonymous: I'm sorry to hear about your situation - I hope this post (and, more importantly, the comments) were cathartic, and good luck making the best out of a bad situation. Feel free to come back and share with us exactly what happened, after-the-fact!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  45. Why would anyone feel obligated to attend? If you can't afford to go then, don't go. I am having a destination wedding because I don't want people to go= only the people that have had years of heads up to save. I don't want to spend 100 a head to feed a bunch of people I barely see. For the life of me I just don't understand why an adult would have a choice as to whether or not to go, choose to go, and then complain that they were "forced" to go or they "just had to go." You are an adult and can say no.

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    1. Anonymous: Wow, I'm not sure where to start.

      Why would anyone feel obligated to attend - I dunno, perhaps because they love you and want to watch you and bless you as you enter into the most important commitment you're ever going to make in your entire life?

      However, you sound like such an astoundingly self-centered person that you probably don't understand that level of emotion, so it doesn't surprise me in the least that you're the kind of selfish person who would want to have a destination wedding in the first place - destination weddings were made for people like you.

      "I am having a destination wedding because I don't want people to go" - then why did you bother inviting people, if you don't want them to go? Why bother having a wedding at all? If you don't want people to go, you shouldn't have wasted the money on sending an invitation to them in the first place. Or, you could have put at the bottom of the invitation something like, "but I don't actually want you to come, so don't."

      My guess is that you'd have very few people attending your wedding then - just what you wanted, right? And probably far fewer friends and family to bother keeping in touch with moving forward as well - a win-win!

      Oh, but you wanted all those wedding presents, right? That's why you sent out invitations, even though you didn't want people to come to your wedding, isn't it?

      Despicable. You're despicable, and I hope your selfish wedding shows your friends and family who you really are.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  46. Thank you for this though provoking post. My fiance wants a DW in the tropics, his family does them as a tradition, they are very close but spread out across the country, have money and holidays, and are excited about it. However, my family is not close (well not close enough to care to take the time off and come) and other than my parents, begrudgingly, no one will come. I don't even feel comfortable asking friends as my friends do not have money and I feel it puts them in an awkward place. I love the idea of a beach wedding but not having guests while my fiance has them seems weird. I wish we could come to a compromise (I wanted to elope but I guess that's not a compromise!) Maybe he will understand better when I show him this article?

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    1. Anonymous: Well, you can always show him this blog post (and especially the comments) - perhaps they'll help him understand how your family is likely to react to a destination wedding.

      (Also, his family has a tradition of destination weddings? I find that an extremely odd tradition ...)

      I'd encourage you to think seriously about having a wedding in your hometown and/or near your family, especially if his family is spread out and used to traveling anyway. Then, go to the beach after the wedding, when you can focus on just the two of you and not have to worry about your parents, the family and friends who couldn't make it, etc. - I suspect that would be a happier outcome for all.

      Feel free to write back with your decision and to let us know how it goes for you!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  47. Hi,

    I am looking at a destination wedding for several reasons;

    1. Removes options from my extremely pushy, manipulative and opinionated father who thinks he is entitled to have a say in everything in his role as my father. Have yet to find a way to tell him he's fired from that role too.

    2. Force a small wedding. I come from a large wog family where No doesn't mean NO, it means I'll keep at you until I wear you down and get my own way. We prefer quiet, elegant and intimate, and what better way than to go somewhere where no one has a footing to cause trouble?

    3. We like being left alone. We both have family members and aquaintances that, if we were rich, would pay to drop off the face of the earth. They have done nothing but be opinionated, negative bullies throughout our lives and relationship, and neither of us want the stress of having to deal with the pricks.

    4. My family and his can be (and are) quite selfish and self serving, making digs at each other at the wedding, picking on our choices, my weight, our wedding style, music, food, NOTHING is out of the question for them.

    5. I suffer from an illness where what you would consider mild stress and anxiety will lay me up in bed for up to a month - if I have my wedding overseas, then I avoid any potential interference from anyone, and all of my suppliers or organizers are safe.

    6. My family and his are completely unsupportive of my illness, and bully both of us instead about it. Why can't we want to have our special day as far away as possible from those people, and make it as hard as possible for them to get there, rather than deal with the bullshit, stress and bullying they will dish out that will ruin the fun I'm supposed to have planning our day, and just stress us out instead?

    7. We have put ourselves on the line time and time again for our families, been used and abused, given our expertise for free so many times, and the more we put out, the more is expected, with exception of VERY few family members.

    Why can't we be selfish for one day of our life, and tell all the other negative meddling pricks to bugger off and let us express ourselves the way we want to?

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    1. Anonymous: Yikes. Well, I think it's quite obvious that you're using your destination wedding as a way to escape from most of your family and many of your friends - it sounds like you have lots of interpersonal issues to work out, regardless of where your wedding takes place. Do I think a destination wedding is appropriate as an escape vehicle? Not really. Why not just elope? Why have a destination wedding at all, if you're just trying to escape?

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  48. There is no way to make a wedding work that includes all your friends and family, spares feelings, doesn't inconvenience guests, and doesn't break the metaphorical bank (of either money or time or patience).

    I used to get a tiny bit perturbed by destination weddings - until my spouse and I had to plan our own wedding! Then we realized the dilemmas involved. We ended up doing a simple hometown wedding, with a brutally cut-down guest list, and I'm hoping our family and friends whom we couldn't invite understand that difficult choice we made.

    As long as your friends are trying to keep considerate, give them a break. Let them juggle their own fireball wedding issues. You don't have to join their destination wedding, but be gracious and happy for them anyway. Just my perspective.

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    1. Anonymous: As should be clear, I'm not saying that destination wedding are 100% wrong 100% of the time - I'm just pointing out that they're wrong for most people most of the time, and that people have them for the wrong reasons (e.g., to push much of the cost of the wedding onto the guests, if the couple can't afford to have the "dream" wedding they want).

      My friends and family can certainly have destination weddings if they want - I just won't be there. However, they then take it personally when I tell them "no" - and I consider that their fault, for having a destination wedding in the first place.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  49. Im in a horrible position. My brother and his fiance are having a DW in tropical island that will be at least 3k for just flight and hotel, not even considering food and modes of transport. We are building a home and will be closing on it with all of our savings 3 months prior to the DW and of course will have exspences for furniture, and neccesary appliances. We also will be going down to one income since it is a out of state move, This all being said our family is not really close and its difficult for me to even think we can afford this at this time. This wedding is putting un needed stress on me and my husband and Im scared to back out since it is my brother and they want me in the wedding party. I don't even know what to do, my evil mother suggested we dont buy our house...help.

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    1. Anonymous: I'm terribly sorry to hear about your situation. I've given various pieces of advice in my comments above, so you might want to read through those and see if they help.

      In particular - have you asked them to pay for your expenses, if they want you in the wedding party? You can have an open and frank discussion with your brother about your finances, about the need to buy your house (and how for you, it's a choice between the house and going to their wedding), about your desire to be in the wedding but your inability to afford it, and to ask them to pay your way, if they really want you there.

      Just a thought - feel free to come back and let us know how it works out for you. Good luck!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  50. I found this article by chance when I was searching "Google" and inquiring as to opinions for DW. I am glad that I did. I myself will be a bride next Spring.

    I think what we have all lost site of is what an actual wedding is and what it means. It is about a couple expressing their love for each other and making that committment to each other in an official ceremony. It shouldn't so much be about "what other people want" or making your plans to accomodate other people, after all, is it not about the bride and groom? After all, they are the ones getting married.

    Far too many people concern themselves about the choices that the bride and groom make for their day, that's right I said THEIR day! This isn't a day when your best friend gets to decide what you will wear, who should be invited and where the most convient place for her to go will be.

    I think its ironic and very hypocritical that you state that brides and grooms who choose a destination wedding are completely selfish. Is it not completely selfish of you or other guests to assume that the bride and groom should make their wedding plans based on conveniences of other people rather then themselves?

