Familes on Opposite Coasts- Where to Have Wedding?

My fiance and I have just recently gotten engaged, and have only just begun to consider the logistics of where the wedding will eventually take place.

I am from California, and he is from upstate New York. We both now live in New York.

My parents and some of my friends live in California. The rest of my family is scattered all across the US. His parents and most of his family live in NY, and he has friends both here and scattered across the country.

A good portion of both of our guest lists will have to get on a plane no matter where we hold the wedding.

We've been wobbling back and forth as to whether to hold the wedding near us in NY, back in California, or doing a DW since most guests will have to travel either way.

Would a wedding in NY or California be considered a DW anyhow, due to the necessity of flying for a majority of guests? This will be a relatively small wedding either way, under 100 guests invited. Most likely around 70-75.

Any suggestions to minimize cost and inconvenience for our friends and family?

Sorry for the rambling post, I'm still sorting through all of this in my head. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated!

Re: Familes on Opposite Coasts- Where to Have Wedding?

  • AdeleDazeemAdeleDazeem member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited November 2012
    I wouldn't consider that a destination wedding.  To me, destination weddings are when everyone flies to some far-flung resort and get married while on vacation.  What you're planning is just a wedding where a lot of people have to travel.  That describes just about every wedding I've even been to since we have friends and family all over the country.

    I think you either pick the place you two really want to get married or pick the place where the least amount of people will have to travel.  Either choice is completely fine.  When you picture your wedding - where is it?  What is the atmosphere?  Go with your gut on this one. 
  • I would say local to where you live because that will make planning easier, but this is one situation where I think DW might be easier. If you do a DW, be prepared for being to decline your invite (though it sounds like that might be either way because of travel). OOT weddings can really add up for guests. 

  • tiny specktiny speck member
    1000 Comments 100 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited November 2012
    FI and I are in the same boat, with families on opposite sides of North America, except that we met in England 4 years ago and have lived here ever since. We decided to get married here, but only after clearing it with our families. It will be a small wedding, and a LOT of people both of us wished would come won't be able to due to cost and distance (grandparents, extended families, long-time family friends, college friends), but our immediate families agreed to come, so that made the most sense for us.

    Also, I wasn't thrilled about the idea of planning a wedding long distance, or having my mom or FMIL take over planning it if we decided to have it in either of our hometowns. It was a hard decision to make, but I guess my best advice is to let go of the idea of a perfect wedding where everyone is able to make it, because it probably won't happen. This isn't a bad thing, it's just the reality of having moved away from friends and family.

    I hope that makes sense and helps a bit. If I were in your shoes, I would probably want to have the wedding in New York (assuming your CA VIPs can come).

    ETA: I completely agree with Joy's advice above! Go with your gut instinct!
  • Congratulations on your enagement!  We were in a similar situation, location-wise.  

    Some ways that you can minimize cost and inconvenience for traveling guests:
    - Pick a spot that is relatively close to a decent size airport so guests aren't having to take mutliple expensive flights to get to the destination or renting a car to drive hours from an airport. 
    - Pick a spot that has loding options for a range of budgets.  You can also set up several hotel blocks at different price ranges. 
    - Budget to offer a shuttle for your guests between lodging and the wedding location, if different.
    - Pick a spot that has a lot of things to do.  If it's a really remote spot that has great hiking trails and nothing else, your guests that aren't into hiking (or are fair-weather hikers only) will be pretty bored.

    We thought about all those things when we were planning, and those factors influence whether or not we travel to weddings and how much I complain, if it's an obligatory family wedding.

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Congratulations and best wishes!

    I have a very similar situation:  I live in NYC and although large chunks of my family on both sides live in the Tri-State area, my parents, brother, and other relatives live in Houston, TX, and southern California.

    Since travel for large numbers of people is inevitable, I'd choose a spot where either the fewest number of people have to travel or where amenities, including wedding-related ones, are most available.  Jessicabessica made some good suggestions. 

    If large numbers of people wouldn't attend your wedding due to the travel issues, you might consider arranging a local celebration in an area where many such people are concentrated.  For example, in my own case, I would be open to my parents hosting something in Houston or California while the main events would be in or near NYC.
  • There are a number of things to consider: if you hold the wedding in CA, do you want to plan the wedding long-distance? Are there any VIPs on either side they may not be able to travel due to health or financial reasons? And as others have mentioned, which location would be more enjoyable to your guests? If one location is five minutes from the beach, Disney Land, eight museums and great hotels and restaurants and the other is in the middle of nowhere, then the first might be the better option.

