Service of Self-Involvement

March 4th, 2012

Categories: Airlines, Self-Involvement, Wedding

I’ve written countless posts about people who are self-involved resulting in bad service, manners and attitude. Brides and grooms who inflict destination weddings on friends and family top the list.

In “Social Q’s,” in The New York Times, Philip Galanes responded to a question from California-based parents. They asked whether it was appropriate for them to give a second, bigger reception on home territory for a daughter who could afford to invite only 50 guests to her Sun Valley, Idaho wedding.

I agree with Galanes’ answer. He dismissed the issue of a second reception and focused on the destination reference. He wrote: “Ponying up for airfare and hotels (and giving up a whole weekend) isn’t small potatoes. Many people will still make the trip, but not happily. (And I have 10,000 letters to prove it.)”

He continued: “A wedding is a milestone for the bride and groom, and their nearest and dearest. For the rest of us, the happy occasion may not warrant security lines or credit card debt. Ask your daughter to tally how many folks on her list she would happily trek for. (I’d be hard-pressed to come up with a posse of 10 – and I’ll attend the opening of an envelope.)”

Travel is often involved if the bride and groom are from different continents or thousands of miles apart, but somehow, to fly to where a bride or groom is from seems different.

Have you been to or yourself given a destination wedding? What do you think of the concept? Are there other examples of self-involvement-on-steroids you might share?

10 Responses to “Service of Self-Involvement”

  1. David Reich Said:

    Almost nine years ago, when our daughter Jennifer told us she planned to marry, she also told us she and her husband-to-be wanted to get married in Maine, where they had been living for the past few years. My family is mainly in the New York area and her husband’s is from Philly and the DC area.

    To make matters even more complicated, they wanted to get married over the Labor Day weekend.

    We thought it would be a problem on two counts — first, the distance and, second, a holiday weekend when people are looking to have their last hurrah of the summer.

    We were wrong on both counts. Almost everyone we invited accepted, and it turned out to be a whole weekend of celebration and partying. Instead of the wedding day ceremony and party, we had a party for early arrivals on Friday at the house we had rented. Saturday was the rehearsal, which was followed by a clambake that went late into the night. And the afternoon of the wedding itself, after the official party ended, the younger people sat around a huge campfire way into the night on the grounds of the B & B where the wedding was held.

    So despite our initial concerns, everyone made the trip and enjoyed themselves.

  2. jmbyington Said:


    While family + friends had to travel to attend, I don’t consider this a destination wedding because the couple lived there. My cousin’s wife is from California + we went to his wedding which meant plane travel for many of us but still wasn’t a destination wedding.

    I am responding to your comment from Portland. I can see why your daughter wanted to get married here + why everyone had such a lovely time.

  3. ASK Said:

    I’m happy to attend a destination wedding…if the couple provide airfare and a hotel room at their own expense. Otherwise I’m in your and Galanes’s corner. I was recently invited to a wedding in Alaska by a business associate, not even one of my nearest and dearest! I’m sure you can guess my response…

  4. jmbyington Said:


    Your colleague could hope that this was your year to discover Alaska or that you had a business trip that coincided date-wise. She/he may have wanted you to know how much she/he liked you to honor you with an invitation. I would not have packed my bags under the circumstances either.

  5. Martha Takayama Said:

    Those most immediately emotionally involved in a wedding are the couple and their immediate families. It is extremely naive and self-centered to plan a “destination” wedding for anyone but the bridal party’s benefit.

    Air travel today is unpleasant, unreliable and extremely costly. Driving to distant locations can provide problems for any number of reasons. Even if the bride and groom were to offer all expense paid trips to their chosen destination, there is no reason to assume that all family, friends, and acquaintances can or want to devote extended periods of time to what should be essentially a one day or evening’s event.

    The concept of wedding as a mega-production or a circus seems to reflect our general concept as a society that quantity is better than quality, and more of anything is better. Rather than planning a jewel of a carefully thought out self-limiting event that would be pleasurable for all concerned there seems to be a need for upstaging stimulated by self-delusion.

    Lastly being self-absorbed to such an extended degree in the present global socio-economic situation seems more than slightly passe. I think the time has come and gone for such events.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I understand excitement about a wedding but it would seem to make sense, these days, to take some of the money spent on nuptual extravaganzas–cut the events by half–and send a check to any number of charities who would welcome the opportunity to feed and house and care for the needy. What a perfect way to start life with a cherished partner.

  7. Lucrezia Said:

    Much of the answer to the situation depends upon financial means. Don’t ask Aunt Minnie living on Social Security checks in North Dakota to attend your special event in Texas, unless you know she would move heaven and earth to show up. Then, at least have the decency to pay for the trip. There is no clear cut solution to such problems, and those involved should use common sense along with a heavy dose of consideration for friends and family. Undoubtedly someone will be insulted, feel left out, feel he should have been invited, feel he shouldn’t have been, so do the best you can, and live with it!

  8. jmbyington Said:

    To move heaven + earth so Aunt Minnie can attend makes sense. To expect a friend or distant relative or acquaintance to pay. + take the time is myopic.

    Weddings attract nerves, people feel sensitive and jumpy …and people get hurt..which is a downside whether the ceremony is around the corner or across the continent.

  9. Hester Craddock Said:

    I know this will sound a little like wet blanketing, but I’m not much for conspicuous and unnecessary consumption.

    Given that couples these days have often been living together for years before they marry and that something like every other marriage now ends up in divorce, it seems to me some of those all destination wedding millions would be better spent on pre-marriage counselors.

    Since I have yet to be invited to a destination wedding, I’m not truly sure what I would do. However, I’ve got a feeling I would decline to accept because I can no longer afford to take expensive trips, and because I have no desire to suffer the indignity of commercial air travel as currently rendered in this country. If someone offers to fly me there and back in their private plane that is another matter.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The accident rate of private planes scares me so that you couldn’t get me on one so there goes that option for me!

    I love your suggestion about pre-marriage counseling. It’s brilliant! In fact couples who already own what they need to maintain a household would do well to ask for funds for this purpose rather than to stuff their china and linen closets with stuff they don’t need and otherwise might need to split between them.

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