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Destination Weddings

Destination wedding is the only option that feels right?

My fiancé and I have been engaged for several months now with no progress on venue, primarily because a destination wedding is the only option that feels right to us. To give some background, we live in the US but became engaged at the Stourhead Estate in England. Proposal was wonderful, he reserved the Temple of Apollo, there was a dinner set up, and he proposed. While we were there, we talked to the coordinator of the event about the potential of returning for our wedding, and when we looked around at where we were, it seemed perfect. An absolute no-brainer.

Fast forward months now and with all the family involved, it's become almost impossible to see our destination wedding as a possibility. My parents essentially refused to travel at the first mention of it; my mom is afraid of planes and my dad is worried about ear pain from flying. They said they'd only consider taking a boat there, which is totally ridiculous and would take days, as well as a lot of money for them, and they don't WANT to do that. Just that that's the only option they'd consider. My fiancé's side of the family is a little more accommodating - they're willing to fly but didn't sound particularly excited about it. Our parents are not helping to pay for any aspect of the wedding; my parents initially mentioned paying for my dress but any talks of a wedding with them fall flat, as though they are disinterested in the topic altogether. It's overall been very disheartening and while my fiancé and I have scoured our area and our home states for venues - some are OK - they all would feel like settling. Really we want a wedding with the same magical feeling and setting as our engagement, and we're starting to feel like we'll never decide or set a date because we just can't get excited enough about any venues in the USA when we stood at our dream spot for the wedding and figured out exactly where we'd get married and where people would sit.

Sorry for the long post, but I was wondering if anyone has experienced anything similar and what choice you made, or how you handled it? We would just want our immediate family there - fiancé's mom, stepdad, dad, stepmom, and his 2 sisters, and then my parents. We were even going to save money to rent out the entire inn on the property to give everyone a room to stay and make it easy, but it's upsetting to feel like this can't happen at all, and we'll have to pick someplace that feels "good enough". Neither myself or my fiancé are connected "at the hip" with our parents, if that makes sense, but we still would prefer they be there of course. Does anyone have any advice on this situation, or at least has anyone encountered something similar? 

Re: Destination wedding is the only option that feels right?

  • I mean, I think you just need to think about what's most important to you.  To me, it didn't matter WHERE I got married - the point was to GET married, does that make sense?  The day and moment, etc should be magical because you're joining your lives and declaring your intentions in front of people you love.  I don't see how the room you do that in could take away from that feeling and action.  I just don't understand why it would matter that much.

    To be clear - there's nothing wrong with desiring a destination wedding or wanting to do it in a specific spot.  But if you really want your family to be there and they are uncomfortable with or unable to attend in your ideal destination, then you need to make a different choice. 

    It sounds like you really want your immediate family to be there. My recommendation would be to find a nice spot that is more convenient to those you really want to be there, then take a fabulous honeymoon to visit the place you love and have a nice romantic dinner. You could even hire a photographer to take pictures while you're there. 


    short+sassyMyNameIsNotahoywedding
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    My fiancé and I have been engaged for several months now with no progress on venue, primarily because a destination wedding is the only option that feels right to us. To give some background, we live in the US but became engaged at the Stourhead Estate in England. Proposal was wonderful, he reserved the Temple of Apollo, there was a dinner set up, and he proposed. While we were there, we talked to the coordinator of the event about the potential of returning for our wedding, and when we looked around at where we were, it seemed perfect. An absolute no-brainer.

    Fast forward months now and with all the family involved, it's become almost impossible to see our destination wedding as a possibility. My parents essentially refused to travel at the first mention of it; my mom is afraid of planes and my dad is worried about ear pain from flying. They said they'd only consider taking a boat there, which is totally ridiculous and would take days, as well as a lot of money for them, and they don't WANT to do that. Just that that's the only option they'd consider. My fiancé's side of the family is a little more accommodating - they're willing to fly but didn't sound particularly excited about it. Our parents are not helping to pay for any aspect of the wedding; my parents initially mentioned paying for my dress but any talks of a wedding with them fall flat, as though they are disinterested in the topic altogether. It's overall been very disheartening and while my fiancé and I have scoured our area and our home states for venues - some are OK - they all would feel like settling. Really we want a wedding with the same magical feeling and setting as our engagement, and we're starting to feel like we'll never decide or set a date because we just can't get excited enough about any venues in the USA when we stood at our dream spot for the wedding and figured out exactly where we'd get married and where people would sit.