    Let's all be honest here. If a bride and groom decide that they want a destination wedding the people who are upset about this are the same people who expect to eat and to drink like kings, without spending a dime! Putting the expense on the bride and groom, for other people to enjoy their wedding day and they themselves do not get to enjoy more than a minute of it, does this make any sense to anyone?!?!

    Far too many times over the course of my life I have heard almost every bride that I know of say "If I had to do it all over again, I would make it more about us and less of what our families wanted us to do"...I do not want to have any regret about the choice we make for OUR day. I want to do exactly what WE want to do, more so then what other people want to do or would prefer we do in order to accomodate them.

    I think that if you are going to have a DW then that is something that you have decided and you cant or shouldnt demand anyone else to feel they have to. If people want to attend, they are welcome to attend, but ultimately, this what the bride and groom have decided for their day. The choice is yours.

    To guests who are invited to a DW a word of advice; nothing kills a friendship or relationship quicker then trying to convince your bride or groom friend that what they have decided isn't very "responsible" or "asking too much of people". In my opinion for what it is worth, guests expecting to be taken care of on someone elses day, is completely selfish and self indulgent to say the very least.

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    1. Anonymous: What is a wedding? That's a good question.

      Traditionally, a wedding was the formal ceremony for entering into marriage (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage), which (in Western countries) was an exchange of property. Namely, a daughter (formerly the property of her father) became the property of her husband.

      In fact, the bride rarely had a say in who she was married - the two fathers arranged the marriage, and the bride and groom lived with it.

      Yay, a wedding!

      So, what we currently think of as a "wedding" is a relatively recent phenomenon in human history.

      As I point out in this post (and in my other Wedding Week posts), I do not expect for brides and grooms to cater to the wishes of their guests to the exclusion of what they want - I simply say that, yes, it is completely selfish for brides and grooms to not consider their guests whatsoever when planning their wedding.

      "If a bride and groom decide that they want a destination wedding the people who are upset about this are the same people who expect to eat and to drink like kings, without spending a dime" - that is a ridiculous statement. Most people who go to weddings go because they want to celebrate with the bride and groom, not to eat and drink for free - after all, going to weddings (even local ones) is costly and time-consuming.

      "I do not want to have any regret about the choice we make for OUR day" - perhaps you should read the opinions of all of the "guests" of destination weddings who have commented on this post before you decide that a destination wedding is the way to avoid regrets about your big day.

      "guests expecting to be taken care of on someone elses day" - I'm not sure you understand the definition of the word "guest." Let me help you out:

      guest (n.)
      1. One who is a recipient of hospitality at the home or table of another.
      2. One to whom entertainment or hospitality has been extended by another in the role of host or hostess, as at a party.

      How is expecting a guest to pay to attend a destination wedding in any way hospitable?

      Perhaps we should stop calling people who come to destination wedding "guests" - perhaps we should start calling them attendees, or ticket-holders, or designated gift-bringers, or wedding tourists, or something like that, because they're certainly not guests. Any suggestions on what we should call them?

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  51. LOL Your view is really scewed, the more and more I read your comment(s) and posts the more and more I believe that.

    Yes traditionally you are correct, a wedding took place in exchange of property mostly a man who took on a wife and offered her family land or cattle in exchange of the wife who would bare him children to ease the load of the work. But as you state above, the idea has certainly changed over time...(thank god..LOL).

    I don't think "Guests" spend a lot of time or money to drive to and from an in town wedding. In fact, I can tell you more often then not, I have heard people decline to attend a wedding if it becomes an effort for them to attend such as driving 45 mins to the venue, because they don't want to spend any money paying for a hotel room and god forbid someone may not be able to drink that night to drive home. So let's be honest when we talk about why people are so upset when asked to attend a wedding that is not around the corner from them, after all, as you state, this is about a celebration, but more often then not that celebration if not convenient for the guest declines to attend, so how important is to them really?

    As I had stated at the beginning of my post, I had spent the time to read all of the posts and even replies before I myself wrote a response, as that is not something I would usually do. So I am well aware of what others have stated and experienced.

    Humanity is that of selfishness, they will more often then not take the easiest path and do what they find best for them while looking for excuses to provide to others as to why they cannot assist other people. I do not mean to be harsh however, I live in reality, not view life through rose coloured glasses.

    For example, I recently priced out a local venue here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The cost per person (not including booze) is $185.00 per person, that's right per person. That is for a normal four course dinner. At $185.00 per person, that doesn't include alcohol, the cost for ceremony, people to park, a dj and then "Guests" would need a hotel room on top of that to be comfortable. Do you think it is fair or reasonable that a bride or groom should pay $185.00 per person to attend there wedding? You can pay that amount of money to go to a DW per person per day.

    Ultimately, my opinion has not changed so we will agree to disagree. If you have an unlimited cash flow or budget by all means you should pay $185.00 per person to attend your "celebration" as you call it, but for this bride I can tell you that if I was going to pay anywhere close to $185.00 per person I would rather spend that money on "Guests" going away with us, to do what we want to do.

    And as another person commented previously, it is an invitation only, no one is required to attend if they do not want to. But I think to have a local wedding so others can attend and eat and drink on your buck, is oompletely selfish and inconsiderate.

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    1. Anonymous: Perhaps you're not yet old enough to value your time properly. I value my time highly - so yes, even attending a local wedding is "costly" to me in that sense.

      "more often then not that celebration if not convenient for the guest declines to attend, so how important is to them really?" - I seriously doubt that it is "more often than not." But, yes, guests can certainly decline for any reason.

      However, can your best friend decline to go to your destination wedding, because they don't want to / can't pay $1-3k+ to attend it? Can your parents decline? Can your siblings decline?

      Probably not without seriously damaging your relationship, no. So you expect these people to suck it up and pay in order to prove that they love you ... and if they don't, well, they obviously don't love you enough, right?

      "Do you think it is fair or reasonable that a bride or groom should pay $185.00 per person to attend there wedding? You can pay that amount of money to go to a DW per person per day." - no, that's preposterous. You should find a cheaper way to have a wedding. As I describe in my other Wedding Week posts, my bride and I threw three separate parties to celebrate our wedding, and EVERYTHING (and I mean EVERYTHING, including plenty of booze) came out to about $10k. So, let's see here ... 60 people at the rehearsal dinner ... 175 at the ceremony and reception ... and 75 at the dinner afterwards ... That comes out to about $32.25 per "guest" per party (recognizing that many of those guests were guests at multiple events). We were simply very clever about how we arranged things to minimize our costs and maximize our fun and our time with our friends and family.

      Oh, and destination weddings cost guests a lot more than $185 per day. They'll probably have to take at least two days off work (worth $400, let's say), the flight will be at $500-$1000, hotel will be $100-$200/night, plus food and other costs. So, for a 4 day destination wedding, we're looking at $325-$550 per day, plus food and other costs - and God help any guests if they have children to bring along.

      All of the people who commented before you have failed to change my mind about destination weddings, so I doubt you'll succeed either. With your destination wedding, you're simply shifting much of the cost of your "dream" wedding from you onto your guests, which I think is a really crappy thing to do. It would be much better to rethink what is really important to you in a wedding and maximize your fun and celebrating with people, rather than use a destination wedding to weasel and stick your guests with much of your wedding bill.

      "to have a local wedding so others can attend and eat and drink on your buck, is oompletely selfish and inconsiderate" - again, you may want to check your dictionary. Having a local wedding and hosting others who eat and drink on your buck is the OPPOSITE of selfish - it is the height of hospitality. What IS completely selfish and inconsiderate is having a destination wedding where your guests have to pay most of the cost of your wedding.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    2. I agree with you again Angry Bureaucrat, Just when I think I maybe lean towards destination wedding, you bring up perfect points and bring me back to the realization that they are not a good option. Because even though people say they would be ok with siblings and parents not being able to attend for whatever reason, they are, no doubt about it lying. There would have to be a pretty good reason to not care, like if the relationship is already bad then of course they would be ok with it. Weddings are chaos and I am inspired by you and your ability to create what sounds like a good time on half of what some couples spend on things people don't even care about.

