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Ask Team Practical: Daytime Weddings, Additional Guests, Angry Twins


Ask Team Practical: Daytime Weddings, Additional Guests, Angry Twins | A Practical Wedding

We’re holding a destination wedding in Telluride (I’m from Colorado), so we’re trying to get invitations and other things out ASAP to give people a chance to book their airfares. But we’re stalled at one of the most important things: daytime wedding or evening wedding? We’re not dancers and our friends aren’t either, so that’s pushing us toward a more causal daytime affair, but we keep running into the criticism that if people are flying all the way out for a destination wedding, the least we can do is give them a full dinner/evening of entertainment. We’ve managed to make our (tight) budget work for either scenario, but any advice on the trade-offs of doing a daytime vs. evening wedding? Do guests seem to have a strong preference either way, or, I guess what I’m really asking—does a daytime wedding look like cheaping-out? Any major advantages to having a daytime vs. evening wedding?

Who told you that a daytime wedding is cheaping-out??  My daytime wedding and I would like have some words with them.  As would Meg who wrote a whole post about why her daytime wedding was the bestAnd these bridesAnd these couples.  And…

Your guests aren’t owed anything but being fed on time, a comfortable place to watch you get married and a general good time.  And who, exactly is telling you that you can’t have a good time before the sun goes down?  Silly people, that’s who.  The fact is, most of that good time will depend on their attitude about the whole thing.  The idea of a wedding being dinner and a show, in exchange for guests bestowing you with their presence, is less etiquette and more horrid.  There is no reason that you can’t give your guests a good time with a casual daytime affair, just like there’s no reason that there can’t be a crazy-awesome dance fest at a daytime wedding (or you can’t skip dancing all together if it’s not your thing).  Plan the wedding that you want at the time of day that works best for you, your partner and your budget.  Your guests will travel if they are able and will be grateful for being there.  You know why?  It’s because your guests are grown-ass people, and can make their own decisions… and because your wedding is not an imposition.  Anyone who is not grateful to share such an monumental day with you would have found something to complain about regardless of the time of day you held your ceremony and reception. So let it go, and do what’s right for you (hint: daytime weddings rule).

******

Originally, my fiancé and I wanted to keep the wedding relatively intimate and simple, not wanting people there that we didn’t know personally and that we didn’t strongly feel were supportive of our same-sex relationship. However, this turned into a small conflict with my parents when it came to inviting their friends. After thinking, and reading many blogs, we began opening ourselves up to the fact that this wedding was very important for our parents as well, and that in a world where many same-sex couples don’t even have their parents at their weddings because they are not supportive, we wanted to appreciate and honor the fact that our parents were excited to not only attend the wedding, but wanted to invite their friends, too.

We decided that we would have each parent invite one friend (or couple) that they really wanted to be there. In the last month, however, my mother has been constantly asking me if she can invite two other friends (they are each a couple, equaling four people). I said no many times, trying to explain to her how we only want people who we feel are supportive around us, and that we really want the wedding to stay simple and intimate. The other day she called and asked once more if I would re-consider. She is willing to forgo one of the couples, but feels that it is important to invite the other couple. Basically, she feels badly that she would invite one couple (the one she had originally chosen to invite), and not the other, because they are all friends. While on one hand I feel that the entire dilemma is quite childish, I also know that it is important to me and my fiancé to have people around us that we feel comfortable with and that we know support us. I have read a lot about setting boundaries with parents, but also about recognizing that this is a day for them as well, and it is important to honor their love and support. In reality, it is only one more couple at the wedding. So, I do not know whether this is something I should hold my strict boundary with, or compromise further and allow my mother to invite another friend.

~Confused About Setting Boundaries or Staying Open

My biggest advice to you is stop reading blogs.  (Well, finish reading this post, then stop. Obviously it would be awkward for all of us if you stopped right this second.)  What do YOU and YOUR PARTNER think?  If you don’t know this extra couple and the idea of having virtual strangers at your small wedding fills you with dread, then hold firm and explain to your mom why you made the rule in the first place, she’ll understand.

HOWEVER.  (You knew this was coming.)  It doesn’t sound like adding guests fills you with dread.  And you probably do know these people a little bit, right?  At the very least from your mom reminding you, “Judy! You know, Judy Wilkes from two doors down. She helped me when I broke my leg and we have dinner every Thursday. THAT Judy!”  While it is important for you and your partner to protect yourselves from those who aren’t supportive, would your mother actually invite those type of people to your wedding?  She’s happy for you and she’s excited and she wants her friends to witness this event that is not only a huge step in your life, but hers also.  Let her have the extra guests.  And give your partner’s parents an extra couple, if they’d like.  That’s four more smiling, happy faces looking at you on your wedding day, with even wider smiles from the grateful parents.  The blogs are always talking about how intimacy is important at weddings, but you know what’s even more important?  More love.  We can never have too much love, and if your mom loves Judy Wilkes from down the street, and Judy Wilkes wants to come love bomb you at your wedding?  Well, hell.  We should all have such problems, right?  Yes, rules and boundaries are an important part of establishing your baby family, but it’s also okay to know when to bend them a little.

And PS: Lauren, in her last act of advice for APW, points out that the dilemma itself is a little childish because your mom has to do a schoolyard thing of PICK THE VERY BEST FRIEND. If she can invite a couple of friends and not pick her best-best friend, she might calm down a little. (Thanks Lauren! We love you! Byeee!)

******

I am getting married in about seven weeks. We dated for four years, struggled to get our legal careers on track and then said to hell with it all—let’s just get married. We announced to our families that we were getting married and all our families and friends were so happy for us, minus my fiance’s twin sister, who stormed out of the room and then later declared that she if she wanted to she could sabotage the wedding and make our lives a living hell until the wedding. She followed up the comments with an email to my fiancé basically saying not to marry me because I am too young. (I am 27 and my fiancé is 31.)

To be honest, going into to telling his twin sister we knew it wasn’t going to be all roses and sunshine—but I didn’t expect this response. Up until this point I haven’t had any personal conflicts with her.

Our response up until now is to say nothing. We haven’t responded to her comments, emails, etc. His grandmother keeps telling me if someone throws me stones, give them bread, but when bread comes at a price tag of $200 a person, I don’t really want someone there who has said such awful things to me. However, she is my fiancé‘s twin, and I don’t want to not invite her (my fiance doesn’t want her there—but I don’t think that’s the best option). But I do feel like there needs to be a conversation prior to the wedding. I just don’t know what to say or where to begin, and to be honest, I am so frustrated and annoyed I don’t think I am being my most rational self.

E.

Yikes.  Well, look on the bright side—telling someone ahead of time that you are going to sabotage their wedding and make their life a living hell is probably not the best way to go about sabotaging their wedding and making their life a living hell. So if she is devious, she’s not very good at it.

Joking aside, this is a bigger issue than just your wedding, and you may need to enlist your partner’s family for help.  What does the rest of the family say?  This kind of reaction is more than just a Debbie Downer.  It seems like she has some serious issues and is in need of help. Being against your marriage and having issues with you is one thing; screaming about it like a pissed-off child is entirely another.  I seriously doubt that her behavior is something new; I also doubt that this is about you marrying her brother and more about her and her own issues and feelings about him getting married at all.  You and your partner having a talk with other members of the family might give you some insight into her extreme reaction, especially since you haven’t had any conflicts with her before now.

Even if this does smooth out on its own or with the help of family, consider talking to a family counselor.  It is easy to chalk this up to drama and ignore the simple but painful fact that someone is against your relationship and is trying to ruin an important milestone in your life.  Consider the counseling insurance for your baby family; learning how to deal with his sister now will help you in the future if she tries to drive a wedge between you again.

