“People will expect a sit down meal.”
“People will be annoyed if they have to drive.”
“People hate it when there’s a gap.”
“People love cake.”
Way back in the beginning, I talked about the compromises we made when we booked our venue as well as my beautiful church.
Image by Allori Photography
We thought long and hard about what we were doing when we made our decisions. We recognized that the ideal is to have everything close together. But we also didn’t love the venues close to the church—and downtown Chicago costs a LOT of money to not love the venue. Anything outside of about a four block radius would have required some kind of transportation, and guests moving cars—so was it much worse to have them drive a little further, especially when it would take them to a location where they would likely be more comfortable (and parking would become free)?
We also thought about OUR guests. This was one of the best pieces of advice I got. Never do anything for “people” or “our guests”—do it for a specific person. So, when your mom says, “People just won’t like that” or “Guests won’t want to,” ask who, exactly. If Uncle Dave (the real person, not a theoretical one) will be annoyed, then keep that in mind. But don’t worry about fictional guests who aren’t actually yours—and remind the people who are planning with you.
In our case, my extended family constitutes virtually all of our out-of-town guests. Most of our friends live near us on the north side of Chicago, and Shamrock’s extended family lives in various Chicago and northwest Indiana suburbs.
So from a “people” perspective, we’re basically awful hosts for making people drive between two locations and having a reception in the suburbs. (Oh, and because my church is downtown, you have to pay for parking—but the church was my one non-negotiable.) But from an our-actual-guests perspective? We actually are doing pretty well…
- Most of my family will stay in Oak Park regardless because they’ll gather at my parents’ houses. (They’re divorced but both live there.)
- Shamrock’s family will all have to drive anyhow, so it won’t be hard to get to Oak Park after the ceremony, and paying to park for only the ceremony will be much less expensive than paying to park for a ceremony & reception (and FMIL keeps telling them not to come to the ceremony anyhow).
- Our friends are getting screwed—downtown would be way easier for them. But almost none of them mind, and there’s time between if they want to go home and pick up a car, which many of them will do. If not, a cab home will run about $30, which isn’t terrible.
This was so freeing—I felt like it was SUPER rude to “people” to make them drive eight miles, but when I went through the people who would be driving and otherwise wouldn’t have to (mostly friends who live in our neighborhood) my guesses about their reactions ranged from “will definitely not care a tiny bit” to “could feel slightly inconvenienced but will not really care”—that’s a far cry from SUPER rude, and helped me get over it. Oh, and it wasn’t many people either.
When we looked at it that way, no one is going to be too upset. Do I wish everything was close together? Of course. But I think it will be fine this way.
All aboard the wedding bus! / Image via Emperor Limousine Chicago
And before anyone asks…
…have I thought about providing transportation?
Definitely. But I’m not going to. It isn’t a budget reason, though—it’s all logistics. With a gap between the ceremony and reception, I could not figure out when and where to both pick up and drop off guests, nor do I think many people would actually have any interest in using it. My family members might, but they also won’t mind carpooling downtown (and although we can and will offer to pay for parking, this is a MUCH smaller expense than other transportation).
Shamrock’s family will have cars regardless, so they wouldn’t use it, and if our friends used it, they’d be stuck at the end of the night—we can’t do drop-offs to 11 locations at the end of the night, so they’d still be finding their own ways home. Although people will definitely be drinking, there will be more than enough people able to drive home. I think it would’ve been a nice touch, but it isn’t really feasible for us. Do I wish I could figure it out? Sure, but no wedding is perfect, and mine is probably not going to be the exception!
Do you get caught up in pleasing “people”? Have you changed any plans because “people” would want it that way?
And seriously…here’s your permission: Let it go. You can’t make everyone happy. Do the best you can, treat your guests as you would hope to be treated, and it will all work out.