Tag Archives: Destination wedding

Yes, I have wedding colours (plus, look at this jewellery)

If I promise to have a new money-related post up within seven days, will you let me unleash a barrage of pictures on you today? Even though its been two weeks since I last posted? Deal? Before you sign, you should know my image-manipulation skills extend to Paint, and no further. I just thought I should disclose that. In order for you to make an informed decision. On the plus side, I’ll try to avoid just having single images all in a column like a did last time. You’re a very tolerant audience, and if I could, a would put a free Etsy voucher under each of your seats as a token of my appreciation.

So yeah, I do have a wedding style vision, and even a colour theme. Though my approach with the colour theme is so loose, there’s a chance it will actually be undetectable. Nevertheless, this is how I’ve been thinking about it (caution, risk of wankiness ahead):

My basic take when it comes to styling things, is that context is everything. I don’t like it when gardens in a temperate climate have a tropical style. I don’t like it when guys have to wear long pants even though its 30 degrees and the humidity is 100%. I find it discordant. I believe beauty comes from harmony first.

So, colours: The Thirty-Something Bride puts it well here – you should choose colours that coordinate with the venue. I’ve always thought the colours that look like they belong here, in Singapore and surrounds, are bright and saturated. Plus there is so much bright pink bougainvillea here, no seriously it is everywhere, that to me it’s the signature colour of the place.

From google street view, this is what my nearest high way looks like

So, if I was to name official wedding colours, it would be hot pink plus intense turquoise. Something like this:

Thank you, Paint colour picker.

But then we have the small matter of how these colours don’t especially suit me, nor really any of the key players in the wedding. But it’s ok, because I reckon if each person looks individually awesome, then all of us together can’t help but also look awesome, even if we’re not strictly colour coordinated. So I’ve just told everyone who’s asked to wear whatever they want to wear. Meanwhile groom and I will kind of persevere with the colour theme, by adapting the pink and blue idea to versions that actually suit us. This translates to a hot pink flower pinned to his shirt, and softer pink flowers for me, with jewellery in a softer version of pink or blue.

So that’s colours (man, I overthink things). Then there’s general mood, which I think I have mentioned enough not to have to go into detail for, but basically: this is a party on a beach in a hot place. It’s surprisingly hard to find inspiration pictures for this, because people tend to want to go formal, having their men in long pants and stuff, which to me negates the whole point of the beachiness. Here is a set of pictures that kind of captures the tone I’m going for, though:

By Jonas Peterson Photography.

And the final layer on the bridal style cake is what I think expresses who I am. Valeria Chuba gets it, and I asked her to help me shop for jewellery. In response she sent me SEVENTY-FIVE links to various earrings, necklaces, bracelets and such. One of the things she sent me was this:

That is a necklace of mother-effing ROCKS. I love it.

Jewellery shopping has been one of the best parts of wedding planning so far (along with compiling and then rocking out to our playlist, that is). And I love so many of the things Valeria sent that I feel inclined to stomp around whilst saying in whiny tone, “Do I HAAAVE to choose?” But I did painstakingly compile a shortlist, which I present now for your pleasure and delectation…*fanfare*

Bracelets!

Things I like include elephants and rocks that are jewellery.

(Left to right, top to bottom: 1. here 2. here 3. here 4. here 5. here 6. here 7. here)

Earrings!

When the rocks are smaller, that’s fine too.

(Left to right, top to bottom: 1. here 2. here 3. here 4. here 5. here 6. here 7. here 8. here 9. here)

The idea is to go necklace free, and have some big-ass earrings paired with probably more than one bracelet on each wrist. Which to choose, which to choose. I think I’m going to need to get several things, and then decide in person which ones to wear for the wedding and which ones to leave for every other day of the year. Which is handy, cos my current jewellery collection is virtually nonexistent, which is a whole other long story.

