(Closed) Destination Wedding Guest Issues?

posted 11 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 3
81 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2001

Go with your heart and with what you want to do. 10 years from now, what do you think will be the most important aspects of your wedding that you remember? I know it’s hurtful and frustrating that people who you’d expect to be supportive are seemingly not making the effort to come but it’s early and they could change their minds as the year goes by and tehy figure out a way to make it feasible. Is the location you are booking requiring a minimum # of guests? I would not hold an at-home reception if that’s not what you want to do. It can be a lot of money and if you and your fiance aren’t into the pomp & circumstance, spend it elsewhere. Just let people know that you are not planning on throwing such a party afterwards so they don’t expect it. It could be that extra push they need to make the effort to come to your CA affair.

Post # 4
1061 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I’m sort of in your boat. My wedding is in the Philly area (my hometown), and my FI’s family lives in Pittsburgh. It’s really not that far, but his family is huge too, so weddings are a dime a dozen and they don’t see any reason to travel so far for one. I was really upset at first, but then realized that the people who really love us will make the trip and for anyone who doesn’t, it’s their loss.

I know EXACTLY how you feel about the at-home reception. Shortly after I told them the wedding was in Philly, my FI’s parents told me that they were holding a second reception in Pittsburgh after the wedding for those who were unable to make it. I didn’t want to do this at first, thinking that we shouldn’t make the effort for people who didn’t want to come to the actual wedding (actually, the word "livid" would be more appropriate), but then I just sucked it up. I guess in the end, I realized that it’s more important that we make the effort to let as many people as possible celebrate with us.

Jeez that was long-winded but the take-home message is this: don’t compromise on what you want, but be sure to be a gracious bride and give everyone the opportunity to celebrate your marriage.

Post # 5
1458 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Well I think that this is all part of planning a destination wedding. You can’t plan a wedding hundreds of miles away from people who you know probably can’t afford, don’t like to travel, or other reasons and they be upset because they are not coming. You have to remember, get married elsewhere and you’ll not have the turn out.

Sure, you supported them but I bet that wasn’t in another state – so it’s a bit different. 

You’re not wrong by any means, maybe it will just take some getting used to. If you want the whole family to come willingly you’ll have to marry at home. Otherwise you’ll have to take the flack of some people complaining that you’re marrying elsewhere.

And those that think you are selfish for wanting to marry in another state in a place that is special to you – that’s just horrible of them!  

I think you’re just havining beginning wedding planning doubts. You want to please everyone, when you should only be trying to please yourself. I know it happened to me. And I’m not having a destination wedding!

Hang in there – good lucvk. 

Post # 6
120 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I’m sorry this is happening, I can imagine how hurtful and frustrating it can be.  Unforunately, some of these issues are expected and come along with choosing a destination wedding.  FI and I are having a DW in Mexico next March and haven’t come across any issues yet.  For us, the first priority was making sure our "A-list" was going to be able to come, meaning immediate family.   That was a big deal breaker for us, we might have chosen otherwise if they were no on board for it.

It’s really hard to hear that certain people might not be able to make it to your wedding especially considering what you have done for them in the past, but it’s really out of your hands and you can’t be expectant of how and what people will spend their money on because it is still their money. 

The thing to think about is what is really important to you and your fiance.  If this is what you want, then I say go for it.  You’ll have to expect that not everyon is going to make it for whatever reasons.  I think some situations really can’t be helped, but you will come to learn who has given your wedding priority or who hasn’t.  To me, having our close friends and family attending is icing on the cake.  After all, the most important thing is being with my best friend and sharing our vows to one another.  Good luck!

Post # 7
378 posts
Helper bee

While your situation doesn’t sound like fun, be sure to realize that the stance you’re taking as far as other people’s finances (new car, floor, etc) is the exact thing you are complaining about with regards to your finances and what people think. Bottom line is that you really can’t know everyone’s situation just like they don’t know yours. And it’s not your place to tell them that they shouldn’t buy nice things for themselves. They didn’t earn the money to spend on you, they earned it to spend on themselves. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh. 

Basically you have to decide if you can deal with a wedding when all of your close friends can’t be there but in a place you want versus a wedding where everyone can be there and you’re not close to the place. It’s a tough decsion but hopefully the people you love can make it. Good luck! 

Post # 9
2324 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2019

If you’re in TN, why don’t you do a destination wedding closer to home? If you are dead set on getting married on the beach (isn’t that why you picked Cali?), why don’t you do your wedding in Florida or on the coast of Alabama? The gulf beaches are beautiful (Seaside, Destin, Gulf Shores) and people can drive from TN. 

