Tuesday, April 28, 2009

mountaintop meltdown

While on my weekend road trip I had lots of time, free from distraction, to sit and think about this whole wedding thing. Not just to float around ideas of how to pull it off, but really to contemplate how this will affect others.

As I've mentioned before, My Guy's entire fam lives back east (like, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, sibs, the whole 9 yards). While my parents and sisters live in Arizona, the rest of my family lives in various states in the mid and north west. When we originally started our "let's get married talks" I assumed Rhode Island would be the site where it would all happen. But then, everything started to fall into place for an Arizona mountain wedding (as in, WE could pay for the whole thing ourselves, it was close for us to plan and organize, and we desperatly love it up there and it feels like us).

Sounds ideal, right? Well. I'm starting to feel wicked selfish. I just feel like it's such a huge ordeal to ask family and friends (especially in this economy) to fly to Arizona, rent a car, drive two hours north, pay for a hotel for a night or two, and then go home. I do realize that people travel for weddings all of the time, and people are willing to do it...I just feel like perhaps we are making it too difficult, asking too much from these people we love. (Not to mention the friggen' huge environmental impact of all that travel!)

I reevaluated what was most important to me: to be married in a place that is beautiful, or to be married surrounded by those we love? That's a no brainer. I choose people. So, if this is true, and I choose people, where does that leave us? I asked My Guy this question this morning and he is convinced that the family members he is closest with will travel out here, so he doesn't see the problem. It's possible that I am making something out of nothing, but still. I can't shake that we could be doing this differently, to include more of our loved ones, to make the trip easier/cost efficient for them.

A couple hours after this convo with My Guy, I walked into the living room and saw him looking up wedding venues in Rhode Island (I thought this was cute). But Rhody is a wedding destination of the rich and famous New York/Boston crowd - sooooooooooooo out of our league. Sure we could get married in a banquet hall at a hotel - but really - we wouldn't.

Then we talked about having a teeny tiny wedding (hello elopment?) in the mountains of northern Arizona, and then have our reception in Rhode Island which actually seems feesible. The venue will be the hardest part to incorporate into our budget - but we don't have to party at The Breakers or anything.

I feel like pulling my hair out right now. Nothing is simple.


  1. I had to pop in and give you a shout after seeing this post today. I have watched both my children struggle with this exact problem and it broke my heart. My final answer to them is this: it is your wedding and you are free to have it exactly where you want, when you want, how you want. We also had the frank discussion of wants vs reality such as this. It is not a problem with an easy answer no matter what you chose. In the end, chose what makes you happiest with the least amount of stress for you. Just know, you are not alone in this struggle. Stay true to your heart and it will work out!

  2. I have to agree with Lisa, do whatever will make you happiest. Maybe you could still have the beautiful wedding you wanted in Arizona, but have a nice reception for all the family who couldn't make it either after the wedding or for your 1 year anniversary (so you can save money) in Rhode Island? If you need someone to talk it through with, you know where to find me. =]

  3. you know, i've often wondered why it isn't more popular to have two or more smaller receptions in different geographical areas, what with so many ppl these days having friends and family scattered all over. also, there must be cool cheap nature venues in rhode island. have you seen the blog lessons in survival? http://alessoninsurvival.blogspot.com she is planning a campground RI wedding, is really nice, and could give you some pointers if you decide to go that route.

  4. I feel for you! 90% of my wedding is coming from out of town, luckily most can be driven. I say have a small weddingi in AZ- small reception there and one in Rhode Island.

    Good luck- LOVE your blog

  5. Ah, wedding planning! I wouldn't go back and do that again if somebody paid me a million dollars. ;)

    Best wishes with your decision. I think the idea of an AZ mountaintop wedding and a Rhode Island reception sounds lovely.

  6. There are a lot of ways to make a destination (ie mountaintop in AZ) wedding cheaper. I'm getting married on a mountain in New Hampshire this June, and while most of our family and many of our friends are flying in from the midwest and California, we found an uber cheap lodge with little cabins where people can stay for $25 a night and actually all hang out with each other, too! So yes, the airfare is expensive, but if you can go rustic once they're there, it can be workable. We're also planning on doing little "reenactments" this fall for the older relatives who can't make the trip- sounds like this might be a good plan for you too. Good luck!

  7. I am joining the choir on this one... Stay true to what will work best for the two of you(you have a lot of energy going in to this) and be understanding of those who cannot make it out there.

    My man and I are also having a wedding where 90% of the people will be traveling more than 1000 miles. We are holding it in Vermont this summer and like Liz we have scouted out some inexpensive lodging for those looking to save cash and go rustic.

    Also, we have offered to help co-ordinate carpooling with different friend groups arriving at the same time. It may be more work but it has given us peace of mind to know that we might help make it easier on our loved ones.

    And a reenactment sounds like so much fun!

  8. Matt and I were in the exact same boat: We lived in Denver, his family lives in Indiana, mine lives in Florida, and our friends live everywhere.

    We actually decided not to have it in Indiana or Florida because we didn't want it to be dominated by one side of family. We figured that our closest friends and family would be willing to make the trip. We tried to help by facilitating carpooling from the airport (1.5 hours away), securing cheap accommodations ($25-$35/night), and begging people not to spend additional money on gifts. People didn't seem to mind the travel (and many of them made a mini-vacation out of it). We had 80 guests total.

    Several months later, we had an additional gathering in Indiana to celebrate with those folks who couldn't make it.

    However, if you decide to go the Rhode Island route, I'm confident you can make it work. We got married near Estes Park, which is a hugely expensive wedding destination. We just had to go off the beaten path to pull together a wedding for $2,000.

    Wishing you well!

  9. I can only imagine how stressed out you must be right now, but it will all work out. I live in RI and am getting married here (at Whispering Pines) so let me know if you have any questions about venues in the state (cluderer@gmail.com).

    One place I considered (and loved- but wanted to place where people could also stay over)was the Kinney Bungalow in Narragansett, RI. The Meeting House is in Tiverton, RI and is also nice. I think both venues rent for about 2000 (more or less depending on day). I think multiple, small celebrations in different locations sounds nice. You could do a nice morning brunch that is less expensive than a traditional wedding for one. Good Luck!

  10. I'm here to echo what everyone else said & let you know you're not alone! we had this exact same conversation (many times)! I'm from the rockies, he's from texas. we met in the mountains, we live in texas. we wanted to have a cute little outdoor mountain wedding but weren't sure we could make the demand on our family.
    we ultimately decided by making a list of what was most important to us (ease for family, ease/cost of planning, the ceremony site & feel) and evaluated locations based on that criteria. we found so many more in texas that fit the bill, so we settled on looking here and stopped looking at mountains. (this was the very hardest part -- especially since the very next day I saw the beautiful wedding in the aspens you featured! [cowboy couture]) we found a great location here in texas that is more than we could have hoped for (minus the mountain backdrop) and are planning to have a party of some kind in the mountains after the wedding.
    so, that super-long comment is all to say that you should do what YOU GUYS want to do & it will all work out. it might not be "easy" but it will all work out!



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