More than half decline destination weddings

Meghan Markle’s dad isn’t the only person who’s declining an invitation to a destination wedding. Indeed, more than half of those who are invited to nuptials that require travel just say no.

If you’re planning to get married in a foreign country, you should know that more than half of your guests are likely to be miffed. Unless you’re some kind of princess and simply have to hold the wedding at, say, Windsor Castle (Meghan, you’re off the hook), guests will be complaining that you’re making the cost of attendance prohibitive and demanding too much time.

A destination wedding costs the typical guest a whopping $1,421 on average, including travel, gifts and personal items required to attend, according to a survey by And if the wedding is outside of the U.S., the cost jumps to a stunning $2,514. That’s two to three times more than the $888 that The Knot estimates guests spend to attend the typical wedding ceremony.

And that’s just for the average guest. If you happen to be a member of the wedding party, you’ll spend even more — an average of $1,580. That breaks down to $369 spent on personal items, $344 on gifts and $867 on travel.

Going to a destination wedding also takes guests away from home and work for an average of five days, and it leaves 34 percent of guests with a credit card balance that take an average of 15 months to repay.

No wonder more than half of those who get invited to a destination wedding turn down the opportunity. More than half (55 percent) said holding the wedding far from home was inconsiderate to guests; 70 percent said it was more expensive; 41 percent complained that it required taking time off work; and 34 percent said it required too much of their time.

Markle’s dad is reportedly suffering with heart problems, so his decision not to attend is more likely related to health than expense. And, of course, the royal couple’s choice of venue — Windsor Castle — is more a matter of tradition than personal choice. 

Far more popular destination wedding locales are in sunny vacation spots, according to CompareCards. The most popular locations in the U.S. are in California, Florida, Hawaii, Texas and New York, according to the CompareCards survey.

The most popular foreign locations for destination weddings are Mexico, the Bahamas, Aruba, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

Other destination wedding trends:

  • The happy couple is likely to ask guests to contribute to their honeymoon. Nearly one-third of guests were steered to giving to a “honeymoon fund” and agreed to contribute an average of $322 to help the bride and groom have a really nice vacation.
  • Contributions to the honeymoon fund are more expensive than the average destination wedding gift, which runs $254 for a domestic destination wedding. However, those going to a destination wedding in a foreign locale spend an average of $450 on the gift.
  • The bride and groom probably blew their wedding budget, too. While most decided in advance how much to spend, the average couple overspent their budget by $2,071, according to the CompareCards survey.

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