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    3. Tawny: Thanks for the kind words, and I'm glad I was able to convince you not to have a destination wedding ;)

      If you're looking for other ideas about how to have an awesome wedding on a small budget, check out my other Wedding Week posts for more tips on how my wife and I had an awesome wedding at a third of the average US wedding costs - the other posts are available via the blog archive, on the top right of this page.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  52. Here is my take on the situation; A wedding is not about the family or the friends that decide to attend. It is about a union between a man and a woman. It can take place at a court house, in a church, or another country. If a couple wants a destination wedding so be it. Too many people get caught up in what everyone else is thinking, wanting, and feeling. I attended a wedding in the brides hometown and there were several empty tables because local guests for whatever reason decided not to show. In conclusion, whatever the couple wants, whatever makes them happy, and whatever fits in their budget is what they should do. There is no right or wrong way to have a wedding.

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    1. Anonymous: I completely disagree, for all the reasons above. I'll not take the time to reply further to your vague and wishy-washy comment.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  53. When I got married some years ago, we had a traditional wedding in my wife's home town which was about 100 miles from my own home town and about 70 miles from the city where we were living. Weddings are always a bit stressful, but in general it went over well, both the church wedding and the reception. We connected with our family and friends, thanked people for coming and supporting us and generally had a good time. Then a day or so later we went on our honeymoon to Niagra Falls... and guess what... we didn't have to drag our relatives and friends with us at great expense to them and spend our whole honeymoon with them ... what a novel "old school" idea.

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    1. Anonymous: I can get behind that old-school idea - old-school in a good way, I'd say, and similar to the way my wife and I handled our wedding as well.

      Coincidentally, I'm headed to Toronto soon for a bit of a vacation myself, and I hope to head to Niagara Falls for a day trip - I'm greatly looking forward to it!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  54. Couldn't agree more with the article. I need a new car. I had an amazing family vacation planeed. Yet because they want to get married in some expensive resort, I've got to hold off on buying a car, book extra time off and say good-bye to my family vacation! That's not to mention the expensive gift I still have to buy. Complete and selfish B.S. in my opinion.

    What even worse is that I have to go to 2 destination weddings in less than a month apart! What's wrong with these people. I mean I love ya and all but I ain't ready to jump off a cliff for ya.

    Rant done.

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    1. Anonymous: Yikes, I'm sorry to hear about that. I hope your friends'/family's thoughtlessness doesn't put you in too bad of a financial situation. If they really want you to attend and it would create a serious financial hardship for you, you can always ask them to pay your way, as I've suggested to a few people above.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  55. I would like some advice. My girlfriend wants to attend a wedding in Italy for her cousin, someone who she was close with years ago, but has probably only seen her 2-3 times in the past ten years. She is however, very close with her aunt, who is also attending. Now, the trip and lodging expenses to Italy will be likely above $3000, which is quite a costly trip. It's going to be over a week long. The bride/groom have an itinerary they are following, for example they are hoping to get enough visitors to stay in a castle for an entire week to the tune of $750. The price isn't too crazy, but it's either all week or nothing. You can't just stay a couple days out of the week. The plan is to rent vans to visit other cities but ultimately return to the castle every evening. Naturally, my girlfriend's aunt and uncle and other immediate family members within that circle are excited to travel together and stay at this castle.

    My dilemma is this. If I'm going to spend $3000+ taking a trip overseas, aside from wedding related activities, I would like see things that WE want to see. Should I feel pressured to follow the groom/bride's itinerary for the duration of the trip? What is my duty as a wedding guest? Is that what I should be doing when I take a destination trip? My issue comes with staying at the castle. For example, if the wedding is on a Friday or Saturday, I would like to spend the earlier part of the week visiting other cities...and driving hours from the castle to visit and driving hours back every day seems like a waste of time. I would much rather drive to other cities, stay at those cities overnight, and attend the wedding festivities! My girlfriend doesn't want to shake things up or make any waves with her aunt, but I think if we're spending all that money to go, we should be able to enjoy ourselves the way we'd like as well! Help!!

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    1. B Best: If I were you, I would feel absolutely no pressure to follow the bridge and groom's itinerary - I would go to the wedding ceremony and whatever other wedding events I wanted to and spend as much time with the bridge and groom as I wanted and/or that they had free for me (which I doubt would be much) - but as far as my lodging choice, what to do on non-wedding event days, etc., I would definitely do what I wanted, not what the bride and groom say I have to do.

      Incidentally, if you're looking for guidebooks for Italy, my absolute favorite one is this one, even though it's a few years old now - http://amzn.com/0312385722 - ignore the negative reviews; the Amazon reviewers don't know what they're talking about, except for the one who says that the guidebook is targeted towards students - that is true; it is definitely Italy "on a budget," but my wife and I still, in our 30s, usually go by the recommendations in this guide and generally find them to be excellent, especially for the price, and even though the book is a few years old at this point.

      If you're looking for a slightly more upscale experience, I'd suggest this guide - http://amzn.com/1409362647

      Enjoy your trip - let us know how it works out for you, if you think to come back and share with us!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  56. I've got one for you Angry Bureaucrat...

    The couple have been together for twelve years, living together in a house purchased jointly. She is wearing a two 1/2 carat diamond ring, and traveled to Ireland this January 2013 sans fiance.

    Their DW is Turks and Caicos, which requires a maximum 72 hour pre-ceremony stay to secure residency. Her families/relatives are in New York, New Jersey (Father), and Florida (Mother, Grandmother, other aunts, uncles, and cousins), and Utah (his). If the guests can arrive the day before the ceremony then hotel stay is likely minimum two days or maximum six days if resort package. Here's the kicker. The honeymoon is in Hawaii!!

    None of her family can afford to attend, and she seems to be setting up the time to be a bit too close to her so-called favorite male cousin's college graduation 2014 (Maryland); which is a big deal as he will be second in the family (blood related) to accomplish this in their Grandmother's lifetime; Grandfather died two days after male cousin left for college (2010). Grandmother and Aunt would have to buy plane tickets for the graduation, and likely a hotel for at least one night given the physical issues, right (keep reading...)? The first in the family to graduate college (1998) was Ms./cousin with DW high hopes.

    Ms.' Mother (male cousin's aunt) has Multiple Sclerosis, and her Mother, the Grandmother is 84 years of age. Mother/Aunt seems to be on board, but Grandmother is still in shock--so who knows until she figures out how to speak with Spanish expletives deleted. LOL.

    The other so-called favorite cousin (female) has been on a successful weight loss campaign since the engagement in anticipation of being the MOHonor. Not, gonna happen. Ms. has excluded her from the party altogether.

    Needless to say, Sept 8, 2013 was a very interesting cookout, to say the least, particularly when no mention of Mr.'s parents--specifically, whether his Mother had finally warmed to the house purchase 2011 (Tri-State NY Area) let alone the 2013 engagement.

    It seems to me, if there was ever a just get it done at the Court House situation, this is it with no doubts. Oh, well.

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    1. Anonymous: Oh man, that sounds like a seriously brutal situation for everyone - even the bride and groom. Whatever happens, I hope you survive the inevitable family drama and fallout - and I hope the bride doesn't kill any of her elderly relatives with all the travel!

