If you feel obligated to invite a bunch of people to your wedding while secretly hoping the majority of them send their regrets, the destination wedding is the way to go.
As Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post explains, couples have long used the destination wedding as a way to cull their guest list:
They don’t actually want you at their wedding, so they purposefully plot for it to take place at some exotic location, knowing you can’t afford to come.
This particular hack might sound a little evil, but it could turn out to be a win-win for everybody. After all, the family and friends closest to the wedded couple will still find a way to be there, anyone who chooses not to attend gets to save on the cost of travel, and the wedding itself might be less expensive overall, depending on the location and the ceremony.
The first important decision a married couple makes is ... how to get married. Black tie at the Ritz? Clambake at the shore? Backyard potluck? Research shows you might be better off with a cheap - but well-attended - wedding. Scott Stanley and Galena K. Rhoades, professors and researchers for the Institute of Family Studies, report that while the cost of weddings has been rising, the number of guests has been falling.Read more
Plus, everyone you invite will still probably send a gift, even if (or especially if) they send their regrets.
So should you deliberately plan a destination wedding as a way of keeping your guest list small? Well, it depends. If you’re simply looking to save money on your wedding, there are better ways to do it, from buying your flowers at Costco.
Likewise, if what you really want is a small wedding, be up-front about that from the beginning. Most of the people who don’t make the guest list will understand — really! (We’ll also be at least a little relieved that we won’t have to block off another weekend for another wedding.)
If you do go the “destination wedding as a way to cull attendees” route, be careful. People who decline your wedding invite because it takes place at an inconvenient location might feel relieved; people who decline because you’ve chosen a venue that isn’t accessible to guests with limited mobility might feel insulted.
You also have to make it very clear that it’s OK for people to say no — otherwise you’ll get a bunch of guests you don’t really want at your wedding who probably wish they didn’t have to spend so much money to attend the ceremony.