Post # 1
Hi bees! This is my first time having to post, but I am having some trouble with the planning aspect of my wedding. We already have our venue, which is in Florida. It is fitting for us as it is the place where we first vacationed together. My fiance and I were in a LDR for a long time. He moved to Virginia to be with me after he got a new job up here. All of my family is from Virginia and all of his family is from Texas. Florida is almost right in the middle regarding travel for everyone (a 10-12 hour drive). All of my family is driving down there and has not had one complaint. I have not heard much from his family other than his parents who are arriving a day early and are driving as well.
My question is, am I required to entertain them? I see where couples have these extravagant week of wedding festivities for their guests when they have a destination wedding, but I am not sure what I am supposed to do. My parents and I have paid for the entire wedding ourselves with my fiance chipping in here and there. His parents have not and will not pay for anything. We are DIYing the entire thing to keep costs down. Should I do something for all of the guests the day after the wedding or is that not required? Fiance and I are tight on money at the moment as he gets laid off for three months every winter and I am off for school (I pay for it myself), making it the perfect time to have a wedding as we have the free time, but our finances become tight. My mom says only letting guests see us for the day of our wedding is leaving them hanging and they will get offended. However, we can’t afford to pay for everyone to come do something with us and we are in such a rural area I do not know what to even do. Help!!!
Post # 2
Not at all. The only thing you’re really required to do is serve enough food for people not to starve at your reception. If you’d like to do some pre or post wedding activities, you can do something as low-key as “hey, we’ll be at the lake (or park or wherever) on X day and time, if you’d like to join us.” That way, you can all hang out together, people can bring their own food and drinks and whatnot, and you’ll still have time to see everyone and do something casual and fun.
Post # 3
You aren’t required to do anything else for your out of town guests. However you might want to consider including them in your rehearsal dinner as a welcoming gesture. Since money is tight, I’d suggest renting a pavilion and doing a bbq for everyone. Those dinners don’t have to be over the top and it’s nice to get to see everyone. Totally voluntary, but a little bit can go a long way when people are traveling so far.
Fyi we had our wedding in Utah with guests almost exclusively from the east and west coasts. Our venue had cabins and the wedding party and some extras all stayed there. We were able to invite everyone to the rehearsal dinner (taco salad bar self-catered) and brunch (175 for a couple plates of baked goods from a bakery, plus various other randoms from the grocery store). Between those two meals, I doubt we spent more than $300 for under 40 guests. Food for thought.
Post # 4
Not only are you not required to host extra events for your guests, you are also not required to invite them to the rehearsal dinner. We do not have to do everything that we see on Pinterest or read about in blogs- things mostly done by people with larger budgets. Adding basically your whole guestlist to the rehearsal dinner is going to have a huge impact on your budget.
If you want to include the OOT’s you could invite them to join you for dessert and coffee at the end of the dinner, but you are in no way obligated to include them.
I think most people who travel for a destination wedding, want to enjoy some free time to see the local attractions.
Post # 5
My fiance and I live in states away from the majority of our family. Therefore, about 75% of our guests will be making the long distance travel. We don’t plan to entertain them other than the day of the wedding. We are choosing a host hotel that we will recommend on our website. From there, we’ll give them lists of things to do in the area. The hotel that we chose in right in the middle of downtown so there will be plenty for them to do on their own. I definitely WOULD NOT invite them all to the rehearsal dinner. That’s an extra cost that you really don’t need to incur. If it was maybe 5-10 extra family members, MAYBE. However if most of your family is traveling like you make it seem, that’s an extra cost that would definitely hurt your budget. Just give them fun things to do in the area and leave it at that.
Post # 7
I’m in a similar situation to you and futuremrsferrell
. We have a saturday wedding, and on Friday night, we’re going to have the rehearsal dinner with just the bridal party and parents, then we’re going to encourage everyone freshly in town to go to a specific bar. We’re planning on getting a room or area set aside and guaranteeing X number of people. Hopefully, we can work out a drink arrangement for happy hour prices or something.
It’s becoming so common nowadays to have basically 3 receptions – friday night rehearsal dinner, the actual reception, then sunday brunch. That all adds up so fast! But, Bee, you’re not required to entertain people the whole weekend. Be welcoming, but you don’t have to pick up the bill.
Post # 8
I don’t think you’re required to accomodate them. And depending on what area of Florida it is, they will easily be able to keep themselves occupied.
Post # 9
Hey! We were in a similar position, with several groups of people arriving the thursday before the wedding. While not necessary, we did feel obligated to provide some pieces since people had traveled such a distance ( car & ferry).
We also kept in mind that people who arrived early, by and large, came early to spend time with their own family and friends. With that in mind we didn’t want to schedule too many ‘activities’
We did the following…
Thursday – “No parents” night. We invited anyone who wasn’t our specific parent or in their social circle to the local bar. people paid for their own food and drink. Lots of fun, and glad we were able to catch up with friends before the craziness began
Friday – small, private rehearsal dinner on a patio, which we then opened to any guest who was there after dinner was over. We provided desserts and an open bar for 90 min. This actually ended up working out well because it made it easier to thank each of our guests either friday or saturday. The hotel also had a jazz band playing, so people moved into the bar after our open bar finished. There was a power outage, and guests sort of bonded over that by candlelight in the the bar.
Saturday – wedding, obvi. For an after party reserved a couple tables at a local bar who had a guitarist playing late at night. Guests paid for their own food and drink, and we were not charged a fee because we brought in business.
Post # 10
I am having a destination wedding in FL as well. It will be Friday – Sunday. I will provide them a welcome note giving them suggestions as to where to eat, drink, and what to see and do. So far our itinerary is as follows:
Friday – Check in and join us poolside of cocktails
Saturday – Beachfront Ceremony at sunset followed by Dinner
Sunday – Farewell Brunch
I feel like this allows us time with our guests and allows them some time to themselves so they can vacation.
Where in FL are you getting married? We decided on St. Pete Beach.
Post # 11
While there’s nothing saying you have to entertain them, it’s a nice gesture to include a cocktail hour or welcome event. It doesn’t have to cost anything! Just a note like, “you’re welcome to join us for sunset cocktails on the beach/by the pool!”
Back in the day when the bride and groom grew up in the same area and few (if any) people had to travel, then inviting that small amount of people to the rehearsal dinner was expected. But for a destination wedding it’s less expected.