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Etiquette

Picking by battles: wedding planning

I am recently engaged, and already hitting some roadblocks. I currently have three different decisions to make, and they of course all play in to each other.

Picking my battles:

Where to have the wedding. He is from Michigan, I am from Kansas. I currently live in San Antonio and he will be moving here by January. I would like to have the wedding in San Antonio, as it is where we will live and it would be a fun place to invite all of our friends and family too. One whole side of his family will not leave Michigan, and will not be at any wedding outside the state. I am not a big fan of Michigan, after spending four not so great years going to school up there, so I would prefer to not have the biggest day of my life take place there.


Extra reception with his family before or after the honeymoon? Depending on how the above battle plays out, we would have a second reception in Michigan for all of his family who refuses to leave the state. I prefer to get married and leave right away for a week or two at our honeymoon destination, but the FI wants to wait awhile for the honeymoon and instead have the reception with his family right away.


Future sister in law as a bridesmaid. Classic problem, and I’ve read enough on here to know that the consensus is don’t have a bridesmaid you don’t want. Is this something however I can “give” my FI to sway him in having the wedding in San Antonio and/or waiting till after the Honeymoon for the reception? He already has more groomsmen in mind than I would like to have bridesmaids, so I guess I could always “use another body on my side”, but my heart isn’t in it. We aren’t close, and I actually have no idea if she even wants to be a bridesmaid, my FL just assumed I would have her.

Alienate half his family, spend our first married days with his potentially difficult family, or possibly upset my FI and FSIL by not having her as a bridesmaid?

Re: Picking by battles: wedding planning

  • Michigan MOB here.

    First off - each side of the bridal party does not have to be equal.  when you look at your pictures in 20 years you will be far more touched with WHO is in the pictures rather than if the sides were even.  I am a big fan of uneven parties.

    Next - If you have the wedding in TX, will you get the end result you BOTH want?  While I am in no way suggesting that you be held hostage to the Michigan relatives who won't leave the state, will your FI be stuck in a wedding with important family members not there because of your desire to stay in San Antonio?

    Keep in mind that your desire to have the weding in San Antonio means his ENTIRE side of the guest list will have to travel.  I am assuming that you have several friends where you live, but he would not.

    Will your family be able to attend? 

    Who is paying for the wedding?  If someone else is kicking in major bucks they get a say in this also.

    Being an uber logistics freak myself, I can understand wanting to have the wedding where you live, but you guys have to decide what the priorities are and what location makes them most likely to happen.

    Do not try to bribe him into a wedding in San Antonio by having FSIL as a BM.  She can be a groomswman on his side if it is really important to  have her in the wedding.

     

    OliveOilsMomSP29
  • Oh - I am really curious - do you mind telling what school you attended?
  • I agree with PP, you need to look at will there be some VIP's from his side that won't come that he would be upset not being there on his wedding day (like parents). In regards to his sister, if you aren't close to her, don't ask. Asking her to be a BM won't bring you closer, especially if you don't live in the same area.

    I think you are great about picking what items are important to you and which ones to give in on. But I think you need to talk to FI about what his dream situation is. That way you can hopefully find compromises that will work for both of you.

    The honeymoon, putting it off for a bit can actually be more relaxing because you can just sleep in after your wedding & relax instead of having to race off to the airport and wonder, did all the wedding stuff get wrapped up properly, do we have everything?

  • For the third, does she have to be on your side? I'm not a big fan of gender segregation, and I 

    My FI has a sister, who will be a "groomslady." I'm going to have two "bridesmen" - my best friend from high school, and another close friend of both of ours, but who I'm particularly close with. We decided to let our relationships with these people dictate which side they'd be on, instead of their gender.
    mollybarker11SP29
  • lembasloverlembaslover member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    edited September 2015
    I am recently engaged, and already hitting some roadblocks. I currently have three different decisions to make, and they of course all play in to each other. 

    Picking my battles: 

    Where to have the wedding. He is from Michigan, I am from Kansas. I currently live in San Antonio and he will be moving here by January. I would like to have the wedding in San Antonio, as it is where we will live and it would be a fun place to invite all of our friends and family too. One whole side of his family will not leave Michigan, and will not be at any wedding outside the state. I am not a big fan of Michigan, after spending four not so great years going to school up there, so I would prefer to not have the biggest day of my life take place there. 

    Extra reception with his family before or after the honeymoon? Depending on how the above battle plays out, we would have a second reception in Michigan for all of his family who refuses to leave the state. I prefer to get married and leave right away for a week or two at our honeymoon destination, but the FI wants to wait awhile for the honeymoon and instead have the reception with his family right away. 

