Post # 1
Sorry for the long explanation but I’m having a dilemma and would like any help/advice!
My Fiance and I will be having a civil ceremony in December in the U.S. My Fiance is from Spain and I’m American. He’ll be here for the holidays (about 3 weeks) to spend time with my family and whatnot. He’ll be going back to Spain after because we’re both still in school and we’re set to graduate in May 2021. Afterwards, I’ll be moving to Spain as we’ve decided to live in Spain. We’ll be having a religious wedding in Spain in September 2021. The main reasons we’re deciding to have a civil ceremony in the states and then a religious wedding is:
a. Legal aspect/immigration issues — to sum it up, the process is easier and more economic if we were to have a civil ceremony in the U.S. and then have our religious wedding in Spain
b. So that we can celebrate with my relatives and friends in the U.S.
My dad is a pastor and I’ve grown up in the church. When I got older, I moved away for some years but now am back in my hometown. During this time, a lot of new people have joined the church. I only truly know 1/3 of the church well enough (i.e. they’ve watched me grow up and I’ve grown up with some of their kids) and the other half are strangers to me. My dad insists on extending an invite to the entire church for our religious wedding in September 2021 in Spain. He says that it would be polite and that it’s highly unlikely that any of them would go. I don’t want to invite any of them because:
a. If I invite them, I should be prepared to pay for the cost (oh! my Fiance and I are paying for everything ourselves)
b. It’s true that most of the church adults would not travel all the way to Spain for the religious wedding but I know that their adult kids (the kids I grew up with at church) would most definitely go. Frankly, I don’t talk to any of them. I have nothing against them but I simply have no relation to them as an adult now.
c. We’re already at limit with our guest list for the wedding in Spain
I’m thinking through several ways to approach this situation and these two are the ones that stand out:
1. The initial plan was to have a small celebration (almost like a bridal shower for both of us) with the church. We would then have our civil ceremony and do a small intimate celebration at my parents home afterwards. I wouldn’t invite the church to the Spain wedding. But I feel I technically would still be obligated to invite the church to the Spain wedding.
2. Another option would be to have an actual “American” wedding. We could send our invites along the lines of “We’re eloping on *insert date* join us for the reception *insert date and place*”. My Fiance and I would have our civil ceremony and then celebrate with the church. We would not have an extravagant reception maybe we’d have it at the church dining hall decorate it to look a little nicer but still keeping things simple. In this case, I don’t see why I would be obligated to send invites to the Spain wedding.
Any input is much appreciated!
Post # 2
Since you’re paying, your dad is out of order to insist that you invite the whole church, when you don’t even know loads of them. Having said that, he probably knows he’s going to get fallout from his congregation who aren’t invited, and wants to avoid that.
I don’t think you can assume that those who are invited won’t go. And you don’t want your ceremony filled up with guests you don’t want there.
Would this work as a compromise? Small legal ceremony with family & close friends followed by short service of ‘blessing’ and tea and cake (I didn’t pick my user name for nothing!) in your dad’s church. This means those from your dad’s church who want to can celebrate your wedding with you and feel like they’ve been part of it – and hopefully not give your dad grief for being left out. And then you can have your religious wedding in Spain with those you actually want to be there.
I do have a sneaking sympathy for your dad – I’m marrying a pastor and sometimes it feels like the entire world feels like they have a say in our wedding!
Post # 3
I would definitely NOT invite the entire church of randos to your spain wedding. I think your Dad’s heart is in the right place, but it comes off gift grabby IMO. You aren’t obligated to invite ANYONE to your wedding, get those thoughts out of your mind!
I think either of your options are fine though. I guess I lean more towards option 2. Do a small ceremony, have a cake & punch reception, then go for dinner with your parents or something. The church folk still get to feel involved without the imposition of thousands of dollars in travel and/or “bridal shower” gifts of the first option.
Post # 4
Whoever you invite to your wedding you must be able to afford and properly host.