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Purpose of weddings: It’s not about the legalities

Alternative titles for this post:

A case for multi-wedding marriages
or
A dress! You guys, check at this dress!*

M and I are New Zealanders. In New Zealand, once two people have been living together as a couple for three years, the de facto partnership they are in has practically the same legalities around it as an actual marriage. For instance, if you break up, assets would be split fifty-fifty. You enter this phase of financial union without doing a thing – the couple doesn’t have to go somewhere, or sign something, or make any declarations. It just becomes a truth that everything is now jointly owned.

We reached our three year mark right about the same time that we moved to Singapore. Before that though, we’d already completely merged our finances anyway. We were in it together, man. And then Singapore happened, which just further cemented the fact that as a couple, we were a done deal. Obviously emotionally, yes: if following your partner to a foreign country because he got a job there isn’t commitment, I don’t know what is. But also legally: the way the visa  situation works, M is here by what is known as an employment pass, while I am here as his dependent. The paperwork included going to the NZ High Commission to write signed statements, witnessed by an official, about how long we’ve had joint bank accounts and the like. We are officially recognised in Singapore as having a common-law marriage, and it’s what allows me to stay here with him.

It gets worse. For years we’ve had the habit of referring to each other as each other’s partner, but here in Asia, a lot of people don’t get that. And most people I’ve come across really don’t get living together before marriage.  Seriously, the number of times I’ve had to explain that we’re not married, but we live together, but it’s like being married, and actually, this is very common in NZ and it would be unusual not to live together first. So for the almost two years we’ve been living here, we’ve gotten used to just calling each other husband and wife when talking to locals. Makes conversation with a chatty cab driver that much simpler.

So why are we even getting married, when it doesn’t really change much? Well, for one, its going to be a bit more convenient to actually have a marriage certificate instead of having to prove our commitment in other ways. But for us, getting married, or more accurately, having a wedding, is not about the legal stuff at all. We’re doing it for two main reasons:

1. Making explicit all the implicit promises that we have already made to each other, and doing it in a way that our community recognises. I hate to be quoting Sex and The City, but Miranda put it perfectly, in the episode where she marries Steve: “I do actually wanna say those vows, out loud, to Steve. In front of the people I care about”

2. Acknowledging, along with our family and friends, that loving each other so much that we want to share the entire rest if our lives together, is awesome. We’ve been lucky enough to find our person, and that’s amazing, frankly, even if it is a miracle that happens to lots of people. It’s worthy of a big-ass celebration.

So once I figured out that the legal part of this wedding will be much easier to handle in Singapore than in Indonesia (for starters, Singaporeans use English), we made the decision to get the meaningless, five minute, registry office ceremony done a few days before the emotional, poignant readings, personalized vows, ring exchange ceremony at the resort.

My intention was to approach the legal thing as much like paperwork formality as possible – we’d show up in whatever we were wearing that day, sign what we needed to sign, and be done. But, it turns out, we need two witnesses. And there’s a dress code. The info online literally specifies that shorts and flip flops aren’t appropriate. What up, we live in those things.

So that means my man can wear his office wear, and I…well, I don’t look my best in my formal office wear. The thing is, for men, formal professional wear and formal social wear are the same thing. For women, they are kind of vastly different. Miss Manners discusses this issue here. And since our legal ceremony will be socially formal, and not professionally formal, I was instantly launched into fashion fantasies of a Kate Middleton-like nature.

Which brings me to this dress. I won’t bore you with listing the ways it is perfection, I’ll just let you see for yourself:

Karen Millen, I salute you.

I tend to be uber fussy, I mean discerning, about my clothes, but this one is hitting so many nails on so many heads, that when it comes to this dress, I just can’t. I just can’t not obsess over it. 

You complete me.

The only nailhead it doesn’t hit is the price.

Don’t speak. I know just what you’re saying.

You’re saying, “Lindsay, I thought this was a frugal wedding, you sell out.”

