Post # 1
…because we live here! I need help/advice/assurance that FI and I are not out in left field! Here are the basics:
- FI and I live in Alaska. I’ve been here nearly 10 years, and FI was born and raised in this state. Nearly his entire family lives here (both sets of grandparents have moved to warmer climates in their retirement.). 40 odd family members live here.
- I have a very small family – 10 people. My 10 people live in the Lower 48.
- We’re having a roughly 90 person wedding/reception in Alaska. 13 people on our guest list are from out of state.
The issue is my grandmother. I was raised by my Grams and my dad, so Grams and I are very close. Grams is demanding the following things:
- We find a less expensive place to hold the wedding. (Notably, Grams is not contributing $. My father is funding half, and FI and I are funding the other half.)
- We find housing for the 13 people.
- We both book and pay for really expensive day trips (halibut fishing charters, a group tour to see Denali, etc. etc.)
I need to know if we’re off base here. Alaska is expensive; we’re throwing this wedding on our money as well, and we aren’t going into debt for it. We like where we’re holding the wedding – it’s by Anchorage, it’s inclusive, and everything is on-site. We’ve listed available hotels for people, but we’re counting on the fact that these are adults – surely you are capable of finding your own accommodations. This is why we sent STD’s in October for an August wedding. And lastly, charters, tours, etc cost money. A LOT OF MONEY. Really, a halibut charter is 300 dollars/person and the nearest ocean is 8 hours away from the wedding location.
Are we off base? Should we be doing these things? I don’t think of our wedding as a DW because 77 of our 90 people are in-state. We’re being proactive and including additional information for our out of town people in the invite. But Holy Moses, I can’t even imagine planning a halibut charter for 2 days before our wedding 8 hours/350 miles away. She’s driving us batty on this. HELP! What do I do?!
Post # 3
Wow. Even if it WAS a destination wedding you aren’t required to host pre-wedding activities and especially not ones that are so exspensive! She needs to chill. I’m sure there is a more diplomatic way to say it but seriously, unless someone is footing the bill they don’t really get a say in what is done/not done.
Post # 3
Well dang. double post sorry!
Post # 4
What is it about the venue that grandma doesn’t like? She has no say in finances if she isn’t contributing. Why would your guests even WANT to go on a halibut charter? Especially one that’s EIGHT HOURS AWAY? With 13 people coming from out of town, it’s not a destination wedding. It’s like every other wedding where a few people don’t live nearby. Tell her to chill. People are coming to YOUR wedding, not to go deep sea fishing. If they wanna do that they can go on their dime and their time. It would be a nice gesture to give them a list of activities to do while in town, but you aren’t required to pay for it.
Post # 5
I agree, sounds nutty to me. I don’t think you’re obligated to pay for excursions even if it was a destination wedding.
Post # 6
Hmmm…, you don’t have money, then you don’t. I won’t even bother trying to do anything. Tell your dad to talk to her. I wouldn’t want to go on a charter that is 8hours away!! Hello?
Post # 7
EH! sorry you have to deal with this. You should be able to do whatever you want without anyone saying anything!!! Unless you are being ridiculous (are you are NOT). Good luck.
Post # 8
I would explain (calmly) your feelings to her and let her know that chartered trips are not in your budget. If you can fit it in, an out of town bag with maps and a list of activitites to do (on their own time and money) would be nice thought. I’m sure if they are family they will naturally want to do things together before the wedding.
Post # 9
Is it possible that your grandma is upset because she herself can’t afford the trip, or knows that one of your other relatives is in that position, and she’s taking it out on you? If that’s the case, maybe something more specific can be worked out for her or whoever she’s concerned about. Since she raised you and you are close, I’m sure she would be devastated if she couldn’t go to your wedding!
Beyond that, everything you said about your reasons for having it in Alaska makes perfect sense. It’s not a destination wedding at all if you live there and most of your guests live there! If your guests want to make a vacation out of it, that is up to their own finances. I would sit down with your grandmother and explain to her calmly everything you described here. If all else fails and your relatives decide not to come, maybe you could have a second, small party or dinner in the mainland?
Post # 10
Eh, that situation sucks. I’d try to talk to her first, and if it doesn’t seem to be getting through to her see if your dad can talk to her for you. If you guys have pre-wedding activities (rehearsal, dinner etc) explain those to her, maybe that’ll help her realize there won’t be a lot of down time that she may be expecting.
Post # 11
I have a feeling that this is the type of conversation that if you hold out on her, and force her to choose between paying for herself or not coming, she’ll just come. If she doesn’t, you don’t really want to have her anyhow.
Her demands are unreasonable. Objectively, I think you know that.
Post # 12
Sounds like Grams is a bit “off her rocker”, so to speak! It is not your responsibility to pay for housing or host outings for your guests while they are in town.
P.S. What area do you live in and where is the wedding? My Great Aunt lives in Anchorage and I visited many, many years ago. I’m hoping to return again soon! It’s beautiful there!!!
Post # 13
Just plaster a smile on your face and say”That’s a great idea Grandma, but it’s not in our budget”.
You are under no obligation to plan, provide or pay for excursions for your OOT guests.
Post # 14
Ha. I live in San Francisco (have for the past 5+ years) and my family and friends are all around the country. 2/3 of the guest list is flying in. So, I consider it a destination wedding for them.
But that doesn’t mean I have to foot the bill for expensive side trips! That only happens when the couple has their destination wedding at an all-inclusive resort because they don’t actually have to pay for the wedding.
To placate your grandma, you could check homeaway.com and vrbo.com and send links to the family members if they all want to throw in for a house or condo instead of hotels. You could also look into your local tourism office. There may be free tours or activities you can suggest for your guests.
Explain to your grandma that you’re trying to please a lot of people and that your Alaska wedding ultimately works best for you. Also be sure to let her know that you understand where she’s coming from and that you wish you could accomodate better. She’ll come around. (My grandma got on my case about not having communion at my Catholic wedding… She later apologized.)
Also, don’t forget to explain Alaska distance in terms of where she is. “Grandma, as much as I’d love to have a Halibut charter, it’s 1) $300 per person. That is more than triple the cost of their dinner at the wedding. I could almost fly them here for that 2) It’s the same distance from here to the charter as it is from Boston to Philadelphia. If I had the wedding in Boston, would you expect me to take the guests to see the Liberty Bell?
Post # 15
Oh, thank you guys so much! It’s reassuring to have other people say that she’s being unreasonable as well. Wedding planning sometimes makes me question my own judgment (hence this post), so it’s nice to hear that we aren’t off in left field. I’ll def. take these tips – the websites, the time vs. distance (Boston to Philly puts it into perspective!), and others. We are doing OOT bags with a locally brewed beer and other local goodies, so we’ll throw in more info.
Who wants to go Halibut fishing the day before a wedding anyhow?! Not me, clearly!
Thanks so much everyone. I’m excited to share all of this with my FI. 🙂