It never occurred to me that some couples plan destination weddings as a maneuver to eliminate potential guests.
They don’t actually want you at their wedding, so they purposefully plot for it to take place at some exotic location, knowing you can’t afford to come.
“A relative of mine and his fiancee know a lot of people where they live,” one reader wrote. “If they had invited everyone that they felt they should have invited to their wedding, they could have filled the National Cathedral. They worried about how to reduce the guest list without offending the uninvited. Their solution was to have a destination wedding. A lot fewer people attended.“
Recently I wrote about a Bankrate.com poll that found that 56 percent of Americans dislike destination weddings, and the comments I received showed me that couples might want to leave you out on purpose.
I was surprised by this subterfuge.
“The people I’ve known to have destination weddings were having them to avoid the hassle of a regular wedding and reduce possible family drama by having fewer people attend,” one reader wrote.
A reader in Chicago tweeted: “@SingletaryM has a column saying people should stop having destination weddings because it’s a big ask for attendees. That’s exactly why my wife and I had a destination wedding. Only the people we really wanted there would make such an effort. Not coming? Whew. Good.”
Planning a destination wedding seems like an outrageous way to simply limit your guest list. Here’s one short line you can use if you’re questioned about the number of guests you’ve asked to witness your nuptials: “We can’t afford (or don’t want) a wedding large enough to accommodate everyone who might want to come.”
Then stand your ground. Sure, you might lose friends or risk a fracture in your family. But trust me: Those folks won’t likely come to your financial rescue when the need arises.
The same is true if you’re an invited guest.
One father paying for his daughter’s wedding made an interesting observation regarding people who decline invitations.
“As the person who is paying for this expensive event, losing some people doesn’t hurt me,” he wrote. “In fact, I save $150 a person from each decline. My daughter is bummed by rejection RSVPs, as this is her big day, and she wants to share it with everyone on the planet. But don’t only blame finances on why people decline. Lots of times, they simply don’t want to make the trip, as it’s not really what they want to spend their vacation time on. Using finances is simply a justified excuse.”
He’s got a point. If you don’t want to attend an event, own your truth. You don’t have to fake a financial issue.
However, the Bankrate poll found that, for many couples, no explanation would suffice anyway.
Thirty percent of adults who didn’t attend a wedding because they couldn’t afford to go said it negatively impacted their relationship with a couple. This is why people feel the need to lie.
Concerning weddings — destination or not — please avoid the following:
— Feeding into the mania that it’s such a big day that all common financial sense should be abandoned. The marriage is the big deal, not the party to celebrate it.
— Pressuring a couple to invite people, including relatives they scarcely know. The cost of weddings is often escalated — and can become excessive — in an attempt to have a family reunion. A wedding also isn’t the time or place to mend broken relationships. That’s what family therapy is for.
“Spent a bunch of money traveling to the lavish wedding of the daughter of a cousin I can’t even stand, and had to turn down two big freelance projects in the process,” one reader wrote. “Only went under pressure from parents wanting to ‘keep the peace.’”
— Attempting to make anyone feel guilty for not spending money they don’t want to spend to attend a wedding. A rejected RSVP isn’t the sole indication of someone’s devotion to you, and it doesn’t mean that they didn’t want to make the effort.
Why is it so hard to just have the wedding you can afford and/or limit the guest list for whatever reason, including that you don’t want everybody and their mama at your nuptials?
I know the answer to my own question.
People lack courage. Or they can’t handle the repercussions from the guests not invited.
But as long as you keep placating people rather than living your truth, you’ll always make financial or life decisions that aren’t in your best interest.