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small wedding becoming tiny wedding

I'm not sure where to post this, and I'm kind of just venting, but I appreciate the thoughts/advice of those on this forum. 

So FI and I are having a mini-destination wedding and inviting 50 guests. Honestly before the planning started I wanted it just to be immediate family only, but FI wanted to be able to invite close friends and his aunt & cousin, so it grew to 50 people. 

We've sent save-the-dates but have not yet sent invites. But now slowly more and more it seems we already can't count on very many people to attend the wedding. Maybe we'll be surprised, but we can only say 11 people are 100% for sure attending, with maybe another 6 more very likely to attend. I know by having a semi-destination wedding (3 hours from where we live) we should expect people not to attend, but it's still a bummer.

What really sucks is our caterer will still charge us for 36 people regardless (they have a minimum). I feel like if we were only going to host 17 people or less, we would have chosen to have the reception at a restaurant, or figured something else out instead of a full caterer.

I just really hate that we decided to plan a wedding for 50, and are spending more money to do that, but in the end the people who we thought would be sad if we didn't invite them probably won't come anyway. 

Re: small wedding becoming tiny wedding

  • I wouldn't get too worked up about this if you haven't even sent out the invitations. I'm guessing your wedding is still pretty far out so people might just not know for sure if they can come, but that doesn't mean they won't.

    If you have less than the minimum you can ask your caterer if you can do some upgrades. I've think I've heard of people doing that before.


    melbelleup
  • Yeah, it's early (wedding in October) so I'm probably overreacting -- but people keep mentioning/hinting how they probably won't be able to make it. It's just making me sad today.
  • I just posted my own thread about this on E (<-- clicky).

    I'm not at all implying that you're doing something wrong or against etiquette or you're being a rude host -- that's not at all what I mean.

    But if you read the responses in the thread, there's a lot of talk about DWs. 

    Yes, it totally sucks that you're having a possible high decline rate. But that is the side effect of having a DW.

    DH and I got married 2.5 hours from where we live/where he grew up (we got married in my hometown). That 2.5 hour travel time was an inconvenience to his guests, which he knew when he suggested having the wedding in my hometown. A lot of his family chose not to attend; a lot of his friends did make the trip.

    It sucks when people you thought would want to celebrate with you don't, but it's not a reflection of their feelings for you. It's a reflection of their vacation time, money, and travel priorities.

    Is there anyway you can get out of your contract with the caterer and instead do a smaller reception venue?
    Anniversary

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    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited March 2014
    At my daughter's wedding we had a total of 7 family members attending, out of 130 guests. Only one, my sister, was from my side of the family. Very disappointing.  Her FI's family had 50.
    No matter when or where you plan your wedding, some people won't be able to come.  That is reality.  Destination weddings make it even more difficult for guests to attend.
    It isn't too late to change your plans, but even if you do, there will still be people who won't be able to make your wedding.  STDs don't require a response, so maybe there will be more people that you think who will come.  Best wishes.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • I just posted my own thread about this on E (<-- clicky).

    I'm not at all implying that you're doing something wrong or against etiquette or you're being a rude host -- that's not at all what I mean.

    But if you read the responses in the thread, there's a lot of talk about DWs. 

    Yes, it totally sucks that you're having a possible high decline rate. But that is the side effect of having a DW.

    DH and I got married 2.5 hours from where we live/where he grew up (we got married in my hometown). That 2.5 hour travel time was an inconvenience to his guests, which he knew when he suggested having the wedding in my hometown. A lot of his family chose not to attend; a lot of his friends did make the trip.

    It sucks when people you thought would want to celebrate with you don't, but it's not a reflection of their feelings for you. It's a reflection of their vacation time, money, and travel priorities.

    Is there anyway you can get out of your contract with the caterer and instead do a smaller reception venue?
    This is what I was going to suggest, especially since you're still fairly far out.


    image
  • I just posted my own thread about this on E (<-- clicky).

    I'm not at all implying that you're doing something wrong or against etiquette or you're being a rude host -- that's not at all what I mean.

    But if you read the responses in the thread, there's a lot of talk about DWs. 

    Yes, it totally sucks that you're having a possible high decline rate. But that is the side effect of having a DW.

    DH and I got married 2.5 hours from where we live/where he grew up (we got married in my hometown). That 2.5 hour travel time was an inconvenience to his guests, which he knew when he suggested having the wedding in my hometown. A lot of his family chose not to attend; a lot of his friends did make the trip.

    It sucks when people you thought would want to celebrate with you don't, but it's not a reflection of their feelings for you. It's a reflection of their vacation time, money, and travel priorities.

    Is there anyway you can get out of your contract with the caterer and instead do a smaller reception venue?
    I was actually just reading that thread! Luckily we are not committing any of those horribly rude etiquette faux pas... although I don't know, maybe some of our invitees secretly think having a DW in itself is rude.

    The thing is, we wanted a small wedding! So I guess we're getting what we wanted, and we did this to ourselves. It's just that 50 guests is so different from 17.

    I don't know how to plan for 50 people, but at the same time plan for 17. Those two weddings would be so different. We have the budget for 50 but it will seem like a waste. We won't have "for sure" solid numbers until our RSVP deadline 2-3 weeks before the wedding, so I'm not sure it makes sense to try to get out of our catering contract at this point. It seems like we still have to plan for 50, right?
  • phiraphira member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    Yeah, I was going to say, "Why not just scrap the original plan and find a restaurant?" But since you'd still be inviting all 50 people and you want to account for 100% attendance ... that ain't gonna work.

    I'd definitely talk to the caterer and explain the situation. You might still have to pay the minimum (for 36 guests), but if you can add upgrades instead of just paying for uneaten meals, that sounds very reasonable.
    Anniversary
    now with ~* INCREASED SASSINESS *~
    image
    jules3964JennyColada
  • I guess we'll save money on rentals, alcohol, and perhaps we won't need as many servers. So there's that.

    Side question: is a photo booth stupid for only 17 people? Seems like we might want to scrap that.
  • FWIW- at the morning after breakfast, DH and I had to guarantee (ie pay for) 20 people, aside from the folks staying at the hotel from where many guests were staying. Non hotel guests amounted to 9 folks. Yup, 9, including DH and myself. I felt bad about all the food that probably got tossed, but we couldn't get a breakfast diner to set up just for us (no guarantees on who all or how many would show), so we just went with it.

    Ditto PPs on upgrades

  • @phira, ditto! If you can make it a $$$ min instead of head count minimum (that shouldn't affect the caterer's bottom line) then that seems much better for all involved.
  • Honestly, you shouldn't even be worrying about this so far out. Guaranteed I couldn't promise anybody except family that I'd be attending their wedding 6 months out, regardless of locations. I do agree you should ask for the extra money to go to upgrades if you end up having fewer than 36 RSVPs, but while you might float the idea now, it's not something to be actively planning for with just save-the-dates, which are not intended in any way to function as RSVPs.
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