    Future sister in law as a bridesmaid. Classic problem, and I’ve read enough on here to know that the consensus is don’t have a bridesmaid you don’t want. Is this something however I can “give” my FI to sway him in having the wedding in San Antonio and/or waiting till after the Honeymoon for the reception? He already has more groomsmen in mind than I would like to have bridesmaids, so I guess I could always “use another body on my side”, but my heart isn’t in it. We aren’t close, and I actually have no idea if she even wants to be a bridesmaid, my FL just assumed I would have her. 
     
    Alienate half his family, spend our first married days with his potentially difficult family, or possibly upset my FI and FSIL by not having her as a bridesmaid?
    The first part is hard. We picked a place that was about 1.5hrs from us and I'm glad we didn't go much further because we had to make a few unexpected trips to vendors and such and that would have been more difficult/impossible depending on the distance. That being said a lot of people do plan weddings from a distance so it is doable and we did even have a couple of vendors who agreed to skype us for meetings rather than in person. 

    I too am in the party of wanting to leave for the honeymoon right after the wedding. It seems to be easier to get vacation time at work for a honeymoon though. I'd get some questions taking 2 weeks off but when i say honeymoon it was approved pretty much instantly. Though many people do postpone it for various reasons and it all works out. The fact that your FI would rather have a second reception with his family kind of indicates to me he'd rather have the wedding with them and might not be so OK with having it in San Antonio so make to really get his feelings on the matter. If he is ok with it and just wants the reception right away maybe you can compromise and have a mini-moon for the first night or two and then go do the reception in Michigan.

    I wouldn't bargain with him to have the location you want and his sister as your bridesmaid, that's going to feel forced and obvious. If he wants he can have her stand up on his side or we are asking our siblings to be readers during the ceremony rather than bridal party. Marriage is about compromise and with weddings you have to compromise but siblings shouldn't be part of that, they are people and if she found out that she was chosen so you could have your location it'd hurt a lot worse than if she just wasn't asked.

    Good luck :)

    EDIT: Spelling and Grammer...
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited September 2015
    I am recently engaged, and already hitting some roadblocks. I currently have three different decisions to make, and they of course all play in to each other. Picking my battles: Where to have the wedding. He is from Michigan, I am from Kansas. I currently live in San Antonio and he will be moving here by January. I would like to have the wedding in San Antonio, as it is where we will live and it would be a fun place to invite all of our friends and family too. One whole side of his family will not leave Michigan, and will not be at any wedding outside the state. I am not a big fan of Michigan, after spending four not so great years going to school up there, so I would prefer to not have the biggest day of my life take place there. I agree that his Michigan relatives who won't leave the state shouldn't have control over where you get married, but even if they were willing to travel, they still wouldn't necessarily come to San Antonio. And even though you didn't have good experiences in Michigan thus far, that doesn't mean your wedding can't be one of them. So, while I'm not suggesting you get married in Michigan, I also wouldn't firmly declare it totally off-limits either. Extra reception with his family before or after the honeymoon? Depending on how the above battle plays out, we would have a second reception in Michigan for all of his family who refuses to leave the state. I prefer to get married and leave right away for a week or two at our honeymoon destination, but the FI wants to wait awhile for the honeymoon and instead have the reception with his family right away. It would just be at most a few days there. Maybe he'd agree to have the visit there when you return from your honeymoon? But this would not be a hill to die on for me.  By the way, since this second party would take place after the wedding day, it wouldn't be a "wedding reception." Future sister in law as a bridesmaid. Classic problem, and I’ve read enough on here to know that the consensus is don’t have a bridesmaid you don’t want. Is this something however I can “give” my FI to sway him in having the wedding in San Antonio and/or waiting till after the Honeymoon for the reception? He already has more groomsmen in mind than I would like to have bridesmaids, so I guess I could always “use another body on my side”, but my heart isn’t in it. We aren’t close, and I actually have no idea if she even wants to be a bridesmaid, my FL just assumed I would have her. Now this is a hill I would die on. Don't ask your FSIL solely to make your FI happy or even (especially) as a bargaining point. Only ask those persons you already feel really close to. If it's really important to your FI that she be in the wedding party, then she can stand up on his side. Alienate half his family, spend our first married days with his potentially difficult family, or possibly upset my FI and FSIL by not having her as a bridesmaid?
  • A reception is a party that accompanies an event--like a wedding reception comes right after the wedding, or a welcome reception comes right before a conference or something. Therefore, you get one reception. If you want to have other parties at other times that's fine, and someone could throw a party in your honor, but they won't be wedding receptions. 

