I didn’t read through all of the comments, so please forgive me if I am telling you things someone has already touched on! I just posted a thread in “20 something brides” titled something along the lines of “For the brides who want to ditch everything they’ve already planned,” where I explain my experience with wedding planning in full detail if you’d like to read it! But for now, I will answer your questions and give you one piece of advice that really helped me decide.
If you ever considered a destination wedding, what made you decide yes or no?
When I first got engaged, I truly did not know what I wanted. I had never really imagined my wedding like most girls. For 5 months, I worked closely with a wedding planner. From day one I was stressed out, unexcited, and worried the whole time about not having everything I desire. But I stuck with it because I had already hired a wedding planner and put a deposit down on my venue. The way I saw it, if I was going to have a big wedding celebration for everyone invited (keyword: everyone), I wanted it be one of a kind. Thinking that way was the first giant signal to me that I should stop what I am doing and change my plans. If you feel at any point like you’re doing this to please other people, you should stop and remember this day is about you and your fiance. No one else! Your situation isn’t very similar to mine, but I can tell the aspect of feeling like you have to please other people is there. Anyways, I’ll go on… The second thing that made me reconsider was the fact that I am a new graduate and a traditional wedding was estimated to cost me $15,000 or more. And I still wouldn’t have all the aspects I wanted and I wasn’t getting much help paying for the day, but my Destination Wedding is costing me around $6,000 including photography, which is about $2,500 of the cost. But the most important thing that influenced my decision to go from planning a traditional wedding to a destination wedding was the fact that when I thought about a destination wedding I was completely elated, and when I thought about a traditional wedding I felt dread. I didn’t even think anyone would want to come to my Destination Wedding. So I was planning an elopment. But to my wonderful surprise, my closest friends and family all showed interest in attending and I am not going without a single person I love. Since getting this Destination Wedding planned, I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s 10 months away but I am so flipping excited I can barely take it. My piece of advice is if you are feeling stress more than feeling joy when thinking about your big day, you may want to consider changing plans and doing what makes YOU the happiest.
Did you have a second “at home” reception for those who couldn’t make it? Is that a thing?
It’s absolutely a thing and we are having an “at home reception.” We will probably order a crap ton of pizzas and have a bunch of kegs and wine. Nothing fancy… Essentially a huge party.
How much say should parents have in the guest list? If they pay for 60 or 70% of the event, does that mean it’s not up for debate?
That’s a tough one, but if they’re paying for these people to come, and you don’t mind, I don’t see the harm… However, it seems like you do mind, and this is your day! If you don’t want them there, then put your foot down and say no!
All and all, your post really makes me feel like you’re unhappy with the whole thought of a traditional wedding. Go with your gut and do what makes you and your fiance happy! Good luck to you and I hope you make the right decision for yourself!