      If you think of it, come back and let us know how it all turns out!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  57. Dear TAB,

    I’ve read the entire Q&A, above, and have a slightly different situation. My wonderful brother in law and his fiancée are planning a DW in the Caribbean, next summer. He asked that my husband, his brother, be the best man and stated that our boys would be involved with the ceremony, in some capacity (they’re 18 and 16). They informed us of their plans a few weeks ago and the wedding plans were finalized, last week. In doing research, online, I found that depending on how many rooms they can book, the wedding is free to them. Odd, I thought. Then, I did the math with the flights and the all-inclusive resort – a whopping $9,000 for five days (not including the cost of incidentals and passports). I love them, both, don’t get me wrong. I wish them all the happiness in the world! With that being said, I would NEVER expect the guests to pay for my wedding! It’s appalling. We didn’t even spend $9,000 on our own wedding. If it were my family member or best friend that was planning this event and requested my MOH services, I would admit it was too expensive and let them know that either only I could come, or, we could all attend if they were willing to assist with the cost. But, that isn’t the case with my husband. He’s insisting that we all go to spend time with his whole family. I let him know that his brother will not have time to spend with us and that we see all of the other family members that will be there. I just don’t know what to say to him. I’ve asked him to compromise (just the 2 of us go or he goes alone) but he’s unwilling. I can’t reach out to his brother, my husband would be furious with me. I doubt he’ll ever admit to his brother that it’s too expensive and that we’ll have to go into debt to attend his wedding. Not going is not an option and complaining to my husband about it isn’t scoring me any points, either!

    Oh, the kicker is that this destination is not even their honeymoon. I just don’t get it. The only thing I can think is that they’re doing it to get a free wedding.

    Keep in mind this is not a situation where the bride and groom are from 2 different sides of the country, or even from 2 different countries. The majority of all family members live on the west coast.

    In above posts, people have said they don’t want to have a big wedding because they’ll have to pay between $50 and $100+, per person. Well, please charge me a cover charge to come to your local wedding! Because what I’m spending on 4 people attending this wedding could pay for 100 people at $90 per head!

    Thanks for allowing me the venue to rant!

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    1. Anonymous: Wow, hmmm, that's a difficult spot - I'm not sure what advice I'd have for you. It's a shame that you and your husband are divided on this front.

      However, it is patently silly and irresponsible to go into debt to attend a wedding (or to have a wedding, for that matter) - can you sit your husband down and talk to him about how this fits (or doesn't fit) into your family's budget? Perhaps if you approach it with him from the perspective, "Yes, you want to go, and I want to go, and I even want our kids to go, but it is irresponsible for us as people and parents to go into debt to attend a wedding. Is there a way that we can find room in our budget for this enormous expense?"

      Suggested ideas, in no particular order and both good and bad:
      -Give up all other vacations.
      -Sell a car (or if your husband drives a nice car, make him sell it and get a used Toyota Corolla).

      OK, so that's about it - I don't have a lot of other ideas. But the point is to put it on your husband to show how it's going to work for you all, financially, without going into debt. And if he can't, then you might suggest that you need to rethink your plans about attending.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  58. I have traveled, in the past, to attend my friends' weddings (even though I was a broke college student and it was mid semester). So, when it was my turn I figured it would be no big deal. WRONG. I no longer live in my hometown, and haven't for some time, and tried to find a neutral location for everyone. However, my 3 out of 4 of my wedding party (aka "life long friends") adamantly refused, or thought of some excuse as to not go. So, upon the revelation that my friends sucked. My fiance and I planned a destination wedding. We figured since that none of my friends would be making it, to a relatively easy locale, we might as well go somewhere we wanted. Yet again, I got complaints from my supposed wedding party because they wouldn't be able to go. I'm at a loss as to what they want so I've done a pretty good job at not including them in my wedding plans--even though it seems as if they don't really care. In the end, people have to do what THEY want and screw everyone else.

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    1. Anonymous: Yikes, I'm sorry to hear about that. It seems like you tried to include your friends as best you could. Do you all not have any family to consider in these decisions as well?

      And, obviously, I disagree with your last sentence, though I hear that you are very frustrated at this point ;)

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  59. I agree with this article 100%. Whom ever is having a destination wedding is definitely thinking of themselves as a whole. If it's a brides dream to have a destination wedding then she should'nt be upset nor surprised when few may show. After all, with the cost of taking yourself, let alone family members out of state or out of country, this isn't always feesable.

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    1. Anonymous: I'm always happy to find someone who shares my views on destination weddings!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  60. I am amazed at the situations described above, this craze is all about trying to copy the rich and famous (who by the way pay for others to attend or invite other very rich and famous people).
    I do understand the "meet in the easiest place" notion some couples are describing.
    I agree strongly with the exploitation of developing countries argument put earlier, as well as being highly embarrassed by the over-consumption people in developed countries seem to take pleasure in.
    I am forwarding this link to my children now so they put some serious thought into their future wedding ideas. Fortunately I can easily say no to relatives who plan their parties overseas (note to self - remember to warn my sister I won't be going OS for her wedding).
    Great to see this post has been going strong since 2011 - well done angrybureaucrat. Jan from Oz

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    1. Jan: Thanks for your thoughts, and thanks for forwarding this post on to people who might benefit from reading it ;) In particular, I might point your relatives to the comments section, where people have given many accounts of their own (negative) experiences of being guests at destination weddings, and the stress it has put on their relationships (completely unnecessarily, I might add).

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  61. In the past three years, I have been invited to as many DWs. All have been held in exotic Caribbean locations, and I have attended none. The B&G are choosing SETTING above GUESTS in a selfish disingenous ploy to shift wedding costs onto guests. I receive emails from the B&G, 'discounts expire soon, need deposit,' I have to wonder, am I expected to meet some financial timeframe so they can get the benefit of concessions from the resort? No one is forcing me to attend, and I have declined all amicably, but it's a disappointing and narcissistic decision to set monumental financial obstacles in front of those who want to witness and share the joy of a once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully ;-) ) special event. I would not trade the company of my beloved friends and family for 80 degree temperatures and palm trees, EVER. To those commenters who state, "it's THEIR day," please, this sounds exactly like the con and pitch that wedding industry ingrains into B&G couples, designed to extract as much wealth as possible and enable the unconscionable selfish and narcissistic behavior which now pervades B&G couples. And your guests WILL remember, for years, how you BOTH, in your self-indulgent, decadent fantasy, regarded exotic scenery and warm weather MORE than the company of guests who care about you. Angry Bureaucrat thank you for taking a stand against this ugly trend. I am so sick of it I could vomit.

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    1. Anonymous: Way to hold strong in the face of this stupid trend towards more and more destination weddings - congratulations :D If only everyone refused to attend destination weddings - then we'd all be plagued by far fewer of them!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    2. Thank you for writing this....thank you.....I would never subject the people I love and value to this hardship. hey - for those folks who have $ and have the time - go for it but young people today, if they don't have the means to pay for the complete airfare, the trip, the hotel.....for everyone they invite, they shouldn't expect others to as well. It's very selfish, it's hurtful and it causes problems in the family.

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    3. I hope some of the commenters who are thinking about having a destination wedding take your comment to heart!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  62. What if money is not the only reason I do not want to go to my sister's destination wedding? I do not want to spend the money but I also am not comfortable going to the requested country. Maybe I am paranoid but it is not for me and I will be nervous the entire time. I am supposed to be the maid of honor but I just do not want to go! Not to mention I recently started a new job and my bf is starting his own company. Please help with advice on telling my sister that I am no longer going even though I was spineless and said yes in the beginning.

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    1. Anonymous: That's also a good reason not want to go. I don't have any advice except to tell the bride AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and be open, honest, and direct about your feelings. Oh, and be apologetic for changing your mind, but be firm.

      I'd be curious to hear how this turns out for you - feel free to come back and give us an update once it's been worked out, one way or another!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  63. This is absolutely the worst wedding article I've ever read. Its written ny a self centered egotistical person who calls anyone who has a wonderful wedding at a destination outside of their home town self centered. I could go on for days as to why this is all so ridiculous but all I will say is almost all weddings are destination weddings for your guests!! You may have it in your home town but most of your guests are from other places and have to travel to get there. So, using your logic, in order to not burden anyone you should probably travel around to the towns each guest is from and have a wedding there So as not to inconvenience them. Ugh. This was just so terrible in so many ways. And not entertaining in the least. Dont quit your day job.

