Destination Weddings Discussions

A guest to a destination wedding-help

Hello, I appreciate any advice anybody could offer. One of my closest friends has decided to get married out of country and most of the people they are inviting to the wedding live in the same state in the midwest. People have already started to call and raise concern about being able to afford it and they seem unwilling to listen. I have tried to talk about it with her as nicely as I can, but quite frankly it's not my wedding and not about me. It's looking like to be able to comfortably attend I would need to save about $2000. They have been more than kind and offered to pay for a room for some of us to bunk in who are worried about not being able to afford it, and keep referring to it as our "vacation". My issue is that at this point in my life, $2000 is A LOT of money and could be the difference between having a functioning car or making rent or paying student loans, and I just can't justify spending that money to attend a wedding, even if she is one of my best friends. I don't know how to tell her no. She keeps trying to convince me that I could probably get through it spending around $1000, but experience tells me that whatever it's supposed to cost, double it. On top of all of this, she is having a bachelorette party 1,000 miles from home state that will probably run each person around $500 and a separate reception in home state after returning from the wedding. I feel bad for saying this, but the whole thing seems a little selfish. Especially because on several occasions she has talked about how much cheaper it's going to be for her and her fiance to do it this way; it's because the guests would be absorbing the cost. I don't know what I'm supposed to say, but I know I feel a little taken advantage of and I'm trying really hard not to allow myself to get upset because again, I don't want to make their day about me. Please help.

Re: A guest to a destination wedding-help

  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    How are the guests absorbing the costs? Guests should never absorb the cost of the wedding. It doesn't matter how much it costs. If you can't afford it, you can't afford it, full stop. Tell her that while you wish you could be there to celebrate with her, you just can't. Hopefully you'll be able to attend the at home reception and maybe the bachelorette. However, if you can't that's ok too. You have to be financially responsible to yourself. This past year has been hard on a lot of people financially. Hopefully she will understand and if she doesn't she isn't a real friend.
    charlotte989875short+sassyknottiee0c8885c1e843827ei34
  • Agree that you shouldn't let her pressure you into going. No one should ever expect that they have the right to tell another person how to spend their money or dictate what they do for their vacation. Since they're having an at-home celebration, I would probably just try to go to that if it is local.
    short+sassyknottiee0c8885c1e843827
  • Just be clear, "Oh this isn't going to work.  I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing you when you get back."

    In situations like this don't offer too many reasons.  She's not a boss and this isn't a mandate.  She's getting defensive about something because she isn't getting the answers she wants.   Don't convince her it's a bad idea.  Just tell her that you aren't a part of seeing this vision to fruition. 
    charlotte989875knottiee0c8885c1e843827ei34
  • It sucks but the price isn’t going to change and it sounds like neither are her wedding plans. She knows people won’t be able to attend and made the choice anyway. And that’s fine! She can have the wedding she wants. What’s not fine is trying to get you to change your answer or spend your money, PTO, or vacation planning for you. 
    short+sassyknottiee0c8885c1e843827
  • Don't feel guilty about this. She may be a close friend, but you don't owe her the $2000 it would cost you to attend her wedding. If you want to be gracious, decline the invitation and send her something nice from her registry as a wedding gift.
    knottiee0c8885c1e843827
  • You have already told her "no" and why.  You don't need to keep explaining yourself to her and feeling guilty.  Just keep rinsing/repeating.  Though she really shouldn't be asking you more than once anyway.  I think she heard your "problem" and was then trying to give a solution to "solve" it.  That's why it's best to keep it a simple "no". 

    They chose to have an out-of-country destination wedding (DW) that they know will make it much more difficult for their guests to go to.  And that's fine!  There is nothing wrong with that and I wouldn't call it selfish either.  HOWEVER, with that choice, they also need to be understanding that even some of their closest friends and family members will not be able to go..  Probably why they are having an at-home party, when they return.

    Quite frankly though, even if you were as rich as King Midas, that's still not an obligation to spend the time and money needed to go to a DW.
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    knottiee0c8885c1e843827
  • So from what she has told me, doing their wedding this way brings their wedding cost down to less than $10,000 compared to doing it traditionally and getting a venue and caterers and blah blah blah. In a more traditional style the guest would pay for a gift and new clothes and expect to spend in the vicinity of $500, but they're wedding would probably cost them a minimum of $20,000 this way right? I did the math and for 20 guests to conservatively spend $1500 for 3 days in another country makes up a difference of about $30,000. 
  • So from what she has told me, doing their wedding this way brings their wedding cost down to less than $10,000 compared to doing it traditionally and getting a venue and caterers and blah blah blah. In a more traditional style the guest would pay for a gift and new clothes and expect to spend in the vicinity of $500, but they're wedding would probably cost them a minimum of $20,000 this way right? I did the math and for 20 guests to conservatively spend $1500 for 3 days in another country makes up a difference of about $30,000. 
    I still don't understand how this works. Are the guests paying for the food or something? 