    Personally, I think a lot of this has to do with why you both want the wedding in a different location. Ignore his family--what does your fiance want? Just something that his family will attend, or is there more to it than that? Do you just want something where it's easy to plan, or is there more to it than that? To be honest, your reasons for not wanting to go to Michigan are no better than his family not wanting to leave Michigan. 

    As for the FSIL issue, just talk to your fiance about what you envision for your bridal party. Do you want the most important people in your lives standing next to you, or do you want to pick people as a couple and then divide them on gender lines, or something else? Do you care if sides are equal, and if so why? Do you even need a bridal party at all?!?
    SP29PrettyGirlLost[Deleted User]
  • I was in a somewhat similar boat, in that DH and I had both relocated by the time we got engaged, and none of our family lived nearby.  In our case, we decided that it would be easier for us to plan a wedding where we lived, and that having it close to either one of our families would mean the other side would have to travel anyway.  We both knew that it meant that maybe not everyone in our families would make it to the wedding, and we were okay with that.  So I think you and FI have to set your priorities and decide what is most important:  having it somewhere you love, having his side of the family there, etc. 

    As for them not wanting to leave Michigan, unless they're all under house arrest, that's a choice they're making.  A totally valid one, but then they need to understand that decisions have consequences, and the consequence for not leaving Michigan is that they miss your wedding.  If they're fine with that, then great; if not, then they need to think about their choices some more.

    As for your FSIL, if you're not close, then she doesn't belong in your wedding party.  She can stand up on your FI's side, if it's that important to him.  (And if it's not important enough to him that she be in his WP, then why would she stand up on your side?)  And there's nothing wrong with her being a guest, or a reader.   

    As for the two receptions, I think a second reception is fine if it's more of a party/family get together, as opposed to a wedding reenactment (wedding gown, cake cutting, spotlight dances, etc.).  You and your FI need to figure out the timing, though.  I can give my opinion (loved the wedding, but was so ready for a vacation afterward), but ultimately it comes down to timing for both of you, what works for the Michigan people, and any budgetary issues (like if he wants to postpone so you can save up for a longer trip).
    [Deleted User]
  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    There is no way in hell I would have wanted to have a 2nd reception right after (does this mean a couple days, a week) in a different state. No way, not doing it. I didn't go on a honeymoon right away either, and honestly that was the best decision for us.  We were so tired. 

    So you have to decide where to have your wedding, whether that is San Antonio, Michigan, or somewhere else. I would say no to the second reception no matter where your wedding takes place, and other's have covered the FSIL as bridesmaid issue. 

    Also, your wedding may not be the best/biggest day of your life. That makes it seem like it's all downhill from there. Don't think that way. Also, a whole state can't be terrible. There has to be a beautiful venue somewhere in Michigan that you'll love if that is the route you take. But I also wouldn't be held hostage to his family.
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • spockforprezspockforprez Virginia member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    Definitely some tough choices ahead. I think this will be a good time to really practice compromising with your FH even though it will suck while you're going through it. To paraphrase Larry David, a good compromise is when both of you are unhappy. Haha. (Note: I don't really believe that! Hopefully you'll find something that is mutually beneficial.)

    If you're hosting the wedding yourselves and you feel like San Antonio is your city and your "place" if you know what I mean, I think it would make the most sense to have it there and host your friends and family in a place that means a lot to you. If that's not how you feel, like it's the city you're in for now because of a job, or you maybe want to move someplace else in the next few years, then it's fine to consider alternate locations. Lots of brides plan weddings across the country. (Hiring a wedding planner would help.) 

    Another way to think of it is a place where the least amount of people will have to travel. We're having the wedding in my hometown because 95% of my family lives there and we make up 65% of the guest list. His family is scattered up and down the East Coast. So out of our 60-80 guests, only 35-40% will be traveling, whereas if we had it somewhere else, nearly 100% of the guest list would be traveling, depending where we chose. As a lazy bride, path of least resistance is what I'm all about.

    I agree with PP about the FSIL in your bridal party. And, I say go on the honeymoon right away. The traveling part the day after can suck, but the alone time and peace & quiet after the insanity of wedding planning will be very worth it IMO.
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    SP29
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited September 2015
    Our families lived about 4 hours from each and a 5 hour plane ride from us.    Certain people attending were important to us more than location.  We picked a place about 3-5 hours away from both sides.  Everyone had to travel, but for most of the guests it was only a drive.  No regrets.

