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JLeslie's avatar

How do you feel about destination weddings?

Asked by JLeslie (65195points) 2 months ago from iPhone

Would you spend a lot of money to attend or take it as a reason not to go? What if the majority of friends and family live within five hours driving time of where the bride and groom live?

How close of a relation would make a difference? Sister, niece, friend?

If you spend a lot of money to attend would you give a less expensive gift than you would have if the wedding was done locally?

Does it make a difference if the location is a place you wanted to go to or if it is a small place had no interest going to?

I have a destination wedding I will be attending and I think it is going to cost my husband and I around $2,500—$3,000.

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33 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Travel has its risks. Like for example flight cancellations, leaving one stranded for a time and missing the flight, and the wedding.

In the 10’s I spent, $2,500 on a big and tall suit to go to my bosses younger brothers wedding. I only wore it once as it doesn’t fit anymore.

jca2's avatar

I think that the couple getting married should take into consideration that not everyone has the money required for flights or long drives, hotel rooms, meals, transportation to the airport or if it’s a driving trip, gas and travel expenses, in addition to a nice gift. Also, when people are working, not everyone has the ability to take time off or the amount of paid time (or unpaid time) required for a trip. You need at a minimum a day for travel, plus the day to return, plus the day(s) for teh wedding and other events. If it’s farther, like from NY to Hawaii, it might require two days to travel. If everyne is invited to events the day before the wedding, for example a rehearsal dinner, that means they need an extra day for that.

For me, if it were someone I was close to, like my sister or a good friend, I would of course do everything possible to make it happen. When I was working full time, it would probably have stressed me out to have to take time off.

A coworker’s mother was getting married in Scotland and the boss told my coworker that if she didn’t get her work done, she could not take the time off. That’s the kind of shit, total shit that happens at work at some jobs. My coworker said that’s my mother’s wedding, I’m going and I guess she got whatever work had to get done completed because she went, but shit like that just adds to the stress. If someone only has two weeks off per year and needs to take half a week for a wedding, that can impact their other vacation plans greatly, and if someone has a job where they don’t get paid if they don’t work, that really can impact them financially, to have to take a few days off for an event.

So my thoughts are the couple getting married can of course do it if they choose to but they really should take into consideration that they may be putting a lot of stress on people who are attending.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I attended my niece’s destination wedding several years ago, and I thought they handled it pretty well. In the first place, none of the family is rich-rich, but we’re all fairly comfortable in the middle class, so travel expense wasn’t a huge deal. (They had the event on an island off Canada’s BC coast, so the destination wasn’t as exotic for North Americans as, say, the South Pacific would have been. As well, we’re already a pretty far-flung family, so nearly everyone was going to have to travel ‘somewhere’ to attend, and the island just made for a particular vibe and was ‘not-home’ for any of us, plus it took some extraordinary time to get to and from.)

The bride and groom paid for and even catered their own wedding, and in addition, they paid for local transportation (ferries and local motor transportation on the island, plus bicycles for those who wanted ‘em) and put us up in very nice AirBnB-type rental houses around the island. We only paid for our own food, and we were put up for a full week ‘around’ the wedding ceremony. I thought that was handled well, and generously. I was glad to have attended, even beyond being pleased to see my niece marry happily. (Well, then, anyway.)

The people who couldn’t attend—my daughter and her family, for example—had their own concerns with work (in her case, her own business) and family issues that would have prevented anything other than a one-day event (and travel to and from this island was pretty much most of a day ‘in’ and most of another day ‘out’. However, I don’t see why the event should be forsaken just because ‘some people have issues’; that’s part of anyone’s cost/benefit or risk/reward calculation when any event is planned.

ragingloli's avatar

There is no way in hell I would shell out thousands of [currency] for a wedding, let alone one that is not even mine.

canidmajor's avatar

Chacun à son goût. In this day and age, I feel it says something about how much the celebrants are willing to inconvenience/burden their friends and family. If everyone is easily able to handle the expense and time commitment, fine, otherwise I think it’s a shame to knowingly exclude some.

I would only go to a distant destination wedding for my child and a very few other beloved ones. I would be more likely to do an easy-driving-distance (no more than three hours) destination wedding for a few others.