Post # 11
293 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

Again sorry you are going through this, I am having a destination wedding and getting flack from all sides. (seriously to the point of inappropriate!)  Bottom line is I know my parents and best friends will be there, beyond that, I cant know.  That is what you take on with a destination wedding!  I live in Los Angeles and go to Santa Barbara several weeks out of the year.  There is nothing reasonable about it.  I think everything is going to cost you 3X more than you would have budgeted for in TN (flowers, photography etc) Then there is the problem of air travel. No major airport so you are likely all going to be renting cars and driving from Burbank or LAX.  You might want to know that you can very easily take a train from Los Angeles or Orange County or San Diego to Santa Barbara, problem is none of the stations are near the airports.  NOT AT ALL!  Santa Barbara gets overbooked several weekends every year so my best advice, if you are DECIDED on Santa Barbara, reserve everything in advance and dont get upset if your numbers are small.  On the plus side-its beautiful.  Jackie and JFK went there post wedding and stayed at the El Encanto. 

Post # 12
2324 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2019

That’s a good idea…why don’t you go there on your honeymoon and marry at home in TN? I’m shocked you found something in CA for that cheap! We looked at Palm Springs and Napa and we eloped if that tells you anything.


Now, we’re renewing our vows and we’re doing it in Seaside, FL. We will probably have most of our guests join us, but I’m also only inviting very very good friends and family, so it’s only between 25-30 invitations. Good luck, but I think if you want your friends and family there, you are either going to have to do it closer or in TN. They don’t sound like they’re going to make the trip. Bummer, but do what you want. It’s your day no matter who is there. 

Post # 13
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Well, sadly people have their own lives going on.  Although it seems like you might expect some consideration from folks for whom you have gone out of your way in the past, it doesn’t really work that way.  And the whole Destination Wedding thing is problematic – and really depends on your friends and family.  If you have friends and family who you already say you can’t expect to do much for you even if you get married at home, then probably you also can’t expect them to get excited about plane tickets and hotel rooms and a combination wedding/vacation.

If you do a Destination Wedding or schedule your wedding on a holiday weekend, I think you really have to leave your ego out of it.  The very first think you will figure out is that a lot of people are pretty protective of their vacation time and dollars, and don’t like being told how they should spend them.  That’s fine – as long as you’re not going to feel hurt if they don’t come.  (And that’s the problem – clearly you are hurt at their response.)

Some people are also just going to respond oddly for various reasons.  I have friends whom I know would really love to be at my wedding, but they don’t like to admit they just can’t afford it.  I also have friends who kind of self-centered.  That doesn’t make them bad friends 90% of the time – but I already know they can’t be expected to do much of anything that puts them out. 

Luckily I have other friends who have really surprised me – who are travelling a long way to be there for us, or who have really gone out of their way to be helpful just because they are excited for us.  It’s weirdly unpredictable – some of them are my oldest friends, and some of them are my newest friends.  I would think that you will also find that there are people you wouldn’t necessarily expect to come through for you who will really surprise you.

However, bottom line, if you really want to get married someplace far from home, I think it has to be enough for you to get married there, regardless of how many or how few people show up.  Otherwise you’re going to be quite disappointed.  I’m not sure what your guest list is, but I’ve been to several Destination Wedding over the years, and when almost everyone has to travel, I think you’re lucky to get maybe 30 people who aren’t family.  The absolute largest Destination Wedding I ever attended was just under 50 people total, and at least a dozen of those only had to drive, although everybody had to stay at the resort.  And that’s okay – by definition all of those 30 people really, really want to be there.  Plus, one of your reasons for the Destination Wedding was to limit the attendance anyway.  You just have to understand that it won’t always be limited in exactly the way you would ideally have it be.

Post # 14
100 posts
Blushing bee

I am so sorry you are going through this. It really sucks that a lot of your close friends have hurt your feelings. In my opinion, I think you should not change  and you should keep your plan of getting married in santa barbra. You really can’t please everyone and its only going to get worse as you get closer to the day. Don’t change your plans though for anyone … its you and your FH’s ceremony and wedding and no one elses. What if you ran off to vegas and didn’t tell anyone?

As far as hosting a reception when you get home… you could host a simple, simple backyard BBQ… paper cups, paper plates, tiki torches and that’s it for those who want to celebrate with you. No dining halls or hotels. If that isn’t enough for them then too bad for them!

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