Destination Wedding Novels To Read When You Don’t Want To Celebrate IRL

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If you love juicy gossip, petty bridesmaids, and even murder paired with someone’s BIG DAY, you’ll devour these contemporary wedding novels like You’re Invited by Amanda Jayatissa, Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto, and She Started It by Sian Gilbert. Of course, I’ll also share a few rom-coms and sweet LGBTQ+ titles. Hop on a plane for those honeymoons and bachelor/bachelorette parties too.

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You’re Invited by Amanda Jayatissa (2022)

You're Invited by Amanda Jayatissa book coverPin

Travel to Sri Lanka in Jayatissa’s You’re Invited: How would you feel if your best friend suddenly married your ex-boyfriend? You can bet that Amaya is upset, even though she and Kaavi haven’t spoken in years. Of course, with social media, Amaya is well aware of what Kaavi has been up to since their falling out. When a surprise invite to Kaavi’s wedding arrives, Amaya decides to attend. However, when Kaavi suddenly disappears and is thought dead, Amaya is an obvious suspect… But, did she do it?

Although a bit lengthy for my wedding thriller preference (almost 400 pages!), You’re Invited made me smirk at the Instagram commentary. I enjoyed Amaya’s dark – and clever – fantasies inspired by her favorite serial killer shows. I was always Team Amaya and can never resist dry humor books. This was a great Book of the Month find.

One Of The Girls by Lucy Clarke (2022)

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For wedding novels about hen or bachelorette parties, travel to an imaginary Greek island in Clarke’s One Of The Girls, another suspense novel sure to keep you guessing. I finished One Of The Girls in a few days; it’s unputdownable.

It’s Lexi’s hen do weekend, and she’s invited her forever friends, a new best friend, and her soon-to-be sister-in-law to celebrate. What could go wrong? Well, since the novel starts with a dead body, we know a lot. Plus, this is quite the group of liars, and everyone seems guilty.

If you’ve ever been a bridesmaid, you might remember the potential for drinking too much, dealing with jealous and overprotective long-time friends, and meeting new people with baggage; a recipe for disaster. Or is that just me?!

The Guncle Abroad by Steven Rowley (2024)

The Guncle Abroad by Steven Rowley book coverPin

I don’t love putting second books in a series on a reading list, but if you want to travel to Italy and get some guncle-isms about life, love, and booze, Patrick is full of hilarious advice. He’s back from The Guncle (which would be helpful but not essential to read first), and this time, it’s for his brother’s wedding.

Maisie and Grant are struggling with their dad’s re-marriage, and Patrick is on duty to help them process the big event. Patrick is also going through all the feels as he turns 50 and is overcoming his own grief. Plus, he broke up with the much younger love of his life. Why, Patrick; why?!

Having recently returned from Salzburg, I cackled at The Sound of Music scenes. Readers are introduced to a sassy new “launt” who keeps Patrick on his toes, and there are endless quotes I wanted to highlight for both funny and intuitive life lessons. I didn’t see that ending coming. The Guncle Abroad is a slow-burn, LGBTQ+ read.

Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto (2021)

Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto book coverPin

If you love food in books or novels about Indonesian heritage and families, Dial A For Aunties is a must. It’s sweet, fun, and just a bit off the rails. Having lived in Indonesia, I especially appreciated seeing familiar phrases and foods. Our Uncorked Readers community ate up this one too.

Set in California, meet Meddy and her Chinese-Indonesian family. They moved to America to start a family wedding business with Meddy as their photographer. To keep her mother off her back, Meddy agrees to a blind date where she just happens to kill the guy; I know, a bit ridiculous, right? Who can you call when you are in trouble? Your aunties, of course. (And you’ll LOVE them in this book!)

Unfortunately, they have no time to deal with a dead body, especially with an important wedding to plan. However, when the body mistakingly ends up at the hotel, and the hotel manager happens to be Meddy’s first love, we can only wonder if this is a story about love or murder – or both.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (2019)

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Readers of enemies-to-lovers wedding romance books will enjoy traveling to Hawaii in Christina Lauren’s The Unhoneymooners. This is a post-wedding novel, the honeymoon… well, sort of. I enjoyed the genuine characters so much that I had a book hangover after this one.

