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Mariah
Beginner August 2020

Destination Wedding Guests

Mariah, on July 20, 2019 at 9:09 AM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 28
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Hello all,

I have yet to post on here for any advice but I have really gotten myself into a pickle. My Fiance and I have decided to do a destination wedding in Jamaica (8/28/2020) and because it is a destination wedding we did not want to have many people. By not many people I mean our parents, siblings, my grandparents, and a couple very close friends. This was our plan, insert FMIL who stated "you have to still invite everyone you would have invited if it were a local wedding. No one will come so don't worry about it." Now understand my relationship with my Fiances' parents is quite rocky, we either get along or they are bringing me to tears by the things they say. So I didn't want to start anything and I listened to her and we just gave her side of the family their save the dates this past weekend while we were all at a family gathering. Well my concerns were valid and EVERY person said they would absolutely be there. His family is high in numbers and there is always drama. So my issue is a two parter: The resort charges us extra per person over 20 and will charge us an extra $2000 over 40 people as a private reception would be needed: and we did not want many of these people there and I stupidly listened to my FMIL ignoring my own thoughts and feelings about MY wedding. So I am stuck at what to do in this situation. The number of people for sure coming is already up to 35 with another 12 people who are strongly leaning towards yes. This is not including his other side of the family, or any of my family besides my parents and siblings. The number is way too high as we were shutting for 18 people. I am upset about the money part of this, the amount of people being too high, as well as their general outlook on us and the wedding. My Fiance and I have been together for 6 years and his family still does not like me and does not support us as a couple. We are supposed to be starting a new married life together and his family is only coming to support him as well as to get a vacation. They have actually stated that they will be spending 2 hours dedicated to us and the rest of their time is dedicated to their vacation. This irritates me because if they want to go on a vacation to Jamaica then they can go another time but this is for our wedding and we wanted to do things as a group. The group is far too big for this now and everyone is pretty much looking at this as a family vacation and not a destination wedding. I need help. I don't know how to approach this situation or how to resolve it. Please no negative comments, I'm already frustrated and upset.

Thanks in advance.

28 Comments

  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag
    So...your wedding is still 13 months away. There’s really no reason for people to give you a yes or no response before invitations even go out. Many of these people could just be caught up in the excitement of the destination, but could change their minds once it comes to booking their accommodations. There’s nothing you can do about those who do decide to attend. You’ve already sent them a pre-invitation, uninviting them now would definitely damage any relationship that you and your FH have with his family.
    I also think you need to get over the “this isn’t a family vacation” mindset. Your wedding is one day. If your guests want to enjoy their time in Jamaica while they’re there, they’re entitled to. They’re spending a lot of money to travel to the destination that you chose.
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag
    According to the community guidelines here on WeddingWire, you can’t dictate who comments on your posts or what they have to say. Nothing that I said was rude or negative.
    You should budget for every guest that you invited. Head counts aren’t typically due to your vendors until 1-3 weeks before the event. If you budget for your entire guest list, you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you receive “no” RSVPs.
    Your friends and family don’t need an excuse to go on a vacation. If they just wanted to go on vacation, they could do that anytime they want and wherever they want. They wouldn’t specifically travel to Jamaica the week of your wedding if they didn’t want to attend your wedding. I would understand your feelings if you were providing an all expenses paid trip for every guest, but it doesn’t seem that you are. You can’t dictate what they do with their time outside of your wedding when they’re paying for their own travel and accommodations.
  • Wendy
    Rockstar August 2020
    Wendy ·
    • Flag
    We are having a DW in Cancún and when we first started I wanted 30 guest top... well, somehow we are at 65 ppl now;( his mom invited like 15ppl from their side of the family and he didn’t want to tell her no so that was that. So I had to allow my mom to also invite some people she wanted that I also know to keep the peace and so that she wouldn’t feel less important... I’ve had to compromise on the resort, I went with my # 2 choice to keep the cost lower.. I’ve had to compromise in my whole plan honestly... we went from spending $10K top’s to actually being at $12K as of now... I don’t want to go above $15 so trying my best here... I am also hoping that a lot of people don’t show up once they see the resort prices.. I have sent the save the dates already too... and we got a wedding package which comes with everything included.. we actually went with a travel agent and opted from doing a room block of that type... it was too confusing and hard to plan and I did not want to pay out of pocket so we went with “book your way”, which ppl just contact my travel agent whenever and book the room at the fixed rate.. do they offer that?

    I say don’t worry about it, my wedding is in 08.08.20 and I’m sure lots of people will change their mind by then, or won’t want to spend that much money... and the ones that have told me they are going for sure they are making it a vacation and staying a week long as well.. I am okay with that because it’s not fair for them to spend that much and not enjoy themselves alone and away from me lol.
    Do you plan on doing a lot of events? Excursion??
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag
    You shouldn’t have invited people to your wedding who don’t like you. You already did. There is no way around it except to host them. I guess I’m not sure what kind of advice you’re looking for. Do you just want someone to tell you that it’s okay to uninvite them? It’s not.
  • Mariah
    Beginner August 2020
    Mariah ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    Wendy,

    First I would like to thank you for being polite. This is a stressful thing and I really do appreciate your input. I have already given up a lot to make others happy and honesty this is my wedding not theirs. I want to have it how my Fiance and I planed it. We went with the group rate for my fiances' parents. They convinced us this would be cheaper ( it is for them) and yes it is complicated and I have to pay it all by March. I wish I could do it a different was but I am so tired of arguing with his family. I just wanted this to be about us and our wedding and it's a mess. I am really hoping that people won't come but even after hearing the prices man have still said "oh what a great deal, we wouldn't miss it!"

