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Savvy January 2020

Trying to walk the fine line between "it's my wedding Dammit" and not being Bridezilla

Elizabeth, on December 13, 2019 at 3:53 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 15
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Getting married on a cruise ship on the First Day at Sea, which is, traditionally, "Formal Night". Unfortunately, The Powers That Be scheduled my wedding for noon which means I am going to end up with a 3 hour gap between end of group pictures and dinner. Most of the invitees have never cruised before, and I am paying for all but 2 cabins. One of my BMs is already pushing back on the request that everyone be at dinner in the Dining Room each night of the cruise (that was a cruise rule I grew up with...doesnt matter what you do during the day; be at dinner in the Dining room every night) I was really hoping we could all eat dinner in our finery in the Dining Room after the wedding (like we would do in a land wedding) but the 3 hour gap between events is going to be hard to fill and keep everyone dressed. I realize some people are looking at this like a vacation and they don't want to be dressed up because they do that for work, but, it is still my wedding and I am still paying their cruise fare. I want to respect their feelings, but I am going to feel silly if I show up to dinner in my dress and everyone else has changed into casual clothes

15 Comments

  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
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    I think it’s a little ridiculous and unnecessary to expect everyone to eat dinner with you every single night. While inconvenient, I don’t think you’re out of line by asking your wedding party to wear their wedding clothes to dinner. Tell her she’s welcome to change into whatever she wants in between.
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  • Neeva
    Expert April 2020
    Neeva ·
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    I would make the reception dinner formal and let people change in between or even gave your wedding ceremony be more casual . I think you can try to require dinner on the other nights but that's a bit much so don't be surprised if there's some bad feedback from others.

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  • Gen
    Master June 2019
    Gen ·
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    It’s super nice of you to pay for their cruises but it doesn’t mean you own them the entire time lol. I do think it is a little unreasonable to mandate they have dinner with you every night of the cruise. However, the night of your wedding I do think you can make it clear that THAT dinner is your wedding reception, and that the requested attire is formal. Maybe plan something to do together during those 3 hours in between? Not sure what there is to do on the cruise but... can you plan drinks or appetizers or some other activity so everyone stays together?
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  • L
    Lady ·
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    Agree with PP's, ask that they be dressed in wedding attire for your reception, which is the first night dinner. The rest of the time, you don't get to dictate what they do and when/where they eat, even if you're paying. Totally fine for you to say "we'ere having dinner every night in the dining room at X time and would love for you to join us whenever it works!" but anything more than that is obnoxious, IMO.

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  • E
    Savvy January 2020
    Elizabeth ·
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    So was my original mistake getting married on a cruise ship? Or am I just old thinking that dinner together is a thing of respect given that I paid their cruise fare? I don't "own" them, and I don't care what they do during the day. But I do think it would be nice for everyone to gather every night as a group for an hour or so and share their day. All the stuff we have been putting out there has been referring to this week as our "Wedding Cruise", not "Our Day at Sea Wedding And Your Free Vacation For The Rest of The Week". If they wanted to pay their own way and do their own thing, they could have chosen to do so. (I have 4 guests doing just that) So consensus seems to be that yes, I am being unreasonable for requesting dinner every night in exchange for a free cruise vacation. Wish I had known that 2 years ago when we planned this. We could have saved so much money... Thank you all for your imput!
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  • Jocelyn
    Devoted December 2019
    Jocelyn ·
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    I don’t find it unreasonable at all! Don’t they all have the same dinner time? I’ve cruised with my family and we were like 18? All of us showed to our dinner time to enjoy with each other. The main dinning is always better than the buffet dinner. I don’t think they understand they have a set dinner time maybe? Can you try to arrange pictures for the guest to close up the time gap? If not remind your guest to please be dressed formally for the reception dinner. Good luck! You aren’t being unreasonable cruise ships have set dinner time.
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  • Allyson
    Devoted February 2020
    Allyson ·
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    I think that you are right and everyone is being absolutely ridiculous. You paid for them and this is your event, you aren’t trying to commandeer every minute of the day, just dinner time. Sometimes comments on here really shock me.
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  • Jeanie
    Rockstar February 2020
    Jeanie ·
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    We looked into a cruise wedding before we decided on a destination wedding. I thought that you were able to choose your wedding start time from their available options. Maybe you could call the wedding planner at the cruise company and push your time back? That may not be an option, but definitely something I’d look into. If it’s on the first day, as in the day you embark, they may not be able to due to all the things you have to do when leaving port.
    If you can’t change the time, try to do some kind of activity in between. Get drinks at the bar if nothing else! Ask the wedding planner if there’s anything you can book as a group for you to do. Maybe a wine tasting or something? Think outside the box and I’m sure you can come up with something.
    As far as the dinner issue, what time did you choose for dinner? Usually you have an option of early or late seating. Maybe the time slot you chose is what the issue is with your guests, not actually eating together. You didn’t say how long the cruise is, but I would have to agree that a week would be a long time to mandate dinner time like they’re children. If it’s a short weekend cruise, that’s a much more reasonable request. I understand you paid for their rooms, but this is still a vacation for them and I’m certain at some point they’re putting out their own money and had to take off work to go. But honestly, if it’s just one person out of the group with an issue with dinner time, let her do her thing. You won’t miss one person that much, and she may end up not wanting to be left out and show up for dinner anyway. Some people just love drama but that doesn’t mean you need to feed into it.
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  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal Online ·
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    I guess I see both sides regarding the non-wedding night dinners. If the guests are mostly family, and you're sort of in the matriarch/elder position of the family, and you've organized and are paying for everyone, I could kind of see the expectation of "enjoy yourselves each day, and it will be fun to meet up for dinner at the end of most days to catch up with each other." We have friends whose extended families do cruises that way, typically with the parents/grandparents paying -- and everyone knows each other, of course. But, if your guests are more of an eclectic mix of friends and family, and you invited them to go on a cruise you're paying for, which is also your wedding, I could see guests pushing back about being expected to meet up with everyone every night for dinner. Personally, I'd probably go with the suggestion to use with a more relaxed approach of, "we're planning to have dinner in the main dining room at ___ pm each night, feel free to join us when it fits your schedule." That way people who want to hang out with you or don't have someone else to eat with have an option. Mandating that everyone report for dinner seems a little too structured for me. Either way, it's super generous of you to offer to pay for everyone. Good luck! (For the first night "wedding dinner" I think it is very reasonable to expect everyone to attend in appropriate wedding attire.)