Yeah, the dress is over SG$500, and that’s not even addressing the shoe issue. So here’s the deal: it’s not coming out of my wedding budget, it’s coming out of my everyday budget. Plus I can totally wear it again. Right?! Also, you know how I just said my taste is very discerning? When my local friends just read that, they were all surprised and thought about how my ubiquitous plain t-shirt with denim shorts does not exactly reflect a keen sartorial eye. Here’s the sad truth: I’m so damn fussy about clothes, that I almost never find something that fits the bill, and hence I almost never buy new stuff, and hence, I mostly wear pretty old things that were acquired as gifts, or purchased in the days before my fussiness went stratospheric. The upshot is, I spend so little on clothes, that I can actually justify this.

Then there’s the witnesses issue for the legal ceremony. M wants his brother to be his, and I would like my mother to be mine. But since I’m all dressed up and such, and all our immediate family members will be in town, it doesn’t seem right to leave them out. We’re allowed to bring up to 20 guests to the registry office. So we’re going have all our immediate family come. And since we’re doing that, well, maybe we should all go to TWG afterwards and drink champagne and eat a macaroon or two.

Suddenly, it appears I’m having two weddings. But I don’t want to look at it like that. I still consider our non-legal ceremony on the beach to be our real wedding, the one that’s important. Now we just also have a fancy family morning tea to go with it. And the fact that I get to have both beach party princess, and elegant urbanite dresses, well, I’m not too sad about that.

*Yes, check at. That’s how we spoke where I grew up, mmkay?

Here’s my wedding budget

So after all my budget theory preaching, you’re probably thinking it’s about time I revealed my actual wedding budget.   I’ll do you one better: the line by line breakdown! Aren’t you excited? Doesn’t the prospect of looking at other people’s budgets get you all amped up? No? You don’t find it fun to obsess over numbers?

Jeez. Tough crowd.

I live in Singapore, so my mind thinks in Singapore dollars. Our wedding budget is (*fanfare*) SG$5000.

You probably don’t think in Singapore dollars, so you’re wondering how much money that really is. I’d go ahead and covert the currencies for you, but you know, cost of living stuff in a given area is always relative to incomes in the given area, and if you translated the cost of houses in South Africa into your local currency you’d be all, “I could have a mansion”. Plus, in Thailand you could have an amazing and massive meal for a dollar.

So refrain from using direct currency exchange as a converter, and use the Big Mac Index instead, which isn’t perfect, but at least does try to reflect the actual cost of living. I’ll tell you how many Big Macs I could buy in Singapore with that money, and then you work out how much of your local currency it would take to buy that many Big Mac’s where you live.

One Big Mac round here costs $4.85, So, my wedding budget is 1031 of them.

Ok, alright, fine, I’ll do the work for you. Here is my wedding budget translated into the currencies of various places using the Big Mac converter:

USA: $4.20 x 1031 =  US$4330

Canada: $4.73 x 1031 = CA$4877

New Zealand: $5.10 x 1031 = NZ$5258

Australia: $4.80 x 1031 = AU$4949

South Africa: R19.95 x 1031 = R20568
(see what I’m saying? One US Big Mac would buy you 4.75 South African ones, but the actual exchange rate between US dollars and South African rand is  like 7.8)

Attention England and Spain: Sorry, I couldn’t find the prices you guys have. I really wanted to know how my budget figures in pounds and euros. Maybe you could let me know your local Big Mac price?

Who else is craving a burger all of a sudden?

Ok, now for the line by line break down. I put this together, predictably, using that wedding budget calculator thing you are sick of me talking about. Then I started checking off all the things I know I don’t want to include, which was a substantial number of things (Get lost, Unity Candle!),  and filled in the fixed estimates I do already have.

Actually that last bit was interesting because it drastically changed the picture. The calculator wanted me to spend $1207 on food and $483 on booze. I’m having almost 50 people, so that’s like 10 bucks per person on drinks, which is totally laughable in all scenarios, except maybe if you home brew something, and then it gets downgraded to only pretty laughable. The amount for food is probably somewhat achievable if you’re self-catering too, but is almost half of the price I managed to get for catering.