As far as your wedding goes, $200 a person is a lot of money to seemingly waste on an possibly unruly guest, but it’s not a lot to spend on an olive branch to family.  Invite her but tell her that if she can’t be civilized, she can’t come.  She is your partner’s twin and that means something, but it doesn’t give her a pass to act out at your wedding. When you invite her, she may declare a boycott, but plan on her being there—there may be some last minute change of heart.

******

How ’bout it, Team Practical?  What are your thoughts on add-ons to a tight guest list and daytime vs. evening weddings?  How about a deep conflict with one family member? How did that affect your relationship and your planning?

Photo from the APW Flickr stream by Kokoro Photography, from wedding grad Deena.

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Alyssa at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com.  If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted.  Though we prefer if you make up a totally ridiculous sign-off like conflicted and rageful but deeply in love in Detroit (CARBDILID, duh).  We’re not kidding.  It brings us joy.  What, you don’t want to bring your editors JOY?!

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  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com Amanda

    Well, we are also not big party animals, and we actually really really wanted to have a daytime wedding. We wanted light. Of course there was the possibility of having a day ceremony + reception + break + dinner party but that was out of the question for us. As ours was also a “mixed” wedding and we had friends and family travelling from all kinds of places we also thought of that. In the end we went with our gut and had a day wedding, ceremony was at 11:30, and reception from then until about 18h30. After the reception we just had fun with our out of town guests… we went to have dinner together by the beach , at the many lounge bars that they have there, the next day we also had lunch together at one of our favorite restaurants (about 30 people), but we split the bill, I paid for my friends, my parents for some of the family, etc… and just in general we had a great time with our friends and family without the dinner party extravaganza (that is also a fine option, not judging here, just saying it was not our ideal option). I wrote some posts about what we did the days before and after the wedding,. I think mostly your guests will be happy to be with you even if it is a “simple” celebration, and yes, even if they travelled for you, you can still do lots of things together (visiting the sights, etc…)

    • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

      Yes, yes, yes. As the lucky “And” linked in Alyssa’s “And these brides” above, I would like to also say that our daytime wedding rocked. We had a pretty good mix of people from nearby and out of town, and we had our ceremony at 2:30 p.m. and then the reception (with lots of dessert-y goodness) and the people who lived nearby trickled out as the afternoon went on, and our closest friends and out-of-town guests stayed later. We threw together an informal dinner for the 20 or so people that were left by dinnertime, and then we drove the hour and a half back to where we live with our car packed full of presents and luggage. I think this worked out pretty spectacularly for us. I was really worried that if we chose to have an evening wedding, we would have to leave before we were really ready to because of the drive and probable exhaustion. Instead, we got to stay as long as we wanted, and still made it home in time to have a little bit of that amazing, joyful day all to ourselves before going to bed.

      All of us daytime-weddingers should just band together and show the person who said daytime weddings are ‘cheaping out’ what’s what.

      • Kashia

        Yay for daytime weddings! I had one too. And it rocked! We had and 11am ceremony, and an early “dinner” reception out of town at family property, so there was an hour drive to get there. And I live on the prairies so even in late August it’s light out until 9:30pm or so. We expected people to leave earlier than that, and some people did. And a bunch of people stuck around until 2am (mostly talking, but there was a bonfire, s’mores and an impromptu dance party). Then some of these people slept over and got up at 8am to eat bagels and play extreme croquet. The vast majority of our guests were from out of town and had never met each other before that weekend. And you know what, lots of them are still telling me how much fun they had.

        The point being, do what YOU want. Your true friends and family will support you and love you and have a fantastic time regardless of what time your wedding happens. And for us, the earlier wedding meant we had more time to spend with people we hadn’t seen in years who had traveled to celebrate with us.

        • Alyssa

          And NONE of this to disparage evening weddings. I’m still a little sad that I didn’t get to have the romance of a winter evening wedding. But I rocked the hell out of the daytime fall wedding, so it’s still a win for me!

  • jessie

    I’m struggling with the whole parents having guests thing – my family is giving us their business to use as our wedding venue, and so I really feel like they should have whoever they want there. However, my partner, who is very private, doesn’t want people he doesn’t know well. While I get it, I have to say that I agree with the advice given: families (and friends) don’t fit into handy boxes or groupings, so I think saying “you get 2 people only” or “we’re only inviting 63 people and No.More.” will always be an exercise in frustration. Yes, it’s important to know your limit and play within it, but just a like a few no-shows won’t destroy your wedding, nor will a few extra (supportive, of course) faces. If you have any doubts about how much these friends of your parents support you, though, that’s a different story. Those people get a no, obvs, and you shouldn’t question that for a second.

    For the daytime vs evening, also, I get it, and I personally chose an evening wedding for that very reason: I felt badly asking people to travel so far and I KNEW I would plan something in the evening to see them anyway, so I figured that thing might as well be a wedding. Will you see important people later on, or is the wedding the only time you’ll see them? Might be worth considering, but honest, your wedding isn’t an imposition, and if you want daytime, do daytime. If it helps, I’m doing an evening wedding, with no dancing. People will make comments in advance, but I don’t care. We’re doing a games night (not structured games, just having games available) and with a photo booth, an open bar, and possibly an hour or two of some cool live music done by my friends in a room off to the side, I don’t think anyone will be bored.

    And finally, for the twin problems, I’m sorry. The advice above is solid, as usual. Whatever you do though, do not let her mistreat you or embarrass you. You don’t need to take that from anyone, family or no, and people will respect you for setting boundaries.

    • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

      We are also doing a games night (non-structured) and no dancing! I’ll have music there on my ipod if people want to dance, but there’s no DJ. Wedding high five :-)

      We are making the no official dance thing known on the wedding website (and in conversation) so that there’s no disappointment. Our family plays lots of games, and cribbage formed the early basis of our relationship. I agree with you that I don’t think anyone will be bored with a bar, conversation, game potential, and the option to listen to music.

      • SpaceElephant

        Yes. If you know your group is not a dancing group, or you yourselves are not dancers, provide other forms of engagement without shame. We had board and card games as well as lawn games (my husband is the self-pronounced King of Leisure Sports–cornhole, bocce, ladderball, etc.). There’s no rule that says a wedding has to have dancing, though like Leah we set up an iTunes playlist so people could dance, and some took advantage of that as well.

        • Class of 1980

          While dancing is wonderful, many people have families or friends who mostly don’t really dance. I think you have to weigh everyone’s comfort level. In some cases, everyone is going to be more comfortable without the dancing.

        • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

          Ahhh cribbage! I love cribbage. Also, we didn’t really have dancing at our wedding- we had a playlist and a sound system, because the music itself was important to us, and figured people would dance if they wanted to. Most people didn’t, and it was perfectly fine. We hadn’t planned a first dance, so when we DID dance just for fun, it was unexpectedly to Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” Hah.

  • Anon

    My parents have kicked off about the guest list and we tried to explain why we felt uncomfortable with them kicking off about it. My Dad said some very childish and rude things. We then finally met up all in person and decided to have a big wedding (which we felt uncomfotable with) but to make it informal so we could see the people we wanted there, rather than spend lots of time with people my parents had already told could come without confirming with us first. We will see how that pans out as we get married in 8 months now. My Dad still wants it to be formal, and wants lots of other things but after throwing his toys out of the pram I’m not sure he has much more sway anymore.