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  • T
    Devoted May 2010
    Theresa ·
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    Why did you pay for everyone's cruise? Did they tell you they couldn't afford it, so you decided to pay? Or, did you just say you would cover their fares? If you just offered to begin with, then of course they took you up on it. If you didn't specify that strings would be attached at the time, then you shouldn't add any after the fact.

    Dinner may not seem like a big deal, but what if they are on an excursion? You didn't mention if these people are solo or couples. If couples, what if they want to eat in a different venue for a romantic evening?

    It was very nice of you to pay their way, but keep in mind that these people had to take time off work. This may be their only "vacation" for the year. I think it's perfectly reasonable to ask that they attend the first night. but I think I'd just request their attendance the other nights.

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  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
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    I think it is fine to request people stay in wedding finery for a few hours til the first dinner. But on most cruises I have been on, some people choose to get off every port of call, and may done there, not on board. Or while at sea, meet other people, and often opt out of main meal seatings some days. May do buffets at odd times, when hungry. And Though you may have paid the fare, after the wedding, and maybe one other gathering for everyone, you don't buy them for several days or a week. Not for activities, or meals, or every dinner. I can't imagine why you thought that would be likely, when planning. Bad enough people had to take 4-7 days time, and travel to the port, and home, instead of a 1 day wedding. But other than the wedding day from ceremony to after dinner dancing, and one special gathering you can arrange, there is no reason at all for every person to be together for dinners. I know people who have done destination weddings and cruises, who have made something like a dance card. So the couple does at least one meal, or one sightseeing, or dinner and dancing, with all wedding guests at some time during the week, just a few people at a time. That is fine. But just because your friends and family are all close to you, does not mean any or all of them want to have anything to do with other guests, except for the wedding itself. A wedding is 3 - 7 hours that guests and the couple are together. Not a day after day thing. Maybe you did make a mistake, if you thought you would have a constant group for the whole week. As a guest, I would not spend every dinner together. I would stay home from the wedding, free cruise or not, before committing that much time to a group of someone else's friends and family, if It we're half my year's vacation. You cannot buy that much of my time, for a wedding, just the one day, and something with the couple at least 1 or 2 times. Not with everybody.


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  • Jo
    Devoted November 2020
    Jo ·
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    I really don’t see how asking them to have dinner together is a big deal when you are footing the bill. If I was a guest at the wedding I would be more than happy to do that. My FH and I are attending a DW where they’re paying for our hotel and plane tickets and they have 3 days of events planned and you bet we will be at every single one of those events because it was beyond generous of them to foot our bill. Honestly I think if I were in your shoes, most of our guests would probably prefer to have dinner together. I don’t understand why people think it’s unreasonable? Like that’s just crazy to me. It’s literally one hour out of their day and they have to eat anyways so why not just spend time together?

    Of course on days where you dock it might be hard because of course people might be off the boat, but when you’re sailing and everyone is on the boat that’s reasonable to me. One other thing is that couples might want to have a romantic dinner just the two of them. I know in my family we all do dinner together, except the last night we all split up for date night! Maybe also consider that?
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  • T
    Devoted May 2010
    Theresa ·
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    Pretty sure you answered the questions from your first paragraph in your second paragraph.

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  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
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    Yes. Now add in 1 or 2 evenings at sea, when the only activity that interests you all day, runs up against the first seating when all are supposed to eat together. Or a concert or show starts before the end of the second seating. Hmmm, do we want to share another meal with the bride's obnoxious-when-he-drinks uncle ( started 10 hours ago) and her old school roommate, and their SO, when we do not know the bride, we are groom's friends, and have nothing in common? Again? Or do the one thing that we wanted today? The 2 things previous poster mentioned, and conflicting activities or being seated with people we dislike, any of these 4 things would be reason to stay home, if dinners with the group are mandatory. Jo may not find any of these a big deal. I would, as would hubby. Only those sitting with the couple have any reason to be there. To the others, they must structure off ship days, and at sea days, to spend time every dinner with people they may not know, or may outright dislike. B & G may like or love these people. Other guests, not so much.
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  • Jo
    Devoted November 2020
    Jo ·
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    Not really. I have been on many cruises, and for most cruises they require people to be back on the boat every day by a certain time so that the boat can leave. Usually it is by 5:30 and the boat will leave without people. I have only been on one cruise that stayed at a port overnight that didn’t have a curfew for that day. Just one. So it is pretty unlikely that not being on the boat would be an issue but I decided to point it out anyways because as someone that has been on many cruises she probably knows about the curfew thing. What I was saying is if there is a rare day when there isn’t a boat curfew, then people might not be on the boat and that should be taken into account. But since that’s unlikely, then no issue.
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