We're getting married overseas and you're invited ... to spend heaps

Australians are increasingly heading overseas for their weddings ... which can be expensive for guests.
Australians are increasingly heading overseas for their weddings ... which can be expensive for guests. Photo: AP

It used to be that couples were "Goin' to the chapel and we're/Gonna get married". Lately, however, it's seems more like "Goin' to the airport and we're/Gonna get married".

Everyone's heading overseas for their nuptials. Well, not everyone, but it can seem like that when a few couples announce they're upping stumps and heading somewhere exotic and you're expected to tag along.

Australians are getting married in Bali; they're tying the knot in Hawaii; they're getting hitched in Thailand, in Vegas, in Fiji, in Vanuatu and in Tahiti.

It's the cool thing to do. Why get married in boring old Australia, and spend an absolute bomb doing it, when you can have your dream beach resort/Elvis impersonator wedding for the same price?

That's all fine, of course – people can do what they want. And when there's only one couple doing it, it's a blast. Everyone heads off to this amazing location, you all hang out together and party for a week or so, somewhere along the way there's a wedding, and then you all go home to recover.

Wedding and honeymoon all wrapped up into one, and you get to do it all with your friends.

But then another couple announces that they're doing the same thing. And then another couple. And another. Pretty soon all your annual leave and cash is lined up to be spent on other people's holidays.

I can see why couples do it. Not only do you get a memorable wedding in a location of your choice, but you also get to shed a few "kinda" friends that you would otherwise be forced to have there.

After all, you don't really want weird cousin Barry rocking up and smashing a whole bottle of Bundy at the reception; you don't really need the family friends you haven't seen in years but would be offended if you didn't invite them.

Having a wedding overseas solves those problems. Weird cousin Barry will just stay home and smash his Bundy. The family friends will sign off with a "thanks, but no thanks". The couple ends up with a nice small wedding with the people they actually want to have there.

But for the attendees, it can become a bit of a hardship. Some people have trouble taking a Friday off to get to a wedding – how are they supposed to shell out for a whole week in Thailand?

Still, the truth is, overseas weddings are far more interesting, particularly if one or both of the soon-to-be-weds are locals of that country.

It's all well and good to have Aussies going to get married on Thai beaches, but it's a hell of a lot more fun if there's, say, a few Thais involved. A wedding is as good a window into a culture as anything.

Anyone who's been to an Indian wedding will know what I'm talking about. What they lack in available alcohol they more than make up for in colour.

I went to a wedding in the Czech Republic a few years ago, and felt as close to being a local as it's possible to be.

There was a traditional wild boar hunt in the forest the day before the ceremony. There was traditional eating of the wild boar the night before. The wedding was in a huge old chateau; the ceremony was conducted by the village mayor, decked out in full Czech mayoral regalia.

Now that was an experience I'd gladly have over and over again.

I've now got friends getting married in Mexico next year, and everyone's invited on the honeymoon. That's fine; count me in.

After all, if people are going to insist on getting married overseas, forcing all of their friends to shell out on attending, they can at least do it somewhere interesting.

Have you been to a wedding overseas, or have you been married overseas? How did it go?

Hope you're enjoying the Backpacker blog – there will be a new one published every Tuesday and Wednesday on the Fairfax Media websites. To contact me with any topic suggestions or personal abuse, visit my website, follow me on Twitter, or email me at bengroundwater@gmail.com.

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