Just Engaged and Proposals

Where to have wedding - best compromise?

Hello everyone!  I'm a bit new to these boards, as I just got engaged a few days ago (YAY!) but I've been on the Knot before when I thought the proposal was coming, hehe.

My fiance and I are trying to decide where we're going to have the wedding and had originally assumed we would just do it where we live now, which is San Diego, CA, even though most of our friends/family tend to be on the East coast.  However, his father has emphysema and can't really travel great distances (either by car or plane), so we would have to do it in the Virginia/Washington, D.C. area to get him to go, and even then, there's no guarantee (and I hate to say this) that he'll still necessarily be alive then :(  He also isn't a big wedding person as he's been married 3 times, but would probably go anyway if it was close.  He wants us to do what we want and not for anyone else though, and my fiance is somewhat okay with him not going. 

However, my fiance's mother is also an issue.  She has no problem traveling to the wedding... except for the fact that she couldn't pay for it.  She wants us to have it where they live in Maine.  If we did it in Virginia or San Diego, we would be responsible for paying for the flight, lodging, etc. (not sure how much, but probably most if not all) for her, her new husband, and her son (fiance's half-brother) if we wanted her to come.  And obviously, not having any of his real close family would probably be very disappointing for my fiance.

So now I don't know what to do.... we would prefer to do it in San Diego for ease of planning and would have no problem going to Virginia at some point and celebrating with his dad by going out, but would still have to pay for his mom and such.  We're not planning on having a big/expensive wedding as we'll be paying for it ourselves, I'm in graduate school, etc.  Most of the other people probably would be able to go wherever we did it.  But I know planning to have it anywhere on the East coast from California would be difficult, and I don't have a lot of time to fly to places to check things our nor people who would necessarilly be able to look at stuff for us (well, maybe on a very rare occasion,but that's it). 

Any thoughts/ideas?  Or, otherwise, any experience with this kind of thing and what happened?  Thanks in advance and sorry it's so long!

Re: Where to have wedding - best compromise?

  • Here's the thing. You can't accomodate everyone. You are going to upset someone by not having it where they want to have it.

    Here's your choices, and you and your FI need to decide what's best:

    Your hometown, which will be the easiest for you, but the biggest inconvenience to the majority of your guests. A hardship on FFIL and FMIL.

    The East coast, which will be the easiest for your guests, but make the planning harder on you, and still be a hardship for FFIL and FMIL.

    Virginia/DC/Maine, which makes it harder on you and your guests, but makes it easier for either FFIL or FMIL.

    That's your dilemma, plain and simple. And it is being made complicated by people who (I'm assuming) don't have any money invested in the wedding. Personally, option 3 wouldn't even be an option for me. I would end up with 2, just because I would like people to be there, and they may not be able to attend if they have to spend hundreds of dollars to attend.
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  • Have it where you live.  As for his Mother, and her new family. I'd help my Mom out if she needed it. (she has to be able to come up with some money) I don't think I would extend that to a step-father and brother. If they can't plan their finances accordingly that should not be your burden.

  • I had a similar issue with my wedding planning. My family all lives in Pennsylvania, but my FI's family lives out in California as do we and our friends. While my FI's been wonderful and said he's more than willing to have it back east, it really does make the most sense for us to have it out here. We're planning on iniviting my east coast family and if they can make it great, if they can't, oh well. It's really no fun to have to plan your wedding from accross the country.

    Another thing that we're planning on doing, which you might consider too, is have an east coast party to just celebrate us getting married. This isn't a wedding reception exactly, but it is a chance for my family members to get to know my FI better and celebrate with us. You should just make sure you remember that it's your day and to do what makes you happiest. Congrats to you both and try not to stress too much over it.
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  • * Not to be snarky please don't take it that way*


    I would most definitely NOT be paying lodging and airfare for my step-family or future step-family. My mom, maybe, my dad, maybe, but as far as I am concerned--- they aren't helping me out with the wedding- they have NO SAY in where it is, how much I, personally spend, and if they have enough notice, they can budget accordingly ( obviously there are exceptions to this rule, I understand some people have medical/physical disabilities and it is a rough economy) but on the same token, this is a bad economy. There have to be sacrifices made somewhere.


    I say if YOU are paying for it, go where YOU want to go. It is very rare that 100% of those invited to a wedding actually attend. There will always be someone who can't afford it, or won't go no matter where it is.  If you move it to East Coast, the date will be wrong. If you have it near D.C., it will rain on someone's new shoes. You can't please everyone. Please you, your FI ----- and your budget. ( Which also includes your time and headaches, time is money, time spent banging your head after the wedding over a bad vendor you never had the opportunity to meet with is worth something too)

    Good Luck, and sorry for the book.
  • Thank you all for the great replies.  I have continued talking it over with my FI and we're agreed that although nothing is "ideal", having it in San Diego is probably the best course of action for us.  We just don't have the time to plan a wedding on the East coast, and it looks like most people would be willing to fly out to San Diego anyway.  So at least tentatively, that's our decision for now.

