More Than Half of Adults Would Skip Destination Wedding Invitation

Travel costs, loss of vacation time biggest reasons guests would decline
Beach destination wedding

If the idea of tying the knot in the Caribbean excites you, you might want to think twice if you’re expecting your guests to attend. More than half of adults would say ‘no’ if asked to travel to a destination wedding, a new survey reveals.

Travel insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance received 1,502 responses to gauge their perceptions about destination weddings. Nearly half of respondents defined a destination wedding as one that required a plane trip from the marrying couple’s home, and the majority of respondents—53.6%—said they would decline.

The cost of travel was the No.1 reason given for skipping the nuptials, cited by 42.4% of respondents. Another 17.8% said they wouldn’t go if they didn’t know the couple well enough to justify the cost. Other reasons for taking a pass include:

  • Not knowing the couple well enough to justify time off work (11.8%)
  • Not able to take off from work (9.7%)
  • Not interested in visiting the location of the wedding (7.1%)

More than a third of respondents—37.2%—even said they thought it was selfish for couples to expect their guests to give up valuable vacation time and money to travel for their big day.

For some, the decision to attend would depend on how much they’d have to pay to get there. While 28.7% admitted the cost would affect their decision, they said they’d be willing to spend more to attend the wedding of a family member or a friend. In fact, 9.4% would be frugal and limit their spending while on the trip just so they could attend.

While 51.2% of respondents said they would not have a destination wedding, there’s a financial reason some couples may choose to have one. Destination weddings tend to cost less to plan, according to The Knot. In fact, the wedding planning website reports that the average international destination wedding costs $27,227, which is slightly lower than domestic costs at $28,372.

Of the respondents to the Allianz Global Assistance survey who would have a destination wedding, 6.6% said they would have one to cut costs. Also, 8.4% said they would plan a remote wedding in order to limit the number of attendees, which would also indirectly lower the costs associated with the wedding.

If you’re getting married, you have the right to plan the wedding of your dreams. However, if having loved ones there with you on your big day is important to you, consider how the cost of a destination wedding might affect your guests’ wallets. When making plans, consider the average cost of a wedding in a variety of different locations. You might ultimately decide to have a destination wedding with a few guests and then have a larger reception at home at a later time to celebrate with those who couldn’t attend.

If you’re contemplating attending a destination wedding, consider the costs to make sure the trip would fit your budget. If it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to send a gift with your regrets.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.