    The one thing I have learned through this is sometimes you can step back completely and try a new thing and that people get really crazy and out of control when it comes to weddings. I’m hoping my relationship with my Dad recovers but he really has been so childish it has totally changed the way I look at him. I think I took it harder than my fiance as he did not have that personal connection so I was more inclined to be harsher in my treatment of him as I was hurt.

    As I said I’m not sure if our relationship can recover as he said and did some very hurtful things but I’m glad my fiance tried to help us reach an amicable solution.

    I have no idea if this will apply in the twin situation but it does for me. And I just try to remember that I love my Dad even when he makes silly judgements about me, my fiance and his family.

    • Edelweiss

      Hugs. Fingers crossed you’re able to rebuild in the years ahead. The fact you remember you love your Dad “even when…” is a great start.

  • R

    Regarding the day v evening question, I think Jessie makes a very good point. As it’s a destination wedding I assume all/most of your guests will be around in the evening too. I would be asking myself, am I going to be putting time/effort/money into planning to see them in the evening? Because if so I personally agree with Jessie that the thing you’re planning might as well be the wedding…

    Evening receptions don’t have to involve dancing, either. At every wedding I’ve ever been to including ours there’s been a substantial proportion of the guests who barely danced at all, just talked, and talked, and talked. People don’t need to dance to have a good time!

    On the additional guests front, a caution – some friends of ours who got married a few years ago invited one couple to their ‘family only’ ceremony, out of what we had all thought was a pretty tight-knit and even group. It’s caused a fair amount of angst and oddness as the rest of us realised that things were less even than we thought. Obviously I have no idea what the dynamics of your mum’s group are but in your shoes I would be wary of forcing her to make that choice.

    • meg

      We have to re-program ourselves a little here: weddings are NOT an imposition, even when you have to travel, and we don’t owe guests certain things. WHY? Because your guests can decide if they come or not. And they are not coming for entertainment or meals, they are coming to see you get hitched. REALLY.

      Most of our guest list traveled. And guess what, we got married in the morning, and we didn’t entertain them at night, because we were a WEDDING not a TRAVELING ENTERTAINMENT SHOW. And you know what? Everyone had a blast. They had a blast at our wedding, and then as grown up people, they made their own plans for the evening. We were off, you know, getting laid (as you do). They all made new friends and went off to a bar and got trashed (as you do).

      So we need to remember, at weddings, just like everywhere else, guests can actually plan their own lives. And then we need to relax. Do like the guests will do and have a drink ;)

      • Siobhan

        I don’t think I can exactly this enough. Thank you!

      • Class of 1980

        HISTORICAL FACT: Way back in time, almost all weddings were morning weddings. Even going back to my mother’s wedding in 1957, that was still the case.

        It was reversed in my generation.

        • meg

          But did ONLY in your generation. In 1974 when my parents got married, almost all weddings were still morning weddings.

          • Class of 1980

            It’s possible there were more morning weddings in my age group in the rest of the country. I don’t know.

            You see, we lived in Florida. Evening weddings became popular because …”Man it’s a hot one – Like seven inches from the midday sun” … to quote Santana.

            Also because Florida has magnificent sunsets.

      • Alyssa

        YES.

        And I’d also like to point out that some of us don’t like having things planned for us. I truly appreciate the work that would go into planning a wedding extravaganza, but I like doing my own thing. And if I’m travelling for a wedding, I’ve probably planned those other things around your wedding, i.e. who else is coming that we can meet up for brunch beforehand because I haven’t seen them in years, what is nearby that we can drive to, etc.
        Besides, I wanna come to your wedding, see you get married, be filled full of love and romance from your wedding and then drag my husband off afterwards to make out because you reminded me of MY wedding day.

        • meg

          Indeed. GOD. Don’t plan my life for me. I’m there for your wedding, not for a weeklong variety show. I have BARS to visit and PLACES to see. Excellent point.

          • Anna

            Yes! I attended a wedding where the weekend was full of activities for the guests. While the thought was nice I felt like a kid at sleep-away camp. I really don’t need or like for every 15 minutes to be scheduled for me.

        • Class of 1980

          AMEN.

      • Anonymous

        YES. Exactly. I just think the folks getting married need to make ABUNDANTLY clear that they’re okay with the fact that their decisions — morning wedding, middle of the week wedding, wedding in the middle of nowhere, expensive destination wedding, just plain old normal wedding, whatever — might mean certain guests can’t make it.

        A wedding isn’t a imposition, but it’s also not mandatory required viewing. And I get peeved when a friend makes a decision about a wedding that means it’s difficult for me to attend (expensive destination wedding being the case in point) but then gets mad at ME when I have to make a decision she doesn’t like.

        • meg

          Correct. Weddings are not mandatory. Only notes congratulating the couple are.

        • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

          How should a couple make it clear they understand that their choices impact a guests ability to attend?

          I’ve been sticking with chatting with people and trying to explain that we certainly don’t EXPECT them to traipse to our destination wedding but that we would LIKE it if they could and then I still feel like we’re pressuring them or making it feel like we don’t care if they come. We do, we want them there. But our day will be happy even if they can’t.

          Am I on the right track here?

          • Miss Ames

            I think just letting them know you understand how difficult it is for most people to attend destination weddings.

            A wonderful friend of mine just got engaged this past month and has already planned her destination wedding for April. Well, unfortunately, I already have THREE major international trips planned between Feb and May so there is just no way, financially or timely (only so many vacation days), that I can attend. I haven’t yet RSVP’d because she is ever so slightly high-maintenance and I’m worried she’ll lose her sh*t.

            It would be nice to hear your explanation from her!

          • http://twitter.com/irisira irisira

            You say exactly that.

            “We love you and truly hope you are able to come and share our joy, but we completely understand if you are unable to travel to this location for whatever reason, and we’ll still love you.”

            Or something like that. :)

          • Lizzie

            Yes, you’re on exactly the right track. I spent my entire engagement bristling at the term “destination wedding” because after all it was only a 3.5 hour drive from where we live and regardless of where we chose to get married, 90% of our guests would need to travel to get there. That said, we picked a place completely in the boonies and some people couldn’t come because of that. I completely understood when people said that they just couldn’t make it and could answer simply and sincerely that we would miss them and would think about them on the wedding day. And almost everyone who did come thanked us for having our wedding in such a beautiful, fun place with hikes and cheese factory tours and breweries all on hand nearby.

      • R

        Meg, I know this is old but I had to respond. I didn’t say anything about the wedding being an imposition. What I meant (and obviously didn’t express clearly) is that in that situation I *personally* would have ended up planning something in the evening, because that’s how I am (and not because the guests would ‘expect’ it), and therefore would have decided to avoid double planning duties. If the questioner isn’t like that, then obviously my advice is not relevant, but I felt it was something to consider.

  • http://better-with-butter.tumblr.com Emily Elizabeth

    We also wanted to limit how many people our families invited, and wound up inviting many extra people anyway. And those extra people were awesome! Alyssa is right about having more people there sending their love to you – it was really amazing to have all this love coming to us, from old babysitters and my mom’s tennis partner and my husband’s aunt’s cousin from Australia who we’d never met before. They were all so happy to be there with us! My grandmother invited some of her friends too, and those friends were the ones she stayed up until 2am chatting with, and they all had such a good time.

  • Nadine

    Our wedding is going to be on a thursday night. Gasp! But most of our guests are local, and no one has made us feel like it’s an imposition.

    • http://twitter.com/irisira irisira

      I went to a Thursday night wedding this summer, that not only was not-local, it was on the other coast! And it was f*cking awesome. Flights were cheaper because I was traveling on off-days *and* I had a few extra days to explore a place I had never been to. Win-Win.