    Sorry for the long post, but I was wondering if anyone has experienced anything similar and what choice you made, or how you handled it? We would just want our immediate family there - fiancé's mom, stepdad, dad, stepmom, and his 2 sisters, and then my parents. We were even going to save money to rent out the entire inn on the property to give everyone a room to stay and make it easy, but it's upsetting to feel like this can't happen at all, and we'll have to pick someplace that feels "good enough". Neither myself or my fiancé are connected "at the hip" with our parents, if that makes sense, but we still would prefer they be there of course. Does anyone have any advice on this situation, or at least has anyone encountered something similar? 
    It all comes down to what your priority is. What's more important? Getting married where you got engaged, or having your family there for your wedding? 

    I considered a DW at first. But realistically, I knew it would be hard for my grandma to travel, so that was out. At the end of the day, I wanted to be surrounded by the people I love, and that meant having a wedding in NY. This was true for my H as well.

    You know what made my wedding day magical? I was getting to marry my H. A lot things that were out of my control went wrong that day (DJ issues, my cake fell). And I was still on cloud 9, because I was getting married, and the people I loved were there. It was an amazingly fun day that I wish I could relive. Truly, the venue wasn't a major player in that. 

    But you have to decide what's more important to you. 

    short+sassyahoywedding
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California
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    My fiancé and I have been engaged for several months now with no progress on venue, primarily because a destination wedding is the only option that feels right to us. To give some background, we live in the US but became engaged at the Stourhead Estate in England. Proposal was wonderful, he reserved the Temple of Apollo, there was a dinner set up, and he proposed. While we were there, we talked to the coordinator of the event about the potential of returning for our wedding, and when we looked around at where we were, it seemed perfect. An absolute no-brainer.

    Fast forward months now and with all the family involved, it's become almost impossible to see our destination wedding as a possibility. My parents essentially refused to travel at the first mention of it; my mom is afraid of planes and my dad is worried about ear pain from flying. They said they'd only consider taking a boat there, which is totally ridiculous and would take days, as well as a lot of money for them, and they don't WANT to do that. Just that that's the only option they'd consider. My fiancé's side of the family is a little more accommodating - they're willing to fly but didn't sound particularly excited about it. Our parents are not helping to pay for any aspect of the wedding; my parents initially mentioned paying for my dress but any talks of a wedding with them fall flat, as though they are disinterested in the topic altogether. It's overall been very disheartening and while my fiancé and I have scoured our area and our home states for venues - some are OK - they all would feel like settling. Really we want a wedding with the same magical feeling and setting as our engagement, and we're starting to feel like we'll never decide or set a date because we just can't get excited enough about any venues in the USA when we stood at our dream spot for the wedding and figured out exactly where we'd get married and where people would sit.

    Sorry for the long post, but I was wondering if anyone has experienced anything similar and what choice you made, or how you handled it? We would just want our immediate family there - fiancé's mom, stepdad, dad, stepmom, and his 2 sisters, and then my parents. We were even going to save money to rent out the entire inn on the property to give everyone a room to stay and make it easy, but it's upsetting to feel like this can't happen at all, and we'll have to pick someplace that feels "good enough". Neither myself or my fiancé are connected "at the hip" with our parents, if that makes sense, but we still would prefer they be there of course. Does anyone have any advice on this situation, or at least has anyone encountered something similar? 
    I do have a concern about the legal aspect of marrying in the UK. To my knowledge it’s a little more involved than a destination wedding, in say, Mexico. Perhaps @LondonLisa can clarify? 

    With destination weddings, you have to decide which is more important to you, the location? Or friends and family attending? Because often you won’t be able get both. This is also a reason the event needs to be legally binding. You can’t expect people to spend thousands of dollars and vacation time for an event that is not real. Your family sounds very uncomfortable with the thought of traveling. Does celebrating with your nearest and dearest sound more important? Or does having the location? Also, no one is going to be as excited about your wedding plans as you and your FI. No one is required to pay for the wedding except you and your FI. Try to dial it back on the expectations from other people. 


