Many, many years ago, I received an invitation to a wedding from a distant cousin whose location was going to be in a place called Cancun Mexico … I am not making this up. The invite suggested that I would seriously consider spending thousands of dollars to travel to a foreign country, take precious, well documented company vacation time, and abandon my little children to attend a wedding of a person I was related to but barely knew. I of course called my cousin, who was famous for his elaborate, and very complicated practical jokes. Once I reached him, we laughed as he said “gotcha!” and life went on.
My biggest mistake is that I did not shred that invite and it somehow was stolen from my garbage can, as our neighbourhood was notorious for those cardboard thieves that stalk blue boxes in the middle of the night when all are sleeping. That cardboard thief then left that invite on a TV tray at his mobile home. That sly cardboard thief had a sister, who had a friend who was a wedding planner. That sister’s friend always came over on Wednesday nights to watch reruns of Dukes of Hazzard at 7:00 p.m. During a commercial break, as the plot involving a car chase and moonshine reached its inevitable climax, that sister showed her friend the stolen invite. After twenty glasses of wine from a box, the conversation eased into the topics from how our parents continue to disappoint us as we age to how badly the friend’s wedding planning business was going.
The wonderful girl’s night was slowly coming to an end as each lady discussed the challenges their ever-present work place drama that they continually caused. When the friend finally got up off the plush maroon velvety couch to go home, instead of her traditional habit of stealing cutlery from her friends house, when her friend went to the bathroom, she inadvertently stole that mock invite and put it in her purse. The next morning when she arrived late at work, she started typing this idea to her boss. She started typing this idea because she accidently looked at her performance review document and one of her year-end goals was to come up with an innovative idea to help the fledging travel business. She submitted the idea, and because nobody else in the company had looked at the year’s goals, her boss had to consider this just to acknowledge he had looked at the employee’s performance documents. This is how I believe destination weddings began to take over the world.
So let’s examine the rational behind destination weddings with a fair unbiased, yet evenly balanced look at the pros and the cons of the very popular idea.
People will always get married and they will need a location for the reception. A nice environment is always a nice but not necessary for a great night of bad speeches, eating, drinking and dancing.
The wedding couple gets a free room if they can convince at least twelve people to attend.
Nobody wants to go to a destination wedding.
To suggest that any invitee would accept an invitation that involves an average of five and a half hours of travel that often includes a second airport seems a very reasonable imposition. There should be no resistance to one’s commitment to stay at least four days in a tropical environment that has poisonous snakes, colourful maracas for sale and a steel drum band that will play Magaritaville at least seventeen times during your stay. Sure, you have to show your ugly passport picture to people who will make fun of you in the security line in a high-pitched language you will not understand, but you will get a foreign stamp that will demonstrate you are very intercontinental. Be wary that there is a strong chance the maid will forget to put those stale mints on your fluffy pillows one night during your stay. Finally you will be lulled into lineups of all you can eat buffet items while drinking all you can drink beverages with beautiful little umbrellas, that will make you just drunk enough to consider that accepting this invite was the best decision you ever made and money well spent. When you sober up on the plane trip home you will reverse your thinking to your original stance with Catholic guilt linked to the insanity of your very bad decision.
Nobody wants to go to a destination wedding.
Now people reading this who have attended a distant cousin’s wedding near the equator will vehemently argue that my position is old fashioned, out of touch and archaic thinking as they must defend their costly decision. I of course would do the exact same thing as I justify an April Visa bill that has a surprising total of $11,257.52.
Here is an interesting true story of a couple that invited all family and friends to their exciting destination wedding. The one hundred or so invites went out in September to get everybody transfixed about their April wedding in Cancun. Coercion and guilt-riddled emails were regularly sent to ensure a strong attendance was secured and their honeymoon suite discount was approved. In March, a new email was sent to rightfully ask all attendees to contribute their honeymoon pot, because this happy bride and groom were planning for well-deserved two-week summer honeymoon in the U.S.A. that would unfortunately occur sadly many months after the wedding. To ease people’s decision of how to contribute to the honeymoon in New York City, they established a registry where you could direct your donation to the airfare, the hotel or the restaurants they planned to attend as they slowly recovered from the stress of hosting their destination wedding. You can’t make this stuff up.
If people continue to attend these weddings this will become an acceptable practice like prohibition was in the early 1930s. By extension we will need future leaders as brave as FDR or Justin Trudeau to pass legislation for a carefully written law on the illegality of this barbaric practice that was once considered normal.
You Can’t Always Get What You Want.
Now don’t you just hate when people rant about the problems of the world without offering even one solution.
Six Rules for Destination Weddings
- The only person who should be expected to attend the destination wedding is the bride. If the groom did not state immediately to his fiancé that she is out of her frigging mind, when she first introduced the topic of a far away wedding, he must also attend.
- If the about to be married couple can make a compelling argument that their wedding is all about the guests and not all about them, everyone must attend.
- Many people who attend destination weddings, are employed by large and small companies. Most of these organizations have pretty well documented vacation policies based on years of service. If you invite a young friend who has just started a job in October to a November wedding that friend will have to stay at the company even if they hate the job, until after they have worked long enough to settle vacation pay owed. To reward that friend’s attendance that friend must be in the wedding party and permitted to make an impromptu speech.
- If sand is an absolute requirement for background pictures at your nuptials, some local legions will rent a sandbox at minimal cost to satisfy that unusual request.
- If one of the parents of the prospective wedding couple is a multimillionaire, and offers to pay for all of the attendee’s flights, rooms and incidental charges including scuba diving lessons, only the bride and groom are required to attend.
- You will receive no cash gifts from your attendees, as all will conclude they have spent more than enough for your long distance wedding that statistically has a 50% chance of surviving longer than tomorrow’s forecasted monsoon. I would also propose that all attendees invoice the bride and groom for any expense outside the agreed upon cost. This would include medical bills i.e. if 73 year old grandmother breaks her ankle with an unfortunate turn in the sand that her thirty year old high heeled shoes were not designed to absorb. This cost is unnegotiable, regardless of the beautiful ocean sunset she was allowed to observe as she fell helplessly on to the beautiful white sand that was captured in all the wedding photos.
The real message here is I totally support people who decide that a destination wedding is the ideal way to celebrate their wedding, as long as the expectation is for all the invitees to have the option to politely decline the offering.
Let me try to put this into plane English, and when I say plane English, I mean English that involves several plane trips. Lets just say I offered to take you out for a destination coffee and donut. If I then said, by out I mean hop on a plane, transfer in Miami to a terminal that I promise you is in the same zip code. When you arrive to the island from that second plane ride, the taxi ride is only 45 minutes away, but sometimes roads are washed away so it might take slightly longer. I will be sitting in the coffee shop at the far corner table near the large cactus plant. Don’t you dare worry about currency exchange, as this coffee and donut are my treat. I suspect your response to my very generous offer might be, “Those donuts better be fresh!”