Bride crossing her arms.

Guilt, Be Gone: 12 Legitimate Reasons Guests Say “I Don’t” to Destination Weddings

Summer weddings are gearing up, but they may not be located around the corner for guests. While destination weddings sound fun for the bride and groom-to-be, their guests might not feel the same. Here are 12 ways that make destination weddings hard on attendees.

1: The Ultimate Budget-Drainer

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Unless the engaged couple is rolling in the dough, guests are expected to fork over the money to pay for being at their wedding. Flights, car rentals, a hotel stays can do a number to bank accounts.

2: Using Precious Vacation Time

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News flash: Destination wedding guests probably weren’t saving their vacation days for the bride and groom. And if they were, they likely figured they’d only need to take a day off around the wedding weekend. But destination weddings can take a toll on PTO — and that’s assuming the guests don’t take time off after they return home to recover from a whirlwind wedding.

3: Guilt, Guilt, and More Guilt

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No matter how much family and friends love the bride and groom-to-be, the chances are high that attending a destination wedding won’t be feasible for everyone. That can take a huge toll on one’s emotions, with guilt running high. If a person can’t attend a destination because of finances, it can also make them feel inadequate and insecure about their situation.

4: Travel Times Two

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Guests who are invited to the bride and groom’s bachelorette and bachelor parties are often faced with another big time and financial commitment. If you’re lucky, the bride and groom will tack these parties onto their wedding weekend. But it’s all too common for the happily engaged couple to ask their guests to attend their bachelorette and bachelor parties well before the wedding date.

5: Not a Vacay Spot You’d Choose

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Everyone has their own vacation style, and the bride and groom’s destination wedding pick might not be among them. So, not only do guests have to spend money and their vacation days to attend their loved one’s big day, but they might be doing it in a place they would have never picked for themselves.

6: Hard on the Elderly and Parents With Young Children

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Let’s face it — not everyone can hop on a flight and enjoy an easy-peasy trip to a destination wedding. Traveling can be arduous for the elderly and people with physical limitations. It can also be the ultimate stress inducer for parents with young children.

7: You Have to Gift Give Too

Skeptical man.
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Spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, doesn’t count as a wedding gift for most newlyweds-to-be. And even if they say your presence is enough, let’s face it — it’s embarrassing to show up at a wedding empty-handed.

8: You Might Get Put to Work

Bridal party putting on makeup.
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Have you pictured yourself lounging on the beach drinking a cocktail during a destination wedding? Not so, for many. If you’re in the bridal party, you’ll likely be running around helping the bride and groom to ensure their big day goes off without a hitch. Of course, we can only hope they get hitched after all your effort to attend their wedding.

9: The Bride and Groom Might Not Give You the Time of Day (or Night)

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With the occasional exception, it’s fair to say that most newlyweds don’t plan on ignoring their guests. But wedding distractions happen, ranging from getting photographed to the first dance and cake cutting. All those events chip away at the time they have to spend with their guests. Before you know it, the night could be over, and the bride and groom may have never even stopped by to thank you for coming.

10: Nervousness Could Run High

Woman afraid on a plane.
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Travel isn’t for everyone, and long-distance escapades that require a flight or more could be nerve-wracking for some wedding guests. While a couple can’t possibly cater to every guest’s fears when planning their wedding, it could be construed as rude if they plan a destination wedding when they have close loved ones who fear flying or traveling.

11: A Big Coordination Ask

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Even if guests have the money and vacation time to dedicate to a destination wedding, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy for them. Parents may have to take their kids out of school or coordinate for a babysitter to watch them while they’re away. Some guests may need to apply for a passport. And let’s not even talk about visas if the couple chooses to have their wedding in a country that requires them.

12: Intentionally Leaving People Out

Woman with hand in front of her face.
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If you’ve ever been invited to a destination wedding and know those on the guest list, the engaged couple’s choice to have such a wedding might be curious. Before even sending out the invitations, it’s often obvious to a couple who would be willing and unwilling (or unable) to attend a ceremony across state or country borders. So, it can make certain guests feel intentionally excluded.

The Flip Side

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Although destination weddings can be construed as selfish, at the end of the day, it’s the couple’s big day and they should get to choose. Furthermore, the modern times we live in mean that people move frequently; even if a couple’s wedding isn’t technically a destination wedding, it will be like a destination wedding for any guest who has to hop on a flight to attend.

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