      OH. AND I GOT TO GO SEE PEOPLE GET MARRIED. Duh. That rocked, too. :)

      • http://foxandtoad.com/blog Nadine

        Awesome! I’ve definitely have a lot of people go “Oh…a Thursday?” including one photographer I contacted – and that was in an e-mail, where he clearly could have decided to respond differently.
        We went with someone else, of course.

  • Lizzie

    One of my few regrets about my wedding was limiting the number of friends my parents invited. I ruled out two couples because things were just feeling out of hand with the guest list, and then at the wedding, having a bunch of older folks there partying their heads off was awesome and I just wished that I’d let my mom invite whoever she had wanted to because it would have just added to the awesome. We had a sizable wedding (170ish) and the per head price at that point wouldn’t have been a huge hit, so it might not be the same situation, but if it’s not a huge budget issue and if you think these people would be supportive, I’d do it.

    • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com Basketcase

      I think DH and I were lucky in this regard. We asked both sets of parents if there was anyone we needed to invite out of their friends and they said no. My parents even specified that I should invite only the people I would think of anyway – those family friends we both consider to be family. So we had no family fights about it, and still had that older group and no regrets over who we did or didnt invite.

      Then again, we told my parents to invite all their friends to the engagement party, so they celebrated with us then.

  • Alexandra Jackson-Hughes

    I just thought I should quickly mention, as a (very) recently married person, that guest lists are hard and friends of parents are probably the hardest. For example my husband’s parents were inviting family and friends – who I had never met and my husband to be hadn’t seen in years – right up until the day before the wedding (we were revising the seating plan the morning of the day before!) Also my parents decided that they would like to invite their close church friends to say grace at our civil, specifically, non-religious wedding.. . . both of which were stressful at the time. But in the end we were so excited and happy that the fact there were a couple of extra bodies and our long very lovely long relaxed meal was started by a tiny short grace went by un-noticed. Everybody had our best interests at heart.

    Our lovely registrars wrote on the plain white envelope (with a plastic address panel in it) that holds our precious marriage certificate: ‘We sincerely hope that your house will always be too small for ALL your friends’ and I think that this applies to weddings too. I’m still blown away by the fact that close on 80 people wanted to be with us for an afternoon and evening and came from all over the world to dance until we got kicked out. Brilliant – the more the merrier I say!

  • SpaceElephant

    “As far as your wedding goes, $200 a person is a lot of money to seemingly waste on an possibly unruly guest, but it’s not a lot to spend on an olive branch to family.”

    Put another way, that extra $200 will be of little comfort to your fiance if leaving his sister out of the wedding leads to the complete dissolution of their relationship.

    There were a few big question marks on my wedding guest list. I had to decide whether making a point in the present was worth erasing them from my future. Not being invited to a wedding is the kind of thing that takes relationships past the point of repair. Does the potential of her making a scene at the wedding outweigh the potential of your husband not having a relationship with his twin sister?

  • http://www.safarimama.blog.com Manya

    Ok: We did destination, we did late afternoon/evening dinner.

    My big thought on this is agreement with Alyssa: Your wedding is not an imposition. I was really worried about this: did we give people ENOUGH to come all the way there for? The answer was a resounding YES.\

    They weren’t doing us any favors, they wanted to be there. They loved it. They loved us. They loved weddings in general. They loved the people they came with and got to spend a weekend with.

    Telluride is GORGEOUS and FUN! With cute little shops and beautiful scenery and hot tubs. Your guests are going to have a blast–they’d have a blast in Telluride for the weekend even if you weren’t there, right? I mean, it is a tourist destination. So, bottom line: don’t do evening just to make it worth their while. They’ve already decided it’s worth their while, or they wouldn’t come. My sister had a destination wedding in Maine, with a Saturday afternoon dessert cocktail. One of her friends drove a Winnebago from Texas, and they did not feel slighted by the lack of dinner.

    Now, a few words on evening: I dreamed of an all night dance party. It didn’t happen. The music was awesome, the dance floor epic. It just didn’t happen. People were too busy enjoying a moonlit night and Breaking Shit Down in great conversation. And the party wound to a perfect, natural close around midnight. So… evening does not immediately mean dancing.

    Finally, you’ll have people who want to hang in a big wedding crowd and people who want to hang with their honey. If you set up casual: “if you want to hang with the crowd, then meet at XX” then those who want to crowd will likely gravitate there. This would be a great task to delegate to friends (ringleaders for different self-funded shenanigans).

    Oh, and one more cool idea suggested by one of our guests. If you can swing it, get everybody a button, or pin or armband or something for them to wear around that weekend so that they can identify other people who are in town for your wedding. It creates a cool group vibe, and gives people something they have in common to chat about: YOU! Destination weddings tend to forge new friendships among your friends–which is great.

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com/ Morgan

      We had an evening wedding, with a dj, and a dance floor. There was some dancing, but mainly people just sat and drank and talked and talked and talked. (There were some still going when I left at 3:00 am.) The dj tried to apologize to us, but we told him he was all wrong – it was exactly what we had expected. Most people danced a bit, and mainly just wanted to visit. Evening doesn’t have to equal dance party!

    • meg

      “They weren’t doing us any favors, they wanted to be there.”

      I love this. And this is how I feel about every wedding I go to ever. Even the ones that have been… um… more complicated and less fun… I’ve been able to make my own fun. A) I want to see you happy and in love and getting hitched. and B) Even if the first part goes awry, I also want to see old friends and family and party and have a blast. Trust me, I’ve got it. So stop worrying and let your guests have fun.

  • http://www.spottytypewriter.com/ Kerry

    I stuck to my guns about who was invited/not invited to our wedding and felt great about it during the process. Now thatt the wedding is over, I wish that I had just let my parents invite the people I told them they couldn’t. It’s not keeping me up at night, or anything, but I think I was being a little over-strict during the planning as sanity preservation. Now, take that totally unhelpful advice and run with it!

    And…I married an identical triplet, and that multiple birth stuff is not something to screw around with. Let her be a crazyperson now and ignore it as much as you can, invite her, call her bluff, and sit down immediately after your honeymoon for some moderated family discussion.

    • meg

      “I stuck to my guns about who was invited/not invited to our wedding and felt great about it during the process. Now that the wedding is over, I wish that I had just let my parents invite the people I told them they couldn’t. ”

      Agreed. We ended up caving on some of these issues, and I’m so glad we did.

      And identical triplets, holy shit.

  • http://www.thisisrachelle.wordpress.com Rachelle

    We had a daytime wedding and there are a few advantages to it that I think were perfect for us:

    *Everyone has stuff to do in the middle of the day, instead of waiting around for the wedding. It’s easy for everyone to go out to dinner together afterward if they decide to do that, whereas most won’t bother to do much besides hang out at the hotel before an evening wedding. For ours, it gave people a fuller day. Also, this doesn’t work for a destination wedding but if you’re closer to your guests, it allows people to drive in and out in one day – easier on them and more people can come.
    *Daylight. It rocks.
    *Food can generally be cheaper because it can be lighter, but still amazing. We did a happy hour type thing, but you can easily do a brunch or full lunch menu. It may also be cheaper because people don’t need a full bar. Wine and beer only are more “expected” at an afternoon wedding and I think you get less complaints than if you do that in the evening (though of course there is NOTHING wrong with not having a full bar in the evening either). People may also drink less, though we sure didn’t!
    *If you have children or older relatives, a daytime wedding may be easier on them. They won’t get as tired and/or cranky.
    *People stay longer, at least in our experience. No one has to rush off with tired kids, or is as tired themselves, or has to “be up early the next day”. I think maybe 5 people out of 70 left our reception before the end because it ended at 7 p.m. I wanted a big crowd to see us off, so this was important to me.
    Go for the daytime wedding if it’s what you want!