    Ultimately, what do you want to do? I compromised on location with both families only two hours apart and I still get a little bummed when I think about it. We had a great venue and a lot of guests told me they loved it, but it was pretty far from what I wanted.
  • My FI and I had to choose between the SF bay area and NYC (same situation - my family in CA, his in NYC). We chose CA partially because it was less expensive. I would say you should research options in both places and see which you like better and which fits your budget more. 

    Also, you can get a 5% discount from American Airlines if you contact their group reservations department. Make sure you get a good discount on a hotel block. 
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  • If you live in NY and all of your FI family is in NY I would just get married there. it will be so much easier fo you to plan the wedding if it is where you live. You'll be able to go to bridal expos and will be able to meet with venders face to face.
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  • Thank you for the advice, everyone. The consensus seems to be to have the wedding in NY, which is where my FI and I were leaning towards as well. Great ideas on the hotel block reservations!
  • I agree w/ Jessicabessicas comments. However, I'm a Boston bride living in Germany with an Irish fianc. We have loads of friends and family traveling from all over and really none of this is all that difficult. Pick somewhere somewhat convenient and has a variety of accommodation options. Planning from a distance really isn't all that difficult. Also, be prepared that some people simply can't make it. We have been relying on alot of word of mouth for our vendors and feel that we are in great hands. Good luck!!
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  • I personally would pick the place more convenient to you because you wil have a ton of appointments prior to the event for the actual wedding. It should  make sense to have i near you and people hopefully will understand 

    HOWEVER, you might also want to consider which place is "cheaper" if you are on an budget. If one place is considerably cheaper to hold weddings, it might be worth the thought then.......

    Warning. IYou might still get complaints. Ignore them and stand your ground. It's YOUR wedding....
  • In Response to <a href=" BoardsForum:9Discussion:ff5aaf06-4432-4b42-b9fb-a8ad6bde4fbcPost:a6e312ae-a3ac-491a-b617-46843ca9f77f">Re: Familes on Opposite Coasts- Where to Have Wedding?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Thank you for the advice, everyone. The consensus seems to be to have the wedding in NY, which is where my FI and I were leaning towards as well. Great ideas on the hotel block reservations!
    Posted by ashleymcw7[/QUOTE]

    Since it's where you two are living now, has a neverending list of things to do, and can be reached from basically anywhere in the world, I think you're doing the right thing.  The main focus should be on just making sure that once they get there they are properly hosted.  That is the best way you can show your appreciation for them making the trip.
  • id get married where you live.  i personally wouldnt have had the patience to plan a long distance wedding.
  • Same thing happened with my FI and myself. Our families live 26 hours apart by car. We did actually chose a destination wedding in Mexico. We figured if half the family had to fly anyway, and it's actually the same price to have all-inclusive in Mexico for one week as the plane ticket and hotel that they would be required to have for a weekend (we did price it out). It's so much less stress too, my Mom doesn't feel left out with plans since I'm not doing anything here without her but I don't feel like she has to plan my wedding in my hometown either. The wedding planner in Mexico is taking care of it all. We just get to relax for a whole week with all the people that we love most in the world.

    And, we both have Grandmas that decided not to fly to Mexico but we're going to sign the legal papers here (and we don't have to get the blood tests done) and they will both come to that little party.
    Definitely the best option in my book.
  • Like others said, it's not a DW. I live in CA, my parents live in upstate NY, and my in-laws live in MA. We also had family spread throughout the country. A lot of CLOSE friends live in CA (because, duh, we've lived here for years), but we also had college and friends and whatnot everywhere.

    We had the wedding in CA because we paid for it and it was easier from a planning perspective. If your parents are paying for it, it might be easier for them or make sense to have it in CA. But you'd probably still have to fly out a few times to look at locations or check on certain things.

    We had family and friends fly out from NY, MA, Iowa, Texas, DC, WA, Arizona, Illinois, Utah, Missouri... We had 68 people, including us. Our wedding was on a Sunday and our parents all flew out on Friday and flew back on Monday.
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