There are many problems with destination weddings that brides and grooms, in their excitement in planning one, fail to see. Although it is the bride and groom's prerogative to do what they want for their wedding day, choosing a destination wedding location instead of a local venue can create issues for the people you invite.
A destination wedding, by definition, is one that involves all guests traveling to a resort locale to attend the nuptials. This is different than a bride and groom who live in New York, and you live in Florida. If only a handful of people are traveling and the most people on the guest list are local, it is not a destination wedding.
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The biggest problem with destination weddings for friends and family who are invited is the cost. While the bride and groom may feel that they are saving thousands of dollars by having a small and intimate affair with a handful of people, they are putting an unnecessary financial burden on their guests. Depending on the length of the stay and how far it is to travel, attending can be cost prohibitive. Even if it is an all inclusive destination wedding, what your best friend can afford and what Aunt Betty can afford are two totally different things.
If you are leaving the country, there is the cost of passports to be added if you do not already have one. Multiply that by how many are in a family, and that hidden cost adds up.
By having your wedding out-of-town rather than where you live, those who would love to see you get married are denied this opportunity to enjoy your happiness. Having a party after the actual wedding is like gift fishing. Your presence/presents are good enough for the "after party", but not for the actual wedding itself.
In addition, another problem with destination weddings is assuming that everyone wants to go to the location you selected for a vacation. Even if money is not an object, what brides and grooms are doing is telling their guests is that you have to go to this location and spend thousands of dollars to see us walk down the aisle. Everyone enjoys going to different places for their vacation.
Having to use your vacation time to attend a destination wedding is another situation that does not occur when you have your wedding close to home. Some people may not have much time off left, if any at all. Others already have vacations planned already and may not be able to take the time off from work to attend. For those who have had cutbacks at work and have to take time off without pay, this doubles the financial burden of paying to go to a wedding and not getting paid for the time off.
Depending on what you do for a living, another problem that arises is the date. For example, if you are an accountant and your cousin plans a wedding for the first week of April, it is your busy season and more than likely you cannot go. Or if your best friend plans a mid-June wedding and you are a teacher, you cannot take time off from work at the end of the school year to attend the destination wedding.
There are some brides and grooms that do not invite children to their wedding to keep the costs lower and so they can have an adult good time. While this can be an issue with local weddings too, it is particularly stressful for invited guests with no one to take care of the kids while they go away. If the guests' children are not invited, how can you realistically expect them to attend?
If family is not attending because they have small children, this can cause hurt feelings.
If you have family members and friends who are older and/or having physical limitations that prevent them from traveling, then they might not be able to attend your destination wedding. If you are blessed to have senior members in your family still alive on your wedding day, it is a shame for them to have to miss it simply because a six hour plane trip is not physically feasible.
In the end, it is the bride and groom who have the final say as to how and where they are getting married. For those who are considering marrying out of town, then the potential problems should be discussed before any plans for it are finalized. There have been many books written about destination weddings that can help you decide if you are going to get married this way or not.