    As to the other issues –
    *We were very strict about who we invited and I don’t regret it. You can just as easily end up with a conflict if you aren’t “fair” or “even” on each side.
    *You have to invite her. That’s just how it is.

  • http://www.queerskiesahead.com TheQueerBird

    We had the BEST daytime wedding EVER (I guess I have to say that, because it’s my wedding.). It probably was less expensive than an evening wedding, but that’s not why we did it. We did it because we are morning people, and we wanted to get married in the daylight by a lake. We did it because our favorite meal is brunch (all the deliciousness of two meals in one!) so we had brunch instead of dinner. We love coffee and tea more than drinks, so we had delicious beverages. Plus, mimosas. Plus pie! An excellent early-afternoon dessert. I guess the long story short is: it sounds like you would be happier with a daytime wedding, and price isn’t the only reason to do that! We did have dancing: contradancing. Amazing. AND I didn’t spend the whole entire day worrying about the wedding; instead I spent the morning having an awesome wedding and the rest of the day hanging out with our guests and reveling in 1. being awake to enjoy my wife, and 2. having a wife. It was amazing. Good luck!!

  • Laurel

    Alyssa, you are a superstar at this.

    Also, I had totally forgotten what day it was (it has been one of those weeks!) until I opened up APW and saw your post. Oh Fridays!

    And for Bride #1, a daytime wedding in Telluride will be absolutely beautiful. If you have it at night, people won’t be able to see all the mountains around you! Plus, people that may be coming up from sea level get super tired up high. They’ll be relieved to go to bed at a reasonable time after celebrating your love all day long.

  • Stephasaurus

    We’re big party animals AND we’re having a daytime wedding. The reception is a “champagne brunch” reception (but still includes the open bar, yes!)…and we’ll be having an after party at the hotel in the evening. We have lots of guests coming from out of town too, but that was never a deciding factor in having a daytime wedding. It’s on a Saturday, so our guests can still do whatever they want on Friday and Sunday, fly/drive in whenever they want, etc. And from a wedding guest perspective? Daytime weddings ROCK! I like partying at all hours of the day/night. It honestly never occurred to me that a daytime wedding is less of a party with any less dancing. It is what you make it!

  • http://nickandnoragettingmarried.wordpress.com Annie

    I traveled to a friend’s daytime wedding last year, and it was great. The younger crowd went out for drinks afterward and ended up at someone’s apartment for an impromptu barbeque. A lovely afternoon wedding isn’t necessarily worse than an evening affair just because of the time of day.

    That said, my friend (the bride) had a rough time after the wedding because both her family and her husband’s family hosted after-parties for out-of-town relatives. As a result, the newlyweds had to go from their wedding to two parties and interact with a lot of the same people they just saw and eat more. By the time they got back to their hotel room, they were exhausted!

    • Stephasaurus

      I’m really glad you mentioned the two after parties…that’s a good thing to keep in mind to make sure all of our parents are on the same page with activities after our daytime wedding next year. :)

      • http://nickandnoragettingmarried.wordpress.com Annie

        Seriously! It might not be a problem at all, but my friend and her husband were kind of blindsided by how much they had to do after the wedding. As a result, I think they were ready to go on their honeymoon and never come back. ;)

        • Alyssa

          As a guest, I’m occasionally exhausted by the after-parties!

    • meg

      Also, y’all, you can ditch after parties. EVERY adult will respond to the raised eyebrow along with, “Well, we’d love to come, but I think we’ll have other things to do after we get married.” There is *nothing* more traditional than sex after you get married. Literally, nothing.

      • http://twitter.com/irisira irisira

        We had an evening wedding, so there weren’t any after parties that were organized. The guests all made their way to the hotel bar at the hotel where we booked a block of rooms but did not stay at. And, even if we had stayed there? Yeah. No. I didn’t feel the least bit guilty about it, either! I’m an early bird, so I was up super early and took a walk through the grapes with a friend who is also an early bird (she and her husband happened to book at our B&B). We met up with friends the next day for some wine tasting (many longtime commenters know this, but for those who don’t, we got married at a vineyard), and then family later that afternoon for an impromptu bbq.

        We didn’t feel like we had to do any of that, we wanted to. But that’s key – we DIDN’T do things we DIDN’T want to do.

  • E

    Oh Alyssa — thanks for answering my question.

    I have learned more about my partner’s family and twin in the last month than the prior four years and they don’t embrace conflict beyond suggesting an apology might be in order.

    You are so right that the tantrum (apparently more common than I realized) was indeed a tantrum and it wasn’t about “us” getting married it was about him getting married to anyone. I couldn’t really see that at the time because I was so hurt (actually I am still pretty hurt by the whole thing) and when I calmed I knew that she wasn’t going to do anything at the wedding.

    However, we did invite her. We actually got her RSVP last night. We have yet to communicate with her but this gives us a great blueprint.

    Thank you!

    • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

      You are TOTALLY okay to be hurt. I was crazy impressed by how well-formed your letter was. My reactions to those situations tend to be much less put together. :) I’m so very sorry that happened. Fingers crossed for all to go well!

      • E

        Thank you. My fingers are crossed as well!!

    • http://petitechablis.wordpress.com Petite Chablis

      I’m with Jo — you seemed incredibly level-headed in that letter! Being hurt and upset is a totally normal reaction. Good on you guys for extending the olive branch and inviting her. I have to ask … did she RSVP “yes”? Ignore me if I’m being nosy.

      Siblings and weddings can bring up some weird issue. I think the family member who had the hardest time with my marriage was my brother. Two years later he still makes comments about my “new family” and keeps tabs on how much time I’m spending with my in-laws versus my “real family.” (Fortunately we have the kind of relationship where I can tell him he’s being a jackass, and he’ll splutter and get mad and then admit that yes, he’s being a jackass.)

      • E

        Thank you for your comment! She is coming to the wedding — I honestly wasn’t sure until the RSVP came in the mail.

    • M.

      Glad things are calming down! That is excellent!

      I would note that if she’s coming, and if at any point that fact starts stressing you out, it might be worth seeing if there’s someone otherwise not employed (a cousin, an aunt, someone who already knows her) who would be willing to pay specific attention to her at the wedding. Having someone who is focused on welcoming her and hanging out with her and who is alert and on hand to kindly grab her elbow and get her to a safe place if she gets emotional in a not-ideal way, might be reassuring?

      In any event, almost every drama-prone wedding situation I’ve seen (the only (only!) exception involving a very drunk woman and her ex-husband’s equally drunk girlfriend, who knew each other would be at the wedding, but who hadn’t previously met), people behaved amazingly, bogglingly well in spite of storm predictions beforehand. So, statistics are on your side. :-)

      Best wishes for your marriage! And I hope all the rest of the wedding planning goes splendidly. :-)

      • E

        That’s a really good idea — I think I will do just that!!!

  • http://www.littlepieceseverywhere.com Sarah

    So, guest list first. My mother did this as well. When drawing up her list she included all her friends, and then fought tooth and nail to keep them. As a result, we had 3 couples at our wedding we didn’t know (one of them I’m glad we’ve come to know, the other two never spoke to us) … and honestly, I didn’t notice them. For all the heartache is caused during planning, it wasn’t an issue day of. If inviting them doesn’t disclude anyone else, I’d say let her invite them.

    That being said, if it’s a matter of having to cut someone else out if she invites them, weigh what’s most important to us. I still regret not being able to invite some of OUR friends because my mother’s were there instead. I wish I would have just invited them both anyway.

