How to Compromise with Family About Having a Destination Wedding

You think it's a great idea, but they don't. While you definitely don't have to give up your plans of a far-flung wedding, there are reasonable concessions you can make to keep the peace.

Photo: Kati Mallory Photo & Design

A destination wedding isn't for everybody, but you're convinced that it's for you. Going away to a gorgeous beach resort and saying your vows while barefoot on the sand and surrounded by close family and friends is your dream. For some relatives, however, this sounds like a nightmare, and that's mostly because of the traveling or the cost. Why can't they just trust you that this will be a wedding everyone will be happy they attended? Read the common-sense advice below before your next talk with the family.

Ask specifically what they object to.

If they've only complained about the idea of a destination wedding without giving details about what's bothering them, you've got to find out. Is the destination too far for elderly relatives to get to? Is your choice of resort too high-priced for most? Do they think you should get married in the church you've attended all your life instead of on a beach far from home? A compromise can't be made until you understand exactly what their concerns are.

Address their concerns.

Maybe they're worried that it'll take too long or be too many connections to reach the destination. Instead of marrying in Bora Bora, which takes more than 17 hours of flight time from Chicago, choose an island that will be easier for most guests to access. For example, flying to Jamaica takes less three hours from Atlanta, and Puerto Rico is a four-hour flight from New York. Are they concerned that your far-flung wedding won't incorporate religious traditions that are important to the family? Perhaps you could consider an intimate, religious hometown wedding to appease the family, then party your way at the destination.

Is cost an issue? Offer a range of different hotel options for guests, including more affordable properties, or consider subsidizing cost however possible. After all, not every guest can afford to stay in the five-star hotel where the wedding is taking place. Come up with hotels in three price points: budget, moderate, and luxe. Look into group discounts, Airbnbs, and whatever else you can find to make your wedding as desirable as possible to your guest list. Use your wedding website as a travel center where guests can find info about restaurants, activities, ground transportation, and childcare.

Explain why you want a wedding away from home.

Do they realize it's been your dream to marry outdoors by the water with a small guest list instead of in a fancy ballroom with 150 people, some of whom you don't know? If this is the wedding you've always wanted, make your reasons known.

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