Location, Location, Location???

No, this post is not about venue choice. I wish it had been that straightforward at the beginning. This post is about cities. What city would we physically have the wedding in? Our three choices were:

1. Cincinnati, Ohio

cinci

Image via Treasures in My Heart: Cincinnati

Pros:

  • My hometown.
  • I lived there for 18 years of my life.
  • It would be easy for a number of people from my family to attend.
  • My mom and sisters could be my wedding slaves helpers.

Cons:

  • I hadn’t lived in there for seven years, and as an adult I didn’t have any ties to the location, just the people.
  • I would feel pressure to invite A LOT more people to the wedding—old family friends, neighbors, etc.
  • Mr. Squirrel and I would have to plan everything from afar.

2. Little Rock, Arkansas

Little_

Image via Arkansas.com

Pros:

  • This was where Mr. Squirrel and I met and we have so many favorite spots and great memories as a couple.
  • It would be convenient for Mr. Squirrel’s family and, since my family outnumbers his by about 4:1, it was very important to me that his family has a good showing.
  • Plus, Mr. Squirrel’s family could help with a lot of the planning.

Cons:

  • Little Rock is very difficult to fly into (small city, lots of connections, and pricey flights).
  • It would be a big investment for all out-of-town guests.
  • We would have to plan everything from afar.

3. Tampa, Florida

Tampa-S

Image by JMany Fine Art Photography

Pros:

  • Having our wedding in this new city would help us make memories and feel connected to Tampa.
  • I could craft to my heart’s desire because I wouldn’t have to bring everything on an airplane.
  • Tampa is easy to fly into (and there are three other airports nearby).
  • There is a beach! Who doesn’t love a beach?

Cons:

  • 100% of the guests would have to travel.
  • Neither of our families would be close to help with the planning.

Ugh. It was hard, because no city was perfect. Regardless of which one we chose, someone was going to lose out or pay more.

So many people said, “Well, aren’t you just having it in Cincinnati?” because that is the traditional thing to do, have it in the bride’s hometown. But we didn’t feel like we automatically had to jump on the tradition boat, and we decided to have the wedding in:

TAMPA!!

We knew in our hearts this was the best choice for us. We both feel great about this decision. I know I would have been bummed delegating tasks to people in another city, and we have found some really neat areas in our wedding-vendor search. Our families have been really supportive, and I have been crafting up a storm.

Did anyone else feel pressure about choosing a city based on family obligations or tradition?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Squirrel

Location:
Tampa, FL
Wedding Date:
May 2013

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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Brooke, Guest @ 4:55 pm

    I think you made the right choice. I can not imagine planning a wedding from afar, even if you had more help, you and your fiance are still the most important people in the planning process. It wasn’t difficult for my FI and I because we have the same hometown and most of our family is in the same place. Plus, I am currently back living in my hometown taking care of some stuff until our wedding in March and my FI only lives an hour away so its easy for him to come up spur of the moment if I need help with something.

  2. Member
    love108 3979 posts, Honey bee @ 5:01 pm

    I’m having a similar decision to make. We live in a small town 2-4 hours from my FI’s family and 8 hours from mine. My mom wants it in my home town for all the reasons you mentioned, but I love my new place and I wouldn’t really want to plan from afar :( I’m letting the venue decide.. whatever place I fall in love with venue wise determines the location, so I’m looking at a combination of towns.

  3. Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 5:20 pm

    I think you made the right choice! All of our guests are going to have to travel too. And surprisingly, most of them were just okay with that!

    (Also, I have no idea how far along you are in the planning process, but it’s so much harder to get vendors booked when you’re not getting married where you live. Being in Tampa will make it so much easier on you.)

