Author Topic: Wedding in one hometown, party in another  (Read 481 times)

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Essay

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Wedding in one hometown, party in another
« on: November 24, 2014, 11:41:27 PM »
Hello, EHell! Longtime lurker, first time poster. I hope I have put this in the right place, as "Where Do I Start?", with a few extra !!!, is certainly how I feel!

My fiancÚ and I (late 20s, together for 3 years, smitten) got engaged a couple of months ago. We live in NYC. Most of my family live in Midwest City, so I had always said I wanted to get married there, and he agreed. Of course, once we visited his hometown right after the engagement--which just happens to be a beautiful and affordable tropical paradise--I changed my mind. So we're getting married on Island. My parents and extended family are supportive and excited (many have been to and love Island); his family is thrilled; our friends (many in NYC but all over) are too polite to say so, but are surely much happier to travel to Island instead of Midwest City.

The issue is that much of my family won't be able to attend. I have a large extended family- about 20 aunts and uncles and over 60 first cousins including their spouses and children. On both halves of the family, everyone at the aunt/uncle/first cousin level has been invited to every wedding. For a variety of reasons, I want to continue this practice. However, the cousins I am closer to are older than me, many with young children, tight budgets, etc. Traveling for even a weekend may not be possible. (Island doesn't require any special arrangements for U.S. travelers, and airfare is inexpensive from several major hubs, but Midwest City isn't one of them, so although the location itself isn't so pricey and we're getting married in the off season to hold down costs for everyone, round-trip tickets will likely cost at least $500 per person.)

Knowing this, we want to throw some kind of post-wedding party in Midwest City. We want to invite all guests (~175) to both, but convey that a) we don't expect or demand that anyone travel to both--or either one for that matter--we just want to celebrate with as many of our loved ones as possible, and that b) this is not some kind of crazy multiple-ceremony gift grab. The back-home party seems to be common practice for destination weddings*, but it's not a situation where we're having a tiny beach ceremony and a big celebration back in a mutual hometown, so I'm getting confused over what's acceptable.

I just fear that this has too much potential for etiquette weirdness. For starters, what do I call this--the after-party? Second reception? Do we only invite those in Midwest City, or everyone? Something in between, like family only? Can we do inserts in the wedding invitations or does it need to be separate? How do we convey that we "expect" 0 or 1 gift, and certainly not 2? Can I still invite people we hope can join us, knowing that many won't be able to? (Some of my cousins have already insisted that I throw a party back home because they can't come it to the wedding, which doesn't even have a date yet--I'm happy to oblige, but can I still invite them to the Island ceremony? On the off chance that even 10% of my cousins can come, I would love to have them there, and would value their presence far more than a gift.)

I know this must be convoluted, but thank you for reading! I look forward to any of you wise Ehellions' thoughts.

*I am surely bringing some extra over-thinking to this situation because I feel this is NOT a destination wedding and find myself feeling a bit defensive when people refer to it as such. Which I've realized is for an entirely unrelated reason, and beyond the scope of this post--but it does make me want to make sure my destination-seeming wedding is as non-destination as possible. Or perhaps I should just let this go.

katycoo

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Re: Wedding in one hometown, party in another
« Reply #1 on: Yesterday at 12:47:41 AM »
I would send invitations to everyone who you would like to be there, without considering whether they can make it.  Let them make that call themselves.

In the same envelope, I'd include an invitation to the secondary celebration/reception in Midwest City.

Have the RSVP card have options for Attending Island, Attending Midwest, Attending both, Regretfully unable to Attend

Then people will know that they are invoted to everything, but no obligation to attend anything in particular and noone will feel excluded from anything.

sammycat

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Re: Wedding in one hometown, party in another
« Reply #2 on: Yesterday at 12:59:57 AM »
What katycoo said.

TootsNYC

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Re: Wedding in one hometown, party in another
« Reply #3 on: Yesterday at 10:37:43 AM »
I think the only weird part is to invite the non-Midwesterners to the Midwest party.

I think you should invite only those closest to your DH, and I think it's OK to not invite them at all. It's not a primary party. (But it would be a nice gesture to invite his parents and siblings, but only them.)

I did the opposite from you--married in the Midwest, had a later reception in NYC. I invited my parents and siblings and bestestest friend to the reception. No one else. Because it was a region-specific gathering.

The wedding itself, I invited everyone, including all East Coast-ers, because it was "the actual important life-changing rite." The reception here was just "a chance for the people in or near Locality to give their good wishes in person."

