Distance wedding and invitation etiquette!?

April 14th, 2010

My fiance and I are in a slight bind with our wedding. We grew up in different states halfway across the country from each other and we have decided that our, though not necessarily cheapest, most enviable choice is to send his huge family to the state I grew up in and have our wedding there. This alone is likely to cost an arm and a leg so we are already trying to keep the rest of the guests on my side of the family to the bare minimum. However, although my blood family isn’t huge like his, my family consisted of all the single mothers in the neighborhood. I have maintained far better friendships with most of the mothers rather than most of their children, especially a certain 2 that have had a love-hate friendship ever since I can remember. I cannot think of a polite way to invite some mothers and not their children and invite one child without her mother. Can anyone help me out? I fear, more than the cost of the wedding, these three people getting into fights because there will be alcohol at the reception. Or is there a way to limit certain guest’s consumption?
Another question: Because 1/3 of the guests will be children and most of them under 10, is it considered tacky to offer cheaper dinners at the reception such as macaroni and cheese when the wedding, although small, will be considered semi-formal?
And another: When I said costing an arm and a leg to send his family up.. I really meant it. There are roughly 40 people in his immediate family and most cannot afford to buy plane tickets and pay for hotel rooms so we are doing as much as we can to finance all of that. We were planning on giving everyone the same amount because their families are roughly the same size, but even if it is bad etiquette to ask this, what is you opinion on asking the ones who can afford more than others to spend more than the others or have them pay for their plane tickets themselves? Side note.. these relatives are also as unenviable as the three that I don’t want to invite on my side for the same reasons. But they are immediate blood family so they have to be invited.
Thank you all!
Seems that everyone wants to answer the only thing on here that wasn’t a question – When we decided to have the wedding in my hometown we also decided that we can handle the financial burden of sending his family there (hence, my hometown is not the cheapest but most enviable destination) because we are aware that there is no way they can afford it (his family has 4 kids per sibling which is quite the burden in and of itself) and we have the means to attempt making this financial stretch – I just want to know your opinion on asking one of them to pay their own way because I think they have those means. Because family is very important to both of us, doing what we can to send his family there was not an issue. Thank you all for the answers, I appreciate it nonetheless!

6 Responses to “Distance wedding and invitation etiquette!?”

  1. Gwcntng says:

    Maybe you thougt more about other people ,you must know that this is
    your own wedding not others ,you can talking with your mother or your
    sister who have this experience and thay can tell you how to do 。。。

    congratulations !

  2. Sonya says:

    I’m sorry I have to say this- this is your wedding; why are paying for everyone to come. I can understand one or two people but the whole family. If they want to come they should be able to at least afford a plane ticket. Regarding the mac and cheese if it is for the kids than that is perfectly acceptable. It’s your wedding you should be able to invite whoever you want if its only 3 people extra though you may want to consider inviting them all. No you cannot really limit people alcohol consumption unless you don’t have any at all. Wedding are so expensive as it is I would not pay for everyone to come. They will find a way there to see your wedding even if they all have to commute together by car and spend time at your place instead of a hotel

  3. mr. mo says:

    Ok; why dont you, have the marriage and reception at one place, and then just a reception at the other place? that has to be cheaper than flying 40 freakin people. you want to start your marriage flat broke? i hate the way people feel entitled to be pampered and have everything paid for. so you hurt a few people’s feelings, OH WELL. And for those on your side of the family, they should know how to behave and not be complete idiots getting sh*t faced at someone else’s special occasion and ruining it with their sheer stupidity. Drop the losers that are going to ruin your wedding. you should not have to play babysitter to these idiots, trying to keep them all behaving with each other. Visit them personally, and explain, that because their issues with each other are bound to ruin your wedding, that they are invited only to the ceremony, but not the reception. And thats it! solves everything. and if they cant understand why, then drop them and make new friends. who needs all this drama?

  4. parijat says:

    First of all, dont think that all the world’s burden is on your shoulder.

    Than first make out your Marriage budget , which can give you a rough idea that how much you can spend on this marriage.
    Than keep different options in front of you which can best suit for MAXIMUM no. of people instead of making every body happy (As believe me no one can do this).
    About invitations I would say , send Wedding card to every body in your relationship and your best friends (best means not all). This is the best etiquette you can think about communicating, this will make that person happy that you remember to invite him/her , now rest depends upon him/her how he comes.
    By the way for their stay you can arrange a big house or small houses of other relatives and for the marriage it has least chance that a relative say no to you. Also keep the stay minimum as much as possible.
    If possible for you , try to set the wedding place near by those areas where you have other relatives or have good acquaintances . Even if possible talk to your would be husband for this in detail which will keep your relation cozy.

    and yes!!! Congrats !!


  5. Seafoam Green says:

    You do not need to fly 40 people to your wedding. People expect expenses like that, and if they can’t afford to come, it won’t be the end of the world for anyone.

    You cannot limit certain guests’ alcohol consumption.

    Children’s plates are very common. Typical would be under 12, but your caterer should have a policy on that.

    In regards to your friends and their mothers, invite who you want. This is the 1 place where its okay to say, “Its your wedding.” Normally, I hate that expression because being a bride does not mean you can throw kindness to the wind. However, in this case its fine.

  6. purr_nicious says:

    I dont understand the logic in paying to fly his family to your hometown. Its an additional burden and since his family is bigger you should have it in the city where they live. When you invite the women who’s kids you dont want to come, adress the invite to them, not Miss so-and-so and family. Explain in a seperate note or conversation that due to budget contraints, you have to keep the guest list small.

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