    No, the sister thing. This happened to us. In our case, it was my now in-laws. Upon telling them we were engaged they went off and told us we were not ALLOWED to get married. This kept up until just a week before the wedding. They never RSVPed and wouldn’t talk about it other than to say “it’s not happeneing”, but we planned on them being there, just in case. As it turned out, they were, and they were supportive (MiL) and tolerant (FiL). Which was better than we could have hoped for. Hang in there, and try and get to the root of the problem. For us, it was that they didn’t want to acknowledge that their only child was an adult. Maybe it’s something similar. Just be strong. ::big hugs::

    • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

      Ah, yes. For us, it was my wife’s grandmother- more of her second parent, really, since my wife was raised by her single mother and her grandmother, more or less. She disagreed with our impending nuptials for religious reasons, and so didn’t RSVP, didn’t come, and the one time she has referred to our wedding, she called it ‘that thing you did last summer.’ Luckily, although she isn’t ready to acknowledge our marriage, per se, she does recognize that I’m going to be sticking around for a long, long time- in her own way.

      Family can be really hard sometimes. You just have to stick with it, because they’re important.

      • Class of 1980

        I have a friend whose mother-in-law boycotted her wedding because she wasn’t Catholic and would not convert. My friend was a Methodist and the irony is that the mother-in-law herself had converted as an adult from a Protestant denomination to Catholicism. I guess she thought she was the only person on the planet who deserved to make her own decisions on religion.

        Once the first grandchild came along, the mother-in-law changed her tune. She couldn’t bear not to see her own grandchild. She started coming to visit, but wouldn’t stay overnight. Then another grandchild came. She eventually got over it and progressed to staying overnight.

        She treats my friend wonderfully now and she has since apologized for not coming to the wedding.

    • E

      Thank you — I am sorry that you had to go through this too. I wish I could give you a hug too! There’s the stress of planning the wedding and then the constant negative energy. I think it has a lot to do with them not wanting him to be an adult. I am learning so much!

  • CMP

    RE: Not-so-nice twin. My heart really goes out to you, E. I was in your fiancé’s shoes a few months ago. My guess is that the twin has a fear of abandonment, which is related to a personality disorder, and expresses this through extreme anger. I won’t get all Dr. Phil here, but I have a parent like that. Yes, I invited that parent to our wedding but didn’t want to (like your fiancé), and I worried about her behavior… a lot.

    Someone recommended that I enlist the help of those who understood the situation, so I asked my best friend’s family to help. They knew my parent well enough to keep her occupied with conversation if they saw my parent alone, not talking to anyone. Did it work? Yes. Was it a huge relief? Yes. While my parent told my best friend’s family a whopper of a lie at the wedding, she did not yell, lash out, threaten anyone, or cause a huge scene. Mission accomplished.

    Do you have a couple of people your group (family members or close friends) who could be friendly with the twin sister? It’s not baby-sitting but just keeping a few extra eyes on her to talk to her, make sure she’s not alone, and just be friendly.

    Having a mentally unstable close relative is a lifelong roller-coaster and our wedding made that ride even crazier. That’s why it’s even more important for the two of you to remember that there are people who love you both and want your day to be as relaxing and special as possible–so ask them for help. My husband and I had a wonderful and amazing day despite this stress and I know you will, too. I hope this helps and best wishes to you both.

    • E

      Thank you for your advice. I think the idea of having someone there is really helpful advice and until today I hadn’t really thought of it. I am for sure going to have an Aunt or and Uncle who knows the situation be the point person.

      I had no idea that so many people had similar situations. It honestly is a huge relief that your and others wedding went well.

      Thanks!

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

    On the subject of parent’s friends: we invited all of our parents’ close friends, and let me tell you what–it was the best decision EVER. Those people knew how to party, knew to be stoked for thank-you notes, had great manners, brought the best gifts, and said THE BEST things to us. Our friends didn’t really know how to behave with weddings, did some dumb shit, and created some awkward situations (attempting to organize an orgy the night before? That was our age group, not our parents’.) If you hate them and they hate you, don’t invite them, but it made our parents much more comfortable and the wedding was more enjoyable for them. The people who came were truly excellent, and it created and affirmed all kinds of bonds. Those people know what marriage is about, even if they haven’t had the best ones.

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com/ Morgan

      AN ORGY THE NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING? WTF? Sorry for all the caplocks, but that’s probably the strangest friends-behaving-badly tidbit I’ve ever heard of.

      • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

        Yep. Sadly, I’m not kidding.

        • http://peachyringsaredead.blogspot.com Ceej

          That. Is. Amazing.

          And also my mom’s friends gave the best gifts, too. And now I feel close to them because they shared my wedding day with me. I didn’t expect to feel it, but I have this incredible reverence (?) for my relationships with every single person present at my wedding. It’s like each one of them is a living, breathing reminder of that day. Like we have some secret connection or something. It’s weird. But I like it.

          • Alyssa

            “It’s like each one of them is a living, breathing reminder of that day.”

            That is LOVELY and a wonderful way to think about it!

        • meg

          I think that’s sort of AMAZING? I was so pissed off that no one hooked up at our wedding, if there had been an orgy, I would have thought I Queen Of The Weddings.

    • http://www.bridesanstulle.com Sharon

      Great point about inviting some of your parents friends in order to help them feel more comfortable and enjoy the wedding more! (I wonder how many of us will be writing to Ask Team Practical in thirty years saying, “Help! My kid isn’t letting me invite any friends to his/her wedding and I’m scared I’ll be too shy/nervous/bored/etc. to enjoy it!” ;D)

      • Alyssa

        This is really a good point; if one side of the family is kind of thin in terms of family, the parents might be feeling a bit uncomfortable because “their” side is much smaller and they have less people to intereact and enjoy the day with. A few extra friends might be a nice gesture to make them feel better about the fact that your partner’s parents are both one of four while your parents are only children…

        • Shelly

          YES! My husband’s family is large and the wedding was in their hometown, so lots of their peeps were there.

          I’m so glad that my parents had some of their friends around them – not only to talk to, but to celebrate in their joy of the day.

        • Lindsey d.

          And this comment right here is totally making me get over the fact that my future MIL just added TWENTY of their friends to the guest list (from 108 invited to 128 – that’s a serious jump). Now to figure out how to pay for them to come.

      • meg

        YES! When I read this ATP, I thought, “Oh my god. If my child told me I couldn’t have any friends at their wedding I’d…. cry? Not be on model behavior? Take back their college education I just paid for? I would be a DISASTER.” Which isn’t to say there are not good reasons for tiny weddings, and we don’t have the ability to set guidelines for our families. But I think sometimes we forget to put ourselves in our parents shoes and realize they are just people too, and this is one of the biggest most emotional days of THEIR life also, and they want some tiny bit of control, and people around them they love.

  • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com d-day

    well I have to say I’m surprised Meg didn’t add an editor’s note about how much Easier it is to have Wedding Night Sex if you have a daytime wedding..! heh. but it’s true that as a guest you just spend all day twiddling your thumbs, particularly if you are coming from out of town, would be fun to get to the action earlier and then it’s easier to form groups for going out later. The only drawback there is, as the bride you have to get up even earlier in the morning if you have plans for getting hair done/pictures before the ceremony/etc. – but that seems like a minor scheduling thing and not something that would weigh heavily against the advantages.. basically, whichever time of day you’re drawn to, you should go for and it will be awesome.

