Destination Weddings: Are They Worth the Cost?

As if all the planning and logistics of getting married wasn’t already fraught with stress, in recent years the wedding industry has found a new way to add even more: destination weddings.

According to The Knot, the average wedding cost for an international destination wedding is $25,800. The wedding site puts the cost for domestic destination weddings slightly higher, at $27,840, likely because the guest list for domestic weddings is typically larger.

These costs, however, do not include travel expenses. For international travel, you’ll need an additional $1,427, and $532 for domestic, and that’s just for the bride and groom.

Because we’re all about protecting your money, Billshark wants to take a hard look at the downsides of destination weddings.

What about the guests?

If one partner is from Encino and the other hails from Baltimore, the couple might have to choose one location or the other in which to marry. In that case, the friends and family of one will either have to travel or miss out on the big day.

But what about selecting a wedding location that has no connection to either? If a bride has always dreamed of tying the knot with her beloved on a beach in Maui at sunset, it seems churlish for friends and family to stand in her way.

At the same time, though, those friends and family members will have to not only fund their own travel expenses but sacrifice a good chunk of the meager amount of vacation time allotted to employees in this country. And those with children will also have to make arrangements for childcare while they’re away.

Even worse, some people report not only having to tap their savings to attend but feeling obligated to go into debt to be able to afford other people’s destination weddings.

Then add in the many associated events: engagement parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, showers and gifts. In addition to the that, there’s the added expense—for the wedding party, at least—of the bridesmaid dresses and rented tuxedos. The costs for the guests quickly add up.

Hidden resentments surfacing

Unless the wedding couple and all their friends and family are part of the one percent of wealthiest Americans, or if the bride and groom intend to foot the entire bill for all the guests, the costs to attend destination weddings are beginning to encounter resistance from attendees. recently released the results of a survey in which 20 percent of respondents said they declined a wedding invitation because they couldn’t afford to go. Worse, 30 percent of those who didn’t attend reported it damaged their relationship with the couple either “slightly or greatly.”

And according to The Knot’s Real Weddings study, 56 percent said it’s in “poor taste” for a couple to plan a ceremony where guests incurred all the travel expenses to attend.

Thus, you have to weigh not only the costs to your guests but the possible damage to your relationship with them when contemplating a destination wedding.


Unless you’re 100 percent certain that your dream destination wedding will present no hardship to those you invite, consider jetting off with just you and your beloved to your dream site for the ceremony, and have a large reception at home afterward for friends and family.

And if you’re a guest who’s been invited to a wedding you can’t comfortably afford—or perhaps you have other plans for your scarce time and money—the simple response is, “I’m so sorry I won’t be able to attend.” To soften the blow, etiquette experts recommend picking up the phone to decline, rather than doing so writing. But it’s important to realistically consider your own financial situation when making such decisions. After all, it’s an invitation, not warrant for your arrest.

And if you need extra cash for any reason, you’ll be surprised at how much Billshark can save you on your bills. When we negotiate with your providers, we charge you nothing unless we save you money. So contact us today.

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