Wedding Etiquette Forum

How far is TOO far??

Hi guys :)  I really need some advice from people who don't know me (aka people who have probably had the same thoughts and wont try to tell me what they think I wanna hear!). 

Here's my etiquette question:
My fiance and I are thinking of having our wedding reception about 40 minutes from the church.  His family is from the city and think driving anywhere is just crazy.  For them, it will be a 40 minute drive to the church, another 40 minutes to the reception and then about an hour and 10 minute drive home (or short drive to the hotel, if they so choose).  For my family, it will be about an hour to the church, then 40 minutes to the reception and then about 20 minutes back home.  Is this asking people for too much?  We have been quite limited with our church selections as there are so few of our faith in the area.  And the reception space, well, we just like it!  Please give me your honest thoughts!

Many thanks!!!
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Re: How far is TOO far??

  • I would try and keep the drive under 30 minutes. Are there any other closer reception venues within your budget?
  • edited February 2012
    I think it depends on your location, like Duds said. Where I grew up it takes more than an hour to get from one side of the city to the other so I wouldn't blink an eye at 40 minutes in that area. Now that I live in a more sub-urban area though I would be a little annoyed with driving 40 minutes between locations. 

    Edit: I just realized I'm opposite of Duds. And when in doubt, do what Duds says. 
  • I would try to find somewhere closer to the church, especially since you said his family members aren't big drivers.  
  • I'm bad at math, but that's something like two and a half hours, correct? These city relatives aren't used to driving... do they at least have cars? Do they know the area? First they'll have to drive almost an hour to find the church, then drive almost an hour to find the venue, then over an hour to find their way back home. I just think it's a lot of driving through the day for me and I'm used to driving, ya know?
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  • I think 40 minutes drive to a reception is too much. It's a lot of money for gas and if your families don't drive a lot they may not be up for the drive. Also, an hour and a half drive home for your FI's family means that they will not be able to drink and might have to buy a hotel room.
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  • Thanks for all the input so far!  It's much appreciated.  Since you're all so helpful, let me add in this detail and let me know what you think:

    The only other church/venue combo we are considering has about a 10 minute drive in between them.  They are further from my family, but closer to the FI's family.  They are also $5,000+ more expensive (because they're closer to the city and have a site fee on top of catering).  We could still afford it, but $5,000 is $5,000.  Quite the conundrum...
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_far-far-6?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:a372b516-6cd5-4537-89e9-14d996914d6aPost:9230b51d-1b17-4f92-89e9-3d210a859159">Re: How far is TOO far??</a>:
    [QUOTE]If the church is in a more rural area, I'm more understanding if the drive is longer to the reception venue.  If I drive past a ton of other venues during that 40 minute drive, I'd be wondering why you didn't pick something closer. Just my 2 cents.
    Posted by ILoveMilkDuds[/QUOTE]

    This.  I would find a venue that if guests have to drive 40 minutes, it should be 40 minutes back in the direction to go home.  Like if they drive an hour to the wedding, then 40 min to the reception, it should only be 20 minutes to get home.
  • I know I'm in the minority but I don't think it's too far. My FI and I are planning something similar: the church is around the corner from where I grew up (and close to where most of his family and my mom currently live). The reception hall is where all his older cousins have gotten married and is on the other side of town. If there's traffic/construction it might take an hour to get from one location to the other. We chose these two locations for sentimental reasons, wouldn't consider having it any other way, and don't expect to have any complaints. If they love you, they should understand that it's your wedding day and you've made choices that make you happy.
  • I would try to find a venue a little closer ot the church.  Like Duds said, if it's rural and that's just how far it is, I'd be okay with it, but really under 30 minutes, even closer to 20 minutes is better I think.  
  • Your venues seem like they're in an "awkward" stage in terms of distance. It's not far enough to be a "destination" worthy of a hotel for many of the guests, but it is far enough to be a pain in the butt for a lot of guests. 


  • Deoends on the location, my church is about 30 mins or so from the hotel and reception but my reception and hotel are close and have a shuttle to and from the hotel to the reception.  We thought this would be nice so that people can use the time in between the ceremony and reception to go back to the hotel than take the shuttle. Since we are having an open bar we don't want people to have to worry about driving back.

    There are a few venue's that may be closer (Iam not sure cause Im not that familer w his home town).  But the thing is they weren't nearly as nice, they were older and more run down or didn't meet our needs.  The packages also did not include as much like the open bar and wedding cake.

