Post # 1
Okay. So we’re planning a destination wedding in Maui. We would like this to be an intimate affair with only a few close friends and family. However, given the large size of my fiance’s family, and the fact that some of my close relatives (grandma and grandpa) aren’t able to fly, we are going to have a reception on the East Coast (where I am from) and on the West Coast (where we live) after the Maui wedding. How do we handle the guest list?! My fiances dad wants to invite his entire family (57+ people!) to the wedding in Maui “as a nice gesture” knowing that they probably won’t go. But, do we really know that they won’t come? And this just seems so awkward, AND they are going to be invited to the reception on the East Coast! Ugh! This is frustrating. There is one more catch.. my fiance wants to invite a few of these said relatives. How do we do this without hurting anybody’s feelings? Is that even possible? And how do we tell everyone that they will be invited to the reception on the east coast, without inviting them to Maui. I have NO IDEA how to do this! Ha… Thanks for your help!
Post # 3
I’ll give it to you straight: having a Destination Wedding and then a separate home reception is a bit like having your cake and eating it too. And I say this because I myself had a separate family-only ceremony and then a big party later on–the same deal, only it wasn’t specifically a Destination Wedding. I’m in no way against what you are planning (again–I did it myself!) but I do think that you need to be sensitive to the fact that it can come off as self-indulgent because you are in some sense implying that people aren’t “good enough” to witness the nuptials, but good enough to celebrate them (and give you attention and gifts to boot!). So with that sensitivity in mind, there are a few certain points of advice I have:
1. Keep the ceremony as small as possible. Barring elopement, we’re talking about clear lines in the sand with who you invite.
I think that you’ll have an easier time if you keep the Destination Wedding as intimate as possible IF you are going to have a celebration later on at home. And it’s easiest if you keep it as “clean” as possible–meaning, ONLY immediate family or something like that. Once you slice and dice relatives, you are setting yourself up for problems. Unless the relatives on FI’s side are his soulmate bosom buddies, then I think that he should leave them behind. Also, DO NOT invite people just to “be polite;” wedding invitations are not “nice gestures,” they are very real requests for someone’s presence at your event. If you don’t want them present, then don’t invite them. And–this goes back to the beginning–it will be THAT MUCH EASIER to explain to Future Father-In-Law that you are going to have an intimate ceremony for only those nearest and dearest, ie, immediate family only or immediate family + grandparents or something.
2. Do NOT call your West Coast celebration a wedding. Explain what it is–you got married in Maui and you are having a celebratory reception at home. Our invite said: “BothCoasts and Mr. BothCoasts were married 10.10.10 in New York, New York. (next page) Please join us for a celebratory brunch blah blah blah…” so the actual event and its circumstances were clear.
3. Do NOT expect gifts–from either your Destination Wedding guests (as they will be spending a pretty penny just to attend) or from your celebration guests (as they will not be attending an actual wedding). Yes, you can still register, but I would be conservative about how you let people know about it–do not put it in the invitation!
Post # 4
I think your best bet would be sending a wedding announcement out that says something to the effect of ” hey! We want to celebrate our newly married selves with you on this date.
I think you and your fi need to sit down and give yourselves a limit of who are the most important people in YOUR LIVES, and those are thepeople who get an invite . Everyone elce gets to gotp the party 🙂
Eta: both coasts said it better haha
Post # 5
As is often the case, @BothCoasts: and I are on the same page here…
First off, you and your Hubby-2-B are in charge here… not your Future Father-In-Law isn’t
So I suggest you handle this as if it was an Elopement…
Figure out exactly how many people (and WHO) you would like to Invite to the Destination Wedding… just remember you said “intimate”… so keep your numbers small… under 10 in total would be ideal
Send Wedding Invitations to those folks, indicating that you are doing a small intimate Destination Wedding, and you’d be honoured if they attended.
Next, figure out which folks would naturally be best to invite to which of the After-the-Ceremony Receptions based on their local (Easterners vs Westerners)
Send those folks Wedding Announcements… and an Invite to the appropriate After-the-Ceremony Reception
If you need more info on the “technical aspects” I can certainly help you (Peggy Post’s “Wedding Etiquette” book in hand) you can drop me a PM
Hope this helps,
Post # 6
What they said ^^^
ESPECIALLY the clear lines on who is invited. Intermediate family only + maid of honor and best man is the safest way to go. Think of your guests in terms of “groupings” or “circles”. If you invite someone from one “circle” and exclude the rest there will be war and drama.
Tell your fiance NO. Special gesture invites are stupid and a waste of paper. They create chaos for the bride (you won’t know who is coming), they will get people mad, and also…did i mention they’re stupid? lol. Instead, send out 2 versions of a reception invite, one for each coast.
Word it something along these lines:
MauiBride (daughter of so and so) and MauiGroom (son of so and so) will married in a private wedding ceremony on 11/6/12
We request the honor of your presence at our welcome home reception following the ceremony
November blah blah blah
at six o’clock
Harbor view Golf Club
8710 Harbor view Club Drive
Send those out first. Before and after that by word of mouth you need to let family/friends know that you’re wedding in Maui will be VERY VERY intimate. After the reception invites go out call people who you think might be offended to clarify and let them know you love them, not to take it personally, etc. Tell them your dream is to have a private romantic and intimate ceremony, like an elopement. It’s different, but it’s your dream. That should shut them up. haha.
-Make sure you have pics of the ceremony to share at the receptions to make family feel included, perhaps even get some prints for your old school aunts or as a nice gesture for grandma, etc.
-For your sake don’t include gift/registry info in your reception invites. That will make you look crazy.
-Make sure your reception invites evoke the mood of the reception. Will it be BBQ style? Or formal with the DJ, etc? People need to know what to expect and what to wear. Your invites should “look” like your reception.
Post # 7
Thank you all for this advice! It has been really helpful and definitely given me somethng to think about. I didn’t realize that the reception on both coasts would seem self-indulgent, mostly because, what I am now realizing (and already kind of knew) is that I’m just trying to please everyone. My family wants to celebrate the wedding with those who can’t come (grandma especially) at an east coast reception. I know my fiance and I are in charge, but I don’t want to hurt any of his family’s feelings. To be honest, I have a small family and small close knit friend base who are invited, so my guest list is simple. It’s my fiance’s family that is huge!
We are in the beginning stages of wedding planning, so again this advice is helpful! I will let you know how it all turns out.