When the entire wedding guest list goes down with food poisoning, except for the sister of the bride and the groom’s brother, Ami asks Olive to go on her honeymoon for her. There’s just one problem: Olive hates Ethan.

Still, they travel to beautiful Hawaii. You know that tropical ambiance has the potential to work its magic on their non-relationship. However, Olive thinks she’s pretty jinxed; nothing goes in her favor. Can Olive overcome her bad luck and find love?

Pair The Unhoneymooners with a cheap Mai Thai (you’ll see). I usually pick up this great writing duo because I’ve come to expect their famously happy endings filled with consistently adorable vibes. The Unhoneymooners was my first introduction to Christina Lauren, cementing them as a must-read “author(s)” for me.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley (2020)

The Guest List by Lucy Foley book coverPin

Hotel-set books and spooky but not too scary reads are my jam. Foley’s The Guest List promises to check all these boxes and more. I read this one during the Big C, and it was just the escape I needed during “stay at home.”

Travel to an island off the coast of Ireland for one deadly wedding. However, unlike Christina Lauren’s tropical oasis, this island has a creepy bog and foreboding graveyard. Yasss! Enter a Gatsby-style wedding with rich, spoiled, entitled, and boozy guests. You know I have a thing for detestable characters… Sounds like the perfect setting for a murder mystery, right?

Well, when a waitress finds a dead body, we all want to know who died and whodunnit. From cult-like friendships to toxic relationships, you will hate-love them all. Plus, readers hoping to travel to Ireland via armchair will fall headfirst into the atmosphere while suspense lovers will keep on guessing until the very end. Let’s face it, books set at weddings don’t get any more obnoxious yet page-turn-y than this.

Happily Never After by Lynn Painter (2024)

Happily Never After by Lynn Painter book coverPin

I always appreciate a fun wedding crashing story, and add in a friends-to-lovers trope, you’ve got Happily Never After. The destination is the wedding, over and over again. After having her wedding purposely canceled – with a professional to stand up and give a reason the couple shouldn’t be married (cheater!!) – Sophie decides she could use a little extra cash – and fun – herself. She helps Max call off weddings as a guest in the audience. Of course, going to weddings, even failed ones, can be quite romantic.

Will I remember much more of the story than Sophie and Max are wedding destroyers doing good? Probably not. But, this is a great summer read, and I adored Sophie’s roommates (can we make this a thing?!). Sophie’s attitude about her hot car is perfect, and Max is both sexy and complex.

She Started It by Sian Gilbert (2023)

She Started It by Sian Gilbert book coverPin

TWs: self-harm, suicide, bullying. I love wild hen parties, and Poppy Greer’s is off the charts… While I read the physical book, my friends also say She Started It is a great road trip audiobook.

When Esther, Annabel, Chloe, and Tanya receive all-expense-paid tickets and an invitation to be Poppy “Greedy’s” bridesmaids, they cannot resist – even though they tortured the f’ out of this poor young woman in high school. It’s extremely triggering if you were bullied in high school and gosh awful.

All four “best friends” are too detestable, selfish, and hideous to realize that something more sinister is at play here – so you might not feel as bad when they all start dying… And die they do. Who is offing the women on this private island, and is the past really in the past?

Even if you predict parts of the ending like I did, it doesn’t matter. The suspense is worth it in one of the ultimate high school bully revenge stories. Who knew wedding novels could be so…deadly?!

More Fictional Books For Wedding Season

If you follow me on Facebook, you know I have a massive TBR pile. A few more newer fictional wedding books I’m hoping to read:

And, you might also enjoy these wedding comedy movies and all-time top movies featuring weddings. Let us know your favorite contemporary, fictional wedding books in the comments.

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Christine Frascarelli

Christine (she/her) is the owner, lead editor, and tipsy book sommelier of The Uncorked Librarian LLC, an online literary publication showcasing books and movies to inspire travel and home to the famed Uncorked Reading Challenge. With a BA in English & History from Smith College, an MLIS from USF-Tampa, and a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship in Christine's back pocket, there isn't a bookstore, library, or winery that can hide from her. Christine loves brewery yoga, adopting all of the kitties, and a glass of oaked Chardonnay. Charcuterie is her favorite food group.

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