Reception Ideas

Too Expensive for Guests?

We are planning a Sunday afternoon wedding in Duluth, MN in August 2017. All of our guests will be traveling either 2-3 hours by car from other parts of MN or flying in from around the country. It's essentially a destination wedding in my mind. The hotel rooms in the area range from $150 - $200 (this includes our wedding block). Some guests will be spending around $50 in gas to drive to the wedding and back the same day. Some guests will be spending $200 with gas and a hotel room. Others will be spending up to $1000 to fly in, potentially rent a car, and stay in a hotel.

My questions: Are we asking too much of people, financially? Should we expect a lower-than-average attendance rate? If we want 120 people in attendance, how many should we invite given our circumstances? 

We aren't registered for gifts, but have put together a Honeyfund site in case people who can't afford the trip want to give us something toward our honeymoon. Maybe we shouldn't even do this. 

Sara

Re: Too Expensive for Guests?

  • We are planning a Sunday afternoon wedding in Duluth, MN in August 2017. All of our guests will be traveling either 2-3 hours by car from other parts of MN or flying in from around the country. It's essentially a destination wedding in my mind. The hotel rooms in the area range from $150 - $200 (this includes our wedding block). Some guests will be spending around $50 in gas to drive to the wedding and back the same day. Some guests will be spending $200 with gas and a hotel room. Others will be spending up to $1000 to fly in, potentially rent a car, and stay in a hotel.

    My questions: Are we asking too much of people, financially? Should we expect a lower-than-average attendance rate? There is no way I can answer this first question.  To me $200 a night is pricey but understandable (former NYer living in PA), but others may think that it is very high.  Are there any other hotels in the area that aren't this pricey?  Some guests may have to decline due to the costs... 

    If we want 120 people in attendance, how many should we invite given our circumstances?  When you have a lot of people that are OOT there is the possibility that people cannot make the trip, however you just don't know this.  Some people on here have had 100% attendance?  Is this 120 number due to a guest/monetary minimum at the venue?  Or is it just the number you had in mind/due to budget.  I would make up your guest list (planning on anyone who is single to be in a relationship) and invite who you can afford to host.  DO NOT B-LIST guests if you get a large number of declines...it is beyond rude and it has happened to my IL's...they knew about it and they were not happy!

    We aren't registered for gifts, but have put together a Honeyfund site in case people who can't afford the trip want to give us something toward our honeymoon. Maybe we shouldn't even do this. DON'T HAVE A HONEYFUND!!!!!  There are countless threads about how they make your guests feel...just please don't do this!  If you want cash, don't register.  If people ask what you want you can tell them that you are saving up for a honeymoon...most people will know that means you want cash.

    Sara
    Answers above in Bold.
    geebee908InLoveInQueenssparklepants41MyNameIsNot
  • I'd be more concerned about the fact that it's a Sunday afternoon and you're asking people to travel. In addition to the costs of travel, food and lodging, you're also asking them to take at least one day off of work and that may factor in to your guests' decisions as well.

    If you want to host 120 people, you invite 120 people and accept that you will celebrate with whomever chooses to make that trip because you can't plan that x number (or percentage) of people will decline. You may be surprised by how many choose to be there, so you need to be prepared to host everyone you invite.
    charlotte989875SP29cowgirl8238InLoveInQueens
  • Are these the only accommodations in the area? Are there Airbnbs that might work for guests who can't/don't want to spend that? 

    I agree with geebee in that the Sunday afternoon destination wedding is what might make it more difficult. It doesn't give people many options if they work a traditional schedule and need to be back at work Monday. Either they fly home Sunday night (which tends to be the most expensive time on a weekend to fly) or take Monday off. Not great choices in my opinion when you're asking your entire guest list to travel. 
    cowgirl8238
  • Why did you choose this location? Is this where you and your FI live, part of your family lives, or did you choose it because it's a pretty place?

    The fact is, there is a lot more travel these days. It was once common for a couple to have a wedding in their hometown and it be local for most of their guests. Today, many people move/live within and out of their country for jobs, new opportunities, a spouse, etc. etc. It's pretty hard to have a wedding that is local for all of your guests.

    There is some variation on what people think a DW is; to me it's a place the couple chose because it's pretty without any other logistical factors. DH and I got married in our hometown, but we weren't living there at the time. It was a destination for us and many of our friends, but we chose it because both of our families still live in/near our hometown and this group would have the hardest/most expensive time traveling. DH and I are going to a wedding in Hawaii this summer- yes, a destination for us, but it's where the bride is from and her family still lives, so I don't really consider it a "destination wedding".

    It's pretty hard to plan a wedding that is going to be local for everyone. You should consider your guests (i.e. is all of your family in one place, or is there a location that is in the middle of two places?), and I would always discuss with your VIPs. But at the end of the day, where you choose to have your wedding is your choice. It is up to your guests to decide if they can attend or not, and whether it is financially feasible. An invitation is not a summons- if they cannot afford to attend, they won't.

    Yes- guests may decline a wedding because it involves travel and/or cost. But again, unless you have truly chosen a DW, you probably can't control this. You need to pick the location that works best for yourself and your FI and your VIPs. There is no way to know who will or will not attend and for what reason. You may be surprised at who attends- they may be the people coming from the farthest location. And you never know why someone may choose to decline- the cost, they can't get the time off work, or they have children who either they would need a sitter for or don't want them missing school.

    None of us can say if the cost of hotels and travel is too much for your guests. $150-200 a night for a hotel IS a lot of money, but it seems a pretty average price for most cities. Your guests can also choose to find their own hotel or Air BnB.

    You should only invite the number of guests you are prepared to host. Always plan for 100% attendance. You never know who will or will not attend, or who may change their mind last minute. You don't want to be stuck in a situation where your venue is over capacity because you over-invited. If you invite 120 guests and only 100 attend, then you've saved yourself money which you can put towards your honeymoon.

    I agree that I think having your wedding on a Sunday (unless Monday is a holiday) is probably the most inconvenient thing for a number of guests who have to travel. If your wedding was a Saturday, the guests who need to fly can choose to either fly in Friday night or early Saturday morning and then fly out Monday. With your current plan, not only are you asking your guests to travel, you are now asking them to take Monday off work. With those who are driving, yes, they can drive in/out the same day, but if they have to work on Monday, I would expect them to leave early on Sunday evening to drive home at a reasonable hour; where as on a Saturday, they may choose to stay in a hotel for the night.

    NO to the honeyfund. Gifts are never required, so making any mention of "no gifts!", even if it is of well- intention (because you know your guests are spending a lot of money on travel) is still inappropriate. Either create a small registry or have none at all. Guests will get the hint that you do not want things and likely give cash- but it is never appropriate to ask for cash (which is what a honeyfund does). Some people will only ever give a physical gift and thus will get you what they think you will like (if there is no registry). Otherwise, your guests don't need a registry to let them know cash is a good gift. If anyone asks, you can say, "Oh we don't really need anything, but we are saving up for our honeymoon".

    lyndausviInLoveInQueenscowgirl8238charlotte989875
  • Agreeing that Sunday afternoon may be more of a hindrance than the travel costs. Duluth is not the easiest place to get to, so your guests will more than likely need to take Monday off. At least for Saturday weddings, people could possibly only need to leave early Friday, or catch a late night flight. I don't know that I'd want to book a late night flight immediately after a wedding.

    What is the reason for the timing and location of your wedding?

    Also a strong NO on the Honeyfund, for all of the reasons above.
    charlotte989875
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