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

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 best. And these brides. And 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!)

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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.

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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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