(Closed) wedding with immediate family, celebration with everyone else… advice needed

posted 10 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
163 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

WOW that was a lot to take in! It kind of sounds like you want a destination wedding and a reception at home for everyone else. I do not see nothing wrong with that and for the people that your mother feels should be there, why not invite them? At least if they can’t go the invite was still offered. This way you nor your mom have to feel guilty. If this is what you really want then go for it in the end it is about you and your Fiance. I hope you get it all figured out and when you do please fill us or me in. 

Post # 6
2640 posts
Sugar bee

Sometimes I have bad feelings about situations like these. (Like having your cake and eating it too.) 

But really, if your dream is to get married in CA, I think that would be a nice place to get married.  However I would not do a second ceremony.  If your guests knew you were already married, I’d say that it would be pointless, and if they didn’t, then you’d be lying. 

You could just have the reception and make a nice poignant speech about what they mean to you.

Could you have the wedding locally and honeymoon in CA?

Could you do the outdoor ceremony in CA, then have some type of church ceremony locally? Then it would at least seem as though your loved ones were around when you married in the eyes of God?

Post # 8
2640 posts
Sugar bee

Oh.. are you bummed?

If you had to choose, would you rather have the wedding in CA with few people or locally with everyone?  What would make for a more perfect day, CA or the people you have with you (who wouldn’t be with you in CA)?

Sometimes ideas like these don’t go over too well for parents (or people of an older generation) because destination weddings are kind of new.

You could do it exactly how you want, in CA. It is your day.  Your family will get over it.

Or you can conceed and have it locally.  Maybe think about how important celebrating your wedding is to so many people.  Even if you give up a little on your California dream.

Good luck.  I’m sure your wedding will be beautiful.

Post # 9
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Wow!  I am so glad that I read this post because I swear we must be identical "wedding" twins!  We also love California!  On our second visit I told my now fiance that I wanted to get engaged there (he proposed in one of our other favorite cities, Chicago).  But, I digress . . .

I originally wanted a small wedding in CA with just family and close friends and then a reception after we returned.  My family was okay, friends not so okay, and his family was confused as to why we wanted to marry in CA in the first place.  I think that his family would have joined us, but his grandmother refused and they are pretty close.   So, the wedding location selection process has gone from being a simple decision to a neverending saga.  I had so much pressure from his family and although I typically don’t give it to that type of influence, I have to live with them after the wedding.  We even considered FL for a brief second so that more of his family and our friends could come (because they could drive, not fly).  We nixed that idea because although it would be fun, I still had that nagging feeling that it just wasn’t quite right.    

I searched all around for something that compared and quite frankly, nothing even came close.  Soooooooooo, after agonizing and changing my mind a thousand times, I decided to stop fighting the feeling and to go with my gut.  We (just the two of us) will go to CA to marry.  It will be simple, sweet, and very private – just what I wanted.  We will have a second ceremony or blessing of our union at a church when we return.  We will also have a reception after.  The invitation will probably say something like "Caliewed and Fiance request the honor of your presence at a ceremony to bless their union."  Ambiguous, but simple.  I will allow my dad to walk me down the aisle, but we won’t have a flower girl / ring bearer, etc.  We will have bm, but only because I want my sisters to feel included in some way.   

I haven’t decided if we will tell people we married in CA, and I don’t want to make that choice right now.  Who knows, I might not tell anyone or I might say something like "yes, we had a private ceremony with just the two of us where we exchanged private vows . . . now we will have a public ceremony so that our families and friends celebrate the committment that we made to each other." 

Post # 10
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

I forgot to add that I also considered San Fran because the courthouse is BEAUTIFUL!  I even earmarked the website of a photographer who offers a discounted "courthouse wedding" package for weekday weddings – I was considering Friday at 2:30 or so when traffic at the courthouse dies down.  I also scouted a few other locations and all-in-one package deals in Napa/Sonoma.  So, if you decide to go for that area please let me know.   

Post # 11
228 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I know you’re going back and forth on this but if you want to read more about destination weddings with an "at home" reception. (AHR) afterwards, check out this board:



And good luck!


Post # 12
2004 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

I think as long as you are clear to your guests at the later reception that this is not your actual marriage, you are okay. I would not attempt to recreate your vows verbatim however, that might ring false somehow. There is a lot of advice about this on the WB boards about having "second receptions."

The three greatest concerns that jump out at me from your post are having your family and friends there (which is correlated to proximity to home), getting married outdoors, and cost. It seems like CA would only satisfy one of those options (outdoors), although I sense you think it would also be cheaper. But would it really cost less than doing it at home? Remember that even if the ceremony is cheaper, you will still have to pay for plane tickets, hotels, and food for everyone, and that can really add up. 

My suggestion would be to consider an outdoor destination wedding that is a little closer to home, within a few hours’ driving distance from MA. Getting out of the city would undoubtedly be cheaper, and a few hours’ driving is not too much to ask for a wedding (certainly much less than flying cross-country), which would mean everyone could come to the ceremony like you wanted in the first place. Then maybe you could honeymoon in CA like Tanya suggested. 

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