Destination Weddings Discussions

Discouraged with guests declining DW

I lurk on these boards and read the helpful advice given by everyone, but now I have a question of my own regarding DWs:

Has anyone felt discouraged by guests declining your DW? We are from Wisconsin and planning a DW in Florida for early November. When we planned our wedding, we realized that not everyone we absolutely would love to attend would actually be able to, because everyone has to travel. That still didn't stop me from getting my hopes up when people (four best friends I've known for 20 years, some aunts and uncles) who received our save-the-dates back in April all said they would absolutely be there, were asking about flights/hotels, saying they couldn't wait to be celebrate, etc., have all declined recently. One even has a flight booked and declined! We realize things come up - financially, family, etc. - and that a wedding where travel is required may not be a top priority at the moment, but I am pretty close to these people and knowing they won't be there is bumming me out. I'm taking it kind of personally, and I usually avoid taking things too personally! (My FI says his family/friends have been disappointing him for years, so he's not taking the declines as personally as I am.)

We invited 65 people. As of now, it looks like there will be approximately 40-45 guests attending. Don't get me wrong -- we are very pleased with that and so incredibly grateful and excited that those people will have taken the time to be with us. I do keep reminding myself (and my parents, because they're disappointed some aunts and uncles won't be there) that as long as my FI and I are married and our immediately families are with us that day, the day will be fantastic! Everything else will be gravy. But I'm just bummed some people I love dearly won't be there. Gah!

/Okay, woe is me is done.

ETA: Weird font.

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Re: Discouraged with guests declining DW

  • TerriHuggTerriHugg member
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Comments 100 Love Its First Answer
    edited September 2013
    I can totally relate to this post. I experienced the same thing when dealing with wedding plans and I was just as discouraged as you were. One of the reasons was because I had originally planned on getting married in Barbados, but because several potential guests were concerned about the cost and long flight we changed it to Bahamas. Imagine our surprise when almost every person who said they would definitely go to the Bahamas but not Barbados declined. Not only was I hurt, because they were so adamant on going, I was disappointed because we changed our wedding location for those people. Mind you, three of them were supposed to be my bridesmaids and canceled within 5 months of the wedding. We expected to have about 40 guests at the wedding and instead had 25. 

    However, I will say that even without those select people our wedding was absolutely amazing and I wouldn't change it for the world. The whole experience was great. And honestly, we really didn't even notice the people who didn't attend. Don't get me wrong; we would have loved for them to be there. But not having those people there certainly didn't effect our wedding in a negative way. The people who matter most to you will be there. And if they're not their physically, they will definitely be thinking of you on that special day.  So like I tell everyone, as long as you leave your locale as a married couple, your wedding was perfect regardless of who attended. 

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  • We sent out save the dates and everything.  We told people over a year in advance.  Sent out 50+ invitations.  So lets say that's 100 people and we have a total of 10 people coming.  Not even Pete's parents can make it.  Or his best friends so he has to choose a random best man.  So I understand!
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  • Thank you both so much for responding. It is much appreciated. Putting this out there helped me be as okay with the declines as I'm going to be. 

    Your second paragraph, @TerriHugg, was really a great reminder about how awesome the day is going to be and that our wedding will be perfect because we'll be married! And I can't wait for that! :) So, thank you.
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  • @WiscDoll322

    NO problem. I'm glad we could help. 

    Where is your wedding being held?
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  • We'll be having the wedding and reception at the Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach. It's a lovely place. :) Getting married on the beach, with cocktail hour in the sand, and our reception in a room overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. It will be much warmer there than it is in Wisconsin in November! :)
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  • @WiscDoll322

    Sounds absolutely amazing. I'm sure it will be perfect even with the declines of some loved ones. 
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  • Most definitely!