I just want to quickly say two things here, and then I’ll move on.
1. I have a hunch that booze is much cheaper in parts of the world that aren’t Australia, NZ, and Singapore. How many Big Macs does a beer cost you, USAians?
2.  Nevertheless, these numbers and their apparent break from reality is evidence of the desperate need for a wedding paradigm shift, as I discussed in the podcast. What’s interesting is that this same iteration of the budget also allocated $733 all up for ceremony and reception decor and flowers, which seems excessive. If we’re going to afford our weddings, the paradigm shift is going to have to include a Step Away From the Pricey Decor clause. It’s a major component of wedding spending, and it needs to stop being standard and expected.

Based on the actual prices for food and drinks my venue gave me, I adjusted the catering to $1905, and $1000 for booze. I also already know that transport (ferry to the island) is going to cost about double what the calculator indicated, and I’m going to put our three nights’ stay at the resort down as the ‘facility rental’, and that’s going to be about 550 bucks.

I’m also allowing myself to cheat by not including it in the wedding budget if it’s something I’m going to use again (stay tuned for much more discussion about this in a future post).

So here, finally, is the result:

FrugallyWed’s Goal Wedding Budget

Facility rental                        550
Flowers and decorations  388
Drinks                                    1000
Food                                        1905
Bride’s wedding outfit        297
Attendants’ gifts                      55
Groom’s outfit                         46
Groomsmen outfits             119
Transport                                130
Photography                         447
Invitations                                64

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Everything else we’re either not having, or it’s already included in the catering price (fire torches), or it’s something we’ll use again and thus I’m filing it under general life expense and not wedding expense. The main wiggle room comes from the flower and decor allocation – I plan to spend more than $55 on attendants’ gifts.

There you have it folks. Was that, or was that not, a whirlwind of excitement? Whew. Come, let me take you all out for burgers now.

My adventures in venue booking, Part 2

When I left you at Part 1, I had just been quoted a price WAY more than I had had in mind, and in a last ditch effort, decided I needed to talk to the venue people in person to try and convince them of the unfanciness to which I was willing to stoop. Resort A was telling me 90 dollars “plus plus” per person, and had also unhelpfully sent me the details of their special wedding package for newlyweds that included stuff like massages, rose petals spinkled on beds, and a fancy table set for two, all for just a few thousand dollars for a one or two nights. Resort B meanwhile had been unforthcoming with the prices.

Meanwhile another local expat friend (sup, V!) who is planning on getting married a few months after me, was doing some research of her own, and unearthed herself a $35 per person deal at a resort in Bali (read: a flight away from Singapore). And that’s right about when I started dreading whether it was even possible to do this thing this close to Singapore, land of everything-twice-the-price-as-surrounding-countries.

The problem is, I’m attached to this whole beach thing. If I was being strictly practical, we could just rent out the function room in our condo. I would bake wedding cupcakes myself and M would brew all the beer, and we could pull it off for super cheap. But then our wedding would be taking place *inside*, in a shut off and 100% characterless room with air con going. And…I just really didn’t want that. Or maybe we could set up something on the beach we live near to, with it’s extremely narrow strip of sand, hordes and hordes of people, and lack of swimming in the sea because it’s dirty, even though it is completely stinking hot. I just didn’t want that either. Me, with the whole screw wedding cake, screw wedding dresses, screw save-the-dates attitude, that very same person, was stuck on wanting for something more expensive, for purely aesthetic reasons.