    I think you have to be strict about guest list boundaries in the beginning, but as you get closer to the wedding you can give in a little here and there as you need to. I agree that it might be tough for your mom to pick ONE friend/couple – I personally have a group of friends that I would be hard pressed to choose from in that situation.. hold your ground if you need to, but if it won’t break the bank or push you over capacity, I agree that you could give in here and it would be ok (unless you think she’ll just start wearing you down about that 3rd couple, and then it starts to get out of hand). As Alyssa said, there’s never too much love (until your parents friends start outnumbering your own, hah).

    The twins question, I have to defer to Kerry’s expertise on that one. Good luck!

    • meg

      POINT ABOUT THE SEX! (I already put it in a comment!!!)

      Though there are other sneaky editors notes in there. Poor Alyssa, I don’t always label them (though duh, it’s 95% her awesome).

      And yeah, you do have to get up early, but it’s not so bad… AND having your friends go out without you as new friends after the wedding is awesome.

    • Jennifer

      Leaving our wedding to go to the hotel and take a nap before our just-the-two-of-us dinner definitely made for a better wedding night on the sex front. :)

      I felt that not having oodles of time before the ceremony was actually an advantage. I fear that with, say, a 4 pm or 6 pm or later ceremony, I would inevitably have had full to-do list for the morning, felt the need to do Something for lunch, and generally spent hours in nervous anticipation. Instead, with an 11 a.m. ceremony, I basically got up, got pretty, got Dunkin’ Donuts, got dressed, and then it was time to get married.

      • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

        I spent my whole pre-wedding day in nervous/excited jitters. I dragged my wedding party across our venue to meet up with my husband while they balked and stalled 20 minutes before hen we were supposed to start pictures because I Just. Couldn’t. Wait. Any. Longer. And that was at 3pm. God only knows how you evening wedding people did it. So yes, I think there is some major insight here about morning/daytime weddings making more sense.

      • Emily

        Ha, I am so nervous about that! Our ceremony is at 4:30 because the reception site doesn’t open until 6, and we didn’t want a big gap in between, but as soon as that got set I started thinking, “…now I need to arrange brunch or something, right? What’s everybody going to DO?” I know it’s not up to me to entertain all 120 out of town guests, but I do feel at least responsible for the bridal party….

        As a guest, I’ve really enjoyed daytime ceremonies for that very reason. You have something to DO all day, and then you can meet up with other people at night!

    • amc

      This was actually a huge surprise for me after my day time wedding. Our wedding ended around 7pm, and it was a gift to be able to relax with my husband, drink champagne, and do the sex.

      Also, post-wedding I experienced an emotional rollercoaster. It was nice to have time to acknowledge and process those feelings, even if it did end in a big teary mess!

      • http://singingpilgrimdancing.blogspot.com Pamela

        You know what I’ve realized? I have never, ever been to a daytime wedding. Huh. I can’t think of one. All the weddings I’ve been to were afternoon or evening. No wonder it freaks me out to think of having a daytime wedding…

        We are really, really, really, really, really broke (I’ve been unemployed for 18 months, and he’s Indian, living in India, where he’s currently searching for a job we *hope* will make $550 a month, because I can’t legally work the first year I live there and we can’t survive and pay my American sized college debt on less) and so I found a reception venue at a local park that is just $125 for the WHOLE DAY… only catch is they close at sunset. And it’s been freaking me out that it’d have to be daytime, when 80% of my guest list would have to travel (my parents and one sister are the only local family, and a lot of my friends have scattered to the nine winds)…

        But ha! No wonder I’d be freaked if I’ve never seen it done before! I hadn’t even realized that… wow, that’s an eye opener! Giving this some thought…

  • SAB

    We’re planning a small daytime wedding with about 25 guests. We really didn’t want a formal affair so day seemed like the best choice. We’re also getting a fabulous deal on our venue because of the size and time of day of our wedding. We’re not having any dancing either and the whole thing will be over by 4.

    In order to spend more time with our out of town guests and include the friends we couldn’t invite to the wedding we’re planning on having a meet up at a local bar later that night. This will give everyone some time to unwind after the wedding while still partying into the evening if that is what they want. It will be an informal affair without written invitations and totally optional.

  • emily rose

    The parents’ friends thing was a huge issue for us, too. Specifically, my stepmom constantly invited more and more random friends and family (some of whom I’d never met) up until, literally, the day OF the wedding. We were very firm about the boundaries and actually required that she un-invite many of these folks, but for us that strictness was necessary given the status of that relationship. At the end of the day, it just depends on the context – why are your parents wanting to add guests? How are they going about it? I’d echo other comments that you might not notice much on the day of, particularly if the invitees are only there to be happy for you, but I also respect the necessity of boundaries.

    • Hannah

      I think even when your parents aren’t trying to make a power play, it’s okay to say no to adding their friends to the guest list. My parents have a *lot* of friends who have known me since I was a baby, and a couple of days after we told my parents we were engaged, my mother produced a list of 30 names! These are all lovely people, and I know my parents went to all of their kids’ weddings. We just had to explain (several times) that we really wanted an intimate backyard wedding; the whole guest list was only 60 people, and because we have big families, even my husband and I only had eight friends there!

      It took a few weeks for my parents really to get on board with what we wanted (and I told my parents had every right to throw me under the bus to their friends), but in the end, they probably loved our small, family wedding even more than we did.

  • http://dylanandsarah.com Sarah T

    1) I had a morning ceremony and an evening reception, and a family lunch in between. There’s been a lot said about daytime weddings already, but my biggest recommendation is to remember that you will not have time on the morning of. This doesn’t just mean that you’ll be up early for your hair/makeup. It means you need to sleep early the night before. You need to not put off logistical things that Need To Get Done (and I don’t mean those last DIY bits. I mean finalizing readings and vows at 4:30am when your hair appointment is at 9 *cough*). Also, if you’re not going to have dancing, that’s fine, but state it clearly. If you are going to have an iPod for dance music, set it up for a real dance space because people will dance, and don’t shortchange them either! I had a friendor DJ by accident/luck, and if not for him, the music setup would have been lacking due to my thinking that no one would dance because we had board games (hahaha…).

    2) Long story short, my mom invited one couple who I knew and liked, and one friend + daughter who I wasn’t that happy about and barely knew. I cleared the first one and… didn’t know the second were even invited until they’d already booked hotel/flights (omg). Guess what? They were all really, genuinely happy for us. None of them were local, and they all made this financial and time commitment. Maybe they just wanted to see my parents, who no longer live in the city where they all became friends. That’s ok too. Since the number’s so small, let it go. Appreciate your parents for giving you this small problem when so many parents want to invite 10-20 couples. It’s only a problem if there’s another request, and another, or as in my case, a notification.

    3) One of my best friends had a sister who boycotted the wedding, and really the whole marriage. It’s now been five years. In some ways it was easier than this situation because there wasn’t the threat of sabotaging (I think). The invitation is important. The relationship may or may not be able to be saved, but if at all possible, you shouldn’t be the one to cut it off.

  • http://www.stalkingsarah.com Sarah

    Sounds like the twin needs a chaperone. Maybe there’s a person close to the couple who knows her and can keep an eye on her?

  • Class of 1980

    I think the future groom needs to have a long sit-down with his twin sister. I would not leave the situation to chance.

  • Marina

    When my husband and I were first putting together the guest list, my dad asked me if I could invite my grandma’s oldest friend. I do like this woman, even though I hadn’t seen her in probably ten years, so I jokingly said, “As long as she doesn’t bring all her children” and sent her an invitation.

    Funnily enough, a few months later, my grandma comes and tells me that her friend isn’t comfortable traveling by herself so her daughter and son-in-law are traveling with her, and can they come to the wedding too. That was a lot stickier–these were people I’d met maybe three times, and who my husband had never met–and I hemmed and hawed and eventually gave in because I was just sick of arguing over anything at that point in the planning process.

