real life

"We're getting married in Bali. Come!"

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by NATALIA HAWK

I’m not engaged. Not even close to engaged. But the other weekend, I found myself sitting in a bar on Fitzroy Island (just off the coast of Cairns) planning my future wedding there.

I’ve always been a fan of the destination wedding. The whole tying-the-knot-while-barefoot-on-a-beach vision just appeals to me. And the island was gorgeous. Blue water, coral beaches, a stunning marble-decor resort, a cool bar with a rainforest at the back door… what’s not to like?

At one point I actually started calculating how much it would cost to accommodate everyone on my imaginary guest list. Sadly, it was too expensive even for future me. So could I expect my nearest and dearest to pay their own way?

Fact: weddings cost a bomb even when they’re located in your home town. Gifts, parking, childcare, new shoes, maybe you’re a bridesmaid – it all adds up. But destination weddings add a whole new layer of expensive hell, as columnist and author Sam de Brito wrote this weekend:

‘You are invited to the wedding of Jack and Diane,” says the embossed, heavy-gauge flap of tasteful, cream cardboard. You think, ”Sweet, this will be fun”, and then you see the suggestions for accommodation in Byron Bay, Bali or friggin’ Bangladesh.

Yes, you are invited … to spend a shitload of money.

Flights. Car hire. Accommodation. And if you have children, you have to farm them out or bring them with you. Then it’s more clams for babysitters or bribes to relatives to look after your little darlings.

And that’s if it’s domestic. Overseas weddings? Add in the cost of visas, travel insurance, rabies shots and, maybe, a discreet firearm once you’ve landed – if the groom’s from the former Soviet Union.

But hold on, you also want me to buy you a friggin’ wedding present? I’d have thought my ”presence” in Zagreb proved my affection.

After all that – why would anyone ever consider a destination wedding? Well, on the flip side, Sam points out that they might actually help to filter out some of those “just-because” invites which can only be a good thing when you’re talking about your partner’s distant cousins. And their kids.

What do you think of destination weddings? Would you have one? Have you had one? Have you ever been to one? Do you think it’s ridiculous to ask guests to travel too far?

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