I met with Resort B first. It was a giant relief. I may have implied that this wasn’t a wedding, but just a casual celebration around a wedding, as if it was one of the side events. The happiness started when she said that yes, a party on the actual sand itself is possible. And then the happiness grew: Yes, we can do a buffet where everyone just helps themselves. Yes, we can set up beer barrels with taps where everyone just helps themselves. Yes, we can set up a soundsystem down there so you can have speeches and play music off your laptop. But then! No, we can’t have a bonfire. Not as happy. But then, WE WILL HAVE FIRE TORCHES! Fire torches people!!! And all this would cost $35 “plus plus” per head for the food. Which translates to $42.35 per person, and extra for the drinks. There isn’t even a venue rental fee, though of course we’ll be paying to actually spend a few nights there. Sing with me: OH HAPPY DAY…

The very next day, I met with the person from Resort A, and gave him the same spiel. It wasn’t as happy: We couldn’t do it on the beach. We would need to have the reception either inside, or in a section of the outside bar with the rest of the bar filled with general patrons. There would be no bonfire there either. Also, the lowest he could go on food was $55 ++ per head = $66.55. Also, no fire torches.

We got engaged at Resort A, so we’re kind of fond of it. We’d had it in mind the entire time, including the morning of the day we got officially engaged. But alas, the other resort sounded better. The only thing left to do was check it out in person. I made some calls.

Ten days ago, we took the ferry over, and came across a guy holding a sign saying “Ms. Lindsay”, hopped into a car with him, and got taken to Resort B for the first time. We got greeted with cooldrinks that had decorative citrus slices on the rims. We got toured around the resort in a gold* cart. We were guided through the beachside restaurant, our backup plan in case of rain. We were shown different hotel rooms. We sat poolside in deckchairs swigging duty free Baileys. We sat at a bar in the pool, singing along to Roxette’s Joyride album. We rented electric bikes for an hour and went all around. We walked along the beach. We slid down waterslides.

So it’s officially on with Resort B, also known as Bintan Lagoon Resort. And you guys, FIRE TORCHES. Who needs bonfires anyway? And yes, the whole thing is basically a dream come true.

*Edited to add: After I published this, fiance called to tell me that even though the resort was nice, it was a golF cart, and not made from gold. He also feels it would be relevant to add that this is because you can play golf there. In case some people care about golf. Which I don’t. But thanks babe!

My adventures in venue booking, Part 1

Booking the venue must be the biggest piece of the wedding planning puzzle. It’s just as well we have to do it upfront in the wedding planning timeline, while our momentum is somewhat fresh. Now that I’ve done it, set up our wedsite, and emailed everyone the link, I feel like I’ve been rushing and now I get a reprieve. For a moment in there, it was getting confusing and pressurey.What I’ve learnt so far is that it really, REALLY helps to do your thinking before you’re in the midst of actually making the choices, because it’s really easy to lose your perspective about what you need, what you want, and what you think you want.

So the way to go about venue finding is this: 1. Set your parameters, 2. Attempt to find places that fit these parameters. 3. Either find no places fitting criteria, and panic, or find multiple places fitting criteria, and experience the anxiety of too much choice. 4. Adjust paremeters accordingly, either tightening or relaxing. 5. Book it and feel grateful this process is over.

How it went for us is that first we decided it needs to be in Southeast Asia. And then we were like, tropical island beach party, hell yeah! Cue visions of a perfect day at the beach that happens to be kicked off with a marriage ceremony. And then followed up by dancing on the sand round a bonfire. That’s basically a life long fantasy right there.

After investigating the nearest beach holiday places to us, and toying breifly with the Philippines (so affordable!), we figured out that it needs to be on the island of Bintan, purely because it’s the one easiest to get to from Singapore. Practicality won out. I feel bad enough asking everyone to come here in the first place, and getting them to travel on to Malaysia or Philippines or Bali, all half day excursions/flights at best, was too much. Bintan is only 45 minutes away by ferry!

So the parameters tightened: it had to be on this island. At this point, I was still thinking about maybe finding a holiday beach house to rent, one that’s right next to the sand, and having our wedding be an awesome beachy house party. If we had a kitchen, we could cater the stupid thing ourselves! Turns out though, that’s not how holidaying works in this part of the world. There aren’t holiday towns with holiday houses. There are resorts. You know, where the wealthier expats can play on constructed beaches, safely secluded from the actual day to day life of the locals. Sigh, I have my philsophical disagreements for sure. Anyway, so things really narrowed down now, because there are only a few resorts on Bintan.

