My fiancee and I live in a major city about a half hour to an hour from most of my family but 5-6 hours from his. His parents and sister visit regularly, but most of his extended family has not. When we first got engaged, he was very excited about wedding planning and showing his family why he loves where we live so much.
Unfortunately, there weren't many options within our city limits that were affordable and we found a place we love about 40 minutes outside. The place has a hotel on the property that is only available the night of the wedding, so it wouldn’t work for people staying a few nights. Aside from his family, we have a handful of friends that would be traveling in. There are many other hotels nearby (within 5-10 minutes) for people staying more than one night, but my fiancee doesn’t want his family “in a hotel in the middle of no where.” I am trying to be sensitive to his feelings. The venue is in the middle of a farm area and I understand his point for guests traveling for multiple nights. Most weddings I've been to with a lot of out of town guests have offered a hotel option near a nice downtown area.
He would like to offer a hotel with a shuttle service in our city and do a welcome dinner the night before that his parents would help pay for. This sounds stressful to me but I know it’s important to him. My worry is what if people don’t want to stay 40 minutes away? Many of our friends traveling in and would likely just want to stay at a hotel nearby. Also, our city doesn’t really offer much in terms of parking aside from expensive garages likely many blocks from where our dinner would be. Would local people (my family, etc) come to this dinner? We live in a highly urban areas where 40 minutes could easily turn into an hour or longer.
Our second option is about 2 hours from where we live, but at a beach where we spend our summers. My fiancee is okay with this idea as well, since his family would get to see the beach town that we love. This sounds less stressful to me because it forces mostly everyone (even most of my family and friends) to just stay at one hotel (of course there will be exceptions). The venue has a deal with a reasonably priced hotel that offers free shuttle service.
We love both places, but the first option is our preferred choice. It’s about 25% cheaper and in our opinion, a better value for the money (they offer more food at cocktail hour, and just more in general). The indoor spaces are beautiful even for photos. The second venue we love, but rain would seriously downgrade the quality of the photos. Part of the charm is that it’s right on the water and they have many beautiful outdoor spaces for photos. The entire wedding would be indoors, but guests would walk through outdoor areas and such to get beteen the ceremony, cocktial space, and reception space (different buildings). I know they say not to worry about weather, but it’s certainly a bonus when you find a place you love where literally everything woudl be indoors either way.
I don’t know what to do. A part of me is saying let’s go with the second place just because it sounds easier. But is that really a reason to book a place when there is one we love more that is cheaper? My fiancee says he “doesn’t care” if we just pick the first place and just get a hotel closeby, but I can tell he will be upset. When we first started looking, he was so excited about finding a venue within our city limits and his family coming to visit but unfortanutely it just didn’t work out. There was one affordable option and we hated it upon touring it. I don’t know how to logistically make this work without overcomplicating it and still keeping him happy even though he says he “doesn’t care.” Does anyone have any advice.