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Wedding in one hometown, party in another
« Reply #4 on: Yesterday at 11:11:43 AM »
My cousin married a guy from Australia and they were going to be living there.  They had the fairly large wedding here and an additional reception there.  When we got the invite, we could choose to go to the wedding or the additional reception or both.  I'm sure most people accepted the invitation for the event closest to them but if I'd suddenly decided this was a great time for an Australia trip?  I'm sure I could have gone to that reception, too.

If you sent out your invites with both events on them, then the Mid-Western folks would know that even if they couldn't make the wedding, they would be able to make the extra reception.  Other folks who would find the wedding easier to make will do that.  And a few, like both your parents and maybe siblings will do both.

Or, you know, what Katycoo said if I'd read the thread before I started typing.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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Thipu1

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Re: Wedding in one hometown, party in another
« Reply #5 on: Yesterday at 11:22:23 AM »
When a former Boss married a gentleman from Europe, the actual Wedding was held in his home country because he had many relatives who were old and somewhat infirm.  After the HC returned to NYC, they held a party for, in her words, 'just the immediate world'.

It went off very well and I doubt if anyone considered it as a gift grab.  Inviting just the relatives in Midwest city to the party sounds like something very similar.  It's just a way to allow people who couldn't  attend the actual Wedding enjoy part of the fun.   

TootsNYC

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Re: Wedding in one hometown, party in another
« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 11:27:53 AM »
Quote
For starters, what do I call this--the after-party? Second reception?

Call it Midwestern reception. "A" reception is really any gathering at which people come for the purpose of being received by the guests of honor.


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Do we only invite those in Midwest City, or everyone? Something in between, like family only?

You have my thoughts above--but I also don't think there's anything wrong with inviting everyone.


Quote
Can we do inserts in the wedding invitations or does it need to be separate?

You can put it in the wedding invitations--but if you do, many people will assume that everyone received the Midwest invitation, and some people may be hurt if they don't. Or they'll talk about it, "are you going to the Midwest reception?" / "what reception?" So if you decide to not invite everyoen to the Midwest gathering, mail a separate invitation.

if you decide to invite everyone to everything, you can actually put both receptions on the wedding invitation itself.

Mr. and Mrs. James Whosit
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Essay Middlename
to
Mr. Handsome Island-Born FiancÚ
Time and date
Ceremony Venue
Town, Island
and afterwards at the reception
Reception Venue
and on Date, Time
Midwest Reception Venue
Midwest Town, State


But you could also make the invitation simpler, and have just hte island events on it, and print up a second card that says,
Essay and Handsome   (stick w/ first names here, I think, so avoid using your married name before it's actually yours--though if you won't be changing your name, you could use full names here)
request the pleasure of your company
at a reception to honor their marriage
Date, Time
Midwest Venue
Midwest Town, State

You don't need to give it any other sort of label.


And I'd put all the events on a single RSVP card, if you're using one.



Quote
How do we convey that we "expect" 0 or 1 gift, and certainly not 2?
You don't. You never, ever talk about gifts unless someone brings it up. I think most people will realize that etiquette says you give a gift for the life event (the wedding/marriage) and not for the party. They're grownups; trust that they'll give you a gift if they want to, and that if it's a hardship for them, they won't.

Not one person gave us two gifts, in our situation. I bet nobody will in yours either.


Quote
Can I still invite people we hope can join us, knowing that many won't be able to? (Some of my cousins have already insisted that I throw a party back home because they can't come it to the wedding, which doesn't even have a date yet--I'm happy to oblige, but can I still invite them to the Island ceremony? On the off chance that even 10% of my cousins can come, I would love to have them there, and would value their presence far more than a gift.)

Yes, you invite everyone that you wish would be there, for any event. The invitation says, "we would love to have you come." It's up to them to decide; you shouldn't really decide for them, even if they've flat-out told you ahead of time. They sound like they really love you, so I wouldn't worry that they'll think being invited to the Island ceremony is a gift grab. If it bothers you, I'd vote for making a "visible to family only" sort of Facebook post that says something like: "Mailing invites! Even if you told us you won't be able to come to Island, we're inviting you. Hey--hope springs eternal! And we wanted you to know you were welcome."
   But truly, I don't think it's necessary. This sounds like a generous, loving bunch; they won't go looking for offense. The few people who don't get it, and will be annoyed, will complain to someone, who will then say, "What? They just want you to know you were invited."