  • Sarah
    VIP September 2019
    Sarah ·
    • Flag
    March isn’t very soon. It’s still 8 months away. I’d guess a good amount of people will change their answer before then. Also usually a destination wedding IS a vacation. I’ve never been invited to a destination wedding where the entire time was group activities. Besides attending the wedding, which is what they’re invited there for, what do you expect them to do? Like you said, you’re stuck. You invited them, whether you should have listened to your FMIL or not, and you can’t take it back.
  • Mariah
    Beginner August 2020
    Mariah ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    Sarah,

    I have to pay for all the guests rooms by March. I have to put 10% down as soon as I agree to do the group booking. This is out of pocket for me. My Fiance and I had multiple activities coming together for our small group. These activities and the wedding would have only taken 2 out of their 5 days. We weren't asking for much and it wasn't mandatory, just fun activities we were going to pay for. And I know I could never take back their invites. We are supposed to have a reception when we get home for those who can't come and we are now considering paying for the extra guests to attend the ceremony and just have a reception at home with everyone. When we are in Jamaica our wedding package that we already picked does include a small dinner reception. We were considering just our parents, siblings, and our party, however I feel like this is rude.

  • Wendy
    Rockstar August 2020
    Wendy ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    Wow I guess I lucked out with my resort because I don’t have to pay anything until 72hours prior to the event... all they required from me was to book our stay.. I say host them for the wedding only and then it’s better if you don’t see them the rest of the stay... do they offer an adults side only?? We are staying at the adults rooms only and away from kids lol. Why did your fiancé allowed this to happen if he didn’t want that as well?? It sounds like you’ve both lost control or what you envision;(
  • Mariah
    Beginner August 2020
    Mariah ·
    • Flag

    We also had to book our stay to get our wedding package and date saved. The guest hotel rooms are the money that is due and the wedding coordinator is already wanting numbers but I have absolutely no idea where we will be at even just next month. And our resort is all ages due to my Fiances' sister being so much younger than him. She will only be 17 at the time of the wedding so we had to go with our second choice as the first one was an all adults resort. We will have our room in a completely different area than everyone else and I made sure of that. And yes we have lost complete control. Everything my Fiance and I planned is being changed by his family. I am scared to hand out any more save the dates to people they want us to invite. My Fiance is completely on my side and has no issue taking back the invite. I am the one who has an issue with that. I'm really just trying to keep the peace while still having the wedding we planned and it just isn't working out.

  • H
    Devoted November 2019
    Heather ·
    • Flag
    I had several family members say that they were going to come but as they started talking to the travel agent, I started receiving calls that most of them "just cant do it". Its a great idea until people start having to book reservations. Maybe it wont go over well but just get the word out that due to budget constraints, you are not hosting a full wedding and just limiting it to few close family and friends. When you bring up money, most people will understand. Have your parents and FMIL do the explaining for you explaining how disappointed you are to have to cut it down. Playing the victim could be the only way to get out of it and just let people be upset if they are that selfish. They will get over it. If your FMIL is insisting, tell her that she will need to cover the extra cost because you cant afford it and didnt plan on it. Better yet your FH should handle that. You didnt send out official invites yet so things can change. People will understand. That's all I got. Sorry you were pushed into this.
  • Mariah
    Beginner August 2020
    Mariah ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    I just would feel terrible if we went back on our invite. Even though his family does not like me and even if I had his mother do it I would still feel really bad. They were all extremely excited to go to Jamaica, not necessarily about the wedding. I just don't see any solution to this. I am going to have to spend thousands more than expected, as well as having a wedding I didn't envision. His family is full of drama and actually shunned me last weekend because we wanted to leave the family lake house one night early. There is just no way we are going to be able to do what we want for our wedding.

  • Florida Marlins
    Expert October 2017
    Florida Marlins ·
    • Flag

    There have many missteps by a few people here. Your MIL was out of line by dictating your guest list. You sadly made an error by taking her advice and giving her a lot of control. You fiance should have spoken up. If we were invited to a destination wedding and knew that I was expected to do things as a group for five days, I would decline. If I attended the wedding I would have the expectation that the rest of the time is ours.

    Since you are on an Etiquette and Advice thread, here goes: Scrap all your plans, elope with just the two of you or immediate family/spouses at a courthouse, a private dining room followed by dinner and go to Jamaica on your honeymoon. You have painted yourself into quite an expensive corner and the only way out is very expensive.

