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Destination Weddings: Winners and Losers

[Source: Covington Travel]

Destination weddings are all the craze these days. The destination wedding represents 24% of all weddings and the industry rakes in $16 billion each year. That’s a helluva lot of moola!

And why shouldn’t they be the craze? They are about a quarter to half the price of the average wedding cost of $30,000 (and rising) and the bride doesn’t need to worry about anything but her dress and the guest list.

I recently went to a bridal expo with a bride-to-be, and about 30% of the bridal stalls were promoting destinations. Bali! Fiji! Thailand! They all shouted and this got me thinking…

Who are the winners?

Of course the happy couple. Less stress and combining the wedding and honeymoon sure helps with lowering the cost. It also helps to separate the true friends and the Facebook friends.

Guests as they usually don’t need to bring a gift. Most happy couples are just thankful their guests have made the effort to attend their special day.

Who are the losers?

Guests, through and through. Flights, accommodation, annual leave (if you’re permanently employed) and that’s just if you’re going to attend the wedding.

Sure, it’s not the couples’ fault you want to make it into a mini break, but they did get you to fly the distance right? So it makes sense to incorporate attending the wedding with an extra couple of days.

The locals. Sure the weddings maybe cheap to the happy couple (usually from a more affluent country) and they may pay a huge mark-up on the costs but do the staff see most of it? Doubt it. They probably receive the same below minimum wage salary despite the number of weddings and increase in mark ups. It’s all about the bottom line.

I received my 4th destination wedding invite this week. I posted it on Facebook and let all my friends know that I am not made of money. As much as I like a holiday like any other sane human, I can’t just up and leave for an exotic destination for the weekend without leaving a (reasonable size) dent in the travel fund.

So, in order to attend my friend’s wedding in Bali, my costs will go something like this…

1. 1 day unpaid leave (~$400)
2. Return flight from Perth to Denpasar on a discount airline (~$350)
3. 2 nights accommodation incl. transfers (~$250)
4. Food and drinks allowance for 3 days (~$300)

That’s $1,300 for a weekend! And at my $150 p/hr charge out rate, my company is losing out every time I take leave to attend a wedding.

That being said, if I ever get married, I’ll probably have a destination wedding. The way I see it, I’ve sacrificed a whole lot of time and $$$ for my friends, it’s time they showed me some love.

<end rant>

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