(Closed) Opinions Please! What do you think of Destination Weddings?

posted 12 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 3
20 posts
  • Wedding: September 2007

We’re having a destination wedding on the Big Island of Hawaii at the end of the month.  Our reasons:

1. We wanted to keep the wedding small, and this is easy to do with a destination wedding.

2. He proposed in Hawaii, and we both LOVE it there. 

3. We’ll get to spend more time with the people who are coming (30 adults).  We get a couple of days with them, and some actual conversation time, instead of a couple of hours.

4. His mom would never get to go to Hawaii if we didn’t make his dad take her there!

5. Even with travel expenses, it’s cheaper for us to have a 30 person wedding there than a 200 person wedding here.

6. Our friends and family live all over the world, so no matter where the wedding is, people will have to travel.  We may as well go some place fun! 

To the poster who says that destination weddings are a pain in the ass for guests, I say: "just don’t come!"  We have a lot of friends and family who can’t make it, and we are okay with that.

Post # 4
116 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

To each his own, but I personally am not a fan of destination weddings. It’s one thing if you just happen to live far away from your guests and hope they can travel to your wedding, or are having a wedding somewhere that people can at least drive to if they choose to take a road-trip…. but weddings in faraway exotic locations seem a bit extensive to me.  A few things that bug me about them:

  • I am 27 years old, and was invited to eight weddings this year.  I simply cannot afford to spend upwards of $1000 to get to a wedding in Cancun, Hawaii, etc.  I understand if it’s an older couple whose friends and families are also older and have the financial means to go to a destination wedding, but when people my age expect me to be able to take time off and spend money to go to their wedding in Mexico, I think it comes across as a little self-absorbed.  
  • People who have destination weddings sometimes turn it into "oh what a great excuse for everyone to take a vacation." But my Fiance has very little vacation time, and I don’t like it when people assume that we have an endless supply of days to take off for their wedding.  
  • I hear all about how destination weddings end up being a great money-saver for the couple; I think that’s kind of selfish.  So the couple gets to save money while making all their friends and family spend thousands of dollars to get there?  Can’t you save money while having a wedding closer to home?
  • The argument about keeping the wedding small makes it sound like some people are inviting guests just to get gifts, but knowing that they won’t attend. I feel like if I am invited to a destination wedding, the couple doesn’t *really* want me there and they’re almost hoping I’ll decline. 

Disclaimer: this is not directed at everyone who has had or is having a destination wedding! This is just my opinion, based on one experience in particular, and maybe I’m just a little bitter   I live in PA and have friends who are having a "destination" wedding in Maine next month, which I can’t attend because of a conflict (but would love to be there), and I see this as a completely different situation from those destination weddings in the Caribbean or Europe.

Personally, I’d rather have a wedding that the majority of my friends and family can come to without flying over an ocean or going broke over.  Just my two cents.

Post # 5
20 posts
  • Wedding: September 2007

MissBlushing, my parents would completely agree with you. What they don’t know is that if we weren’t planning a destination wedding, we would have eloped.  So this is kind of a compromise that they didin’t know we were making…

"I feel like if I am invited to a destination wedding, the couple doesn’t *really* want me there and they’re almost hoping I’ll decline." 

I’ll be honest with you, there’s a lot of family on all sides that we never see (and more than a few cousins that I don’t particularly care for).  I was able to get away with just inviting aunts and uncles instead of EVERYONE because it was a destination wedding.  

That is something to keep in mind when you’re making a guest list for a destination wedding: you don’t need to invite the whole world.  Our invite list was always short because we really only wanted the people we’re closest too to be there.  We didn’t send invitations out to a lot of our friends – especially not those who already said they wouldn’t be able to go. I guess it all depends on your friends too, we each only have a few very close friends, everyone else are people we hang out with on the weekend.

My parents friends were a different story, Mom kept insisting that they’d probably be able to make it.  We had a 25% acceptance rate that would have been higher if Mom didn’t insist we send invitations out to this and that couple that I’d never met.  So instead of sending out invitations to 40 people, we sent out to 100.  *sigh*

Post # 6
116 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

Meduzagirl, I totally see your point.  As I said, to each his own   And it sounds like your situation isn’t putting a lot of people out since your guest list was smaller and more concentrated to begin with.

