Ask Christina: I can’t afford to attend my friend’s wedding!

Posted On: Wednesday, December 07, 2011

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Destination Wedding in Grenada at La Luna Resort

In the more recent years, Destination Weddings have been all the craze.  And trust me, I know, because I myself had a destination wedding in the Outer Banks over 4 years ago. 

For my husband and I, it made sense for us to do it in a different location because neither of our families lived in Philadelphia or near by.  Everyone would need to fly in, so we decided to go to one of our favorite vacation spots that would be affordable for our families.  However, during the planning process, it quickly dawned on us that the expected number of guests would be low since many of our friends had small children so it was too difficult to travel, or they didn’t have enough vacation days, or the cost for a whole weekend with travel and hotels would be too expensive.  And we were okay with that.  We understood that not everyone could make it.  As long as we were marrying each other and our parents were there to witness, everything else was gravy.

However, to be on the other side of that is different.  A guest may view a destination wedding as selfish and burdensome.  Roundtrip domestic flights can range from $300-500 per person, plus a hotel night ranges from $80-350 a night (depending on the location).  Some wedding venues may not even allow for different lodging options if it is in a remote place or an expensive resort area.  Also there would be other expenses, such as car rental, baggage fees, passport renewals (or application), and dining/drinking expenses apart from the wedding activities.

Yes, it could be a vacation!  But what if the wedding is somewhere you would never want to go?  Our wedding was in the Outerbanks, NC, but I’m sure some guests thought, ” it’s the same as the Jersey Shore (it’s not), why would I want to vacation at another beach?”  Very true. 

Couples who plan destination weddings should be cognizant that not everyone will want to go, or afford to go, regardless of how much they love you.  Yes, some people will say, “If they really care about you, they will find the time and money to go.”  That is not always the case and it is not fair to hold that over your guests’ heads.  Guests, you cannot assume the couple want or is requiring you to attend the destination wedding. If you cannot go for whatever your reason, they should understand.  Send a nice gift!  And if they are having a local reception, even better!  Attend that instead.

My wonderful sister in law is getting married on a cruise next year.  The boat will still be docked for the ceremony, so guests who are not attending the cruise, can attend the ceremony, then hop off.  A small number of us will remain on the boat together for 8 full days, cruising in the Caribbean.  While we are fortunate to be a part of the wedding and the entire cruise, not everyone can and my sister in law and her future husband took that into consideration.  They will be hosting another reception close to home so all their friends can attend. 

So the moral of the story?

Couples: Don’t feel bad about having a destination wedding if that’s how you want to celebrate your marriage.

Friends: Don’t feel bad if you cannot attend. Go to their local reception if they have one and send a gift!

*The image above was taken from in St. Georges, Grenada.  A wonderful place to get married – with private beach, pool, pavilion, and a restaurant that over looks the serene ocean.  If not for your wedding, it’s great for honeymoons too!  The bungalows with private plunge pools are perfect after a long day hiking, scuba diving, snorkeling, or shopping! The tiny resort also offers daily yoga if you need to find your zen after your wedding.*