    There is nothing wrong with picking a location over guests.  But own your choice, don't get mad if people do not travel.   On the other side, do not let people make you feel guilty.  

    You have mentioned what you want, but not your FI.  I find that interesting.


    Problem #2-   I would NOT do a reception tour across america.  Either they come to the wedding or they do not.   

    Problem #3.  This is where I different then most on here.  I did have my SILs in my wedding party.  they are much younger and I didn't know them well.   It was important to my husband, so I made it important too me.   We were also unusual in we choose the WP together.  We split them up by gender, but everyone in the WP was a joint decision.    We didn't think of it in terms of my side or his side.  It was OUR wedding party.  They were up there supporting US, not just one side.

    Now I would not use it as a bargaining chip.   You do not have to have her as BMs.   I was lucky because my SILs are drama-free.  If there were prone to drama I would not have had them.  Nor would I think DH would have asked either.  I had no expectations of them other than show up in the dress on time.  They didn't help with the shower (although attended) and that was completely fine.   








    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    OliveOilsMomSP29Casadena
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    OP - I think your post just screams me, me, me.  What does your FI want?  I think you should both sit down and tell each other what you think your dream wedding is, down to the location.  Then, once knowing both of your visions, find a compromise.  Remember that if anyone offers to pay for the wedding, then their money may come with strings - including the location.

    Also, we took a delayed honeymoon because my H was only working part time when we married, but had summers off since he was working in a school.  It was great because after our wedding, there was something still big on the horizon to look forward to. 

    kmmssgSTARMOON44
  • All great points.

    I never imagined the second reception in Michigan to be a full after wedding reception, just a party we would host and have pictures and maybe a video of the wedding to have everyone feel involved in some way. It would be an extra cost on our end and I'm not sure I want that.

    I'm from Kansas, and I'm currently here scouting out some possible venues in case we decide to hold the wedding where I'm from. From a planning standpoint, it would be easier to have a wedding in Kansas as we have a bunch of contacts in all areas of a wedding who would make the process easy. My parents will be paying for most of the wedding, so having it close to them (and where it's probably a little cheaper) is also appealing.

    I don't mean to sound me, me, me, he just hasn't given me much yet. The most I have been able to get out of him so far is that he wants to look like James Bond (which I'm totally fine with) and that half his family will not leave Michigan. I'm slowly sending him various articles and pictures to try and coax more out of him, but it's slow going.

    To add another layer to all of this.... We are currently long distance and have been for some time. He will be moving to me by the end of the year, but quite a bit of planning will be happening long distance.
  • Why are you rushing to get married now while you're still long distance and not able to communicate about the wedding? He won't tell you what you want and all you're trying to do is talk him into your solution, which frankly sounds mean spirited- you're really totally fine with him not having half his family there?

    I'd wait until you're together and see what makes sense then.
    PupatellaPrettyGirlLost
  • lyndausvi said:
    Future sister in law as a bridesmaid. Classic problem, and I’ve read enough on here to know that the consensus is don’t have a bridesmaid you don’t want. Is this something however I can “give” my FI to sway him in having the wedding in San Antonio and/or waiting till after the Honeymoon for the reception? He already has more groomsmen in mind than I would like to have bridesmaids, so I guess I could always “use another body on my side”, but my heart isn’t in it. We aren’t close, and I actually have no idea if she even wants to be a bridesmaid, my FL just assumed I would have her.
    This is where I different then most on here. I did have my SILs in my wedding party. they are much younger and I didn't know them well. It was important to my husband, so I made it important too me. We were also unusual in we choose the WP together. We split them up by gender, but everyone in the WP was a joint decision. We didn't think of it in terms of my side or his side. It was OUR wedding party. They were up there supporting US, not just one side.

    Now I would not use it as a bargaining chip.   You do not have to have her as BMs.
    Yeah this is what stood out to me most. Don't use another human being and her emotions in an attempt to negotiate with your FI over wedding plans. That's icky.

    You said he assumed you would have his sister as a BM, but is that because he really wants her in the wedding party? Or is it just because everyone's siblings have been in every wedding he's been to (it is common) and he just assumed that's what's always done? If it's important to him that she's standing up there then that is a good reason to ask her, but do it because you recognize his wants, not just as an attempt to get what you want.


    PS - He may also assume the WP sides need to be even and divided by gender. Assumptions like these really limit your options and make things more stressful! Let him know his sister can stand up with him if he wants her to.

