At Least One Third of Americans Think Your Destination Wedding Is Selfish

Here's what you can do about it.

Destination Wedding
Photo: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

According to a survey by Allianz Global Assistance, 37 percent of Americans think it’s selfish for a couple to ask guests to use their money and vacation days on a destination wedding.

Cost is, unsurprisingly, the biggest motivator for guests declining a destination wedding invitation: Fifty-three percent of respondents cited money as their main reason for not attending a wedding in a far-flung locale.

Among those who said destination weddings are selfish, 17 percent said they wouldn’t spend the money because they don’t know the couple well enough. The takeaway? Your close friends and family are much more likely to travel for your destination wedding than distant relatives or friends you rarely catch up with.

Of the three weddings I’m heading to this year, two of them require a flight. And for the record, I’ve never earmarked those weddings as “selfish” — especially considering I’m planning my own destination wedding. Because I tend to worry about what people think and how much money I’m asking them to spend, I tried to over-communicate with my guests to make sure they weren’t uncomfortable receiving an invite to my wedding. If you’re worried about your guests thinking your wedding is selfish, here are a few simple solutions I’m (trying) to implement.

1. Let your guests off the hook.

My wedding is fairly small, and for those I thought might not come, I asked them outright if they’d prefer not to be invited. Receiving an invitation to someone’s wedding still comes with a certain amount of obligation—you’re typically expected to send a gift even if you don’t attend. Giving the guests you think wouldn’t be thrilled by the idea of trekking to your wedding an easy-out might be much appreciated.

2. If you’re asking people to fly to the wedding, avoid asking them to fly to your bachelor or bachelorette party.

Allianz reports that 73 percent of respondents have never attended a destination wedding, and 76 percent have never attended a destination bachelor or bachelorette party. For brides and grooms worried about overloading their guests with plane tickets, consider hosting just one event in a destination, as opposed to multiple.

3. Stop worrying about it.

Here’s the thing: According to Allianz Global Assistance, more than half of Americans define a “destination wedding” as a wedding they have to fly to. It’s 2019 — someone is going to have to fly to your wedding, even if it’s in your backyard. If those who need to fly to your wedding are unable to do so, as long as you’re completely understanding about it, there’s nothing else you can do after a certain point. And it’s okay to realize that, show kindness to all of your guests whether they can or can’t come, and move on.

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