    Thank you for the reassurance, @TerriHugg. It helps a lot! 
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  • Yay for Wisconsin!! We got married out in CA but originally wanted to do Hawaii, Puerto Rico or somewhere more tropical. There was quite a bit of uproar over the amount and cost of travel required for that from almost all of our families so we switched. We also had a handful of folks who backed out at the last second, but I absolutely loved my day and like Terri said - I didn't even notice the folks that weren't there on the day. 
  • Ooh, @WinoGrrl, where in CA did you get married? Took my FI to Napa last year (my third visit; his first) and he loved it as much as I do. I bet yours was also an amazing wedding!

    Thanks so much for the reassurance, ladies. I feel much better knowing how awesome and memorable your wedding days were with the people who were able to attend!
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  • We ended up in Temecula which really feels like an undiscovered version of Napa/Sonoma. Got married on a private estate surrounded by the vines and gardens (didn't do a winery because then you could only serve their specific wine) It was gorgeous! Don't fret - your day will be amazing too :)
  • Sounds spectacular, @WinoGrrl! Congrats!
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  • I completely understand where you're coming from.

    We just got married 3 weeks ago in Hawaii. We told everyone a year in advance, and my family immediately started saving their money and was really excited about going there. His family on the other hand--some of them were fine with it, the majority complained, argued about why we would want to get married there, and made us feel really crappy about it. Finally they accepted it, but when it came down to it, his sister's husband and kids couldn't come because they couldn't afford it (even though I'd seen them spend a lot of money on a lot of other things throughout the year, oh well) and his grandparents and all aunts/uncles/cousins couldn't come due to the cost.

    As far as other guests--we invited 100 people. At first, so many of my friends were excited and said they were for sure coming. When it came down to it, only 50 people came, which turned out to be the perfect number because we didn't realize how expensive the catering was going to be per head. Really only 3 of my friends and their H/SO came, even though so many more said they would at first. It was hard not to be disappointed though. Some of them I could completely understand--two friends had just had babies, so traveling was too hard. Two of my good friends didn't come because their husbands said they didn't have the money, yet I know they all make over $200k/yr combined. Again, I tried not to be too disapointed, but it was sad to think they weren't prioritzing my wedding, and I don't want to sit here and judge how people spend their money or should be spending their money. I have no idea what kind of bills they have, etc. It's just that if it was reversed, I would do everything in my power, cut back, skip on shopping, etc to go...especially for the friends that I was a bridesmaid in their wedding.

    Honestly it turned out fine, and again, we were relieved when we got the real per head cost, (originally the caterer told us $40pp but after all the rentals they required of us, it turned out to be $100-150pp). But I still wish I had had more of my close girl friends there with me. So I guess it is normal and okay to feel discouraged/disappointed. :(
  • Thanks, @pintSizeSlasher. I'm glad to hear everything with your wedding turned out so well and that you had a beautiful day! Your point about trying not to judge how people spend their money, despite knowing their incomes, is another struggle. Some of the people who have declined have the resources to travel, but that they just don't want to spend the money is hard for me to accept. I would do as much as possible to attend a wedding of a close friend. Like you, I don't want to judge and remind myself that I shouldn't, because they don't know how I spend my money either. I thought about suggesting they make it a girls' weekend and leave their husbands and kids at home, because it would save money and they get a weekend away. However, I realized they will likely never do that, so didn't suggest it. I don't want people to feel guilted into attending.

    In the end, I remember the advice from the ladies on this board -- that it will be a great day and we're so looking forward to celebrating with everyone who will be there!
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  • I have been surprised by the people who have made a deposit on the rooms and those who haven't. We knew when we decided on a DW that some people would not be able to attend and some would not want to attend. As others have said, I believe the most important people will be there.
  • I agree with PP above. We have 93 invited guests. So far only 22 have RSVPd including us. RSVPs are open til February but we assume it will only be about 30 - 40 guests attending which will work out nicely. We decided to host a small casual pre-wedding party at home 3 months before the wedding to celebrate with everybody here.

    Every guest invited to the DW is invited to our pre-wedding party so they really have the choice of attending neither, either or both. A few other knotties have 'at home' receptions after the wedding but I don't want to have to worry about any other events after our wedding. Perhaps that is an option for you to be able to celebrate with more guests.