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    1. Anonymous: I have read WAY worse articles on destination weddings than this one, I can assure you ;)

      But, to address a few of your points - I don't think that there is any more self-centered act than planning a destination wedding, and MANY of the comments on this article agree. So, I'm not exactly alone in my opinion.

      And, for most people (admittedly not all, but most), it's simply not true that "most of your guests are from other places and have to travel to get there." In the ten years leading up to my wedding, I lived in 3 different US States and *4 different countries* - and 90% of our guests were STILL within a 4 hour drive of our hometown. It would have been ridiculous of us to have a destination wedding (or, 90%+ of our guests just wouldn't have come).

      And I'd never quit my day job - blogging is way too much work for way too little money to try to do it full time ;)

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  64. The reception is a thank you to your guests for attending your ceremony. You had a tiered guest list and event - and THAT is much ruder than the concept of a destination wedding.

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    1. Anonymous: Well, as I said in my post, the reception was open to everyone, and the dinner and dancing afterwards was for the people who would have wanted to attend that event - I would guess that there were fewer than 5 people at the reception who would have wanted to attend the dinner/dancing and weren't invited to. I knew my guests well, and I knew what they'd want / how much they'd want to participate in my wedding and celebrate with me.

      And no, I don't think there's anything ruder than a destination wedding - I'd be much happier to attend a friend's wedding, attend a reception, and not be invited to a dinner afterwards than to be completely cut out through a destination wedding.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    2. I think it depends on where you come from personally, and part of being a good bride/groom is being considerate of that. People follow different etiquette and know varying degrees of it. Maybe for one person, sending an e-invite is a practical, low-cost way of asking someone to attend a celebration, but Grandma might be offended by the garishness of it. Or maybe you have someone who sends out an invite addressed only to her sister, ignorant of the fact that her sister thinks you've not invited her husband since you left his name off the invitation. Also, in some countries, guest lists ARE tiered, and people think nothing of receiving an invitation for "dessert" or whatever share, but this is probably a pretty foreign concept to us in the states. What one person perceives as rude may not be so for another.

      I was once invited to a wedding 2 hours away from a real city along with what seemed like 300 other college kids, hadn't talked to the B/G personally in over two years, was never sent a thank you note for the present I sent (!), and they had a mid-afternoon wedding, then whisked away only their wedding party and immediate family for dinner afterwards. To me, it was incredibly rude. To them, maybe they just wanted to be inclusive so no one felt left out and had a low-budget wedding. I don't know.

      I think the tough part about being a guest is feeling "obligated" to attend/celebrate/give gifts when perhaps it's not within our capabilities to do so, emotionally or financially. But then the bride and groom play a weird double-role of "guest of honor" (it is their marriage being celebrated!) and "host" nowadays as they may pay for a large amount of it.

      Weddings are weird and such an unavoidable part of life.

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    3. Anonymous: True, weddings can be pretty weird - but destination weddings are among the weirdest and most expensive oddities that friends and family subject each other two. I hope we can reverse the trend soon.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  65. Huh, interesting.

    I would call our plan part "justified DW" and part at-home budget party. We live in Texas. His immediate family is in France, Brazil, Denver, and Washington DC. Mine is in California, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Our close relatives and friends live in New York, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, California, Texas, Nebraska, and Saudi Arabia. We plan to marry in France, where we one day hope to move. With roughly 50 invitees, we don't expect everyone to be able to make it, and will have a small party in Texas (probably cocktails and hors d'oeuvres) to celebrate our marriage with those who live close to us that cannot make it. I am not demanding that anyone come. I will graciously accept declines and I will not ostracize anyone, but this is the way that we do it. We hope to save enough to be able to help out our closest friends (about 10 of them) with ticket costs if they need it.

    Interestingly, if we want to bicker about which parts of weddings are "selfish" and/or could be cut without making the experience for guest or bride/groom overly negative, I would start with the bridal party. At the last wedding of a friends' - I would consider her low-key, my gift a little bit budget, and it to be a nondestination (it was within a 4-5 hour drive), I still spent roughly $500 in total between the hotel, gas, shower gift, shower hosting expenses, and wedding gift. My best friend was a bridesmaid in the same wedding, and spent about $1000 (flights, hair, bachelorette party, bridesmaid dress). I am not having a bachelorette party or traditional matching bridesmaids, if any. They may spend the night with me and zip me into my dress, but it won't cost them any more than another guest. And since we are choosing a location that includes 3 nights' accommodation, I hope for her expenses to be at least similar in order as our other friend (who had 8 bridesmaids, may I add - they were not particularly close), if she should decide to come.

    To me, it seems way more selfish and clear-cut to force (yes, actually force....people decline invitations, but how can bridesmaids can refuse to buy a dress? Far less common) people to drop money on a matching dress, AND to have a shower, AND to have a bachelorette party.

    Those are all things that are expensive to guests, can be done without, and have little to add by way of adding to the marriage and wedding celebration....which you can do (shockingly!) at the wedding. There's no need to do it three times or more.

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    1. Anonymous: Wowzers, your family is way more spread out than most - see above for a couple commenters who are in similar situations, and who are in the minority for whom destination weddings might make the most sense.

      You're very right about the bridal party/shower, separate bachelorette party, and all that assorted nonsense - since we didn't do any of that expensive, pointless crap, I didn't even think to write about it, one way or the other.

      And serious props to you for putting away money to try to help your friends attend - everyone who has a destination wedding should do that. Might I suggest signing up for a couple of new credit cards to rack up huge mileage sign-up bonuses to offset the cost some - just remember to cancel the cards before the annual fee kicks in ;)

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  66. I live in Australia and am having a destination wedding in Thailand. We have 70 confirmed guests, who all cant WAIT to come! We held it in Thailand because my fiancé is British (and thus has British relatives/friends), and I am Australian - so it made sense to meet half way.

    Everyone has commented on how excited they are to come to Thailand, and everyone is staying with us for 7 nights beforehand. It will be a huge party, and it's also everyone's holiday - so it totally depends on the situation!

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    1. Anonymous: Well, perhaps you run in much wealthier circles than me - I am just a humble Angry Bureaucrat, after all - but if I had had a destination wedding in Thailand, I'm not sure that I would have gotten anyone to show up - not even my parents.

      However, if you're Australian and he's British, perhaps it makes sense to meet in the middle and split the difference between families - there are a few commenters above for whom that was the case.

      Nevertheless, if that's true for you, then you're in the minority - the point of my blog post is to point out that for the vast majority of people, a destination wedding is a terrible, selfish idea. But, I wish you all the best with your wedding and new life with your Brit ;)

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  67. A girlfriend in our group (more of an acquaintance to me) is having a destination wedding. It's the most annoying thing in the world. None of us has $1k to shell out as we all got out of college recently. However, we all feel obligated to go. And she stupidly made it the weekend after 4th of July weekend in the southeast part of the US, so all the flights are about as expensive as they get as are the hotels. I'm thinking of saying screw it and cut my losses. If someone is that stupid/clueless to have a ridiculous wedding, I'm not sure I want them as a friend anyway. If you are planning on a destination wedding, I say invite your family only and verbally ask your friends if they would want to go. If they say yes, for sure, then send an invite. Sending out invites to everyone makes it an obligation to go.

    Wish it was in a location in another country so I could flat out say NO.

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    1. Anonymous: Yikes, I'm sorry to hear about your situation - that was indeed not very thoughtful or considerate on her part. I hope she comes to her senses, and/or you figure out a solution that doesn't harm your friendship permanently. Good luck - feel free to come back and let us know how it turns out for you!

