3/6 Real Bride Holly: Have Guests, Will Travel?

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One big question about wedding planning that loomed over us for months was, where were we going to have it?

Evan and I are both originally from the prairie region of Canada, and most of our families live out there. Currently, we both live and work in Ontario. Most people expected that we would have our wedding in our hometown — it’s where we grew up, we’ve got the beauty of the Rockies in our backyard, and nearly all of our family and childhood friends live there.

However, we were struggling to find a venue that fit our needs. A wedding at a resort in the mountains was way out of our price range, and the venues that suited our guest count located in and around the city just didn’t seem to fit our style. In addition, we only go home to visit two to three times a year for a few days, which limited our ability to go check out venues and meet with planners. As our options dwindled, I held fast to the idea of the hometown wedding because of the guilt associated with requesting that our loved ones have to spend time and money to schlep to the other side of the country to attend our wedding.

I’ve heard from one friend who had a destination wedding that you can plan a wedding remotely, but you generally need to hire a wedding planner to coordinate on your behalf, eliminating some of the personal touches that we wanted. I started to put out tiny little feelers for venues in our area of the country, just to “keep our options open.”

We ended up stumbling an adorable little venue an hour away from us, in wine country, that perfectly suited our tastes and budget. The owners of the venue recommended excellent vendors, and I was able to meet them at my convenience, rather than try to cram meetings into limited-time visits home (when I’d much rather be hanging out with my family and friends!). I wanted this venue so bad, but I was afraid to tell my guests — would they be upset?

As per usual, my inner voice was entirely too fatalistic. Everyone understood, and they were happy to make the trip to see us tie the knot. Likely, they’ll end up seeing a wedding with a less stressed-out bride and groom, which is nice too. Yes, there’s lots that can be done to ease the financial burden of guests, but to some extent, there’s a point at which you’ve gotta do you. This was mine.

How did you compromise to help your guests but save your sanity?