WASHINGTON — I won’t go. Period.

I’ve had it with people and their weddings in destinations that require guests to fly, book a hotel room and, in many cases, also splurge on various other events associated with the celebration – rehearsal dinners, bachelor and bachelorette parties and showers.

Just stop the madness. You’re getting married. It’s not the coronation of a monarch.

If I may, I’d like to speak for your friends and family members who don’t dare protest.

They dislike destination weddings, too, but don’t want to hurt your feelings. They would rather go into debt or tap their meager savings meant for other financial priorities to make you happy. They don’t want to be responsible for a Bridezilla breakdown.

Many wedding celebrations have become about how far away you can drag your poor relatives and friends to watch your nuptials. It’s all about the scenery and pageantry – the more viral-worthy the better.


We want to come and celebrate your union, but must we raid our savings and use up our own precious vacation days to party with you? Frankly, your “big” day is costing us too much money and time.

A new study by Bankrate.com found that 19 percent of respondents said they had declined a wedding invitation because they felt like they couldn’t afford to go.

Bankrate also asked: “Do you think it’s in poor taste for a couple to plan a destination wedding where all guests will incur travel expenses to attend?”

Fifty-six percent said “yes.”

I would not have framed the issue as being in “poor taste.” But it certainly may be inconsiderate.

Without knowing the intimate details of other people’s finances, you can still guess that many of the folks you invite will have to stretch themselves financially to attend the wedding. And if you know this, why then would you put them in the position of missing out on your big day? Or worse, you know they will come anyway, even if they can’t afford to attend.


I’ve worked with hundreds of people trying to clean up their finances, and I have found that a lot of the debt they’ve accumulated was the result of spending to please other people. Parents raided their retirement account or took out loans to pay for or to attend a wedding. Others added to already overwhelming credit-card debt to avoid being seen as putting money ahead of a relationship.

Your wedding day should be all about your actually getting married. If it were, then you could just have a simple ceremony and reception with Kool-Aid and a cake.

The only people who need to be there are someone to officiate the ceremony and perhaps a witness or two – depending on the state where you get married.

If your intention is to have selected family and friends witness your nuptials, why plan an affair where it’s very likely many can’t afford to attend?

A separate 2018 Bankrate survey found that guests attending a wedding of a close friend or family member spent an average of $628, including the cost of associated festivities, travel, attire and gifts.

Pity the invited guests who opt out of going for whatever reason. They often get hit with guilt even if the couple says – or pretends to say – it’s OK to RSVP with a no.


And the couple doesn’t have to press you themselves. Instead, their emissaries – moms, siblings or bridal party participants – put the pressure on for people to show their love by showing up.

If the courageous admit they don’t want to spend that much money, they are labeled as being “cheap” or “selfish.”

Among those in the Bankrate survey who said they didn’t attend a wedding because they couldn’t afford to go, 30 percent said it negatively impacted their relationship with a couple.

Why would you hold it against someone if, by declining your wedding invitation, they are being financially responsible?

You do know that your invitation isn’t a subpoena, right?

It is definitely OK to decline an invitation if your financial situation precludes you from attending. In fact, you don’t have to state a reason. A simple, “So sorry I will not be able to come” is all you need to say. By the way, don’t criticize the couple for their choice of location, either.

Now, to the bride and groom: It’s your life and you have a right to plan the wedding of your dreams on a beach in Hawaii or on top of a mountain that requires a helicopter drop. Do your thing.

But don’t judge, guilt-trip or berate those of us who choose to opt out. We’ll check your Instagram or Facebook pages for the wedding photos.

Michelle Singletary can be contacted at c/o The Washington Post, 1301 K St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20071, or michelle.singletary@washpost.com.

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