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    2. My stepson and his bride-to-be have planned a destination wedding and, although we would love to go, we cannot afford it. We just can't - we've got bills up the erse as it is and then to expect that we'd want to charge another at least $2,500 on top of the credit card. They've been told and now they shun us - my stepson is shunning his father. What the hell is wrong with kids these days? I would never put my parents through this. I say - if you want a destination wedding - you pay for the tickets - you pay for the hotel for everyone you invite. It's selfish, it's inconsiderate, and it causes problems. Get married at home where the people who love you can celebrate together, no one is excluded do to lack of funds and then you can go off and do whatever the hell it is that you want to do. I just got another invite in the mail today from a cousin's son .... destination wedding in Jamaica in July! Whooppeeeeee! Have a nice time!

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    3. Anonymous: I'm sorry to hear about your situation - it's really ridiculous that they are shunning you, and it's a shame that this has gotten between a son and his father. We'll just have to hope that the bride and groom come to their senses sooner rather than later.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  68. Would it be more OK to do a destination wedding if there was also a reception party back home for those that couldn't make it? I recently went to a destination wedding within the last year and while it was super expensive, it was well worth it. It was more of a smaller group, more personal and everyone seemed to have a blast compared to the larger weddings I've attended at home. I tend to agree that those who want to attend your wedding will plan to especially if given 1 1/2 to 2 years in advance to plan and save for it. But I'm just getting ideas since attending the beach wedding.

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    1. Kt: I mean, it's nice to have a reception at home to celebrate with the people who couldn't come to the destination wedding - that's absolutely better than cutting them out of celebrating with you entirely.

      However, that doesn't diminish the fundamental selfishness of a destination wedding, which is that you are forcing your friends and family to travel, take time of work, and pay for a vacation that is not of their choosing. For a very limited number of people, destination weddings may make sense (see above for examples - e.g., when the two people getting married are from different countries on different sides of the globe), but for most people, they are a bad, selfish idea.

      If the idea of a big family vacation somewhere exotic really appeals to you, you could try to float the idea of a big family trip right after the wedding - my guess is that few people will be interested in going. That would be good evidence that people don't really want to attend a destination wedding.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  69. Wow there is so much negativity in these comments. I think a couple should have a wedding wherever they want to. And there shouldn't be any negativity wether you choose to attend or not. Why can't we all just love our family and be happy for them. It's stressful enough to plan a wedding without this added unnecessary drama. I understand that it might be prohibitive for some, but if you think it's offensive to get invited to a destination wedding, you are a very bitter person. No wonder weddings are going out of style.

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    1. Anonymous: Well, we don't all move through life as passively and blase as you do, apparently. Parents WANT to attend their children's weddings; friends WANT to attend their friends weddings; cousins WANT to attend each others' weddings, etc.

      People want to celebrate with each other.

      When someone makes the selfish decision to have a destination wedding, it can inspire passionate responses, as the people who can't attend might think (rightly, I would say) that the bride and groom are prioritizing pretty pictures or having their wedding subsidized by their guests rather than prioritizing celebrating with the people who have played the most important roles in their lives.

      If brides and grooms want to avoid unnecessary drama, they shouldn't make the stupid, selfish decision to have a destination wedding in the first place.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  70. My boyfriend of 5 years' parents have planned a destination vow renewal ceremony for their 40th wedding anniversary...in Hawaii. We live in California, and they have given everyone in the family 2 years notice in order to save up, and they are stating that attendance is mandatory-no excuses. I think this is incredibly selfish and inconsiderate of them to make attendance mandatory and then lay major guilt trips on us when we say we might not be able to afford it. We have already been saving up for milestones of our own, like buying an engagement ring, buying a house, and going on a 6 month backpacking trip through Europe and Asia..all of which were supposed to be happening in 2-4 years from now. I don't think it's right that they didn't consult everyone in the family first to see if a destination vow renewal ceremony would even be affordable for all of us. We feel like we would have to put one of our goals that we've already been saving for on the back burner in order to accommodate their ceremony...which isn't even a wedding, it's just a vow renewal. I don't see why they can't have the ceremony here in California so everyone could attend, and then go on a "honeymoon" to Hawaii if they want to vacation there so badly. Thoughts? Am I out of line?

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    1. Anonymous: Wow, just, wow. I don't know what to say. I don't think you're out of line at all to balk at their demands.

      Demanding that you attend a vow renewal in Hawaii? My immediate response would have been: we'll go, if you pay our travel costs. Otherwise, you have fun - and we'll continue to do our best to celebrate your wedding every time we see or talk to you, rather than taking this ridiculous trip that we can't afford.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  71. A lot of people have destination weddings precisely so that many friends/family can't attend. Makes for a simpler wedding when your divorced parents/asshole cousins/feuding siblings can't afford to get out there.

    Less drama.

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    1. Anonymous: Well, if that's the case, you have serious family issues you should work out. Perhaps it would be a good idea to sort that crap out before getting married.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  72. All of your comments and the post is irrelevant...if you don't want to go because it's too expensive, then don't go, lol. No one is forcing you to go. Stay Home!!! smh...youre being selfish by crying like a little girl, lol smh.

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    1. Anonymous: Well, you're entitled to your (overly simplistic and childish) opinion, but the fact is that having a destination wedding is supremely selfish - and pointing that fact out is only reasonable.

      You get one crappy post for free, but raise the level of your discourse, or your future posts will get deleted from this thread.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  73. @ Angry Bureaucrat-
    I agree to a certain level. My friend whom I've know for 16 years and was in my wedding party is getting married in October. So when she announced that I though, this could work. The she said she is getting married inside DisneyWorld! Holy crap- well that will be expensive, but I want to be there for her! (She and her fiance are super obsessed Disney people, they go to Disneyland 5 times a year.) I live in Phoenix, she in Reno, so this is a destination wedding. She then says that there will be a whole week long of festivities but we are only required to go to 3 days worth, plus the day after to help clean up after the wedding. So, 4 days worth. All taking place inside Disneyworld. Now, to add to the mess the week she chose is the week of my midterms, and the wedding day is the day after my second year anniversary. So for my anniversary this year I will be spending it apart from my husband in her hotel room with the other girls because that is what she wants. Okay, I am still thinking I can work with this. Where I hit a brick wall is that she decided that her wedding is going to have no kids allowed. (Despite being in disneyworld where it is rampid with children, I try to see the hilarity in this.) So, I try to talk to her about it- explaining that we will just have adopted our newborn at the end of May so the baby girl won't even be 4 1/2 months old yet- we cannot leave her for a whole week with just anyone, and the only family we could leave her with is in another state. She says that is what she wants us to do. I told her that my husband is prepared to take charge of the baby the entire week to ensure I am free to do my wedding party duties, and that we will find childcare for the baby the night of the wedding. She and her fiance lost it, they went on and on saying that this is supposed to be a vacation, and that we won't be able to ride the rides and stuff. To be honest- I don't want to go to Disneyworld- it's over rated and too expensive, but if that is where she is getting married we will make it work. What I think is over the top is how after we said we will find day care for the wedding, she feels the need to tell us that we are making a mistake in bringing her and that we are causing them too much stress. So- ya eff destination weddings and the bridezillas that have unreasonable demands! haha
    -Annoyed Anti-Disney Zellott

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  74. Annoyed Anti-Disney Zellot- I'm so sorry that your friend is acting that way that is totally unbelievable. I myself am sort of obsessed with Disney since going for the first time a few years ago. I love the place and have thought of having a wedding there myself but it is a lot of money. When we went we took my niece who was 7 months old. She loved it there and there are a lot of rides that you can go on with the child. Well I'm speaking of DisneyLAND not DisneyWORLD. I've never been to Disneyworld, I would like to one day, but I don't think I'd want to go for a wedding. I hope your friend comes to her senses and realizes that she is going to a place for kids. That would be the only reason I'd want to do a destination wedding like this, is so I could have all my nieces and nephews and kids go to enjoy the day just as much as I. But that is what vacations are for and should be saved for. Destination weddings totally suck! Especially when the bride and groom are being unreasonable.

