Q: My fiancé and I are are trying to decide where to get married (so far we have spent four months on this question). We are in the lucky situation of having two free venues available to us: my family’s home in Seattle and my family’s farm in Argentina. We are very interested in the second option because that is where we first went on vacation together and he got to know my family. Not to mention that it is incredibly beautiful and a really fun and relaxing place to go. However, we are very worried about anyone feeling obligated to pay $2,000 and travel twenty hours to see our wedding. We would like to give our friends the option of coming because many have expressed great interest in it, but we know there will be probably a large-ish group of people that feel it is rude we had a wedding in a location that they cannot easily get to. So, getting to my question, what ways can you think of to lessen people’s anger? I thought maybe really informal invitations—like just email or evites—would help, stressing that we don’t want anyone to feel obligated to come. But then we wouldn’t want to discourage someone who was actually interested in coming! We would also plan on having a very informal barbecue or party in Seattle. Any other ideas of how to deal with or lessen people’s anger that you had a wedding they could not just drive to?
(For clarification—I do not have family in Argentina, so it would not be a wedding where it is a middle ground between two families. It would definitely be a “destination wedding.” That said, we have family friends there I have known since I was five and have seen more often than some members of my actual extended family.)
A: Dear Lindsey,
There’s nothing inherently “rude” about choosing a destination wedding. Don’t get me wrong, there are loads of times when folks make wedding choices that are inconsiderate of their guests. But, picking a far-away location isn’t what I’d consider one of them.
The questions you’re asking here—Is it rude? Will they be angry?—aren’t what I think you should be considering. Instead, you might need to start thinking, “Will anyone come?” and “Is it important to us that they do?” Frankly, even if I loved you, it’s unlikely I’d be able to drop $2k and a few vacation days on your wedding. Many of your friends may find themselves in the same situation. Destination weddings usually end up being a good deal smaller as a result of these sorts of things, but your particular wedding may be even more so because of just how far it is (twenty hours, whoa!).
This is where I’ll point you back to that good ol’ standard, “Your wedding is not an imposition.” You’re inviting people to come to Argentina. Some of them may come, many of them may not. But, you’re not obligating them or forcing them. If they choose to come, I hope it’s happily and with sunscreen and sunglasses. If Argentina is inconvenient for finances or time constraints, they’re welcome to stay home. They’re grown-ups who can make this decision.
So quit worrying about anger and rudeness. What do you want? A beautiful location with not so many guests? Or a ton of loved ones in a less exotic locale?
And, psst. A beautiful, meaningful backdrop really is awesome (who wouldn’t want that for their wedding!). But if you think about it and decide you’d rather your people show up than to keep it small and gorgeous, it could also make a really beautiful, meaningful honeymoon spot.
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