And, if you decide to invite everyone, and all invites are together, then nobody will think it weird that they're invited to all three things.

Alicia

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Re: Wedding in one hometown, party in another
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 11:45:08 AM »
I'd do separate invites. First send out the wedding invites and then after the rsvp date send the midwestern reception invite. Sending the two together will have a few effects:
1. People from midwest will be less likely to attend wedding
2. RSVP confusion will be caused

Essay

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Re: Wedding in one hometown, party in another
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 05:30:15 PM »
Thank you so much for all your replies!! Something about large, hopefully once-in-a-lifetime event planning is making me lose all common sense.

I should clarify that half of the family is loving and reasonable; the other half is more complicated. Not that it matters--if we do everything in a loving, courteous way and they choose to get upset anyway, that's on them.

Based on what I'm hearing, I think it makes most sense to invite just family/Midwest family friends to the Midwest reception, possibly in addition to Handsome's immediate family. (He is going to love his new nickname, btw. ;D) I am also leaning toward an entirely separate invitation and RSVP (planning to do RSVPs with an online option, I'm guessing we can show different options to different guests).

I'm also glad to hear that other folks have done something similar in the past--again, this wedding thing is making me tear my hair out and go, "We have a cart, we have a horse, we have somewhere to go--if ONLY there was some device we could put ON this cart so it could roll!!!"

Thank you again for your thoughts and ideas. I'm sure I will encounter many more befuddling challenges over the next year so I can't promise I won't post again...

Essay

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Re: Wedding in one hometown, party in another
« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 05:31:58 PM »
Oh, and thank you for the wording in particular, TootsNYC. Invitation wording is another already-invented wheel that I feel very comforted to fall back on.

TootsNYC

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Re: Wedding in one hometown, party in another
« Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 05:55:51 PM »
If you decide to mail the Midwest Reception invites separately, you  might want to use full names. Since now it won't be "second reference" (as we editors call it).

It's a little awkward, bcs you don't want to use your married name until it's yours.

But...you could send a save-the-date to the Midwest Reception guests on the same date that you send (or soon after) the wedding invitation. And mail that official invitation right after you get married (you can even have it printed before the wedding, just the way people do w/ announcements; just don't mail it until after).

And a save-the-date has fewer rules in terms of wording than most formal reception invites do--it's just a letter (or sometimes a flyer). So you can sign it w/ your current names.

Dindrane

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Re: Wedding in one hometown, party in another
« Reply #11 on: Yesterday at 10:29:49 PM »
I would also recommend acquiring a copy of a Miss Manners' book that covers weddings. I read her "Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior" at one point and found it helpful to know the official etiquette as a guideline. I didn't and don't follow all the rules in that book, but it makes it easier when you are breaking rules deliberately rather than out of ignorance. I was able to find this book (and probably others) at my library, which was handy.

I think all the advice you've gotten so for is good, so it'll probably be mostly a matter of figuring out what you want to do and what will work with your family's and your fiance's family's culture. But it's absolutely 100% fine to have a reception after you get married, and you should generally always invite anyone you would be genuinely pleased to see at the event even if you're pretty sure they won't make it. People will surprise you, in many different ways.

I also wouldn't worry too much about the whole gift thing. The biggest rule of thumb is to just avoid mentioning them unless asked about them directly. Being discreet with your registry information and generally not bringing the topic up first will make you look appropriately not-greedy to the vast majority of people. Whatever small minority takes offense even with that behavior is probably looking for it and not worth worrying about.

One thing I will say about gift expectations, though, is that while it is lovely to actually not expect people to give you gifts...you should still expect that most people will want to. It's a funny little dance that we all do as part of a society that dictates certain occasions as gift-giving ones. The bride and groom are not to expect gifts, but guests are expected (by society) to give them anyway. In practice, that mostly means not insisting too hard that you don't want anything, because the impulse to give gifts for weddings is very deeply ingrained, and is often a way for people to make a tangible demonstration of their warm feelings towards you and your wedding. Insisting too strongly that you don't need gifts can eventually start to feel like a rejection of them, which I'm sure is not your intent or your goal.

So in practice, be ready to tell people what you want (even if you don't register), and I wouldn't say more than once that they don't need to get you anything. Once you've said it, you can assume they know you don't expect anything, and they can decide if they want to go ahead and get you something anyway. I'd also phrase it as "we don't need anything" rather than "we don't want anything." Because you want the token of affection they are giving you, even if you don't need the dishes they are using to express that sentiment.