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    1. Thanks Nemeanleo-
      Sadly, I got kicked out of her wedding party today. I'm not sure how it happened. I called her a apologized to her for the miscommunication about kids being able to go. I explained that she is my focus during the time of the wedding day and the couple days leading up to it, and that my husband will be the primary care giver to our baby, and we have called Disney in-room nanny's and reserved time for babysitting during the rehearsal dinner, and then the wedding day, (wedding starts at 4:30, so we booked the babysitter until 2 AM just incase she and the groom need us to take care of clean up or anything so they don't have to worry). She just lost it and told me that I am crazy for taking a 4 month old baby to a destination wedding, and that I am being really selfish asking her to adjust her needs to my baby, and that she thinks it's rude that I am causing her so much stress. I took a moment and said, okay, no one is asking you to change anything, we are working around what you and the groom want because it's you day- and as you said the baby is only 4 months old, so we cannot leave the baby for a week with anyone, furthermore, I understand that you want your wedding to be kid free, that's why my husband will be taking care of her and then a babysitter for all the events we will both be attending, I already booked it too. I told her when it's all said and done, she probably won't even see the kid, since my husband will be caring for her while I am setting everything up. She freaked out and said well what if the baby throws up on your dress. I said that it wouldn't happen until after the wedding because I will be spending the night prior to the wedding and the day of with her in her bridal suite per her itinerary.
      -That is when she really lost it and said that she is putting her foot down. I am allowed to come to the wedding as long as only my husband and I are flying to Florida alone without a child. It's either that or don't come.
      It's crazy because she used to be the sweetest most understanding person I had ever known. What the hell happened? lol After she said that I only had two options I calmly said that we should hang up now, and talk again in a few days and see if we still feel the same way, because ultimately my friendship means a great deal to me, but I can only bend so much, and I am afraid that I will say something I will regret. She said that she won't change her mind so I need to deal with it and then hung up. . . so. . . guess I was kicked out of the wedding party? That was 16 years of friendship down the drain. =(
      -Annoyed Anti-Disney Zellot

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    2. Annoyed Anti-Disney Zealot: Let me echo Nemeanleo's sentiments.

      Your "friend" is being totally, completely, astoundingly unreasonable. I'm sorry to hear that your friendship is suffering to the point of death, but if I had a friend treat me (and my child!) that way, I would seriously question whether this is the kind of person I want to be friends with.

      I really don't know what to say - it sounds like you have done everything in your power to ensure that the baby's presence in DisneyWorld will have no effect on the wedding whatsoever, and it's not enough for your "friend."

      She is essentially asking you to pick between her and your newborn baby girl. If someone got between me and my baby girl, I would rip their head from their shoulders without hesitation. Seems like an easy choice to me.

      I know it hurts, but perhaps it's good riddance to this "friend" - no need to waste any more time on her.

      Nevertheless, all that said, I sincerely hope she comes to her senses and realizes what a terrible Bridezilla (and person) she has become. Be sure to come back and let us know if things get better.

      If they don't get better, if I were you, I'd consider telling your story to the rest of the wedding party and asking them to boycott the wedding, especially if they're your close friends as well. There's no reason for anyone to reward her terrible behavior by paying to attend her ridiculous destination wedding. But, then again, I can be a very vindictive person, if provoked and if it concerns my baby, and perhaps you're a better, more forgiving person than I am.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    3. Hi Angry Bureaucrat and Nemeanleo,
      It got worse today, she sent texts saying that I am bullying her and that I have always been a bully. This is all news to me- I am a very outspoken person, and overbearing. It's a terrible combination, but I never knew I was a bully, and that I had been bullying her for all these years. I felt really sad about that and asked her to please explain how I had been a bully and I can fix it, because in the end preserving the friendship matters most. She couldn't provide examples. Just ignored that request, "saying that I have not considered their circumstances and that just because my baby isn't physically present doesn't mean everything is good." She then said that I probably wont make most of the events because "the baby will suck up 90% up my time" and further said that her wedding is my last priority and my actions are reflecting that right now. She said she can't have a bridesmaid who won't help with their wedding and has her mind elsewhere. She then said that 4 months old is young and ridiculous to go on a 6 hour flight to Florida only to be in a hotel- and I should think about that.
      It got worse by her saying that all my drama about midterms and what not isn't going to work and that no matter how much I put on them it isn't going to change the way they feel and they would rather I stay home then bring the drama to Florida. Furthermore that I need to have common courtesy and be in someones shoes before walking all over their feelings and opinions.

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    4. I don't know why but I kept trying to calm her and assure her only to be met by insult after insult. After a long battle she says that maybe I should be considerate rather than being "me."
      The worst part is that she twists it and says that I need to stop thinking about her and I need to think of the baby, as if she's the selfless one here. haha
      It all ended with me saying that I feel she is being unreasonable and throwing away what I thought was a great friendship. I said that it hurts me that she doesn't feel the same way and see what she's doing here. She's kicked me our of her wedding, insulted me, made me choose between my adopted newborn baby and her, and broke my effing heart.
      Her last words: "Thanks buddy for not listening to us. Thanks for never listening and being the bully in our friendship. Not backing down from my feelings. I've done enough of that. Respect my feelings. If you can't handle that, the door is open" I think that last part was mean to be the whole saying 'the door is that way- don't let it hit you on the way out.'
      Needless to say I think this friendship is over. I contacted one of the bridesmaids to see if there is something huge going on in the brides life (like her mom has stage 4 cancer) or something to make sense of how her personality can change so much. I don't know her MoH- the Bride's only known her for a year and since I don't live in Reno- I have never met this woman. I don't really know another bridesmaid because again, the bride hasn't know her for very long either and same situation. The last bridesmaid is the one I contacted. I have known her almost as long as I have known the bride, plus she is the groom's sister. She seems floored by the Bride's demands and has been very sympathetic, but cannot understand what is making our friend be so hateful.
      Sadly, I'm not sure if the bride and I can come back from this. I am totally willing to put up with some bridezilla stuff, but this was just too hurtful, and I am very ill from all of this. If anyone would have told me that the Bride and I would not be friends into old age I would have punched them in the face! I know some friends are meant to come and go in your life but you are lucky to have a few friends that are forever- guess I very badly misjudged this one.
      I am trying to see the brides side and salvage our friendship, but I really can't think of what I did wrong here, or how I could have handled it better. I also really hope that I will look back at this blog in a few months and be able to report that the bride and I will be working on building back our friendship to move past this. Sadly, I don't think anything short of- "so sorry- an alien abducted my brain and possessed me" will get me to go to this wedding now. =( Such a sad waste of it all- it's damn depressing-
      I will say that I do appreciate the kindness that you guys have shown to me with this issue! It does help to know that I am not crazy!
      -Annoyed (and now Depressed) Anti-Disney Zellot

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  75. Annoyed Anti-Disney Zellot,
    wow that is so dang sad, I cannot believe that. She is crazy I think that you're being more than reasonable accommodating her selfishness! I cannot believe she expects you to leave your child practically a newborn with someone else! If I were you I would go take your child and not tell her about it. Because like you said she probably won't even see the child. Weddings really do bring out monsters in some people. I hope you are able to work something out with her. I'm still stunned by her behavior. I sort of feel like she's jealous of the baby, like it will get more attention then she will and it's "suppose" to be all about her. So maybe you'll have to just tell her the baby isn't going and have other family and friends that know about it keep their lips sealed. But in all honesty you shouldn't have to lie about it. But if it shuts her up it might be worth it. Good Luck!