I was mostly responding based on one experience I had, where a college friend who I had kind of grown apart from had a destination wedding and just didn’t understand why I couldn’t spend $1000 to be there (not to mention ask my Fiance to spend that much of his own money to attend the wedding of people he had never met).  We were 23 at the time, and it just seemed a little inconsiderate of all the friends she expected to be there (and she invited a lot of friends).  I also one time heard a very casual acquaintance talking about her destination wedding, and how it was saving them so much money, and it just rubbed me the wrong way.  I think some people’s intentions when planning a destination wedding are truly good ones and make sense to that particular couple; I guess I have just seen the "other side" of things!

I also see it differently because Fiance and are both pretty close with our fairly large families, and have a lot of friends from different areas/times of our lives that we want to include in our big day. In order for them all to be there, we knew we had to make things as convenient as possible for people. But if you’re able to use the destination wedding as a way to limit your guest-list to only those who truly care about you and not the family members you’re not as fond of, then it sounds like it’s the right way to go.

Post # 7
25 posts
  • Wedding: April 2008 - The Fountainhead

Two of my friends are having destination weddings – one in Italy next year and another on a cruise next week!  I won’t be able to attend the Italy one for financial reasons but when I received the invite to the cruise one I literally let out a whoop!  I had never been on a cruise before and now, not only do I have an excuse to go, I get to go on a discounted rate that the bride had set up for the guests!

I don’t think destination weddings are selfish, because a bride and groom should be able to do what they want.  It can be a little sad if you can’t afford the trip and you really want to be there for the marrying couple.  However, with technology these days you can broadcast the wedding online for those who can’t make it.  Even with pictures and videos you can share the wedding with everyone and anyone who couldn’t make it.  So if a destination wedding is what you want, I say go for it! 

Post # 8
14 posts

I am not having a destination wedding, but i wanted to really bad.   Not because of saving money, but because I wanted it to be stress free, and surrounded by only those that thought enough of me to travel a far distance to be at an intimate gathering.  It was not possible to have an intimate wedding in my hometown without offending many people.  I certainly would not have been offended if people could not spend the money to come to the wedding, just as i am not offended if out of towners cannot fly to my hometown. 

I have flown to Europe and all over the states for weddings, and it’s been fun.  And I certainly understand the desire to go away and make it special, after having planned my own big and stressful local wedding.  My advice to every friend who has marriage on the horizon is to have a destination wedding!  

self absorbed?  maybe, but it’s YOUR wedding!  it is about YOU and your family, so don’t worry about what other people say.  There is no shame in it as long as you are sending invites to only those that are very close to you. 

Post # 9
79 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2007

I wanted a Destination Wedding but the Fiance didn’t, he was pretty firm on it based on the same reasons MissBlushing pointed out. Both sides have valid arguments in this case.

However, we have plenty of guests coming from all over the country and Germany so to them it is a destination wedding!

Post # 10
20 posts
  • Wedding: September 2007

"a college friend who I had kind of grown apart from had a destination wedding and just didn’t understand why I couldn’t spend $1000 to be there"

Yeah, that would really annoy me.  I tried to get the message across to all of our friends (and family), that we much prefer that they skip the wedding and pay their rent/grocery/car/credit card/etc bills instead.  I just hope that got through to everyone.  I think it did.

Post # 11
38 posts
  • Wedding: May 2008

We were really considered having a destination wedding. My parents were all for it (they actually put the idea in our head) and my family all would be able to afford the trip but we were concerned about our close friends and his family. After go back and forth for a couple of months we deceided against it. There were certain people that we really wanted to be there and it wouldn’t have felt real if they weren’t, and his family was not into the idea at all. The funny thing is after we made up our mind we mentioned to our friends and all of them said they would have gone and were kinda dissapointed that we weren’t having one. 

Post # 12
149 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2007

We got married in the Outerbanks because our friends and families are spread out all over the states.  They would have to fly in if we got married in Philly, and they would have to fly in if we got married anywhere else!  So in that sense, our parents did not object at all.  Also, the destination wedding was a great way to have a smaller wedding and not feel like we were offending anyone, but we were still surprised at how many people still accepted the invite and attended!  We got no complaints about travel or accomodations because we thoroughly researched on getting the most afforable hotel block, referrals for rental cars, and airfare.  We offered to help anyone who need help in arrange travel and we even set up some carpool for our friends who drove down. 

In addition, we knew that it was a bit of a strain for some people so we did everything we could to make it welcoming.  We had a bbq the first night guests arrived so they didn’t have to pay for dinner.  Then the wedding was the next day, and the following day, our friends planned an "all you can eat crabfest" at a local restaurant. 

Maybe we were extremely lucky to have such understanding guests, since none complained, and many used the opportunity to make it a vacation.  It was a great locale for a reunion between family and friends and it was fun for everyone.

