This thread has gone insane and I think a lot of points have been repeated and a lot more have been lost in the pile. So allow me to bury this, too…
1. It’s clearly a combination of factors that makes the Destination Wedding okay. OPs family is all for it, this really is a vacation for them. Awesome, have fun!
2. People are complaining on all the negativity toward DWs… well that’s exactly what the thread asked for. It didn’t say “why do you think DWs are awesome?” it said “why is it a burden”. There’s no point in people complaining about the complaints when that’s what she asked for!
3. My opinion: if my best friend were getting married in a far away destination, I’d probably want to go. I might not be super enthusiastic about the location (Punta Cana would not do it for me at all), but she’s my best friend of 28 or so years, so of course I’d want to go and at the same time feel kind of pressured to because it’s the ‘right’ thing to do. So now I get a passport $110. I get a plane ticket for myself and my spouse plus hotel room – absolutely cheapest rate on travelocity for 4 days looks like $1100 per person (basic room, no meals). Assuming mid-august for this wedding with two days on the weekend, we’re looking at taking 2 days off of work, plus my husband occasionally has to work weekends. That’s minus 300 bucks, say, since luckily I’m salaried. But I am legally obligated to make up any time missed at work due to my job type, which is super high stress for me because I’m overworked as it is. I won’t get paid for that. Oh wait, the flight is 11 hours long? Well my first and last day at the resort sure suck then, don’t they? Also I’d have exactly 2 friends at that wedding, including her (but she’d be busy). My husband would know the same but not as well. Oh yeah, and I’d be her bridesmaid (yay) but that’s an additional 300 minimum.
So now we’re at 1400 bucks approximately (no wait, multiply by 2 for my husband) for what amounts to 2 days at a resort I don’t care about for a wedding I do care about. Oh, and I’d be spending all that time doing wedding-related stuff, not relaxing. Now multiply that by 30 people who attend because they love her and her new husband so much. Ouch. If that were not my best friend in the whole world, or my sister, there is no way in hell I’d go. I’m sorry but I could not deal with that even if I wanted a “vacation”.
I’d be happy to attend your reception at home, though! And I wouldn’t be offended, incidentally, I just wouldn’t go to the Destination Wedding portion.
What it all boils down to in the end are the wedding couple’s expectations. If they want as many people as possible to attend, they need to do it as close to home. If, like me, they have widespread family, or like OP, they really want the Destination Wedding, they need to lower their expectations about who is coming and be sure not to be offended by the results. I’d be happy to be asked, but I wouldn’t get there, most likely.