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    1. You aren't the first person to say I should just not tell the Bride the baby is in Florida! And this is really sad, but I did consider that, but then I will be stressed the whole time that she might find out and afraid to ruin her big day by lying to her and then her freaking out, plus how would I talk my way through my husbands' absence from wedding set up help, rehearsal dinner and what not? So, back at square one- I'm just not going to go. WHat is sad is that out of all her friends going I am the one that has known her the longest and she has said for the past few years that I am her best friend. It's just crazy how fast everything has changed.
      Annoyed Anti-DIsney Zellot

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  76. Hmm. While I understand the author's intent, I couldn't disagree more with the tone. I feel that as a grown up I can respect other people's choices, especially those related to something as personal (and, yes, communal) as their wedding; why shouldn't I be afforded that same courtesy because I choose to do something different? I think it's one thing to believe that DW's are not smart, but something different, and let's face it, ignorant, to claim that's the case for every single couple who chooses to skip the hometown nuptials.

    For instance, if I choose to have a wedding in another country, I cannot expect all of my loved ones (who are invited) to make the trip, but they also should not expect me to change the nature of my wedding to please them. Personally, I never ( I repeat, never) expected to get married and now that I am engaged I find myself between a rock and a hard place. Yes, I want to please both our families, but I have never cared about having a wedding, and I'm not going to start now. For one, it feels disingenuous. For another, when I try, it stresses me to tears.

    But traveling to Europe to get married in a tiny ceremony attended by who ever CAN make it? Now, that feels good, and right.

    As I've read on other sites, the wedding is not all about me, BUT it is my day, and sometimes I think loved ones, and apparently strangers on the internet, forget that!

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    1. As long as you remember that at the end of the day your family and friends still love you and ultimately want to be there for you. I think Dw's can work as long as the bride and groom understand that people are traveling a distance and doing that because they care. I.E. if someone has a newborn, try to understand that they cannot be separated from the baby for multiple nights. Maybe do something where there is daycare during the wedding? When I got married, I wanted my loved ones there. We had a no kid wedding, and we provided daycare across the street form the wedding with three reg'ed babysitter we knew personally, tons of games and fun for the kids, and a shuttle going back and forth for the parents if they want to check in on their kiddos. If they are trying to be there for you, let them because the worst you could do is burn bridges with your loved ones.
      Annoyed Anti-Disney Zellot

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  77. Annoyed Anti-Disney Zellot, I'm so sorry to hear that of the outcome and I cannot believe she's trying to turn things around on you. And I honestly don't see how it's stress on her. If anyone is being stressed out it's you trying to accommodate her unreasonable crazy demands. I hope she has someone talk to her and bring her back to reality and reason. My sister gets crazy like that when she is pregnant and when we fight it's bad! and she brings me to tears. But her husband is her voice of reason and brings her back to sanity and he ends our fights. Which is so good, I hope she has someone who can get through to her. I just keep thinking of the wedding I was in. It was my friends Wedding and I've known her for 16 years or more and I cannot imagine losing her as a friend. I guess the only comfort you can get from all of this is knowing you're in the right and that she's wrong and sometimes that is all ya need to get on with life. You did nothing wrong to get such horrible treatment and I believe you went above and beyond to try and make this situation work and it still wasn't good enough for her. So in the end her loss! Good Luck and best Wishes to you and your new addition to your family.

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  78. Thank you so much Nemeanleo- you are very kind and super supportive and we don't even know each other! Clearly you are a wonderful person and I appreciate your kind words. You are right, time for me to move on. Sad. . . but necessary. You take care- and again thank you for being so nice!
    Annoyed Anti-Disney Zellot

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  79. I disagree. The wedding is about the bride and groom not friends and family. If you can't make it to a dw then you can decline and leave it be. No one is forced to go. I'm in the process of deciding what I want to do regarding MY WEDDING. We thought about going to the courthouse and then on a honeymoon. I'm just looking into dw and why not. We can do OUR WEDDING and honeymoon all in one shot. If we decide on a dw it would just be the 2 of us. It's more intimate and more us. Why spend $10,000 on a wedding and reception when we can take half that and have a dw? A weeding is not about the guests. It's about the b&g.

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    1. Anonymous: Just so we're clear - if you're having a destination wedding for just the two of you, that's fine, but then you're essentially eloping. Are your families OK with you eloping? Are you sure you want to do that to your parents, who love you more than anything or anyone else in this world?

      And $10k is cheap for a wedding and three parties to celebrate with all of your friends and family - if you tried to throw just three parties for all your friends and family, it would be difficult to do that for under $10k.

      You're obviously not in a place to consider other people's needs or feelings at all, but I'll say it anyway - if you're not eloping and you decide to invite other people to your destination wedding, your destination wedding doesn't cost $5k instead of $10k or whatever you would spend on a hometown wedding. Your destination wedding costs you $5k, plus it costs your guests $3k+ each to attend. If you only have 10 people, you and your friends/family are already spending $35k on a destination wedding, while you could have celebrated with everyone you know in your hometown for far less total money.

      Anyway, best of luck to you, if you do elope - I just hope you're parents aren't too heartbroken by your selfish decision.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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    2. An elopement is all about the bride and groom. A marriage ceremony is all about the bride and groom. A wedding is all about your friends and family celebrating your marriage.

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    3. Amen to these comments. Our daughter is eloping soon. Like Anon, "HER WEDDING" will be an exotic dw with wedding and honeymoon in one shot. We are perplexed and our hearts are broken. The bride's younger sister, who adores both bride and groom, is beyond sad that she cannot attend, let alone stand beside her sister at her wedding.

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  80. Well I have an issue with DW. My friend, no exfriend, is having a destination wedding. Nobody he knew could afford it and only his mother is going. I tried and tried and tried to get the money but just couldn't swing it. So I told him "sorry I cant afford it" and now we're not friends. I purchased something on credit that I needed which was close to 2k to buy. He used that as an excuse to turn on me but frankly if I didn't buy that i would have lost out on an investment and hobby that I've been keeping for a couple of years. I don't consider it a selfish choice and the purchase was made after the deadline for his wedding. Somehow this guy feels justified to turn on me, ignore me and told me he never wants to see me again. It's sad and heartbreaking and it's basically because of the selfishness behind these destination weddings. It's the devils industry and it will only pull people apart.

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    1. Anonymous: I'm sorry to hear that - another friendship damaged over a destination wedding. Perhaps your friend will be able to get over it and gain some perspective after some time has passed.

      -The Angry Bureaucrat

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  81. I am with you Angry Bureaucrat. I am the victim of a destination wedding that is quickly approaching. We are going because it is important to my wife, and we can afford it. However, most of the brides close friends and family members that are younger, don't have the spare time or money to afford it. Although, my wife and I can afford it and have the vacation time, it is not the destination we would have chosen, and the all inclusive resort that the ceremony is being held on is definitely not our style. I generally find all this destination wedding stuff to be a result of these asinine reality bachelor and bachelorette shows.

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  82. We are just getting into wedding planning and I wish it could be as simple of a decision as to do a "hometown" wedding for us. My family is on the west coast, his family is on the east coast,we live in the middle, and our friends are scattered around the country. If we had the wedding on either coast then the attendance would be heavily one sided. If it is in the middle then most people will need to purchase airfare (roughly $700 pp round trip) plus accommodations and food because we could only put a couple people up. We are leaning towards doing a destination wedding since it would cost a similar amount for out of town guests (parents, siblings, friends) and the people that currently live in the same (industrial, north/Central Canada) town like to escape winter and go to an AI in the Caribbean most years. The issues are trying to choose a vacation destination that everybody will like, that is affordable for those that we really want there, and coming to terms with the fact that not everybody we care about will be able to make it. But on that point my Grandma would only be able to make it in my home town, and his Grandparents would only be able to make it to a wedding in his home town, which are on opposite sides of the country. I think the good thing about a destination wedding is that it is about the same amount of traveling for both sides of our family and friends, and it will be nice to be able to see everybody... but I hate the idea of forcing people to spend money to come to a destination that wasn't their choice.

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  83. My cousin is having a wedding in Mexico. All of her family and the groom family lives in MINNESOTA. >_< GRrrrrrrr. I can't afford it, i'm in college! I say if you think having a destination wedding is a good idea, you're wrong! That's for the honeymoon!

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