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So much has happened in the past six years since I started this blog!  I can’t believe I have the great fortune to be able to make this decision (finally).  Although it didn’t turn out to be with who I thought it would be (life always throws you a curve ball right) I am very grateful things turned out the way they did and have utmost faith now to not force things when they don’t want to be forced, and that life falls into place and you will be with who you are meant to be with.

So, now I am engaged (whoopee!) finally in my 30’s, you know, just like Leonardio DiCaprio finally won an Oscar, and we are discussing what we would like to do for our wedding.  Reading back on some of my posts about destination weddings and traditional stay at home weddings and wedding budgets, I am glad that I have not strayed too far from my original values!  I was pondering between destination weddings, at home weddings, and even eloping and reviewed the pros and cons for each.  I think I was leaning towards a traditional stay at home wedding but when I think about it I don’t think I will feel comfortable with having a wedding in Vancouver because there isn’t a venue that I feel is ‘the one’ in Vancouver.

With the cost of weddings creeping up (alongside wedding inflation of course), the average cost of weddings has increased from when I did my last research about which one is cheaper (by about $5000, $1000 for every year, hmm!).


Running the numbers and speaking with my friend who is planning a traditional ‘at-home’ wedding, it is without a doubt that the destination wedding is cheaper.  Of course, it can be more expensive (depending on if we paid for our guests hotel for a night or two, or if we decided to use a different venue), especially if you invite the same number of people as you would for an at-home wedding.  One of our main criteria (e.g. needs) is to keep it under budget.  Of course, we would be adamant that our guests at the wedding not bring any gifts monetary or otherwise to the wedding because it is already a financial and trip burden for them to come all the way to the destination wedding.  There will be no gift giving at our future destination wedding.

Our Dislike for Being the Centre of Attention

My partner and I are both introverted and don’t like being the centre of attention.  Parties exhaust us and the thought of 100+ pairs of eyes focusing on myself and my partner makes my palms sweat.  If we were able to half that number (even 50 makes my hands sweat but not so much I suppose) that would make us feel more comfortable.

Close Friends and Family

I’ve been to some big weddings and you barely get time to say congratulations to the bride and groom let alone have some one-on-one non-small talk discussion with them.  With a destination wedding, we hope to have time to spend more with our close friends and family and hope that our friends and family get to know one another too.  Some of my close friends have never been to our chosen destination wedding location so it will be exciting to spend time with them there.

Our Favourite Place

Finally, the destination we are thinking about having our destination wedding is Hawaii.  Hawaii is my fiancees favourite place in the world.  He likes it so much sometimes he travels twice a year to Hawaii.  I have been there a few times too (I think four) and have enjoyed it each time I went.  The idea of standing in the sun with a tropical breeze flowing with the scent of plumeria flowers while saying “I Do” is just a perfect dream for me.  Besides, the weather in Vancouver is often unpredictable.  Of course, I have always wanted to have the song Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole play at my wedding ceremony.  That song is so beautiful, it often brings tears to my eyes 🙂

Anyone gotten married in Hawaii?  Any tips for the future nuptuals in Hawaii?

Article comments

Taylor says:

@potato I think your comments are rather unfair. I do not read this post as advice on what others should do or what is best for society; I read this post as how one couple made a deeply personal decision about what was right for them with considerations for their particular friends/family. Young has covered this topic previously in a general personal finance way and your comments are more appropriate there.

@young Everyone seems to have such strong feelings about weddings. You can’t please everyone. You do you! Congrats!

Young says:

@Taylor- That’s the first lesson learned in wedding planning! Can’t please everyone. Thanks!

Potato says:

Kyle: don’t get me wrong, traditional weddings are also terrible things. I honestly can’t remember if we paid for my cousins’ flights back when we subjected our friends and families to our misadventure in matrimony, but I remember we had a lot of heated talks about it (and the trade-offs of wasting money on an open bar vs. not making our loved ones pay for their flights when they’re already coming halfway across the country to indulge us vs. indulging my crazy notions of fairness and what everyone expects the deal to be when it comes to a wedding). I’d have to actually ask my cousins ’cause things are a bit of a blur and it really was down to a coinflip.

Eloping is really the way to go.

But yes, for some people with family and friends spread all over, a traditional wedding is also effectively a destination wedding. Really, given the extreme inflation in what the magazines tell us weddings cost these days, people should just pay for their guests’ airfare if required. Or, given the advances in technology, weddings-by-Skype!

@Young: the point I am (poorly, bitterly) trying to make is that they’re your friends, they will want to come. Some will think nothing of it because they love to travel and have huge travel budgets anyway (one person at my work prioritizes travel so much that they’ll just hop on a flight for a long weekend to New York on a whim sometimes). But some will have to make hard choices, even if you go out of your way to try not to put pressure on them to come.

For example, one of Wayfare’s friends had a destination wedding while we were both in grad school. Our vacation and travel budget was somewhere around $800/yr at the time (i.e. we had just enough to drive somewhere and stay with relatives or at a relative’s cottage). But she was incapable of saying no, we can’t afford it — it was her friend, getting married. She was there, she had a blast, and then she had staycations and didn’t see distant family for two years.

To walk it back to being a curmudgeon and Kyle’s situation: just say no to the marital-industrial complex, man. Last year a friend tried to invite me to a wedding and I did some research and I had already been to their wedding a few years before! They tried to just like get a second spouse and have a second wedding! So I shot that down. I mean, really.

Now thankfully aside from little glitches in the matrix like that, I’m old enough that virtually all my friends have got this business behind them, so there are really only three people left whose weddings I’d attend (unless I’m still alive if/when Blueberry has kids of her own and the grandtaters start tying knots).

Potato says:

Destination weddings are by far more expensive. They’re only cheaper for the couple/immediate family, but impose a huge burden on everyone else attending (and even those who don’t/can’t attend feel some level of guilt for missing out). The overall cost is way higher, and you’re forcing your guests to pay it (or to make a hard choice).

They are a terrible, terrible thing and I can’t believe they’re still tolerated in our society — especially when at the same time a cash bar is seen as tacky.

Destination eloping though gives you all the benefits of saying your vows in an exotic location while keeping the guest list down to just those whose flight and hotel packages you can afford to cover.

Young says:

@Potato- I do feel bad about the trip but honestly if people didn’t want to come they really don’t have to. We have no expectation that people will come. I went to two destination weddings in Thailand which in it of itself cost $1300+ for the flight alone each and I didn’t feel the burden/ guilt (and I hope that our guests don’t feel the same). Like Kyle we have made it explicit we do not expect gifts in any form.