  • Mariah
    Beginner August 2020
    Mariah ·
    • Flag
    I think maybe people are misunderstanding. I am not forcing anyone to do these plans. And I am definitely not forcing people to come. I am fine if almost no one comes, so it really upsets me that I'm expected to bend at my guests every will because this is my wedding and they aren't required to come. My fiance and I were to set up activities that we would go on and if people wanted to go to the activities we were going to pay ( many of my friends expressed wanting to go to waterfalls with us as well as snorkeling) , however were were not forcing anyone to, it was just some activities we wanted to provide for our guests to have fun if they wanted. I knew I was wrong the moment I listened to her because it is my wedding and i like control. The control has been completely taken away from me and i am very against eloping. I have never wanted to elope but having a destination wedding was supposed to be nice, small, intimate, and over all a very fun time. Now I'm stuck between paying all this money and having a million people at this wedding or having a million people at the wedding and not doing a reception to avoid paying the extra price. When we did our budget we budgeted for 40 people and we already have over that this early on. We have told people higher than expected prices so if anything it will be a happy suprise for people to pay less.
  • T
    Devoted May 2010
    Theresa ·
    • Flag

    Of course they aren't required to come, but you invited them. They have no idea why they were invited, whether it was your decision because they're family, or because it was your FMIL's idea. All they know is that they received an invitation, so naturally they assume you want them there. Since you don't, and there is no easy way out of this for you, I'm going to agree with Florida Marlins suggestion: scrap everything and elope. Go to Jamaica for your honeymoon. If you like, invite the few guests you were going to have for your DW to join you for a few days, or the whole time. Then you get what you want and can use the Jamaica time to relax and enjoy.

  • Yam
    VIP September 2019
    Yam ·
    • Flag
    First you can’t uninvite anyone unless there’s very special circumstances(hospitalization, deployment, ect), it’s just an etiquette rule you cannot break.

    I know you’re freaking out about March but it’s what, $2000? You have eight months, that’s $250/mo to save. A temporary extra part time job would cover it, it’s an option. Don’t give up!

    It sucks because you feel your wedding is being hijacked but that’s just how destination weddjngs are sometimes. No one wants to pay $$$ for airfare and lodging just to attend a party for a day and then go home. They’re making the most out of their money spent coming to your wedding. I’m sure they’re still excited to go to your wedding.
  • Mariah
    Beginner August 2020
    Mariah ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    If you look at my previous comments I'm not even considering uninviting people. I would never. And Sorry I wasn't clear. I need to pay 2000 now to save rooms for people and by march I need to have $14000 for all of their rooms. I am paying the 2000 upfront just to reserve the rooms. The 2000 I was talking about earlier is an added amount because the wedding package i have allows for up to 30 people and after that i need to pay at least $2000 for a private venue and for all the food. This is an all inclusive resort we are having our wedding at and we were planning up to 38 people but it's already over that with my fmil making us invite everyone and everyone saying "they wouldn't miss it for the world" and I'm not saying people can't have fun. I want people to! They are coming to Jamaica. But the way my fiances family are talking about it is more like a family reunion in Jamaica rather than our wedding. Keep in mind I said earlier that his family does not like me and does not support us. They support him, but not us or me in general.
  • T
    Devoted May 2010
    Theresa ·
    • Flag

    I think I'm missing something... why are you paying for everyone's rooms? Are they reimbursing you later? Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think you're required to pay for all the guests accommodations. I think DWs usually have some sort of discount for guests, but they pay for their own rooms.

  • Mariah
    Beginner August 2020
    Mariah ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    Yes the guests will be paying for their rooms eventually, however because I feel a whole year is too far in advance for everyone to tell me if they can come I am fronting the bill. By march we are to pay the room prices in full so I need to know who will be there by February so I won't be charged for too many rooms. This post really isnt about the cost of the room, more about the extra money I am going to have to pay for the reception dinner. The reception dinner that will only be an hour and a half is going to now cost us an extra $2000 at least. So we aren't sure if we should just deal with it and pay it so everyone will be at the dinner. Have a small reception dinner with just our parents, siblings, and wedding party ( I think would be rude to other guests), or have no one at the reception in Jamaica and just invite everyone to a backyard reception after Jamaica.
  • T
    Devoted May 2010
    Theresa ·
    • Flag

    Frankly, and I know most people would frown on this as being rude, but I'd be telling FMIL what the cost will be and seeing how much she'll be pitching in for it since she's the reason all these people are coming. Because you're right, it would be rude to have a small reception instead of inviting all guests.

    I think it's all or nothing. If the no reception in Jamaica and having one at home later is possible, I think I'd consider that route.

  • Yam
    VIP September 2019
    Yam ·
    • Flag
    Did you mention to any of these invited guests that you would be fronting the rooms for them? You’re working way too hard for guests that don’t even like you, most brides wouldn’t even do that for guests they did like! Except maybe their nearest and dearest. No one expects the bridal couple to do anything except mail an invitation.

    Does the resort have an option to just pay for the guests you count on(and want to) be there and just charge you for the rest that show up? For the ceremony, I mean.

    Sorry your post is a little confusing. I’d pay for the dinner at the reception though.
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