Having a destination wedding might be your dream, but what if it’s a major problem for your family?
Here are 3 straightforward ways to talk about your wedding plans with your family that will help them understand and accept your decision.
You've decided on a destination wedding... Yay!
It’s time to plan your wedding, and after you and your fiancé have discussed alllllll the things… you both decide that a destination wedding is the right choice for you!
What’s not to love? Lots of sunshine, tropical vibes, and stress-free wedding planning all rolled into one luxury vacation. Heaven!
You and your partner are pumped about your plans… until you start sharing the news with your family.
“But what about grandma? She can’t fly that far!”
“How much is this going to cost me?”
“I’m not comfortable traveling internationally. What am I supposed to do?!”
“You’re so selfish!”
Ummm… wait, what? Safe to say you didn’t see these objections coming.
Or maybe you are super aware of how your family will react, so you feel like you can’t even bring up a destination wedding as an option!
Here at Alpaca Your Bags Travel, we want you to have the wedding you want. But we also understand that the idea of a destination wedding can be intimidating to your family, especially if no one close to you has ever had a non-traditional wedding.
As a former destination wedding bride myself (did you know that?! I’ve got professional and personal experience here.), I know that the way you talk to your family about your wedding plans can make a big difference in how they react to the news.
Ultimately, your wedding day is about you and your partner, but you probably also want your family to feel included in your big day. Weddings are about bringing two families together, and what better way to bond than by sharing a tropical vacation in paradise together? I promise, they can be persuaded to see the light! It just takes a little preparation.
Not sure your family is gonna be so cool with the destination wedding news?
Choose one of these 3 different approaches to discussing your destination wedding plans with your family. And then follow-up your chat by sharing this post to get them excited for what’s in store!
Number 1: The “We Want You to Help Us Plan” Approach
Sometimes your family’s fear around a destination wedding is really more about being left out of the planning process.
Because a destination wedding happens, well, at a destination – a lot of the planning is handled by your on-site wedding planner. You’ll have to make some decisions from afar, and this can feel like a big let down to anyone (specifically moms!) who imagined helping you plan your wedding.
If this is your family’s biggest concern – go out of your way to help them feel included.
Share the good news: We’re planning a destination wedding! And then follow it up with: “And we are so excited for you to help us plan it. There are so many decisions to make! We’re going to need your input about X, Y, and Z.”
Two important things with this approach:
- You’re not asking for their help in deciding whether or not you have a destination wedding. You and your fiancé have already made that decision, and you should make that crystal clear.
- You’re only asking for help with the specific decisions you’re both okay with opening up for outside opinions. This could be things like: selecting excursions or planning group activities. If choosing the specific location for your destination wedding is personal, don’t give that choice as an option. Be specific and don’t say anything you don’t really mean.
Number 2: The “We Know You Have Concerns” Approach
Family members who have specific fears or concerns – health issues, fear of flying/traveling, money issues – may react negatively to your news of a destination wedding because it scares or worries them.
The answer here isn’t to change your plans to accommodate everyone (you’d lose your mind trying to do that!). Instead, try to be upfront and empathetic with anyone you know may have a specific concern. Side note: If the person worried about affording the trip is your second-cousin you haven’t seen in 6 years… just let them figure that out on their own. We’re really talking about parents, grandparents, and close loved ones here.
So here’s how this conversation goes:
You and your partner (try to have these conversations together as much as possible to present a united front and support each other): “We’re so excited to share that we’ve decided to have a destination wedding! This is absolutely the best choice for us, but we know you may be worried about X (name their specific worry). We’ve got help from a travel pro, so we’re in good hands, and we’d love to talk to you about figuring out the best way for you to celebrate with us!”
This direct approach offers no apologies but is very kind and understanding. By addressing the specific fear or issue the family member has, you make it easier to talk about openly. Hopefully you can avoid dealing with passive-aggressive comments or misdirected anger.
Your job isn’t to solve your loved one’s fear or concern – but you can really help them accept your decision and avoid a lot of negative reactions when you’re direct and open.
Bonus point: This is where working with a professional destination wedding travel agent is helpful!
If someone is worried about money, you can let them know that your destination wedding travel agent is working on negotiating the lowest possible costs.
If someone is worried about flying or traveling internationally, you can let them know that you have a seasoned pro who will take care of all the flight reservations and any potential travel issues.
Number 3: The “This is About Us” Approach
Sometimes you need to remind guests that your wedding isn’t really about them. But you can do this nicely!
This approach is helpful for extended family and friends who might voice objections about your destination wedding plans. If you get pushback when sharing about your destination wedding plans with extended family or friends – simply remind them of what your wedding is about and why this is important to you.
“Our wedding day is about the love and commitment Partner’s Name and I are making to each other. You’re an important part of our life, so we’d love to have you there to celebrate with us. If that’s not the best choice for you, we understand. We know you’ll support us throughout our entire marriage!”
Keeping the focus on you and your fiancé, and reiterating that a destination wedding is the best choice for the two of you, will help avoid getting into arguments or debates about someone else’s opinions.
Your Destination Wedding Doesn’t Have to Please Your Family
At the end of the day, if you’re set on having a destination wedding because that’s what you want – you don’t really have to convince anyone else. As long as you and your partner are on the same page!
I’ve worked with lots of wedding couples who had hesitant families at first. I help each of my couples figure out how to talk to their families and explain why having a destination wedding matters to them. Because I’ve literally been in your shoes, I’ve got lots of practical advice when it comes to dealing with reluctant destination wedding guests.
One of my favorite suggestions for avoiding a lot of pushback when you announce your destination wedding plans to family and friends? Go ahead and schedule a state-side celebration after your destination wedding.
This can be as low-key (backyard BBQ anyone?) or glamorous (full wedding reception!) as you want. But it gives everyone an option to celebrate, even if traveling internationally isn’t for them. You can also widen your invitation circle and invite coworkers, distant family, and casual friends as well!
At the end of the day, you and your fiancé deserve to have the wedding of your dreams!