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Some Wedding Thoughts

May 11, 2009

So…. Lately, I’ve been thinking of inviting all those relatives to both a small ceremony on the beach here and the official reception back home.  Then we can include our friends too.  None of my scattered friends would want to fly into my hometown (especially the ones that already live here).  It also makes it nice for those few relatives for whom it would be more convenient to come here.  I don’t know.  So, this is like a destination wedding type deal, except the destination happens to be where I already live?

[I'm not allowed to pick and choose relatives.  All aunts, uncles, and cousins must be invited, and most will show up even if it is a plane ticket away, even if they don't really want to spend $1000 to come to my wedding.  Most of them will come, on their dime, and really, I don't want them to feel obligated to do.  And by "allowed" I mean, I'm personally unwilling to pick and choose, for the sake of peace.]

I’m not sure how this is going to go over.  My mom thought it sounded like a non-vitation (“your invited, but I hope you don’t actually come”).  That isn’t true.  It is more:  “you are invited and completely welcome, but the California ceremony won’t have a real reception and I understand if you don’t want to make the trip….  Party will be coming to a location near you (and we’ll get you a nice dinner)!”  The previous option was “you aren’t invited to the ceremony.  Reception to follow.”  I think this is better, but she didn’t seem to.  She said she had to think about it, but I think she really meant “I want to see what my sister thinks about it.”

We would have a casual dinner (and some, but not unlimited, alcohol) for those who do come to the ceremony.  I also like the idea of reserving some tables at this nearby lounge-y bar and getting food and wine there in place of a dance.  Changing out of my wedding dress into a plain white short dress. [No, i wouldn't really spend $300 on a second dress.  And plunging necklines don't look awesome on me, unless I get implants before next spring.  But i can pretend.]

If we end up doing the wine bar thing, I don’t think it’d be officially part of the wedding, but rather an “after party”.   Otherwise we’ll need a several page invitation to get all the info out there.  Or maybe we could do it the following day.  I might hate this idea in a week, but for today I like it.  I think our friends would have fun there.    I want to spend a lot of time with anyone who does come in from out of town.

I’m still worried that it sounds greedy, like I want everyone to fly here, and also attend a reception at home, and also buy me some china.  That isn’t what I mean.   I just don’t want people to think they can’t come to the ceremony if they wanted to.  They can.  Plenty of room for everyone next to the ocean.

This isn’t really super frugal.  It would certainly be the cheapest to have everything in my hometown.  But I want a ceremony on the beach, and that is kind of causing all sorts of issues.  We are hoping to pay for a large beach rental for our immediate families to stay at, and also to have people over for the casual dinner.  I don’t think we’d have more than 50 people show up to CA (maybe less).  The ceremony basics will still be around $2k and up.  I still want a dress.  We still need some food and probably plenty of alcohol.  We still have to celebrate in our hometowns.  It isn’t the standard “$25,000″ people quote, but it isn’t cheap.

I could just call the casual dinner the “reception” and skip doing anything in my hometown at all.  Part of me really likes that idea.  But then everyone who could would feel obligated to come here.  Which would make me feel obligated to do the standard dinner/dance/big party.  Which I really am not into, and not just because of cost.  It just isn’t something that is important to me.  And my grandparents won’t be able to travel by plane anyway.  What about them?

This isn’t firm, it is just my latest thoughts.  Poke holes if you want, give suggestions if you have them.  But be nice, this is already stressing me out.  I should have just married someone from my hometown and stayed there after school.  Much easier.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. May 11, 2009 4:06 pm

    It’s about what YOU want. Not what THEY want. After all, it’s your big day!

  2. May 11, 2009 4:07 pm

    No kidding, a pop up window when I came here said “YOU ARE INVITED!!”

    And I thought it was for your wedding or something.. LOL!!!!!

    (It was just a dumb survey from another page I opened)

    Anyhoo…!

    I think you should just do what you feel most comfortable with. If it’s a casual dinner and everyone who can make it, please make it, then that should be it

    If people want to come, they’ll come, whether or not you feel obligated to tell them: PLEASE don’t come if you can’t afford it! (oh PF bloggers.. always thinking of everyone’s wallet)

    If they can’t make it, they won’t, and they’ll send their love. Either way, you get to have a small, casual sort of reception and a simple beach ceremony.

    But you get to have what YOU want, and they show up if they can, to have a good time.

    No need to do a big formal splash or something more extravagant just so people get their money’s worth by flying out. They’re flying out to see you two get hitched. They may not even care if it ends up being in some park or your backyard as long as they’re there to see you guys.

    (gifts will not be as fab, from what I gather if you are into that. Beach weddings to people, means they give tupperware as gifts.. or so the reality TV shows have led me to believe)

    No pressure, and seems more fun than a stuffy formal, Plaza wedding :P

    Bring on the wings!

  3. May 11, 2009 4:18 pm

    @FB – I really couldn’t care less about gifts. Also, in my family, we have never really scaled gifts based on the extravagance of weddings. I’d never even heard of that concept until last summer doing internet research on how much to spend. However, what that really means is no one gets a super nice gift, no matter what extravagance you pull out.

    As far as the hometown stuff, I’m hoping my parents have some opinions. I would expect most of my friends to attend (and be fine with) the ceremony and casual affair rather than fly to my hometown. So that would mostly to celebrate with extended family, and the details just aren’t important to me.

