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Is it selfish to get married abroad?

Lynda Moyo sympathises with guests heading to four weddings and a bankruptcy

Written by . Published on January 21st 2011.

Is it selfish to get married abroad?

GETTING married abroad has become an increasingly attractive option for those of us planning a wedding. You only have to look at photographs of sun-kissed couples taking their vows in sandy seclusion to see the appeal.

By choosing destinations such as the Caribbean, couples avoid hoi polloi and endless planning, as well as picking up a tan in the process. For those invited, it can pose the dilemma of a costly trip abroad versus the expense of the couples’ happiness.

According to wedding website Confetti, 20 per cent of UK couples are now shelling out to travel to distant lands just to put a ring on it. What’s more, it would complete their idyllic day if you – friends and relatives – could join them.

But do some couples lack consideration where guests are concerned?

A wedding abroad is a way of sifting out the guests who want the full experience of the celebration from those just in it for the short haul. Too often do you see people leaving nuptials early to relieve the babysitter or let the dog out. Alternatively, they’ll just turn up in the evening to see if the free bar is still on.

By choosing destinations such as the Caribbean, couples also avoid hoi polloi and endless planning, as well as picking up a tan in the process. It’s understandable that they want to celebrate their big day, their own way.

By contrast, for those invited it can pose the dilemma of a costly trip abroad versus the expense of the couples’ happiness. They’ve invited you because they want you to be there wholeheartedly and although it will remain unspoken, they expect the feeling to be mutual. It’s about presence not presents, in this case.

Unsurprisingly, destination weddings can often be dicey in the attendance department because of the price and time involved. Confidential spoke to one anonymous reader who honoured her bridesmaid commitments by jetting off to Cuba for her best friend’s wedding last summer.

She said: “The bride was one of the first of our group of friends to get married. Me and my partner only went for the week and it cost us £1,300 each. Some of the guests went for two weeks which meant it cost £1,600 each. It definitely affected our spending for the year.

“Another set of friends are getting married abroad but we’re not going this time. We have our own wedding to save for plus other stag dos and hen parties abroad - which is a whole other issue. You have to draw the line somewhere.

“We would have liked our own wedding abroad too, as it would actually be more cost effective for us. In somewhere like Mexico, you can get a whole wedding package for about £5,000 and that includes your honeymoon, because you’re already there. That’s not bad considering the average wedding in the UK is just short of £20,000. The only thing stopping us is that it’s too much of an ask for our friends and family. It’s important to us that they’re there.”

For the majority of your nearest and dearest, the experience of your big day will, in the end, outweigh the expense of the trip. You know your guests better than anyone so ultimately it’s your decision as to whether you feel comfortable asking them to come abroad with you. It might however be a good idea to remember that like buses, weddings tend to all come at once.

As our reader concluded: “Weddings abroad are definitely the best option for the bride and groom, but the same can’t always be said for the guests. It’s definitely proving to be an expensive decade in my friendship group, that’s for sure.”

Do you think getting married abroad is selfish or do you think it’s time sunnier climes became more conventional?

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Groom and DoomJanuary 12th 2011.

The whole wedding industry has become obscene, placing huge pressures on ordinary people to try and be like the brainless tabloid celebs who will most likely split within the year. And each ridiculously expensive wedding puts pressure on the next young couple getting married to equal or better what they have been to and if they can't they feel worth less. A horrible pressure to put on many families who cannot afford this extravagant waste but are under moral pressure and emotional blackmail forcing them into debt to finance it. Of course there has always been pressure to make it special and go into debt, but the cost now has grown out of all proportion to the reality. A totally uneccessary pressure that people for feel compelled to inflict upon themselves. It is consumerism at it's most cynical.

Don't do itJanuary 13th 2011.

The secret is to just not get married. Simple

For richer for poorerJanuary 14th 2011.

Whatever happened to "Bride's parish"? If a couple wants to marry abroad they should pay their guests' travel and accommodation expenses or elope in secret.

JBJanuary 14th 2011.

I always think it's a shame when young couples get married abroad - it just means all the old nans and aunties and all local friends and neighbours can't be a part of it.
Weddings used to be quite a spectacle in my local neighbourhood - everyone waiting outside the church to see the bride arrive, and then again to throw confetti and wish them well.
Does anyone else remember the custom of the Bride's father throwing copper coins into the street for all the kids to pick up as a good luck gesture? Usually as the Bride was leaving the parental house and on her way to church...
It feels that weddings have become private affairs and an excuse for an expensive, exclusive party rather than a public celebration of the start of the couple's contribution to the community.

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