  4. Member
    littlemisshostess 787 posts, Busy bee @ 5:43 pm

    we are had a similar issue but luckily we are all a bit closer so we were able to compromise. My family lives in Boston (and I grew up there) however FH and I live in NYC. We met in NYC and have lived here for the past 7 + yrs (he has been here more like 15) so it seemed silly to get married so far away (about 5 + hrs drive)

    my parents refused to pay if the wedding was in NYC (and I did understand why), I refused to have to plan my wedding so far away…

    In the end we compromised on the Berkshires which are about 2.5hrs from each of us….. almost exactly in the middle and also very convenient to his parents (hartford ct)

    It actually came down to finding a compatible venue more than anything though since that was what we cared about more than exact location (as long as it was in the NE of course)

  5. Member
    sarg88 282 posts, Helper bee @ 6:08 pm

    Having the same dilemma. My fiance and I are from two different cities. I currently live in his city. But everyone (particularly my mother) are expecting me to have the wedding in my hometown. I don’t know how I feel about planning a wedding from afar. I’d rather just have it where I’m living now. Plus, none of his family would have to travel. And I know my family would travel no matter where the wedding is.

  6. Member
    BookishBelle 1629 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:25 pm

    We had to make a similar decision…well, we NEVER were going to have the wedding in TX where his mother and brother are, but we could have had the wedding near where we live (NYC Metro Area which is also where I grew up, which is also where 100% of my family lives) but ended up having it actually where we met (Baltimore, where we met in college), where NO family lives, so EVERYBODY has to travel! Planning semi-long distance hasn’t been hard, we’ve driven down (3 hours each way) there about 3 times over the past year and have been able to accomplish everything in those 3 weekends, and we figure it may as well be inconvenient for everybody and sentimental for us, rather than just inconvenient for his family, lol.

  7. Member
    camel 703 posts, Busy bee @ 6:34 pm

    Mr. C is from Michigan and both my parents live out of state (one in CA and one in IL) so we chose Georgia as a sort of middle ground. Plus, I didn’t want to plan our wedding from out of town. It sounded really stressful to me, because I’m the type of person who likes to sit down and meet people face-to-face to get a feel for the quality and reliability of their services. It means pretty much everyone except our friends, my brother, and one of his sisters will be coming from out of town, but it was the most logical solution to keep any one family (or side of the family as both our parents are divorced) from having the upper hand.

    And can I just say how much I love seeing your little squirrel icon pop up on the main page! It is SO CUTE!!

  8. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 6:51 pm

    It can be so hard to pick a place knowing people are going to have to travel, but your planning will be so much easier being in Tampa! I know you won’t regret it, plus there’s a beach :)

  9. Member
    prairiedog 455 posts, Helper bee @ 7:31 pm

    my cincinnati is your tampa ;) i had lived in cinci for only six months when we got engaged. having it here was largely a decision of convenience–meeting with all possible vendors, etc. like you said.

    …what surprised me during/after the our wedding was that getting married in the city where we were building our life together felt kind of…empowering. our city, as our own family of two semi-adults. it wound up being the right decision for way more reasons than i originally thought. i hope tampa gives you the very same!

  10. Member
    bat 285 posts, Helper bee @ 7:42 pm

    I definitely think you made the right choice! It was a difficult choice for Batman and I too: do we choose our current college town, my hometown 2 1/2 hours away, or his 3 hours away (and in a different state than mine)? In the end, my hometown was the most affordable and convenient, though it has been hard to only be able to meet with vendors during school breaks!

  11. Member
    hlayers 286 posts, Helper bee @ 7:48 pm

    Yes I had the same problem. I am from a very tiny town in Indiana, fiance is from Miami, and we both currently live in Indianapolis roughly 2 hours from my hometown. We are having the wedding here in Indy and my mom is STILL dropping hints about how much easier/cheaper/traditional it would have been to have it in my hometown. Cheaper and more traditional yes, but easier only for her. I didn’t want to ask my fiance’s family to fly into Indy and then drive 2 MORE hours to our location plus he and I both love our venue choice here in the city.

  12. Member
    This Time Round 10219 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 8:06 pm

    Mr TTR and I LOVE to travel… and do it a fair bit (be it for Business or Pleasure). I am familiar with all 3 of these cities, and I have to say of them, Tampa is certainly my fave… such a great vibe there.

    And besides being easy to plan in your own backyard, there is as you say THE BEACH nearby… but there is also a lot of great things for Friends & Family coming in to see and do.

    Make sure that you let everyone know about Yabor City… and maybe point out that a visit there to see the unique architecture, the Cigar Makers at work, or sipping Cuban Coffees (or Mojitos) is a great way to spend an afternoon. And should time allow, a meal at the Original Columbia Restaurant (the US’s oldest Restaurant)… where they can enjoy great eats like the 1904 Salad & Dressing… or take in a Flamenco Show.