    [Deleted User]
  • As for your other questions:

    Having the wedding in San Antonio is understandable since that is where you two will live & it's "neutral" ground for both families. Having it near your parents in Kansas is understandable since they're paying & presumably more involved in the planning. Not having it in Michigan just because you're not a big fan of the state itself is inconsiderate to your fiancé. If his VIPs are among those who cannot or will not travel for the wedding, you'll need to seriously reevaluate this line of thinking.

    I don't see a problem with "at home receptions" / "reception tours" / whatever. They are AWish, yes, but any wedding-related event bigger than a private ceremony is on the AW spectrum tbh. Having multiple parties to celebrate is on the further end of that spectrum, but your plan doesn't sound tacky to me. Whether it's before or after your honeymoon depends on a lot of different factors, but one thing to consider is that your FI may be thinking of it as like an extension of your wedding and wouldn't feel right going off on honeymoon before having that time with his family.


    I think a lot of these decisions will be much easier to make once you and your FI take time to sit down and communicate with each other about what you both want and why you want it. I know it must be tough doing this long-distance, and I know lots of folks just aren't into the nitty-gritty of event planning, but I think this make it necessary for you to be a little more direct instead of trying to slowly coax him into discussing it. Maybe find an hour you're both free and set a skype date with the express purpose of hammering out some of these details that are bothering you.

    [Deleted User]
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited September 2015
    The easiest one to tackle for me is the FSIL, so I'll start there. I definitely agree that I would not use her as a bargaining chip. 

    I'm in the camp that you choose your nearest and dearest to stand beside you. Sides do not have to be equal. Genders do not have to be the same. If it is really important to your FI to have his FSIL in the wedding, she could stand on his side. 

    You could also ask her if she'd like to do a reading during the ceremony, as a way to include her. 

    As for the wedding location....
    The whole half his family won't leave Michigan is silly to me... considering you will both be living in San Antonio, what happens when you have children? His family won't come visit? Because I sure as heck would not be flying back to Michigan with an infant just so his family gets to see him/her. In this respect I agree with: You plan a wedding. You invite those whom you want there. They decide whether to attend or not.

    However.... you have to consider what is most important to you- a location, or family/guests. Either is fine to prioritize, for whatever reason, as long as you own it and realize there are consequences (to both sides). 

    DH and I moved from Ontario to Alberta and lived there, just us, no family. When we got married, we had the wedding in our hometown because we wanted to prioritize our family. My family would have flown out, but there would be a lot more guests flying to Alberta than flying to Ontario. It would also have been more of an expense to our families, and there would have been some family members unable to come. DH's grandmother found out she had cancer the summer before we were married (which was after we picked the venue) and ended up passing away a few weeks after our wedding, she would not have been able to come to the wedding if it was in AB. Of course you can never tell the future, but knowing we had older family members (where as our Alberta guests were our young, healthy, travel savvy friends) made the choice clear. 

    If your FI feels it is important to share his wedding with his family, I think Michigan is something you should at least seriously consider.

    As for long distance planning, fortunately I had my mom who was willing to help. I started my planning on line and over the phone, narrowed down my choice to 3 venues, 3 photographers, 2 DJs and 3 florists. During 2 different visits home, we made appointments to meet with these vendors and then made a decision and signed the paperwork within the same span. So our venue we booked a year out, when I was home for Christmas. My mom came with me, and afterwards was able to pay our deposits for us to the venue in person (we paid her back). Then the summer before our wedding is when we tackled all the other vendors. In 3 weeks we did the appointments and signed the paperwork. Any further planning or "meetings" happened online or over the phone. Skyped with our photographer, discussed final flower arrangements over the phone, and e-mailed our music list to our DJ. It can be done. 

    As for the "second reception". This wouldn't be a wedding reception. However, anyone can have a party, for any reason, so there is nothing wrong with having a marriage celebration or a "welcome to the family!" party, as long as you aren't trying to re-create your wedding. The issue comes with money- do you have the budget to throw this party? One factor for you, is because it is not a wedding reception, this party can happen anytime- after the honeymoon, 2 months later... I agree with another poster who said, if it is very important for your FI to have this "second reception" before the honeymoon, it sounds like he wants his family to be part of the wedding, in which case I think you should consider planning something his family can attend. 
  • My opinion depends on WHY his family won't leave Michigan. Is it because they don't want to or because they genuinely can't? If they really and truly can't, then I would reconsider having it in Michigan. If they don't want to, then I'm less inclined to care.

    What do your parents think? They're paying for this so ask them for input. Are they okay with a San Antonio wedding? Michigan? Or do they want it in Kansas?
    PrettyGirlLost
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