Wedding attendance/gift dilemma

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Louis, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    That and doing the required premarital counseling. Or there was a problem in premarital counseling. In the case of one wedding I was in, the couple was so far apart in values and attitudes on the premarital survey that two priests refused to marry them and they had to look pretty hard to find a Catholic church to get married in. They are divorced now; so the first two priests were right!

    Not the Diocese of Arlington. It may be conservative, but it probably has nothing on the Diocese of Lincoln which has even refused to participate in the mandates to prevent and detect child abuse.
  2. bek

    bek Guest

    How do you know this couple isn't thinking of their guests. Just because where they are getting married is difficult for Louis to get too, doesn't mean its difficult for all of the guests. Perhaps its one of the bride/groom's hometown.

    I know for example my mom was saying how her cousin's wife was from Dallas, and he was from Chicago. They feared if they picked one or the other it would be too difficult for the other's family. So they got married someplace in the middle.

    Even if its I always dreamed of being married her-so what. And perhaps this destination wedding may end up being cheaper than a BIG wedding.

    I don't think there's a right or wrong answer to how people choose their wedding. Some may want a big shindig, some may not. Some may want a big fancy honeymoon, some may feel the big fancy honeymoon is not as necessary, give them the wedding.

    I think your an amazingly generous friend, Louis.
  3. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    They're not hoping for a payoff by inviting you. They genuinely would like you to attend, but they didn't want to pressure you if your family situation is a conflict. Don't feel guilty about not going and definitely don't let guilt drive your gift-giving.

    I think the $1k is excessive in this case since it's inflated due to the travel. It would make them uncomfortable, especially since you've indicated that they can't reciprocate if the tables were turned. If you really adore this couple, I could see sending a gift of a few hundred dollars, but not a grand. You can always give them gifts for other occasions: housewarming, babies, etc. and put a little extra in because you care so much about them, but I wouldn't shock them with too much generosity. Just mho.

    Since you really can't commit to attending the wedding, send your regrets now and a gift after the wedding.

    If the stars align, and you can make the wedding as it comes closer, call and ask if they can fit you in somehow, then go if you want to go! I've found that any big affair will involve a few guests cancelling at the last minute. If it's past the "final headcount" date, the host/hostess have to pay for those meals anyway. So your joining them unexpectedly means you fill empty, paid-for seats and wish your friends bon chance on their happy day.



    Sometimes, reading between the lines helps. At first glance, it might seem that Louis indicates that they are society people, but that's not what it really says, imo. To me, that quote means the couple both work in jobs that don't pay well but contribute to the betterment of society such as charitable groups, food kitchens, outreach centers, etc. In many areas, teachers are underpaid as are social workers and caregivers.

    Louis just said the location was inconvenient, not that it's a "destination wedding" It sounds like they're having the wedding outside NYC, probably where one or both of them have a personal connection. If they were from Orlando and going home for their wedding, that would fit the description aptly.

    They're paying for the wedding themselves and chose to have a celebration instead of paying for a fancy honeymoon trip. A little old-fashioned, who knows why, but not unheard of and it doesn't sound like they're going into debt; they're budgeting their money.

    Louis - if they're upstanding public servants and you like them, go ahead and give them the gift in advance with a note that it's so they can have a nice honeymoon. I think it's an excessive amount that might make them go :eek: and say "Why did Louis do that? That's too much." It sounds like you want to help in a way that you're able to manage, but consider how it might affect this wonderful relationship that you have with them.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  4. terisalyn

    terisalyn New Member

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    ITA with the above. Louis, if the amount of the gift would cause an indebted feeling that may put a damper on the friendship, then it's too much. :shuffle:
  5. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    Did you sell postcards?
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  6. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    She charged admission. Had to split it with the church, though. ;)
  7. Cupid

    Cupid New Member

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    After reading here, I still cannot tell from your first post whether it is a destination wedding or if they live out of state and you would have to travel because of that. It also sounds like other posters here cannot decipher that either.

    My suggestion to you would be to send a cash gift of $100-$200. This is very generous considering the fact that they aren't paying for your dinner at the reception. And also indicate that you'd like to fly out there to see them one day after your family situation is settled. This way, you can spend the rest of that money you were going to send them for your expenses when you travel there (again, if indeed they do live out of state). If they can barely afford a wedding and not a honeymoon at all, what are the chances that they will ever be able to afford to fly out to see you? Just my two cents. ;)
  8. Angelskates

    Angelskates Active Member

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    Louis, I would give an amount you feel comfortable with and you think they will be comfortable with, but not make any suggestion as to how they spend it. I would also consider giving less, but giving a note saying you'll visit them later in the year and celebrate with them then.
  9. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    As someone so wisely said upthread, the size of a cash gift varies widely based on region, culture, socio-economic status and the age of the people getting married. Only Louis knows what is considered "generous" given the situation.
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  10. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

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    Why are people saying this? Louis asked:

  11. Lil Sarah

    Lil Sarah Member

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    I think your friends will understand if you aren't able to go to their wedding. A nice card with well wishes would be nice.

    As someone who is getting married in 2012, without much money to put towards a wedding (we are both still making student loan payments and don't have great paying jobs), if you give the monetary gift ahead of time it would be wonderful for them to plan a bit of a honeymoon.