    In that case, people would have complained either way.  They would complain if it was too far and they would complain if we picked the run down one due to proximety.  I think you are better off going with the nicer one.  Than you can at least give people a reason why you picked it!
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  • Kelly, People don't have to love you to understand the choices you made. I don't even know you and I understand. As a guest, though, I wouldn't like it. People will understand, but they won't like it. They'll probably not even tell you. They'll grumble about it in the car and put on smiles when they see you.
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  • I don't think it's too much to have drive 40 minutes to get a ceremony/reception, but it's the additional 40 minutes between the ceremony and reception that's getting me. Would you at all consider having the ceremony and reception in the same spot -- either both at the church or both at the reception venue?

    I've never in my life not attended a ceremony, but I have to say that with a set-up like what you're describing, if you weren't a close friend or family member, I'd at least seriously consider skipping the ceremony and just going to the reception.
  • Well, for my fiance's family, the church is a direct stop on the way to the reception.  We're having the ceremony at a Greek Orthodox Church because this is very important for him and his family (I'm not Orthodox).  If they RSVP to the wedding, I know they'll go to both.  My family will probably attend both because I am the first grandchild getting married and, well, my family is just laid back like that.  We've looked at lots of different venues to find ones that were affordable-ish, able to accomodate 175 guests, and were not total wedding factories.  It really left us with two options.  We figured that a slightly longer drive on a Saturday would be less of a complaint than, say, a Sunday evening wedding somewhere else.

    And while I MORE than welcome the feedback, please keep it kind. :)  I am certainly not trying to make matters inconvenient for my guests for "selfish reasons."  Selfish people don't calculate and compare mileage and then post to boards of strangers! 
  • What about renting a bus or shuttle of some sort to transport your guests from the ceremony location to the reception location?
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  • I think that is too far between church & venue. Our wedding is 40 minutes from our home but where all of fiance's family lives. It is his family church where his parents & grandparents got married.

    No one is complaining on my side because they understand that someone will have to travel, but the reception is only 10 minutes from the church & only 30 minutes back home. For us it is only 30/20 minutes but it depends on where in town they live to as how far it is, it takes us 3 minutes to get to the highway.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_far-far-6?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:a372b516-6cd5-4537-89e9-14d996914d6aPost:d10263f9-2583-417c-b306-7ff7ce5d64d4">Re: How far is TOO far??</a>:
    [QUOTE]I know I'm in the minority but I don't think it's too far. My FI and I are planning something similar: the church is around the corner from where I grew up (and close to where most of his family and my mom currently live). The reception hall is where all his older cousins have gotten married and is on the other side of town. If there's traffic/construction it might take an hour to get from one location to the other. We chose these two locations for sentimental reasons, wouldn't consider having it any other way, and don't expect to have any complaints. <strong>If they love you, they should understand that it's your wedding day and you've made choices that make you happy.
    </strong>Posted by Kellykins12[/QUOTE]

    I"m sorry, but this is my pet peeve wedding statement.  If YOU love them, you will make your plans as convenient as you can for your guests.
  • If the area is rural and the drive is on the highway, I think it's fine.  I live in a very rural area, and we could not find a reception venue that was less than 15 minutes from the church.  However, if you are in the city, there should be more venue options, and you could probably find one closer.
  • I also do not think a 40 minute drive is not that bad. Especially to save $5000, hell my entire wedding costs only a grand above that. If you go this route I would however probably do pictures before the wedding and cut out any gaps or cocktail hour so things continue moving.
     
    If it is possible I would maybe call a van rental company, I know in my area I can rent a 15 passanger van for the day for $85.  Even if you get several  it is worth it.
  • I went to a wedding that I drove an hour to get to the church and then an hour to the reception site. I did not even think twice about it. I am actually geting married about an hour and 45 minutes away from where we live so our guest will need to either not drink or get a hotel room (we have a shuttle). I did not even think twice about it. It is what we wanted and other people are invited to come but do not have to.
  • Just a thought....but if $5000 is an attainable increase for you...then would paying for a shuttle bus to drive guests back and forth from both locations be an attainable expense as well?