    Since his dad will be unable to come, we're hoping to go spend a day with him after the wedding/before the honeymoon.  I'm hoping this will make him happy since he'll get to see us and he won't have to go to worry about missing the wedding. 

    As far as paying for his mother, we're obviously going to have to work it out someway and yes, I'm not sure about the new husband and his step-brother.  His step-brother may even be able to pay his own way, who knows?  I guess we still have some time to figure it out.  I'm very happy with the responses I've received so far regarding this, but if anyone has anything else to add on this matter, feel free!

    Thanks everyone!  :)

  • What Matt-Brandy said. I'm getting married in LA. I'm from Buffalo and FI is from Boston. It is 1,000,000 times easier to plan a wedding where you live. I have NO regrets! If we had it in Buffalo (where my parents don't even live anymore) I'd have to invite 200 of my dad's family members. The only family of FI's who live in Boston are his parents and sisters. Most of our friends live our here now. Our parents will travel.

    I'd help pay for the mother to come, but as for anyone else - if they can't save up for a plane ticket over the course of a year or so, they have bigger problems than missing your wedding. It's about priorities.
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  • I planned a wedding from 1200 miles away and had no problems.  I accomplished everything I needed to with emails and 2 visits home (1 was xmas, the other was spring break where I went home specifically to do wedding stuff).

    You have a lot to think about, but wanted to offer up that it's not as bad as it seems.
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  • We're doing a destination wedding and having the same problems you are.  I've noticed a few things:

    1. The "major players" (ie parents) who say that they can't afford to come will come anyway.  (Lots of DW brides get this as an initial reaction from parents, and it is used as a ploy to get you to change your mind.  Even families who drive fancy cars, take lavish vacations, etc will say they can't afford it.)  You can always give his mom Southwest Airlines gift cards for her birthday and Christmas between now and the wedding so she can make the trip.  I might offer to pay for HER flight, but not the others.


    2. A lot of the bigger areas have wedding planning companies that offer to broadcast your wedding live online so guests who can't make it can still "be there" - this might be something you can look into for his dad and any other guests who can't make the trip.


    3. If 90% of your guests will have to fly, I would count on having a VERY small wedding.  If that's how it works out, you can always do your reception at a fancy restaurant and then fly to the east coast and do a bbq or something more informal if people really want to be able to celebrate with you.  This is done quite a bit by couples whose families live on opposite sides of the country.  Don't make it another full-fledged reception but you can always do a brunch or whatever and show your wedding video/pics.

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I planned a wedding from 1800 miles away with ZERO issues.  With the internet it's not hard.  In some ways it was easier.  I came in town with a mission.  Left a day or so later with everything done.

    We picked the location because of it because it's was closer to our family and friends than where we live.  Having them there was more important to us.

    Personally I would have it in VA.  It's closer to ME, your FMIL can just drive.  It would be less expensive for you.  Yes I'm nice and I would pay if my FMIL and her husband could not afford to pay.  Just b/c they can not afford to fly to CA does not make them bad people.  Having them at the wedding is more important to me than the money needed to get them there.






    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. 
  • edited December 2009
    Thanks everyone for more responses, I definitely appreciate it!  :)  I do have somewhat of an update however.

    We haven't even completed decided what we were doing, although again, we tentatively decided to do it in San Diego.  However, my FMIL called my FI on Friday night complaining that we needed to do the wedding in ME or they wouldn't be able to come, even if we were willing to help pay for their way out to the wedding.  While I probably wouldn't have an issue with this if she had good reasons, her excuses were just... inappropriate.  She tried to convince us that the flight would cost about $5000, that her husband wouldn't be able to fly (they flew to FL a couple years ago), and even said the whole "I arranged my wedding so you could come" guilt-trip to my FI (they had a small wedding with her, her husband, and her two sons at Chirstmastime since she'd been married 3 times prior).  She also would NOT drive to VA (or fly) if we had it there either.  Bleh.

    It really put a bad taste in our mouths.  My FI is going to talk to her more about it soon, but we're going to try to get a compromise like some of you suggested where we have the wedding in San Diego and go visit the East coast to have another celebration for those friends/family who can't make it, but not sure if she'll be willing to compromise.  I guess we'll see.  It doesn't make me want to have my wedding in ME though, that's for sure.

    Hope the whole wedding process isn't like this :-P 
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Ok  FMIL is being unreasonable.   Tell her she will be missed.






    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. 
  • All right, one last update (hopefully).  My FI sat down and explained in length to FMIL how he felt and why we would prefer to do it in San Diego and she actually listened and realized she was being unreasonable.  So it sounds like (at least for now) she's okay with us doing it in San Diego... we'll see what happens in the future, but for now I guess the matter is settled...  I do worry that this is just a "phase" though and we'll hit this matter again down the road, but by that point if we've put down a deposit, etc. she will be the one making the decision whether or not to come.  *shrugs*

    Thanks again everyone!
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