I generally only hear the bride and groom’s perspective of their wedding. It was eye-opening and ear burning when I met a group of young men at a restaurant, while on vacation. The restaurant was on the beach, and there was a bon fire outside. We had finished our dinner, and went outside to enjoy the fire. Standing around the fire were seven or eight young men. We started making small talk. One of them was eager to tell us why they were all there. “We’re down here celebrating the one year anniversary of the break up of Daniel’s marriage. He wasn’t really married, but you know what I mean, they were together for a while.” I expressed my sympathy to Daniel, who clearly was not enjoying the festivities. I told them that I was writing this book about wedding planning mistakes. I wished I had brought my pad and pen to write down the 99, or more, things these guys had to say about weddings. They were justifiably irritated by the subject. Not that they had anything against marriage, but they had many stories to tell me about their experiences with weddings.
The biggest complaint was the amount of money they were expected to pay to attend or be in a wedding. This sparked a lively discussion among us about how they felt about destination weddings. One of the men, Brad, said, “I had to take four days off work, spend $600 for a plane ticket, $200 for a wedding gift, rent my tux, shoes, and help give the groom a bachelor party. By the time I paid for my food and hotel, it cost me $4,100 to go to that wedding! I looked at it like a vacation, but if I’m going to spend that amount of money, I would prefer to choose where I am going to go.” Brad was still carrying some resentment from that wedding. When Brad finished relaying his story, one of his friends walked away to talk to someone else. Brad continued. “I can’t stand the woman that guy is going to marry. We are all hoping he won’t do it, but he is determined. She wants a destination wedding, and I don’t want to fork out all that money to see him throw his life away. Besides, I don’t have the amount of money it takes to go to all of these exotic places. “
We concurred that if the bride and groom are set on a destination wedding, they should understand, without hurt feelings, if some of their friends can’t make it to the wedding, due to financial concerns.
If you are planning a destination wedding, take into account the financial hardship it might cause for your attendants, in particular, and your guests in general. If it is really important for you to have specific people in attendance, you should offer to take care of the expense of getting them there.