I am not necessarily talking about money (budget for event) here. I know some people are willing and able to spend a hundred thousand dollars on a wedding, and hey, if you can afford that easily and want to spend it, you do you. I am not willing to spend that much, and we do have a budget and are trying to stay within that, but still want to put on a nice event, of course!
I mean, how much is too much to expect from others? I have been invited to many weddings, and have attended many weddings. As for out of town ones that require flights and hotels, I am generally down to do that for very close friends and family, and not willing to spend that kind of money for people I don’t know as well or am not as close to.
But now that I am on the other side of this dilemma, it has become even more important to figure out how much is TOO much?
I live in NYC, but we’re getting married in Florida, and no matter where we have it, significant amounts of family members on both sides have to travel to be there. Is it unfair to expect travel and hotel stays? If so, how would people from 2 different places ever have their family together for a wedding?
We have figured out a way to partially mitigate the cost for travelers. Originally, the venue we really liked was out of the main part of town, in a suburb, and the closest hotel was 12 miles away. It was also about 40 minutes from the airport. In order for people to come, in addition to the flight and hotel, they really would have been required to rent a car. We were planning to pay for some sort of shuttle service from the hotel to the venue, but for the rest of the time, if you didn't rent a car, you’d basically be a prisoner at the hotel.
To mitigate this cost for travelers, we've decided to look at a different venue, a hotel IN the city, closer to the airport and to local stuff in town. The hotel would be the wedding venue and the guests could stay there, and the hotel offers free shuttle service from the airport to the hotel, as well as to a few parts of the city near the hotel. This immediately negates the need for guests to rent a car if they will only be there for the actual wedding weekend! We are willing to absorb slightly higher wedding costs for this venue, in order to make it easier for people to come.
Do other people planning a wedding consider this? Is this normal to include in our thought process, or do people just plan whatever they want and assume people can afford it? I know that guests tend to get fairly advanced notice for weddings, so there is time to plan and save. But I have declined to attend weddings before that were just too much hassle. A car rental in addition to a hotel and a flight is a lot of hassle! Especially if I don’t know anyone else in that city, or if the wedding is out in the middle of nowhere.
It’s tough to know where to draw the line. We want to be married with our family and friends in attendance, and to have that once in a lifetime wedding celebration. No matter where we have it, it will require travel by a lot of family, and the location we chose is significantly less expensive than the location where we live! We want to be able to have the people we love to celebrate with us, and not make it a huge pain for them to be there.
In addition, since many of my family doesn't live in NYC, we have not planned any big engagement party, and I wasn't planning to have a big shower, or have a travel-bachelorette-party. I don’t want to ask people to travel multiple times. I just want to have a big, fun, family wedding! Does this go against tradition? Somewhat. But I don’t care. I’d rather people be able to come to the main event over any extraneous thing they feel obligated to attend. My sister said that’s silly and if people want to throw me a shower, I should let them. But what if some of the attendees end up spending more than they anticipated to come to the shower and can no longer come to the wedding? This is a real concern for me. I can afford some trips, but not every trip every year. I do okay, but I don’t always have a lot extra at the end of the month. I just want people to be there to celebrate this big day in our lives. Gifts are not necessary, let your presence be your gift to us!
So, how much is too much for weddings? Is it too much when the bride wants to do Vegas for a weekend for a bachelorette? For me, it is. I don’t want to ask my bridesmaids (and bridesmen!) to spend that kind of money, when they are already obligated to the dress/tux/being at the wedding expenses. If I were asked to do that for a friend’s wedding, I’d love the Vegas trip, but may need to choose between the trip and the wedding, in terms of my budget.
Is it too much to expect people to travel the one time, for the actual celebration? I hope not! There will be open bar to compensate, I swear!!
What were your experiences with this? Did you feel obligated to do all the extraneous activities, or did you want them, or did you choose not to do those at all? How did you feel about mitigating costs for out-of-towners (if applicable)? I’d love any advice!