Destination Weddings: A Good Excuse to Cut Back on Guests

It’s easy to see why destination weddings are popular. According to Brides Magazine, the average cost of a wedding in the UK for 2015 was £24,000. This is insane. I mean look at that figure again: twenty-four thousand pounds.

By comparison, the average UK salary is only £26,500. Unless people are handing out iPhones as wedding favours, where exactly is that money going?

Okay, okay, of course, we’re being unfair. There’s nothing wrong with having a £24,000 wedding day. There’s nothing wrong with spending £200,000 if you can afford to. 

The worst thing that any bride or groom can do is subscribe to what everyone thinks they should do. It’s dangerous to talk about the average price of this or the average price of that because to the couple getting married, their wedding isn’t average.

We think the average price of a UK wedding is probably somewhere between these two figures. Certainly, that’s been our experience when talking to couples. 

There are a number of different ways to cut the cost of a wedding, but what happens when you have to cut people? You might think that you can be brutal when it’s all hypothetical, but what about when you actually have to tell people they’re not invited.

Family politics can make House of Cards look like Mr and Mrs. It isn’t your fault, of course. Biology picked your guest list years before you were born.

On a guest list, blood is often thicker than water. The family will probably take priority over friends even if certain members of it haven't been seen since the Thatcher Government. It’s the old-fashioned way of doing things. 

As weddings get more expensive, couples are looking for a way around long guest lists, and there’s one trend that has benefitted very well from this: the destination wedding. 

There are many reasons why couples choose to get married elsewhere. Often it’s more affordable, it’s seen as less hassle, the weather might be more dependable somewhere else and there’s a sense of romantic adventure to going away.

It also means you can invite fewer people.

It means you can invite fewer people and avoid the prenuptial brouhaha from a third cousin who wasn't invited.

Just because you’re going away it doesn’t mean you’re entirely off the hook, however. You need to stay ahead of the gossip. If you let other people speculate about your wedding, they’ll speculate about why they weren’t invited. Families seem to do this better than anyone.

Make sure people know it’s a destination wedding before you send the invitations out. This gives advanced warning to the people who won't be getting one. It’s probably worth telling people you’re considering a destination wedding even if you’re not. Sow those seeds early enough, and you’ll have less explaining to do later.

When you don’t invite someone to something you hurt their feelings and they’ll think it’s a snub. Again, families are so good at doing this it’s frightening. It’s worth letting people know why you’re not having a big local wedding like they expected. You don’t need to write this across the sky. A group email, a Facebook message, a phone call, a text message or letter would do. 

If you take the time to talk to people and if you’re honest with them, then you’re making it harder for them to be offended. That’s not to say you have to sugar coat it. If it’s because the family is too big then tell them that. If you don’t want to pay a fortune, then say that, too.

"Whilst we would have absolutely loved having our wedding here and inviting you all, it’s simply not possible…

By going abroad, we can have the intimate ceremony that we wanted.

  • By choosing to go away, we can afford the wedding that we always planned or
  • It just felt right choosing our destination. We have such a passion for this place that we couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else or
  • As important as you are to both of us we know that you’ll be there in our hearts on the day. And hopefully, you’ll be at the huge party we’re going to throw when we come home.


Think of it as a breakup: it’s not them, it’s you.

The masterstroke on this is having the wedding reception when you get home. You can invite everyone who you couldn’t invite to the wedding. This goes a long, long way in unruffling feathers.

It’s important that you watch your language, too. Talk about your wedding the way that a politician answers questions: very carefully. If you’ve told people that your wedding will be an intimate beach ceremony, and then they find out there are 250 people attending it – you could be in trouble! Be as vague as you can about the details.

If your wedding is more relaxed, then you could always give people the option to come if they can. You’ll find that all things considered (return airfare, hotels, transfers, activities etc) they’ll probably decline. The beauty of this is that they said no – that’s on them.

It can be harder explaining to close friends why they’re not invited. On the one hand, they’re the people most likely to understand, but they’re also those most likely to expect (and want) an invitation. When a close friend gets married it’s a rite of passage for any friendship group. It’s important, therefore, to do it properly.

Again, be honest and be upfront. Remember, it isn’t them, it’s you. Your friends should be the first people to find out, too. Don’t announce it all over Facebook without telling them first. Keep the invitations under wraps until you’ve kept your friends in the loop.

Bottom line is that your friends will understand. If they don’t, then consider it a red flag in your friendship.

Destination weddings are a popular alternative to traditional home-based weddings. One reason for this is that they can help trim down a guest list (and thereby cost) without ruffling too many feathers.

But remember, the wedding is between you and your partner. Don’t compromise your dream for fear of hurting the feelings of others. Don’t be afraid to have the wedding you want, because those who truly love you will understand why you’re doing it.

Popular posts from this blog

Should I Propose at Christmas? (Spoiler Alert: Probably Not)

Who Walks Down the Aisle at a Gay Wedding?

Gay Wedding Hashtags

Wedding Fair or Wedding Fayre: Which is it?

How To Make Small Talk At Weddings

Should You Invite a Homophobic Relative to Your Gay Wedding?

Gay Wedding Readings: How to Pick the Best One

10 Laid Back Processional Songs For Your Summer Wedding

Paperless Post & Awesome Electronic Wedding Invitations

Hong Kong Court Rules in Favour of British Lesbian