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_far-far-6?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:a372b516-6cd5-4537-89e9-14d996914d6aPost:794cf08a-d28f-4b6f-a35e-df9c4b638dca">Re: How far is TOO far??</a>:
    [QUOTE]What about renting a bus or shuttle of some sort to transport your guests from the ceremony location to the reception location?
    Posted by AlmostMrsStrong[/QUOTE]

    <div>This.  Since you're not even batting an eyelash at $5,000 extra for a different venue I'm guessing you could afford this.  :)</div>
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  • Seriously, RetreadBride? That's a really cynical viewpoint. The reception is largely for your guests, but it is not ALL about them. Obviously we all want our guests to feel thought-of, but If they aren't there FOR the couple, then they shouldn't attend and the couple shouldn't even bother inviting them. If someone is there only for their own personal gratification and comfort then they need a reality check and an ego deflation.

    I think 40 minutes is a quite a stretch, but $5000 is a lot of money that you could use to otherwise enhance your wedding day celebrations, or to put towards another long-term plan. 


  • I was in my sister's wedding about 6 years ago and she had the ceremony at a church and 15-20 minute drive to the reception hall in an unfamiliar location.  It was miserable!  If your guests are from out of town it maybe confusing for them to navigate. 

  • bwilliams84bwilliams84 member
    First Comment
    edited February 2012
    I was almost in your situation.  I am from a small town in Illinois and my family is still there.  For us, driving a half hour to get anywhere is a daily occurence.  When I moved in with my fiance, it meant I had to move an hour away from everyone over to Missouri.  When we got engaged, I tried thinking of convenient places for both sides and tried to meet in the middle and due to sites being booked, we almost had to have our ceremony in my parent's town, then try to find a reception hall somewhere.  Fortunately, our ceremony is in Missouri at about a halfway point for both sides and the reception is just over the river (15 mins) in Illinois.  Point is, we lucked out and were able to make it convenient for both sides.  Both sides of the family (if they don't want to get a hotel room) will have to drive 30 minutes back home.  However, if need be, I would have had to book venues with distance between them.  I know some are saying that it's selfish to expect people to drive all over to get to your wedding and reception, but in all honesty, it's only one day that you are asking this for...  If they truly want to celebrate your special day with you, then they will make the trip to do so.  That's just my opinion...  Good luck!
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  • First off, I admire you for taking your guest's convinience into consideration. I am not so much concerned about the time to the ceremony, or from the reception, it's the time in between that I would consider the most. When you have such a far distance between the ceremony and reception, there is a higher chance that people might get lost. Also, you have to consider  people getting restless, if the the distance is going to be that long, you need to have food ready for people as soon as they enter the reception spot, or have some food immediately following the ceremony. Nothing big, just a little something for them to nibble on. Also, I would make sure that there is no big gap of time where people are just standing around waiting on what to do, that's where the food comes in, you want to limit as much crankiness and complaining as possilbe :-).
    Now with all of that being said, I really don't think 40 minutes is that long. It takes me 30 minutes to get to work (which is also my church), so 40 minutes for one day, between the ceremony and reception is not a big deal to me. Most people (including me) would not complain. So the decision is up to you. I would maybe let the guests know about the timing before hand, like on your wedding website or something like that.  Just remember that organization is key!  Also get as many pictures done before the ceremony as you can to try to lesson the time gap.
  • That's too far, Babyface. 
  • edited February 2012
    40 minutes is NOTHING-but I live in a suburb to a large city-so theres relatively nothing right close to me, you have to drive to the larger city for almost everything. Unless I wanted to get married at the rec center in town, there are no options right close to us. Im driving 45 min to our venue the day of, and almost every guest is coming AT LEAST that - MOST are driving min. an hour.. People will understand. Theyre your friends and family, supposed to be people that love you and WANT to come to your wedding, they shouldnt care and even if they do, they wont say anything, or at least they sure shouldnt.
    and BTW - FI's family is driving 18 hours to come to our wedding.. they would find complaining about an hour laughable.
  • I honestly think that you should do whats best for you in terms of budget, and based on what you like best. Remember that for everyone else its just one afternoon. For you and your hubby-to-be, its a lot more! and $5000 is alot of extra money to spend if you don't have to!

  • honestly they are adults and can suck it up for one day.  $5k is a huge budget blower just to move something a few miles closer to only one side of the family.  If these are your only options people will defianately understand.  Be sure to provide accomodation info and call it day.  Its nice to be considerate of guests but you cannot please everyone and neither should you try to....no one will be happy in the end least of all you.  Best of luck and happy planning.
    "All I want is for you to be happy And, take this woman and make you my family And, finally you have found someone perfect And, finally you have found Yourself." -RHCP image
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