After rambling about some details and random thoughts, I realized I haven’t talked about why we decided to plan a pseudo-destination wedding in Kansas City. (I say pseudo because the term destination wedding always reminds me of Mexico, Hawaii, or Jamaica—not Kansas City.) People that have known me for years look at me a little sideways when they learn where we are getting married.
I grew up in northern California (five hours or so north of San Francisco) and Oregon (Eugene), I went to college in western Massachusetts, most of my family is sprinkled along the West Coast (with heavy concentrations in Oregon and the Bay Area), and we currently live in the Napa Valley. Sweetie Scone, on the other hand, grew up in Kansas City, went to college in Kansas, headed west a few years back, and then her parents became snowbirds and landed in Phoenix. Now initially we had no idea where we should get married—my hometown (Eureka), her hometown (Kansas City), somewhere in the Northwest, or the Bay Area—so we talked a lot about what was important to us.
In the end, these were some of the biggest factors: my family considers the Midwest to be the land mass you fly over between coasts, her family considers the West Coast to be a fun trip. Yes it would have been easy peasy pumkin pie to have the wedding near us, except for a few key factors: Sweetie Scone’s grandma (who everyone adores because you can’t resist her) doesn’t really travel so much, and my grandma who I adore isn’t in perfect health but still makes pretty hefty trips (Oregon to Arkansas, anyone?). Realistically, my grandma is more likely to be able to make it east, and we can have the best of both worlds. California amended its state constitution to say that we can’t get married ever (Prop 8, just in case I haven’t mentioned it enough), and for some reason the closest state we can make things legal in is Iowa. Iowa happens to be a short drive away from Kansas City. Yup, that’s right, folks—there is marriage equality in the Midwest. It isn’t just reserved for New England! We like making ourselves accessible to family; we get to see my family all the time, so it makes sense to share big events with Sweetie Scone’s family as much as possible.
Cost wise it would have been less expensive to have this shindig on the West Coast because we know people that would be able to help out. But realistically the cost savings would not be huge. So it was on to a spreadsheet analysis to determine the most cost-effective place for guests to travel to. My hometown was out, as the time to travel there combined with the airfare costs would exclude a significant portion of our guest list. (Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly internationally than to my hometown.) A Bay Area wedding would mean that significantly more guests would have to rent hotel rooms (maybe not fly, but it increased overall costs). The Northwest had some great options, but again most of our guests would have to be in a hotel room AND would need to fly. Kansas City was the winner: fewer people would have to travel, it had the least expensive flights, AND hotels are generally less expensive there.
After the spreadsheet analysis the deal was sealed—our wedding would be in Kansas City! It means that G-d willing our living grandparents will get to join us in our celebration, the Kansas City family gets to be involved, we can make it legal just before or just after our ceremony, and our guests won’t have to spend as much or waste as much time traveling to join the festivities.