    But seriously, don't go if you don't want to spend your money that way. No body can force you to spend your money. It sucks but they should already be aware of risks of a destination wedding.
  • Bride and groom will only be paying for 2 meals, rehearsal dinner and dinner after the wedding. Guests will be paying for food and activities for 3 days.
  • So guests book an all inclusive and therefore they are helping to finance the entire shebang?  Yeah - this seems relatively how resorts do it but anyone who does this needs to know how unlikely it can work out. 

    True story - 15 years ago I managed a small department and my direct report nearly had his wedding called off when his wife freaked out that they had a lot of people decline attending their DW in Jamaica.  I rolled my eyes HARD because this isn't a new concept and yet as everyone ages people forget the adage, "No one cares about your wedding as much as you do."   

    I would not engage the friend anymore with anything that's defensive.  Just be clear about what you're not going to do.   Eventually she can hate everyone that declines or come around to the concept that people are just not that into it. 
    knottiee0c8885c1e843827short+sassycharlotte989875ei34
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    So from what she has told me, doing their wedding this way brings their wedding cost down to less than $10,000 compared to doing it traditionally and getting a venue and caterers and blah blah blah. In a more traditional style the guest would pay for a gift and new clothes and expect to spend in the vicinity of $500, but they're wedding would probably cost them a minimum of $20,000 this way right? I did the math and for 20 guests to conservatively spend $1500 for 3 days in another country makes up a difference of about $30,000. 
    I still don't understand how this works. Are the guests paying for the food or something? 

    But seriously, don't go if you don't want to spend your money that way. No body can force you to spend your money. It sucks but they should already be aware of risks of a destination wedding.
    This isn't uncommon for an all-inclusive. The couple is bringing in X number of people who are paying the all-inclusive rate to stay at the resort for however many days. In turn, the resort charges the couple a fraction of what they would pay to rent the venue, get catering, etc, because the cost of the meals and space are defrayed by the guests' rates. If you do a wedding at an all-inclusive, they may even have the couple pay a different rate for guests that aren't staying at the resort. 
    banana468short+sassymissJeanLouisecharlotte989875
  • For another DW story.  A few years ago, my coworker's son and his then FI wanted to have a DW in Costa Rica.  She talked to them about and did her best to keep her judgment out of it.  They loved to travel and were adventurous people.  She acknowledged to them that she understood and a Costa Rican wedding did sound like a great place for their personalities.  But also warned them that she wasn't sure if she could go if they got married there.  A little bit for financial reasons, but mainly because her vacation time was limited.  None of their grandparents would be able to go.  And none of his aunts could go (that he was close to). 

    In the end, they did get married in Costa Rica, despite the fact that most of their family couldn't go, including possibly the groom's mother.  But the couple was also understanding about that.  My coworker did end up attending.  But she grappled with that decision for weeks and almost didn't.
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  • I appreciate you all taking the time to offer me advice. I think right now I just feel frustrated with the situation and have decided I'm going to give myself a couple of weeks before I make a decision about it so I can respond appropriately. But I think I'm leaning no.
  • I appreciate you all taking the time to offer me advice. I think right now I just feel frustrated with the situation and have decided I'm going to give myself a couple of weeks before I make a decision about it so I can respond appropriately. But I think I'm leaning no.
    I think it’s totally fair to feel frustrated about it! Giving yourself some time to figure out what you want to do is a great plan.
  • I appreciate you all taking the time to offer me advice. I think right now I just feel frustrated with the situation and have decided I'm going to give myself a couple of weeks before I make a decision about it so I can respond appropriately. But I think I'm leaning no.
    I think it’s totally fair to feel frustrated about it! Giving yourself some time to figure out what you want to do is a great plan.
    Agreed. 

    You can feel super sad and conflicted to have to let a friend down. 

    But if the reasons you would go are mostly because it would stop her nagging then that's not a reason to go. 
    ILoveBeachMusiccharlotte989875short+sassyei34
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