After weeding out the ones that don’t do events, or are way too pricey, we were left with just two options. This is the juncture in wedding planning where you start to freak out that the criteria you’ve established can’t be met with the budget you have. What if both of these options turned out to be too much? The rubber was about to hit the road. Enquiries were emailed.

The first venue wrote back saying Yep! No worries! $90 per person, plus tax and tips. And also that doesn’t include drinks. And then I went Noooo! My dreams, they die! Also this venue emailed me a video clip of a wedding they’d hosted, and it was all waiters walking around with trays, and fancy tables and chairs, and people wearing formal clothes, and no actual beach fun-having.

I realised I needed to make both venues understand that we didn’t want your typical fancypants Asian wedding, so I requested in person meetings with both so that I could say No seriously, Don’t even think of this as a wedding. It’s really just a casual beach party, with not even that many people. I was getting really worried they wouldn’t be able to go low enough, so I was really aiming to sell the whole no-big-deal-ness of it all.

OMG CLIFF HANGER. Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow!

You probably need a wedsite

First, an update: Yay we have found a venue and set a date, you guys! Nothing has been officially signed yet, and we still have some details to hash out (primarily menu stuff), but it’s definitely happening on that date and in that place. I’ll write about the process in a future post, but basically, oh man was it a relief to find a place that could do what we wanted at a reasonable budget. I’m so excited knowing that it’s actually possible now. When I received the quotes that made me happy, I told my dad and instead of getting psyched he reiterated the importance of not cheaping out the guests. Dad I promise everyone will have plenty to eat and drink, ok? I think the poor guy is maybe a little in shock at the extent to which I’m willing to pare things down, and bears pretty patiently the fact that I don’t want a Wedding Dress. So maybe he’s allowed concerns about food 🙂

So I’m preparing to send out the STDs mass email to all the guests so they can start booking flights and so on. And there will be a lot of questions. I can see them now:
Where can we stay?
How do we get there?
Do I need a visa?
Just exactly how ridiculously hot and humid is it, over there?
Will it be monsoon season? What happens in monsoon season?
What should we wear?

Back in the days when people lived in the same town as everyone they knew, these questions would have mostly been non-existent. And if there were any questions (What present should we give you?), Miss Manners tells me this kind of stuff was handled by the guest asking the mother of the bride. Especially when it comes to gifts, there was this system of discreetly approaching someone close to the couple. Kind of like how your Mom discusses with you what to get your fiancé for Christmas. It’s a very civilised practice, relieving the giver from admitting to the recipient they’re not sure what to get them, and relieving the recipient from the rudeness of demanding something from the giver. Win win.

But alas, here we are with our darn modern lives again, having friends and family in places other than the same town we live in, dammit. So, many questions will happen. And each person asking them will all be given the same answers. It just makes a crapload of sense to put this information together for people to check on at their convenience. Hence, wedding websites.

Wedding websites are in the same category as save-the-dates*: a recent wedding innovation that actually makes sense, but is very vulnerable at this cultural juncture to getting out of hand and being more stupid than useful.

For instance, a wedding is not a PR event. Not a PR event. Not a PR event. Here are some things that are not required at things that aren’t PR events:

  • branding
  • a background story about how the company was founded how you met
  • profiles of the keynote speakers people getting married
  • how to make donations to the charity people adult enough to get married

The people you invited already know who you are. Frankly, to imply otherwise is kind of weird and alienating, no? The wedsite should be for logistical purposes only. It is not a branding exercise. But probably, if you have lots of traveling guests, it’s a good idea to have one.

The good news, wedding websites are free! Yay! Offbeat Bride for example offers several templates. 

