My Best Friend’s Wedding


Dear Dharma,

I recently read your advice on the destination wedding theme and it sounds like you could help me with my problem! Your advice blog is fantastic by the way… Which is why I’m here, of course!

My close friend of 6+ years is getting married in two years in the Caribbean, the whole all-inclusive thing. She figures that each guest will have to pay roughly $1800 each for the one week trip. $1800… for one trip.  Are you serious? My spouse and I are huge travelers, but not that kind. I am a budget traveler. I am all for doing all-inclusive resorts once in a while if there is a super good deal. This just seems so extreme to me.

Anyways, I understand that when planning a destination wedding you need to know for sure who will be attending way in advance, but we don’t think we can commit to spending that much money 2 years down the road. Her thing is, well start saving now. Which is all very well and good but I really cannot justify spending that kind of money for one week!

Am I being a terrible friend? I can’t give her a straight answer. I’m thinking of asking her if it’s possible to stay in a cheap hotel nearby (if there is one), but is that a slap in the face? I know it’s her wedding, but asking someone to spend that kind of money is a little crazy to me.

Thanks for your help!

Caribbean Queen

Dear Caribbean Queen,

Weddings are weird.  They bring out this sense of entitlement that may not ordinarily exist in people.  The industry is geared towards it, in making the bride feel that her day is so special and above everything else and the focus gets almost immediately lost (and more and more money is spent – they know what they’re doing!).

Weddings should be about love and happiness and celebrating with the people you care about, which should cancel out wanting to put your friends in a position where they have to spend thousands of dollars and are made to feel guilty if they can’t, or choose not to.

So are you being a terrible friend?  Non.  You are not.  You do need to respect that she can choose any damn place she pleases for her oh so special day, cuz all the magazines are telling her so, but she needs to respect that you have the right to a) decide how you and your husband spend your hard earned money and b) decline the invitation if you aren’t able to justify this type of expenditure.

Your idea to stay at a less expensive hotel isn’t a bad one and I would hope she would be happy just to have you there if you decided to go that course, but in my experience with all-inclusives, they don’t let you in without the appropriate wristband.  Of course, I don’t know if there’s a work around, like a day-pass or something (which I imagine you would have to pay for), but that might be something to investigate.

I just love though, how the solution is just start saving!  You’ve got time!  You have nothing else in the world you might want or need to put two years of savings towards, right?  Sheesh.

When couples choose a destination wedding, I honestly think they should be prepared for no one to come, and then be thrilled with whoever can make it.  Because it’s not just the money (and let’s not kid ourselves that it stops at $1800… showers, stagettes, gifts, clothes, shoes, other incidentals while travelling, like spending money and the booze you must buy at duty free on your way back) – it’s your vacation time as well, which has a value associated with it, non?

If you and your husband decide it’s a no-go, you just need to level with her.  Tell her how much you’d love to be there, but it just doesn’t work within your budget.  Tell her you’d love to participate in some of the other events that are local, and you wish her nothing but the best, but please respect our decision.  She needs to understand it’s not up to her to dictate how you spend your money.



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  • Foxy1171 says:

    The whole wedding industry(and yes, it is an industry) is based around maximizing dollars spent. They do this by preying on the impressionable, and jacking their sense of entitlement through the roof! It is frankly disgusting, and I think the whole idea of extravagant weddings is so out of touch with reality it lives in it’s own little space-time bubble, didn’t the original Star Trek fall into one of these space warps?

    Spock: Fascinating Captain, the inhabitants seem to have no sense of value beyond the immediate ceremony and accompanying merriment.
    Kirk: Spock! It’s..beyond our …mere …Human comprehension!
    Scotty: It’s nae holding Captain! Cakes were nevaer meant to be 17 layers!
    McCoy: I’m just a simple country Doctor Jim, but these folks know how to throw a interstellar wingding.
    Scotty: Captain! The cake has collapsed under it’s own gravity! The Enterprise is being sucked into a creamy frosted black hole!
    Kirk: Scotty! Engines..Full Power! Now!
    Spock: Reports of centrepiece damage from decks 2 and 7 Captain. It looks like the bouquet is on a collision course.
    Kirk: Lock… Phasers! …Fire!

    Ah, they don’t make’em like that anymore…

  • Markus says:

    If you can’t afford it, don’t go! And if they are real friends they would understand. Let them know that you’re saving up for a special trip of your own already.

    • Dharma says:

      I don’t know that they need to say specifically what they are saving for,or even that they are saving for anything at all. It’s simply up to them what they do with their money, and you are absolutely right in saying that they should understand…

      Thanks for the comment!

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