@sheeply: We dealt with half the people being from across the country. Darling Husband is from California originally, but everyone that was on his side of the family stayed at the same hotel, rode together in big vans, had GPS as well as very detailed directions (we had a wedding website so that the across country folks could access hotel info, airport info, a map of the park, all of that), so everything was totally fine. We gave everyone a map of the park and highlighted their entrance/parking area, and his side of the family all came to the rehearsal/dinner, so they were able to acquaint themselves with the venue before the day of. We had our rehearsal dinner at Outback Steakhouse (lol), and it was totally fine, everyone has GPS and it was the only Outback in the area so nobody got lost.
From what you’ve described, it doesn’t seem like it would be a problem at all. The only thing I’d worry about was whether or not you had elderly that couldn’t stand for long. My grandfather was there and he is too old to have stood/walked the entire way (my little brother actually escorted me and then my grandpa took me a few steps to my DH), but like I said, we were able to have chairs. I would ask the park of they have any kind of exception for handicapped people if you are going to be having grandparents and so forth. Also definitely make sure it’s somewhere accesible for them if there is a problem with mobility. Luckily for us, our gazebo had a gorgeous bridge and long extensive walkway on one side, but was immediately accesible by the main park road on the other, so my grandfather was dropped off by my aunt on the side with the road and he just walked through to the other side where I was coming across the bridge. It was a little bit of a logistical thing, but it wasn’t a problem.
My biggest challenge is that I got married in Annapolis, which is a very…erm…snob? Area? Lol. It’s hard to describe, but the people down there are well to do and everything has “its way” so they were kind of peculiar with the rules, but it wasn’t anything huge that we couldn’t work around. It was more annoying than anything, but I still wouldn’t trade it for the world. The good thing about Annapolis folk being somewhat snobbish is that they’re big into making sure they’re polite and not a nuisance because that wouldn’t be proper. So no, we didn’t have any problems with patrons at all. Everyone got out of the way for photos, people would stop and congratulate us, those total randos clapped after our ceremony, nobody brought their dogs near us (thank god), everything went fine. Like I said, some of our pro shots have cars in the background of people coming into the park (it IS a public venue, after all), but we also have shots where there are no cars, so it’s not a huge deal.
For reference, here are some of our photos:
Our bridal party/bride&groom pictures were taken in a different area of the park (by the water, as you can see) than the ceremony was held, which actually did require us all to kind of pack into a car and drive down there, but we worked it out such that after the ceremony, we quickly did the parent photos and then our parents went and got the vans, which were handed off to our bridal party, and we all piled in and drove down, followed by the photographer. The bridal party did their pictures and then they drove back up to the reception site, while we stayed for the bride/groom pictures and then the photographer drove us back to the reception hall in HIS car. It all worked out smoothly and there was plenty of scotch/rum/vodka/wine/beer/appetizers/music to keep everyone entertained in the mean time, so it was really very nice.
The difference with us was that our hall was on-site so it just required driving around the various parts of the park as opposed to different locations. But still, I don’t think it should be a problem. 🙂