- 4 years ago
- Wedding: August 2014
Hi all, I just wrote this treatise of etiquette questions regarding our wedding this August. Please understand: I am not good at being brief, and even though I’ve never been a very wedding-y person, now that I am planning one my obsessive tendencies are causing me to try very hard to do it RIGHT.
So if you have time, please chime in on the following questions. Judge away, be harsh if you want. I want to know what our guests are really going to think of our decisions. I want to try my best to make them feel happy and taken care of, not taken advantage of, but it is also really important to me to keep this wedding under $10,000, as we are paying for it ourselves and my fiance has enormous student loans, I am a full-time student part-time worker myself, and we are trying to save up for a down payment on a house in a VERY expensive city.
1. I wanted a small, intimate, modest wedding, he wanted a big guestlist/money no object party. Our family lives all over the country and wherever we chose a venue, it would end up being a destination wedding for some people. We compromised on a smallish wedding (60-65 guests) at a really awesome venue (vintage yacht) in our current city. ***The yacht can only accomodate up to 65 guests***
My half of the guestlist is almost all family, his is closest family and the rest friends. His aunts, uncles, cousins, etc will not be invited, but instead we will have a casual backyard BBQ or whatever at the winter holidays to celebrate with them.
I think this decision is the best for us, but I’ve had second thoughts too… a lot of his extended family members have been asking his mom and us to set a date, let them know, they’re so excited, etc. I know we have to tell them that we HAVE set a date, and they’re just not invited, but before we take the plunge, tell me – did we make a mistake choosing to limit the guestlist like this? How rude are we?
2. My side of the guestlist includes cousins, but can only include plus ones for cousins who are engaged/in a serious relationship. It is what it is, but again, how rude are we? Will the fact that the wedding is on a boat with obviously limited space help those guests without plus ones understand why, or will we just be seen as bad hosts?
3. Regarding invites and RSVPs – there are some chronic Latey McLates in my family/friend circle. The yacht cruise is only booked for 3 hours and having some guests be even a “reasonable” 15-20 minutes late could seriously affect our cruise time. So I am thinking of putting “boarding time promptly at: (time 30 minutes before actual boarding time)” on the invitation. A) Can I do this or is it super rude? B) Fiance thinks if I do put a fake earlier time, we need to provide waiting cocktails for guests who actually arrive on time or early. I have already arranged to have cocktails waiting for the guests the minute they step on board, and to me, waiting 30 minutes or so on a beautiful summer morning in a beautiful and interesting marina setting does not sound very onerous even without cocktails. What do you guys think?
4. We live in LA and venues aren’t cheap here. We are completely hosting the ceremony and reception for 60-65, but chose to have a morning/lunch wedding to cut costs. Our intimate guest list means a lot of local friends/acquaintances are being left out. I personally don’t care if friends/acquaintances who live 5 miles from us but who we haven’t seen in 3 years don’t come to my wedding, but fiance does, so to compromise we decided to “semi-host” an “afterparty” the night of the ceremony/reception at the hotel where we will be blocking off rooms for all the wedding guests. “Semi-host” means we will have purchased a set number of drink tickets for the hotel bar before the event. We plan to put the word out pretty openly and casually (text, email, facebook, etc. – no formal invite) that the night of our wedding we will be hanging out in post-celebration party mode at the hotel bar, so anyone who wants to stop by and have a drink on us is welcome and encouraged. A) Is this acceptable or do drink tickets look like a total cop-out from providing an open bar? On one hand, we ARE completely hosting lunch and an open bar at the ceremony and reception, but on the other hand, will people find it rude to receive a casual invitation to an event where only one or two drinks are provided free?
5. Regarding the hotel – we found an awesome hotel near the venue and got a pretty good wedding rate because we are purchasing drink tickets for the afterparty at their (awesome) bar. Rooms are usually over $300 a night (right on the ocean with great views), but our party price is $199/night.
We also plan to put on our wedding website a list of nearby, more reasonable hotels and motels for anyone who doesn’t want to stay at the swanky hotel. Our thinking is, you fly all the way to LA for a wedding, most people expect to splurge on a nicer hotel instead of a crappy motel, and we wanted to choose a nice hotel with a nice bar so that the afterparty could be hosted where most people are staying – important for guests who want to come but don’t want to get a taxi, drive, or leave their kids at a hotel down the street while they party. But I worry that we will be judged for recommending such a pricey hotel. Besides offering the alternatives, as a nod to how expensive travel to and accommodations in LA can be, we have also decided not to register for gifts, and in fact to make no mention of gifts at all but to say “we know how expensive travel will be, so please consider your attendance your gift to us!” to anyone who asks about a registry.
What do you guys think? Is the hotel too expensive? Is our plan of having a small but fully hosted ceremony and reception on an awesome yacht and providing the option of attending a semi-hosted after-party reasonable, or will our guests judge us for not putting enough effort/money toward making sure they enjoy themselves comparable to the amount of money they spend on travel?