JLeslie's avatar

Chacun à son goût. My dad always says that. :)

Forever_Free's avatar

No question If it is immediate family (niece, nephew, etc). Of course I would go and have been to many. They are all destinations for me as they live 1400 miles away.
I still get a hotel even if were just driving distance.
I feel badly for people in their 20–30’s as most weddings seem destination now. They go to about 2–3 weddings a year as their friends marry off. It is a huge consideration to them.
I think the destination part helps the bride and groom narrow their guest list down to just those that are people who matter in their lives.
I also think that people who are having destination weddings have a invite list that do not consider it a burden/inconvenience.
This is about their day and not you. If it is a burden then you have a choice.

JLeslie's avatar

In my current situation the destination is in the Dominican Republic (I’m in the US) which is where the bride’s father lives. He is the only one who lives there, and can easily be the one to travel.

Most friends and family live local in Florida. Her dad’s side lives in Italy, and from what I understand none of them are coming. Another part of the family is in Mexico, and many of them have to connect through Florida to get to Dom Rep of all things, but no matter what they have to travel. I think 4 people are coming in from Mexico.

The bride did ask us a year ago if we would be ok going to Dom Rep for her wedding. I would rather it be in FL, but we are willing to travel, so of course we said yes if that is her preference. There are only two nieces and nephews (combined, one of each) in our family, so it’s not a lot of weddings.

It is a pain for us, because flight times and routing happen to suck from our local airport. We wound up booking connecting flights, because my husband doesn’t want to drive 3.5 hours the day before. We both need to buy new clothing because of the dress codes she put in place, but that would be the case in any city.

Taking time off from work is annoying for my husband even though his company and boss are very flexible with that within reason. He doesn’t get a certain amount of vacation days a year, it’s unspecified. This time of year is when my husband gets very busy at work, so it’s stressful. He will miss three days of work.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

My wedding was. It was small, only immediate family and close friends. Everyone still says it was the best they had been to. Travel to this destination was dirt cheap back then though.

cookieman's avatar

I’ve only been to one, as my wife and I were the maid of honor and best man. It was in Puerto Rico, which was terribly hot and humid — which I hate. The food was awful and the couple was divorced less than three years later. Not at all worth it.

I agree that the bride and groom should not expect attendance from a lot of people. It’s unreasonable otherwise.

chyna's avatar

Depends on how close the person is to me. And if I can comfortably afford it. @JLeslie you sound as if this is stressful to you and your husband. I would take all the reasons you mentioned into consideration also.
Speaking for myself, if I was stressed out about going, spending that kind of money, etc., I would probably be a bit grumpy and probably shouldn’t be attending.

jca2's avatar

The ideal situation is the guests have lots of unlimited time off work (or don’t work and have the money for the trip) and so they’re not stressed about the time off. That’s not typical for most people, though. Even someone who works for themselves, like an accountant or a builder, has limitations on being able to take off without pay. It would have been ideal if you could have spent some extra time there for this wedding, @JLeslie but your husband’s job is busy and that put a damper on it (and probably added to his stress).

Another possible limitation I just thought of is if people have children in school, they very likely will not be able to take off and have the kids miss school, or leave the kids home by themselves, or pay for overnight babysitters – an additional expense and burden to plan for. For me, the Caribbean in the fall would be lovely but I don’t think I could swing it because I wouldn’t want to leave my daughter home alone, and if I took her she’d be missing a few days of school – not impossible but not ideal either.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna I’ll put it more in the category of annoying. Most of the attendees are flying together, so when they get to Santo Domingo there will be a bus to take them all to La Romana (just over an hour away). We will arrive an hour and a half later, so we miss the bus, because it seems they don’t want to wait for us to get there, which I’m not angry about, but I wouldn’t mind waiting an hour and a half for the whole family to arrive.

So, my niece said she can get us a car to take us, but I have my doubts that will happen, and I don’t want to be a pain asking her about it over and over. I do need to know though whether I need to book something or is she booking it. I always wind up having to be the peat asking questions, and I resent it a little. If we wind up paying for a car/taxi it will probably be $170 round trip from what I can tell.