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    InLoveInQueensshort+sassyahoywedding
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK
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    edited December 2018
    Are you and your fiancé British Citizens or have residency visas? You won't be able to get married in the UK without it. Even if you both are, in England and Wales (not sure about Scotland) you have to have your banns read etc which takes weeks (you have to attend in person). If you aren't you have to get a fiancé visa to come here to get married. That is only for if you are foreign marrying a Brit. 

    There is no mechanism for two foreign people to marry in the UK without residency visas. Sorry but it looks like this won't be able to happen. 

    Why not try something different for your wedding and honeymoon in the UK?
    InLoveInQueensshort+sassyahoywedding
  • Are you and your fiancé British Citizens or have residency visas? You won't be able to get married in the UK without it. Even if you both are, in England and Wales (not sure about Scotland) you have to have your banns read etc which takes weeks (you have to attend in person). If you aren't you have to get a fiancé visa to come here to get married. That is only for if you are foreign marrying a Brit. 

    There is no mechanism for two foreign people to marry in the UK without residency visas. Sorry but it looks like this won't be able to happen. 

    Why not try something different for your wedding and honeymoon in the UK?

    Interesting!  I was not aware of that.  Or at least didn't remember it.

    OP, I know it must be disappointing to hear since you all had your heart set on Stourhead Estate.  But, since I'm assuming you can't get legally married in England based on the info from @LondonLisa, it does make the choice to accommodate what the immediate families want a lot easier.

    Since the guest list is small, maybe think "outside the box" to locations that you all find beautiful and/or meaningful, but are not typically wedding venues.  A bed and breakfast in a historic home.  A private dining area in an upscale hotel.  Any place with a breathtaking view.

    Or, as long as it doesn't involve flying, look at surrounding states.

    Sure, it might not be your first choice.  But PPs are right.  It will be a wonderful, happy day wherever you all have your ceremony.  And where you all get married will become another special place for the two of you. 

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK
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    Are you and your fiancé British Citizens or have residency visas? You won't be able to get married in the UK without it. Even if you both are, in England and Wales (not sure about Scotland) you have to have your banns read etc which takes weeks (you have to attend in person). If you aren't you have to get a fiancé visa to come here to get married. That is only for if you are foreign marrying a Brit. 

    There is no mechanism for two foreign people to marry in the UK without residency visas. Sorry but it looks like this won't be able to happen. 

    Why not try something different for your wedding and honeymoon in the UK?

    Interesting!  I was not aware of that.  Or at least didn't remember it.

    OP, I know it must be disappointing to hear since you all had your heart set on Stourhead Estate.  But, since I'm assuming you can't get legally married in England based on the info from @LondonLisa, it does make the choice to accommodate what the immediate families want a lot easier.

    Since the guest list is small, maybe think "outside the box" to locations that you all find beautiful and/or meaningful, but are not typically wedding venues.  A bed and breakfast in a historic home.  A private dining area in an upscale hotel.  Any place with a breathtaking view.

    Or, as long as it doesn't involve flying, look at surrounding states.

    Sure, it might not be your first choice.  But PPs are right.  It will be a wonderful, happy day wherever you all have your ceremony.  And where you all get married will become another special place for the two of you. 

    Almost all of the EU is like this (there are a couple exceptions, I think Italy is one but definitely not Ireland/France/ Greece/ Spain etc). Marriage goes through your local council, so you have to establish residency. You can't prove residency without being able to legally live somewhere (ie: not on a tourist visa). Plus you need to show several documents showing your residence and identity, such as an EU drivers license, Gas/Electric bill, bank statements confirming your address/ name etc. So if you are both on a work visa, you can get married here because you can establish that. But there is no visa for two foreign nationals to get married in the UK. 

    The England/Wales also has strict rules about where you can get married (it has to be a registered building/church/registry office), you can't get married after 4pm, You can't get married outside, you have to have your banns read (which means it is announced 3 Sundays in a row at the church/ place of worship/ registry office that you intend to get married so anyone should notify the vicar/ registrar if you know of a reason not to- Major spoilers for Jane Eyre. You have to attend these in person so they can identify you. Lots of the old/outdated reasons, but it just hasn't caught up with modern times. 