  4. May 11, 2009 4:20 pm

    Thought the wedding will be where you live google some destination wedding invites. When we were planning (before we decided to elope) I remember seeing things that outlined the 2-3 parts of the wedding- in your case Ceremony on the beach, lounge after, reception back home.

    Good luck and try not to stress too much.

  5. May 11, 2009 4:34 pm

    This won’t be a problem for me, all of my family lives within a 2 hour drive of where we’re having the ceremony and reception. I did recently go to a wedding on the beach, it was inconvenient for just about everyone. Good luck with your plans, I’m getting married this fall!

  6. May 11, 2009 4:45 pm

    Pretty much anywhere I have the wedding is inconvenient for one chunk of the guests or another. And if it is inconvenient, I honestly don’t mind if they stay home. Even my hometown, besides the fact that I have so few ties there anymore (none of my relatives live in my hometown except, uh, my parents. most friends moved on). I wish everyone was within 2 hours, that would be fabulous!

    Sara l – I think you are right, it shouldn’t be that hard to figure it out.

  7. jade permalink
    May 11, 2009 5:11 pm

    “I should have just married someone from my hometown and stayed there after school. Much easier.”

    AGREED! My fiance was born and raised here, while my family (and humongous extended family) are up in Oregon. Still, probably not as bad as your situation, coz we’re only 1,000 miles separated. :)

    I like your “come if you really want to, but just so you know, there WILL be a party near you” idea. THAT’S WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH ME TOO! Just do the casual dinner thing after your wedding, and then maybe you can have repeats of “nice” (but moderate) dinners with your extended family afterwards.

    Or maybe someone in your family is a great cook and wouldn’t mind cooking and hosting a summery day/evening outdoor party kind of thing in their backyard? Those can be nice, too, and inexpensive. Just get some white paper lanterns of varying sizes and strings of white Christmas lights and throw them up around the yard. Rent some tables, hire some student musicians or hook up an iPod to a speaker system, that’d be fun. :)

  8. Jillian permalink
    May 11, 2009 6:47 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with your last sentence! I’m dating someone in DC (I’m originally from TX, he from NY), and even though a wedding is at least 2 years away I am already stressed about the logistics!! I am a new reader of your blog and enjoying it – keep up the good work :)

  9. May 11, 2009 9:22 pm

    Well, we didn’t have a destination wedding, so I don’t know how much help I can be. But our wedding wasn’t in Seattle (where we live) either. We got a free reception hall if we had it in my in-laws’ area. Which meant even Seattle friends had to drive 50 miles to get to the day.

    I guess we just made sure that everyone knew we were low-pressure. We wanted the wedding to be a party. A nice, fun, memorable party. But a party. So if people couldn’t make it, we understood. (The only people who pissed us off were folks who were no-shows and didn’t call at ANY time in the next three or four months with any form of explanation.)

    I think you should go with your instincts. Do what will make you happy. Remember that extra stuff means extra work for you. If you’re worried that people will feel obligated, find polite wording to let people know that you’ll be delighted if they can make it, and will understand if they can’t.

    Mostly, it’s about setting a tone that lets people know how formal and expectation-filled things are. (For example, for Save the Date, we printed out pictures I’d made and glued them onto magnets — since most folks fasten the Save the Date cards to the fridge anyway. And, since they had just come out, we used the superhero stamps to truly make it “Save the Date.” People knew we were definitely going more for fun and celebration than formality.)

    If you’re worried about specific folks taking things the wrong way, write them a note or drop them an email to let them know that they are obligation free inre: attendance at the beach.

    Finally, you could simply invite everyone to the rehearsal dinner before the beach ceremony. Then the actual reception can occur in your hometown and you’ll have had two parties. (If you are doing a rehearsal dinner, I would try to avoid letting the restaurant know it’s for a wedding. The price will go up. Just tell them you’re having a large party.)

  10. May 11, 2009 9:30 pm

    Thanks guys for all the thoughts! I’m going to think about it for awhile before committing to any decisions.

  11. Bonnie permalink
    May 12, 2009 8:48 am

    SP–I think what you’re doing is fine. A good friend of mine is getting married in Asheville, NC, even though he’s lived in Memphis for at least 15 years (and that’s where I met him, back in college). But his parents live in Asheville, and most of his family lives within driving distance of there. So he decided to have it there. I’m going, even though it will be expensive, but he personally called me and other people who live far away from Asheville and said that he would love for us to come but that there was absolutely no pressure, that he totally understood how expensive it was, etc. Maybe you could try that? Also, for his first wedding, they got married on the beach with NO ONE there, but then had a big reception in Memphis for friends and then another one in NC later. My BF and I are not from the same cities and I have thought about what we will do when and if the time comes for a wedding. I don’t envy your situation, but I know you will make the right decision.

  12. May 12, 2009 9:57 am

    What I’ve learned is that when you try to please someone else (even partially), you almost always wind up sacrificing what you really want. I hate pulling out the, “It’s your day!” line, but if your dream is to be married on the beach then I think you should go for it.

    Also, that dress! is amazing!

  13. May 19, 2009 6:25 am

    I like what sara I said…

    my first thought was an invite with a response card with multiple options? Maybe this isn’t *proper* but something along the lines of *We want you to celebrate this special time with us… please join us when you can*… and the response card to read:
    ___ Beach ceremony on xx/xx
    ___ small dinner reception on xx/xx
    ___ major party in home town on xx/xx

    Then they can decide when and where they want to celebrate with you. Again, not sure if this is *acceptable* or not but just a thought…

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