    They came. They gave a wedding gift that I would never in a million years have picked out for myself, let’s just put it that way. We laughed about it.

    The next time I saw my grandma’s friend and her children was when my grandpa died last winter. They all came for several days to support my grandma, and I got to hear stories about the two families camping together when my dad and uncles were little. The one daughter who’d come to the wedding told me how glad she’d been to be there and how beautiful she remembered it being.

    And you know what? I am DAMN glad she was at the wedding, laughable gift and all. In twenty years when I look at my wedding pictures, I’m not going to be thinking, “Who are these people?” There are some people who are not part of your every day life, but who are there at the big events, and that’s just fine.

    • http://magpietrousseau.wordpress.com Magpie

      Thanks for this perspective. I have a sticky situation in which my great-aunt and -uncle are invited (we don’t see them much because they live far away, but they send Xmas cards and graduation gifts and their presence at our wedding is totally appropriate). And despite great-aunt being just about as Emily Post as they come, they are now pressuring us to invite their (grown) daughter, as well as her husband their two high school and college student sons (who I did not know existed until recently).

      Hm. I am only vaguely aware of the existence of these people. To be fair, I was a guest at their daughter’s wedding…but I was FIVE and I don’t think I’ve seen this couple since. I don’t inherently have a problem with them coming to the wedding – I’m sure they’re lovely people, but then I feel as if I must also extend an invitation to the daughter’s siblings and their families, who I also do not know, but am aware of their existence. I feel as if the driving motivation here is that we are having a destination wedding in Scotland and the daughter and her family would like to make a family trip there with mom & dad (my great-aunt and -uncle). Which seems weird to me. Of course they should make a family trip to Scotland, but they could like, I dunno, do their own thing for an afternoon/evening while the old folks are at the wedding. We don’t have a monopoly on the whole damn country. It makes me wonder if their daughter and family really want to come to the wedding or if GA and GU just want them to be there. (I know if I were the high school and college age kids I’d much rather be off doing something fun in Scotland than putting on fancy clothes to sit at wedding of people I don’t even know.)

      But on the other hand, I like your point about people being a part of your life for just the big events and that’s just fine. Maybe that’s what it is and that would be OK with me I think. Still not sure what to do about invitations to GA and GU’s other grown children though.

      • Marina

        Maybe think about it from the “twenty years later” perspective. In twenty years, will these distant cousins still be a (distant) part of your life? When you look back at wedding pictures with them in it, will you cringe because having them there made your wedding feel awkward, or will you feel warm and fuzzy remembering how far out of their way they went to celebrate with you?

        • http://magpietrousseau.wordpress.com Magpie

          That’s a good point. I won’t feel weird about them being there if they really want to come. Not in twenty years, and not at the wedding. In which case, we should just invite them.

          I just want to do it delicately. I guess I’m still trying to sort out if they really want to come of GA and GU really want them to come (I don’t want them to feel pressured if this is all from GA and GU), and whether it will be weird to invite them and not the other extended members of that particular family. Etiquette is not my strongest class.

  • http://www.bridesanstulle.com Sharon

    I really think that your wedding will feel intimate, no matter how many or few people are there, if everyone present loves and supports you. Numbers have very little to do with it. (Our wedding was *incredibly* intimate, and we had 160 people there, some of whom we didn’t know. I felt quite sheepish afterward for how much I’d fought with my parents about their guest count.)

    Also, I know everyone’s mileage varies, but as a guest, I really love morning weddings! Less tiring for everyone and with the added bonus of letting people have time to be touristy in the evening if it’s a new-to-them city or getting to visit with friends.

    • Alyssa

      I love afternoon/evening weddings for the opposite reason; generally I’m driving to them and I appreciate being able to drive there the morning of, check into my hotel, get ready and then go to the wedding.

      See, there’s no pleasing us guests, so it’s best to do what works best for you and then let us deal with the logistics! :-)

      • http://www.bridesanstulle.com Sharon

        :D Yup. We’re grown ups; we can deal!

      • Class of 1980

        I just like them because I’m a night owl. If I had my way, the world wouldn’t function until noon. ;) Sigh.

        I keep thinking this will change with age, but no such luck.

  • http://explainingitall.blogspot.com Clarissa

    Fridays on APW are my favorite :)

    We’re planning to have a daytime wedding, and I have gotten some pressure to move it to the evening for the sake of the people coming from out of town. I already moved it to a Saturday from a Sunday and from the morning to the afternoon, but I drew the line there. It is so much cheaper to do a lunch spread than a dinner, we don’t want dancing, and I love love love the idea of relaxing in our guesthouse with a glass of wine in the evening after a fun day.

    As for the guest issue, I’m really glad both sets of parents haven’t had any issues with inviting people, although that might be because we crafted the guest list to include people for our respective families to hang out with (since my parents had a nasty divorce, I had to include my aunts and uncles on his side of the family just to ensure that there would be someone there besides me that would be willing to share a table with him and talk to him – it’s that bad). But we’re hitting snags with some of our not-so-close cousins. It’s such a delicate tightrope walk sometimes between making yourself happy and making the people you love happy. I’m sure it’s all worth it in the end, though.

  • Emily

    In theory, I’m all for inviting the parents’ friends if they want because the more people who love you, the better – but what about fire capacity? For every person we added at our parents’ request, which was under 10 total, it still meant one of our friends we literally had to cross off the list. And that was really hard. And nobody who’s not in a relationship we already know about is going to get a plus one unless and until we have had enough negative RSVPs to get belated invites to every one of those people we’re sad we can’t invite now. (And yes, in theory you make the guest list and THEN find the venue that will fit everyone. But sometimes you just do the best you can given finite choices and budgets.)

    So all I’m saying is that I get the conflict on this, although I also get Lauren’s point about having to pick the “best” friend being a bad position to put someone in, it’s hard for the parents in the exact same way it’s hard for us to leave people you love out of a big life event.

    • Alyssa

      You’re right, although the letter wasn’t presented in a way that indicated that others would have to be sacrificed to accomodate her parents’ friends. But in the end it’s still a choice that has to be weighed and if it’s not going to cause a lot of strife (getting rid of people you truly want, breaking a rental agreement, etc.), go ahead and think about inviting them.

      And the rule of honoring fire codes may not be said explicitly, but it’s always there. :-)

  • Class of 1980

    Does anyone else think “Angry Twin” sounds like the title of a horror movie? ;)

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  • Carrie

    I know it’s a few days later, but I wanted to chime in: Daytime weddings are great! I have been to several daytime weddings and had a blast at all of them. They didn’t feel like low-budget consolation prizes — they felt like awesome, fun events.

    Basically, the evening dinner-and-dancing party is not the only possible party to throw at a wedding! You could have a chill lunch party with games, or a simple cake-and-punch reception, or a pool party with people grilling burgers and coolers full of beer (dude, someone please throw a pool party wedding, I am so there).

    Our rehearsal lunch was a chill backyard deal with people grilling burgers, coolers of beer/soda, folding chairs, and lawn games, and I would have been totally happy with that being my wedding reception (much as I loved our actual wedding reception, which happened to be in the evening). It served the purpose of everyone getting together and just enjoying themselves.

    I’ve also been to several daytime weddings that served full fancy meals with wine and whatnot, and had a dance floor and the whole thing. So having a daytime wedding doesn’t prevent you from having that style of party if that’s what you want.

    So basically — if your schedule and your budget and your desires say daytime? Do a daytime wedding! It will rule!

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