     
  • I agree with PPs, having a local ceremony with your family and honeymooning in the UK is the simplest solution. 
     
    What is it about that spot that made it magical? Maybe if you can pinpoint what you lived about it you can find a place with the same energy.
  • Ditto everyone else. Typically parents & immediate family of the couple are considered VIPs, and if their availability is used to determine the wedding plans. You know right now that neither of your parents would be able to attend if you had the wedding in England. You also can't get legally married in England as a US citizen, so your guests would be traveling for essentially a show.

    Why don't you look for somewhere else special near your homes, and then honeymoon in England? Where in the US do you live? There are some beautiful historic estate homes on the east coast (just avoid plantations!). Is there a botanical garden or park near you? 
    ShesSoCold
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
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    I agree with PPs. 

    My H and I planned a destination wedding, but only after we confirmed with our VIPs that they would go. You can't plan a vacation for someone else and be upset when they don't want to go, especially when you know people don't like to fly, leave the country, etc.

    But all of that is moot since you probably can't actually get married in the UK anyway. Handy that you don't need to worry about this anymore!

    I know you want a "magical" feeling but it'll be your wedding. If you felt that "magic" when you got engaged, you'll feel it at your wedding too, regardless of whether it's at a castle or in an alley. 
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK
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    edited December 2018
    I’m glad I could help. I would also echo PP that you can have a magical wedding lots of places with such a small guest list. Let you’re imagination go wild: Central Park in NYC, private room in one of your favourite restaurants of all time, the quirky, beautiful bookstore you love, think of non-traditional wedding venues.

    Also- remember this going forward: on site wedding planners have one job- to get you to sign up to their venue to spend lots of money for a party. The planner doesn’t care if your wedding isn’t legally valid. They don’t work for you. They are there to sell the venue and a party. 
    levioosacharlotte989875ahoywedding
  • I had a whole long post typed out and lost it somehow, so here I go again! Thank you everyone for your replies and I'm sorry I didn't check in sooner. Just to clarify, @levioosa I have no expectations of anyone paying for a single bit of the wedding, I primarily mentioned no one was paying for the wedding to clarify that a venue has not been chosen for us (which of course may be likely if our parents were paying for it).

    @LondonLisa and @short+sassy, thank you both for the fantastic information you provided on the restrictions regarding a wedding in the UK. While it is disappointing to hear it's essentially not an option for us, other responses are right in that it takes away some of the difficulty if it's simply not an option at all. I'm extremely grateful for you taking the time to explain the restrictions because when we were at the estate, we spoke pretty extensively with the event planner on site (who plans weddings and engagements) about the potential of having a wedding there and he didn't mention any conflicts or difficulties, despite knowing we were both US citizens. Perhaps it was just an oversight but it's great to now be fully aware of the feasibility of it - or rather, lack of feasibility. 

    We currently live in Nebraska, which is (in my opinion) sorely wanting for some pretty potential wedding spots, but I'm originally from Minnesota and my fiancé is from Washington state, so we can look more heavily in those areas. We are seeking somewhere with natural beauty and some history, so @ahoywedding, your suggestion of looking at venues on the east coast is a great one I will pursue as well. I would ask for suggestions but that's definitely outside of the realm of the destination wedding forum!

    In general, thank you everyone for your help and suggestions and the highly informative posts here! This is the most I've been able to "talk" about the wedding with anyone so it's been extremely helpful!
    Where in NE are you? Indian Caves State Park could be an option or if you’re out west, how about CO? 
    charlotte989875ahoywedding
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    If you do end up looking on the east coast, there are a lot of beautiful places in the Hudson Valley in NY. 

  • Happy to help! If you're in the Midwest, there are a ton of beautiful parks and outdoor spaces. How far would your parents be willing to drive? 

    Also, think outside the typical venues. I googled "alternative wedding venues" in my city, and found out that our local science museum allows weddings. We ended up getting married there (I did recap post at one point), and our guests loved it. I wouldn't have thought about the museum at first, but they had pictures of other weddings on their website and I was surprised at how beautiful it was. It had a little extra value to us because my husband remembered going there on school trips as a kid. Maybe there's a location near one of your families that has a sentimental value?
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