    Can't wait to say 'I do' on April 14, 2014 - Planning Bio

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  • Thanks, @Harrijc and @missmo14. I talked to a friend this week who will be with us in Florida and she's super excited. And then my mom talked to her cousins who will be there and she's really excited. Knowing that people who will be there are as excited as we are to have them there makes things better (even though I'm still discouraged with my closest friends for bailing).

    We are doing an AHR next spring in Wisconsin. That will be a really great opportunity to celebrate with everyone, and we are looking forward to that.

    Thanks, everyone, for your kind words and encouragement. 23 days to go!
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  • We were dying for a destination wedding (and are from the Milwaukee area). We had all these amazing plans. There were so many complaints from family that we gave up and got married locally. Look, I loved my wedding because we had a great time, had an amazing venue for the area, had to do trial and error with photographers to find our perfect photographer, and had an incredible caterer. All that being said, I would have given it all up to do our DW. If it had just been he and I on beach with our best friends and family (and probably our photographer and caterer too - ok, maybe the caterer couldn't come) I would be so much happier.
    Don't get discouraged. Don't give up on your dreams. I went to a Key West wedding last year and it was incredible. Most of my family didn't make it, but those that did had an incredible time. So, hold on hope, fellow cheesehead.
  • Aww, thank you my fellow Wisconsinite, @mrscinema! Your kind words and reminder to hold on hope are so much appreciated. :) My discouragement is lessening as we draw nearer to the wedding, but it is still there and may be until afterwards. It is what it is. Your words - as well as those of PPs - were incredibly helpful and encouraging.

    Also, I'm sorry you had to compromise on your dream of a destination wedding, but I'm glad it was such an awesome day and you had a great time in the end! You married your H, and it doesn't get any better than that. :)
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  • I am so happy to spread these posts on here to today. We have had to move our DW. It was set for November 23rd & now we are having to move it to next April or May. This all just basically happened last night. We have people who waited to long to get passports & now with the government shutdown they are afraid they will not get here in time. There is a list of other things that have come up that are making this to stressful. I felt so bad for my FH because both of his sisters just basically bailed on him. He is always there for them & you would think the one day and time they would be there for him..nope. It just opened his eyes to see that he needs to stop putting so many other people first because they do not do the same for you. We both have decided that it from here on out its about us & whoever makes it great & those that don't will miss a great time. The whole reason we want a DW is we want an intimate ceremony that really makes the day about us & our marriage. It's what's important & we don't want to forget that!
  • these posts.
  • Well said @NolaBeachBride. That's our reasoning for having a DW as well. I hope it all works out for you!
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  • @wiscdoll322 I'm just starting the planning process of the exact location you are getting married at.Has it been easy going? also I was reading somewhere its very expensive but I couldn't find the pricing info do you know where I could find it and what is all inclusive in the package they offer? and im from MN so I hope no rivalry. LOL!
  • @Staczilla86, congrats on starting the planning process! So exciting! When are you getting married? Our wedding is next Saturday (11/2), so coming up quickly. :)

    Planning has been mostly easy. Some headaches here and there, but nothing major. We've been pretty easy going throughout the process. We were lucky in that we got to visit twice - the first time, to meet with a wedding coordinator and confirm that's where we wanted to get married and the second time (last month) to do a food tasting there, meet the wedding coordinator we've been working with, and meet with our vendors. Highly recommended if you can do that! We are planners by nature, but it was nice to meet people face-to-face.

    Packages do include everything -- cocktail hour, open bar, four-course meal, dance floor, reception space, the all-important cake!, etc. -- and they are somewhat expensive at around $150 per guest + ceremony fee. But it is an absolutely beautiful place, the food is fantastic, and it will be a memorable weekend for everyone (everyone is flying in from MN or WI). We can't get anything like that in Wisconsin! Feel free to PM me and I can help with the package pricing and send you any info.

    P.S. No rivalry! I like helping out fellow Midwesterners getting married where we are! :)
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