You have no idea who will come or not, especially if your wedding is in next couple years when travelling will resume people will more likely to go to use as vacation/trip since no one is vacationing these days… so people who normal would say no sorry cant afford me and my family do x y z trips may now be like amazing spain were coming.. Spain is a very gorgeous and popular destination and also quite affordable to fly to from North America (at least from Canada)
Second of all, you dont need to invite anyone to a very special and intimate day of your life to be nice etc.. I know religious communities are knowns to have big weddings inviting many members of church etc but from the ones I know that happened are usual very budget weddings usually in the church hall/basement.. I dont kknow a single religious wedding held at a golf course, banquet hall or any other venue with this open invitation… that would an insane cost
Third of all, do not have two full on weddings to please other people..
you are going to have a civil cermeony followed by reception and then spain full on religous traditional wedding? That is way too much.. I cant imagine how one of these things wont lose its importance and keep being special. I would have absolutely zero interest in planning,being excited for, caring or putting effort into 2 full weddings
This is a day about you and your fiance and your only responsibility is to be a propoer and caring host the people you want there..
Tell your dad nicely that you will be doing your original plan and if that pffends someone then be it. you are not obligated to do a 180 on your special day so that Karen who gave you cookies when you were 10 isnt upset.
Good luck bee
Post # 5
I wasn’t actually meaning a full reception in America – just tea and cake/nibbles, which in most chuches could be easily catered for by the keen cooks in the congregation!
I had two friends who did this – the church ladies loved having an excuse to make their favourite bakes and they were delighted to serve and clear up after. Everyone got to see the bride and groom on their wedding day (they had some photos taken outside the church with their wedding party while people were having the cake) and then they went off to the main reception with their invited guests. So zero cost or work for the bride and groom, and everyone felt included.
Post # 6
Oh I see.. I guess again I dont see the point you sound like you really dont care to celebrate with strangers.. but then do that if thats what you want
Post # 7
When you mean the “entire church” how many is that? Are we talking 1000+ people?
Post # 8
Honestly, I think it is MORE rude to invite people to a wedding you know they wouldn’t be interested in going to and would be a hardship to attend when you have no close relationship. As PP said, it comes off as a plea for gifts.
While it certainly can be common to open the ceremony to the whole church (and really a church can’t close its doors if someone wanted to come in) – that really only applies when you’re having the wedding in your home church, not an overseas wedding outside of the church. Sure your dad wants to save face with his congregation, but a) it’s not his call, and b) no one is owed an invitation to your wedding.
I wouldn’t do a pre-wedding celebration with the church. Pre-wedding celebrations should be limited to people invited to the wedding. Does your church host treats before or after the service? For example, mine often hosts doughnuts, punch, and coffee between the Sunday School hour and the actual weekly sermon with different people signing up each week to be in charge of it. If not, then perhaps after the service the first Sunday after getting married, perhaps you can host a treat. Have it announced during the service that you were married privately (and just do a nice dinner with immediate family for that) but wanted to celebrate with your church family and invite them to stay for cake and punch in the fellowship hall after the service. This way you avoid the awkward expectation of invitations and without the forewarning it can’t be seen as a gift-grab.
Post # 9
Thanks for all the input everyone! Just clarification:
If we were to have “bridal shower”, we would let everyone know NOT to buy us gifts or give money. We’re living in a different country. I’m moving to a whole different country. I’m only taking my things and don’t want to deal with extra things like gifts and such.
Post # 10
A good compromise might be a small church/legal ceremony followed by an afternoon cake and punch reception “sendoff” which your father can invite his church members to and pay for any marginal expenses.
Post # 11
could you get married at your church in the USA and do a simple cake and punch reception at the church with the church crowd afterwards? then you are both legally married and can do a simple celebration with everyone there.
i wouldn’t invite the whole church crowd to the spanish wedding. just invite those that you truly want to be there.
i also wouldn’t host a second full wedding in the usa just to please your dad. that seems like adding a lot of expense and hassle for no reason.
Post # 12
We were LDR so I understand the struggle. Actually it’s more annoying because I have a third country which is my birth country. My plans (pre-COVID):
1. Engagement in our current country
2. Engagement dinner in lieu of party (close extended family invited) in my country of birth
3. Wedding (guests and family) in my SO’s country
Post # 13
Just wanted to add, don’t do a shower at all if you don’t want gifts, since the entire purpose of them is to get gifts .
l agree with pps re not letting your father dictate anything about guests if he is not paying for them . The pp who said a surprising amount might say yes given travel restrictions lifting etc .
Also, by Sept 2021 you will have been married for the better part of a year and may well not have the impetus or desire for another big ceremony . I assume the religious aspect is for his family? Make sure you are not doing either of these ceremonies to please others .