If my husband would just drive down to South Florida the night before we eliminate a lot of those problems, but my husband won’t do it. He also is complaining about the dress code expectations. Lastly, months ago we were asked by his brother if we want to share a house with his brother and I think his sister and parents might be staying there too. I said say “yes” so I don’t need to figure out a hotel. We were never told how much it is, and now I see the “welcome party” is being held at the house we are staying at, so that was being booked no matter what.

Lack of communication is very common in his family and just makes it all more annoying. My husband is making it more difficult, but at the same time I understand his POV.

Luckily, all of us have passports and maybe her dad is helping to pay for the people who don’t have much money in the groom’s family, I don’t know.

I’m sure it will be very nice. I decided it’s better to just open my wallet and pay whatever it is to make my life easier. Although, I’ll probably have to push my husband to give her more than $100 gift for the wedding. We would have most likely given them $1,000.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Ours did not start out as a destination. We were going to elope, her parents caught wind of it after I told her dad I was going to propose. They were not having it, they were going. Then my family said they were, and our closest friends said the same so it went from there. I think planning one from the start, is too much to ask. Like mentioned, big, expensive weddings are usually all show and are a huge signal of problems ahead. It’s like the spotlight summoning Batman. Only divorce lawyers show up.

jca2's avatar

The son of my bff is getting married this coming weekend, not a destination wedding but she has relatives flying in from down south. She was telling me when her other son got married, it was about a four hour drive from her house so she and her husband (the parents of the groom) were driving on the day of the wedding. She and her husband are very frugal to put it mildly so it’s not surprising they were not looking to spend on an extra night in the hotel room. However, they were not aware that the parents of the groom are expected to pay for the rehearsal dinner. They got the cold shoulder from her son and the new bride when they showed up for the wedding and reception. This time around, she knows what’s expected of her and she will be springing for about 75 dollars per person x 30 people for the rehearsal dinner.

When she and I were discussing it before, we were talking about how weddings used to be fairly simple, even when in a catering hall or reception hall. The bride would have a shower given by the bridal party. Now there is a shower and then a bachelorette party, which is usually a destination whole weekend long affair, paid for by the bridal party. In my opinion it’s a lot to ask of someone, the members of the bridal party, to foot the whole bill for a weekend away but that’s what people do now. I know it sounds old fashioned of me to even talk like this but it seems like so much work and expense now for all this extra stuff. My friend’s daughter is in the bridal party but is the mom of a newborn so she couldn’t partake in the festivities in a city down south, where the bridal party had the bachelorette party, but she still had to pay her share of the expenses because she’s in the party.

zenvelo's avatar

When I was of an age to get lots of wedding invites, it was par for the course to attend weddings at the far end of California, and we would all crash at someone’s house or at the hotel where the wedding was. A wedding in San Diego wasn’t considered “destination” for those of us 500 miles away in San Francisco.

Two destination weddings stood out: one was my roommate who was marrying a girl from Philadelphia. The other was a close friend who was marrying a girl from Vancouver BC. We turned that one into a ski vacation at Whistler.

Generally, if one goes to a destination wedding, gifts are off the table; your presence and support are the gift. Any comments from the wedding couple to the contrary would just be greed.

SnipSnip's avatar

Ridiculous. If you want to get married in a far away place, elope. To expect even friends to go to great expense to see you marry is arrogant, to say the least.

JLeslie's avatar

I would never expect friends to pay for any sort of party for me for my wedding. I didn’t even require a specific dress for the women who stood up with me.

My wedding was a “destination” for a lot of people, because I didn’t live near most of ny friends and family, but we planned it during a time of year people love to vacation in Florida and tried to negotiate a good room rate. Some destinations don’t have a lot of hotel choice and very expensive. We speak Spanish, but for friends who don’t going to Dom Rep might be stressful if they don’t travel a lot.

@zenvelo Our niece had to be pushed to register, she told me she doesn’t want to ask anyone for a gift. I told her the registry is so people who want to give you a gift know what to buy you, it makes it easier for them and less waste of time and money. So, she has no expectations of gifts, but also didn’t go as far to say please no gifts.

