The Moneyist: ‘This will be an expensive trip’: I’ve been invited to a destination wedding in New Orleans. I live in L.A. Is it tacky to ask the bride if I can bring a plus-one?

Dear Quentin,

One of my closest friends from high school is getting married in New Orleans in December. We are 32 now and live in different states, but we keep in touch, and we will all be converging in New Orleans.

I live in Los Angeles and, therefore, I will be traveling cross-country for her December nuptials. I’m not in her bridal party — she is only having family — so I will be doing my own thing outside of all the wedding activities.

We don’t have many mutual friends anymore, and those we do have are married, so I won’t be able to share a hotel room with anyone. This will be an expensive trip for me with airfare, hotels, taxis, etc. 

As a social worker for my 9-5 job and a babysitter on evenings and weekends, I do have to think about money. Not to mention, I have been to New Orleans several times, and I’d rather spend my money on my destination of choice.

“Only a fair-weather friend would cut someone out of their life for not traveling 2,000 miles to a destination wedding. ”

The average cost of attending a destination wedding is $2,700, according to a recent survey by the travel company Priceline, which also said that 79% of couples are planning one in the next 12 months. Frankly, I don’t buy that. I don’t see nearly eight in 10 people getting on a plane, and asking their guests to get on a plane to go to their wedding. Of course, a destination wedding could technically mean a hotel on a lake 60 miles away. The Knot says an estimated 20% of couples have destination weddings. In 2022, we must also take into account the risk of COVID-19.

So how many people RSVP “yes” to long-distance nuptials? Anywhere from between 60% to 75%, according to some estimates, while others put the percentage of guests who say they’ll attend at less than 50%. Couples know that some relatives won’t be able or willing to travel; having a destination wedding allows the bride and groom to invite Plan B guests knowing that their seats will be filled by Plan A guests. Personally, the reception would probably be a hell of a lot more fun if Great Aunt Ida was burning up the dance floor after too many G&Ts.

A plus-one for single friends is good etiquette. There will be cake. There will be dancing. There will be vows. There will be sunshine. There will be cancellations.

Check out the Moneyist private Facebook group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

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