I have never been to a destination wedding before and I don't know many people who have, so I'm a little unsure of how to handle certain issues.
First of all, My fiancé and I have relatively large guest list, but we are cutting it back as much as we can. Most resorts we've looked at can only accommodate 20-30 guests for the wedding; however, some resorts have an extra fee, per person, for extra guests for the reception dinner (if there is one). I am wondering if anyone knows how this works? For instance, most resorts look like they only have 30 chairs for the ceremony. Can other guests watch, but they just have to stand around? And then we just pay for the extra plates at the reception?
Also, I am wondering how to handle all the "parties." I have been to weddings before where the couples have had bridal showers AND Stag & Does. I've also had one friend ask for money instead of gifts (which was awesome, because it was easier). Is this sleazy to do for a destination wedding (when guests will already be spending so much money on the trip)?
If we are planning on holding a reception back home after the wedding, should this only be for guests who were invited, but unable to attend the wedding? Or are we able to invite friends and family that we did not have room to invite to the wedding? If so, how can we tactfully handle this?
And, just to be sure, ONLY the people who are invited to the actual ceremony should be invited to the engagement party and wedding shower, correct? My mother has already invited some extended family members to my engagement party and hinted that she would be invited others to the wedding shower because "more money/gifts!" So, this means I will be obligated to invite them to the ceremony. I am just worried about the lack of room. So far, my fiancé's only guests are his mother and a friend. Even though he is not close with his family (he has met them maybe 4 times), he is not comfortable with so much of my extended family being invited to the ceremony. He would still like to be able to invite his family! How can we handle this? I know I should "put my foot down" with my mother (who is Italian and is used to big, showy, Italian weddings, btw), but how can I NOT invite family when my mom has already talked to them about attending our engagement party/wedding shower?
Thanks for your help!