We deliberately did not think about having a wedding that was out of the country because long travel would have been difficult for our grandparents and not everyone would have been able to get their passports in time.

Post # 13
2 posts

another thing to think about and to make sure you’re ready for before deciding on a destination wedding is the planning process.  it’s a LOT harder to plan from far away.  you’ll have a lot less input in the decisions being made and will just have to trust that you and your vendors share similar visions.  in addition, being a control freak myself, i wouldn’t be able to handle being so "hands-off".

and one last thing is shipping stuff.  you’ll have to ship all your favors, decorations, etc (and usually destination weddings aren’t the easiest places to ship to and will probably cost extra).  and you’ll also have to ship everything back, plus whatever gifts your guests might bring.  all that adds a lot to the bottom line.

that being said, i think, if done right and done with your guests needs in mind (and less your own, unfortunately) it can be successfully done and extra special.

Post # 14
26 posts
  • Wedding: November 2006 - Rockhouse Hotel

Any wedding (destination or local) can become "selfish and a major pain in the ass for guests." The best way to avoid this is to be aware of your guests’ needs, exercise common sense, and be considerate.

We had a destination wedding in Negril, Jamaica and our guests absolutely loved it. We made sure to choose a location that was a reasonable distance and a very reasonable price for our guests. "Reasonable" will mean different things to different people, so it’s important to know your guest list. For our guests, "reasonable" meant a 4 hr flight, only having to take off one work day, and under $400 for the entire weekend (including flight, rooms, and food). In addition, we fed our guests 3 buffet meals (welcome dinner, reception, and brunch) and absolutely insisted on no gifts (their presence was gift enough).

We were lucky to have family and friends who were not only understanding, but also very enthusiastic.  Our friends are spread out all across the states, so they were really looking forward to a big reunion and a chance to spend quality time with everyone in paradise. It also helped that we were the first in our circle to get married and there were no other weddings that our friends needed to attend or pay for.

I am actually attending a destination wedding in India next year. And from a guests’ point of view, I have to say that I am supremely excited!! True, it’s not nearly as convenient as other weddings I’ve attended in the local vicinity. It will cost a lot more money, I will have to take several days off from work, and I need to get various immunizations. But despite the inconvenience, I am so glad that my friend is getting married there because it gives me and my friends a reason to explore India together. Local weddings are convenient, but her destination wedding in India is going to be the experience of a lifetime.

Post # 15
95 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2008

Wow! This is fascinating to me.

I’m having a destination wedding in Jamaica next year because my Fiance and I both have very small families and not tons of friends. Just very close friends.  We are inviting 35 with the hope that all will come though I think that maybe 4 will not. 

We are certainly not saving money on our wedding by doing this.  I will venture to say that we are spending probably more than a wedding even in NYC with at least 50+ people.  Just based on the fact that we will have 4 days filled with activities!  That my Fiance and I are paying for.  Not our guests. 

Also, our hotel offers rooms at a discounted group rate.  We still felt that was high for a lot of our friends so we are absorbing the cost.  To be exact a room costs $325 per night discounted, and our friends will pay $175 per night.  Which means my Fiance and I are paying $150 per night per room on top of everything else.  We are very happy to do this to include our friends who maybe cannot afford $300 + a night. 

We have a planner who is organizing everyone’s travel as well.  Which is the only expense we expect our guests to pay.  And that we are getting discounted group rates for them.

We registered with a charity and let our guests know their presence is gift enough.

Most importantly, all of our friends have told us how excited they are to be there for our wedding and to share this wonderful experience. 

Sorry if I started to rant…I don’t mean to get so specific, but I think that destination weddings do not have to be selfish if you are not selfish and you are accomodating and understanding of all your guests.  That said I agree with some of the posts about the complications of a destination wedding. They aren’t so much cheaper or easier.  They have their own set of problems.  For us, this was the best way to do a wedding.  But it’s not for everyone.

Post # 16
5 posts
  • Wedding: December 2007

We are having our wedding on Oahu in December.

We decided to get married in Hawaii because: we met there when we both lived there, and spent the majority of our relationship there. It is a very special place to both of us, and played a huge part in our relationship. After we started planning, however, we took an opportunity to move back to Oahu (yay!)

The hardest part of deciding to have a destination wedding is the people who will think you are selfish. We have some immediate family that won’t be attending our wedding, and some friends that can’t afford to do so. And that’s fine. You just have to be ok with the fact that people might be mad, and/or can’t afford to attend.

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