    Yup, Yabor City is one of the things that make Tampa a fabulous “Destination” City.

  13. Member
    Bri Bri 88 posts, Worker bee @ 8:38 pm

    Tampa was a great decision! I’m a Tampa native, so I’m a little biased ;) I’m getting married in two weeks in a suburb of Tampa, can’t wait. I’m excited to see all your blog posts, I’m so happy we have a Tampa bee!!!

  14. Member
    mssquirrel 276 posts, Helper bee @ 5:24 am

    @love108: Hah, I am impressed! I don’t think I could have handled the venue search the three cities! One city was stressful enough :) @littlemisshostess: Yikes! Sounds like you found the perfect compromise though! I wish we had the same option…@sarg88: Oh moms….I would suggest having a very candid talk with her and explain your reasons for not wanting to have it in your hometown. Once I did that, my mom was much more open to a different city.
    @Miss Camel: I was really worried about one family having the ‘upper hand’ too…got to love neutral territory!
    @Mrs. Pony: Hah exactly! Who doesn’t love a beach??

  15. Member
    mssquirrel 276 posts, Helper bee @ 5:28 am

    @Mrs. Prairie Dog: Thanks! That’s what I’m hoping too, I can tell it is already starting to happen as we get to know the city beet through the planning process. How do you like Cinci?? I definitely miss my skyline and graeters!!!
    @This Time Round: That’s so funny you mention that because we are actually talking with The Columbia right now as a possible rehearsal dinner location! You seem to know a lot about the city….Please send any other suggestions my way :)
    @Bri Bri: Thanks! It seems like West Coast FL is definitely underrepresented! Our local boards get no love either! Congrats on your wedding! I hope everything turns out great!

  16. Member
    RunningLove 14 posts, Newbee @ 5:49 am

    Oh, I totally understand! We were stuck with either Wisconsin (my home state), Michigan (his home state), or South Carolina (where we met, dated, and lived for five years). Everyone expected us to get married in our hometown, and my mom was not happy about it, so I feel you @sarq88.

    We made the same decision you did — to get married in “our” city. Now it turns out we’re going to be moving to Michigan after we get married, but we didn’t know that then! It’s so encouraging to see other brides dealing with the same thing!

  17. Member
    mstreasure 1655 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:43 am

    I think you definitely made the right choice. We had to decide between our two hometowns and our current city as well. I’m so happy we went with our current city because it was SO MUCH EASIER to plan than it would’ve been to plan from a distance.

  18. Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:06 am

    I think you made the best choice, I know a lot of brides can pull off planning from afar, but I enjoyed the planning process so much, I can’t imagine not being 100% hands on in it, specially since it seems you are a DIY bride.

  19. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 11:09 am

    I absolutely think you both made the right choice. Tampa is beautiful and doesn’t get a lot of credit – I can’t wait to read more about the specifics!

  20. Guest Icon Guest
    Kate, Guest @ 11:50 am

    We had a similar choice. Get married in MA (my home state), CT (his home state) or Maine (a state we had visited together several times and loved mutually). We went with Maine, that way no one got more of an advantage then the others (its unfortunate that grown adults would throw a fit about it being in “their” state instead of “ours” but we knew it would happen) so we just picked a nice middle ground. It is about a 4-5 hour drive any way you cut it for everyone and probably an overnight stay, but we blocked off some rooms and they on’t have to fly so we think it will be fine. In the end, we chose together and it was an important decision in our process– WE love Maine and if everybody else doesn’t they will just have to deal :)

  21. Member
    graywolf 725 posts, Busy bee @ 2:12 pm

    i never really considered this as a problem actually – in retrospect, i suppose ohio (wolfmans home state) should have been an option, but 80% of our guests are within driving distance of DC. no brainer for us. i think you made the right D tho!

  22. Member
    panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:10 pm

    I think you made the right decision. We made a similar decision and I agree with @Mrs. Prairie Dog that it is incredibly empowering. It really does make me feel like an adult (!!!) now that I’m planning a wedding with very little help.

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