If you were going to have a registry, this would probably be the place to tuck that information, in as non-obnoxious a way as you can think of. To be honest my jury is still out on that one, but I lean heavily towards no registry – we’re asking people to travel, for goodness sake, plus they’ll be obliged to spend the night at a resort of my choosing. I think that seriously maxes out my demand quota.

Ok, I’m going to go ahead now and spend some time putting our wed site together, so the link is ready dissemination when we email everyone the date. Yay! We have a date!

*Does that term need hyphens or not? Kindly place your vote.

When a destination wedding is sensible: Rethinking Miss Manners’ advice

Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners, is right about almost everything. She’s been pretty vocal about her disregard, if not appall, for a lot of wedding-related behaviour, and I tend to agree with most of it. For instance, wedding favours can be pretty, but they’re mostly just a waste of time and money, and the less they are considered compulsory, the better. And, the groom and bridal party should be made up of closest friends, not selected based on gender or matching numbers (groomsmaids and bridesmen are the way of the future!). When it comes to destination weddings, Miss Manners has some opinions. Some great opinions. But opinions that may not be as universally applicable as she would like.

Her argument is that weddings should be local, and if you want to travel to a romantic exotic location, that is for the honeymoon, not the wedding. Destination weddings are disrespectful to your guests: you’re asking them to spend a lot of money, and a lot of time, traveling to a place they didn’t select, and essentially having a holiday* with people they didn’t select. She also feels the celebration has gotten out of control, spilling out into various types of warm-up events (showers, stag and hen nights, welcome parties), and after parties (morning-after brunches). This is also demanding perhaps more than your fair share of your guests’ time, plus it requires more and more money, which you most probably cannot afford. And it intrudes into the honeymoon, just when the couple should understandably be left alone.

I think the most common reasons people have destination weddings are 1. The destination has a strong brand of being a romantic, wonderful place, and WIC has sold us all on the need to make the wedding as visually appealing as possible, and 2. Even after taking the cost of flights into account, the difference in costs between your home and the destination can mean the whole thing still comes out cheaper. For instance, British people love having their weddings in Thailand.

I totally agree with Miss Manners and I think the common reasons for destination weddings suck. Because the fantasy of weddings is out of control and I want to redefine weddings to be more authentic with our actual lives. I believe if you can only afford a barbecue at home for the same cost as a ball in Thailand, then what you should do is have a barbecue at home.

But all this reasoning only works if you live, physically, in the same local area as your guests and loved ones. In that case, sure, you don’t need add-on events because you see all these peeps quite often.

But how many people live in these circumstances any more? My man and I live in Singapore, and our immediate family members are in New Zealand and Australia, with extended family members in South Africa, England, and a few other places, and our friends are all over the dang place.

We had initially thought we should have our wedding in Auckland. But such is the nature of kiwis that most our good friends from there are no longer there, and it turns out we’re down to about one couple of friends, three parents, and one brother and sister-in-law still residing in NZ. So, the majority of the guests
would have to travel overseas to get to our wedding anyway.

And the thing about NZ is that it’s pretty far away from most places. And the thing about South East Asia is that it’s relatively closer. If you’re in England
or South Africa, it’s much easier (and cheaper) to get to South East Asia
than it is to get NZ. So it turns out having a tropical destination wedding is
actually the least demanding thing we can offer our guests.

As far as the peripheral wedding events ago, you can bet we’re having them. If our guests, some of whom we haven’t seen for years, and maybe won’t see for years again after the wedding, are going to travel all this way, you can bet the time with them is not going to be limited to the few minutes we can spend with them at the reception.

In sum, the Frugal Wedding rules on destination weddings:

1. If your most important guests (immediate family, best friends) are not mainly concentrated in one geographical area, having a destination wedding makes sense.

2. Choose a location that’s relatively easy to get to, on the whole.

3. Since your guests are spending so much money and time to be there, spend some time actually seeing them.

4. Guests sure as hell do not have to give presents.

*USA-ians, please substitute the word ‘vacation’ for
‘holiday’