@jca2 I think the groom was dead wrong not to discuss who pays for what ahead of time and make sure his parents were ok with it. My husband’s parents paid for the rehearsal dinner, but we offered to have my parents pay. It was “small,” I think it came to just under $700, but back in 1993.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie My friend is thinking this rehearsal dinner is going to be a few thousand, because there will be 30 people there (bridal party and groomsmen plus dates, close family who is flying in, etc) and the entrees are about 26 each plus wine and beer, tax and tip.

My friend was telling me when she got married, about 35 years ago, she had no clue about the rehearsal dinner and so she didn’t plan anything or discuss it with the mother of the groom, so after the rehearsal, nobody knew what was going on and they ended up at the MIL’s house having pizza. The MIL had just paid to fly family in from Germany so she had that big expense, and my friend didn’t know that the MIL was responsible for the rehearsal dinner so nothing was planned.

elbanditoroso's avatar

A huge burden for almost anyone. I don’t like them, and probably wouldn’t make the effort.

Jeruba's avatar

I can’t see myself going to one, although I suppose there could be a compelling reason. As it is, all my marriage-age nieces and nephews are across the country from me, and that’s enough of a destination.

JLeslie's avatar

We went to Italy for the baptism of our nephew years ago. That was nice, because half the trip we stayed with a friend of the family, so that part was free. We were 24 years old, so any bit helped. The flights were supposed to be paid by my inlaws. We weren’t going to go at all, but my husband’s parents said they wanted us to go and would pay for the flight. That convinced my husband to go, so we booked the flights. His parents didn’t came through with that reimbursement. That was about 6 months before we got married, we were engaged already. That was a good lesson early on. That vacation really zapped what little savings we had.

@jca2 It’s not cool to not talk about the estimated price ahead. The person paying should get a say in the cost.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie I agree. If you’re referring to my story about my friend not discussing it with the MIL and they ate pizza after the rehearsal, my friend said she had no clue that the groom’s parents were supposed to pay, which was why she didn’t plan anything and didn’t reserve anything. I think she thought everyone would be going home or on their own. She got married when she was about 22 and so I am not surprised she had no clue about traditions. Her parents were off the boat from another country so they weren’t a good resource for American traditions.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 I don’t know how often the groom’s parents plan it, I think it is more like they pay for it. The bride and groom need to discuss what they want or see if the parents of the groom have some sort of preference and how much they are willing to pay.

I didn’t know the groom’s family usually pay for the rehearsal dinner until I read about it when planning my wedding. I had never heard of a rehearsal dinner before that. I had been to four weddings before my own.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie I didn’t say she thought the groom’s parents would plan it. I said she didn’t know that they were supposed to pay for it and that’s why she didn’t plan anything or reserve anything – she thought they all were on their own, going home for dinner or whatever they would each do as individuals.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 I’m not understanding. You’re saying the groom’s mom didn’t reserve anything? To me reserving would be planning. Reserving is choosing.

Do you mean the groom told his mom when and where they wanted to eat and his mom didn’t follow through and reserve it?

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie I mean neither the groom nor the bride made any plans for dinner nor did they have any discussions with the groom’s parents about dinner or plans because they didn’t know it was a “thing” to actually have a planned dinner after the rehearsal.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 Oh, I see. Had some of the guests assumed there would be a dinner? If there is no invitation or mention of a dinner then they shouldn’t assume.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t know. Probably they assumed there’d be dinner, after the rehearsal, dinner.

kruger_d's avatar

I think people should marry wherever they want, but not be offended when others choose not to attend. There are so many considerations beyond money. Not everyone has a lot of personal leave built up. Medical issues might make travel difficult. They might have non-work obligations you are not aware of.

JLeslie's avatar

Remember that Q I wrote not too long ago asking about The View and other shows using our topics and opinions? Not only mine, but other fluther topics and opinions brought by other jellies, and I see my comments on facebook suddenly said by talking heads on cable channels.

The View today, 10/12/23, just asked about Destination weddings, would you still give a gift, what if you were spending $2,000 to get there. They said it was on reddit, but coincidence is so strong AGAIN, I think it originated with this thread.

LostInParadise's avatar

Could it be that reddit got it from you and then the View got it from reddit?

JLeslie's avatar

@LostInParadise Yes, of course. My only point is it happens to me quite a bit this “coincidence.”

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