    Many people have said $1,000 is too much but you know what to do in your heart. If you only came up with the $1,000 because it was your travel cost then you could go a little lower. Just make sure that by giving the money you aren't giving away money that you need.
  12. taf2002

    taf2002 Well-Known Member

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    Our closest friends give bigger gifts than we do but we know the gifts are from the heart & they don't make us uncomfortable. Our other close friends give much smaller gifts than we do. We all know each other's circumstances & don't give it a thought. As long as the gift is what the giver & ther receiver is comfortable with, what other people think is immaterial.
  13. Louis

    Louis Tinami 2012

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    :lol: I did not expect 90+ responses.

    Anyway, it is NOT a destination wedding. The bride is from the area where the wedding will be held. It's just not in an incredibly convenient place from the East Coast, and there happens to be a major event going on the same weekend (which the couple did not know when they picked the date). The wedding plans themselves are very modest, but also super-cool. I'm amazed at what this couple put together on the budget they did and would love to attend the wedding. If it weren't for the family situation, which has already thrown a wrench into multiple travel plans this year, I'd definitely go regardless of cost.

    And, no, the bride and groom are not "society" people; they're people who spent years in school and racked up tons of debt to do low-paying but really important jobs that they believe in (teaching & research). Neither of them is from a well-to-do family, which could make this the biggest wedding gift and a bit awkward :shuffle:. I would never expect reciprocation, and if Sweets and I ever get married (which neither of us is in any hurry to do), there will be a very strict no-gifts/charity-only policy. That said, it could throw off the dynamic of our friendship.....

    Maybe $500 is safer, and I can put the other $500 aside for some other occasion. Sweets' first reaction to my idea was :yikes: (even though I'd be the one writing the check), so I'm giving that a lot of weight, too. Maybe we could take them out for a very nice meal as well.

    And, of course, there would be no strings attached to the gift. I mentioned honeymoon because I know they would like to go on one but can't right now, but they can do whatever they want with it.

    Anyway, thank you for all of the input/advice!
  14. Jayar

    Jayar Well-Known Member

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    Ummm... because not everyone's idea of a vacation involves a wedding. I went to my best friend's wedding in Hawaii (while unemployed and on my savings) because she is my best friend. She was shocked that I was coming, but was over the moon. I did let her know that I would be there for 4 days... the day that I flew in, the day of rehearsal, the wedding day, and the day after I would fly home. She was fine with that. But I learned this...

    Most who came for the wedding expected more from my best friend in terms of travel advice, places to stay (they didn't like the places she chose), etc. Destination weddings are for the bride & groom and few others. If you want a big wedding, you might as well just stay home.
  15. Jayar

    Jayar Well-Known Member

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    Louis, plan to send the gift that you feel that is appropriate... it's your gift. Since you are such good friends, I know that the bride will understand why you won't be coming. Next time you see said friend (and husband), take them out to dinner for a Louis-Sweets-Friend-Friend's husband only make-up reception and celebrate the wedding. I bet they would love it.
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  16. KikiSashaFan

    KikiSashaFan Well-Known Member

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    That's probably true but considering my entire wedding guest list has less than 50 people on it, all of whom have fully supported the idea, I'm not too worried.
  17. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    I had a friend who couldn't get married in the Catholic Church of choice because her and her fiance were living together. The priest said they would have to move into separate places. It just made no sense for them to pay two of everything with rent, electricity, water, food, etc. They had to make the hard decision to get married at another Church. So I agree, something was probably left out about why exactly skatemommy was not allowed to get married in a particular church, I seriously doubt it had anything to do with inviting everyone in a 100 mile radius, that makes no sense. Could the church even hold that many people if they should all decide to come?

    Louis, I think you have come to a good decision. $500 plus a really nice dinner when you see them sounds perfect.
  18. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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    ^ Brian, I know it's hard to believe but my husband's family sent and paid for 6 children to attend parochial school at this parish. 4 boys were altar boys for 20+ years. We were shocked that the priest said we HAD to invite everyone within a 100 mile radius because we no longer lived in the Detroit area. I was like wow? You really won't marry me in my husband's families' boyhood church? It was a blessing in disguise as St. Paul's Monastery was so beautiful and the priest was amazing. But to be told by the priest who had only been there a year when my husbands family had been there 40 years that we weren't welcome was dissapointing.
  19. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    Did the priest say this was some kind of church/parish policy or is this just of his own doing? It sounds so ridiculous, I have to wonder if he was just being a tool for some reason you and your husband may not have been aware of.
  20. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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    ^ I believe he said it was the local diocese policy and he was going to lay down the letter of the law because he was new. Well, I wasn't going to beg them to take my money so I didn't press the issue. Sad really how the church beats down those that want to support it.
  21. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    That kind of sucks, but it at least makes sense- the Church does not support cohabitation before marriage. The 100-mile radius makes no sense at all.

    We did have to do premarital counseling, a session at a church local to us (I got married at my "home" church, but lived out of state) and one with the priest who married us.

    My sister shopped around for churches, because he husband's father is a protestant minister who wanted to co-officiate. They had to do all the Catholic premarital counseling "will raise the children" stuff, but found a few priests who would share the ceremony. She ended up using one who basically said all he needed to do was open the ceremony, and pronounce them at the end, the groom's father could do the rest (service, not a mass- obviously). It worked out well for them. Then they baptized their kids at my parent's church, as I'm pretty sure they don't really attend...
  22. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow dancing

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    Are you not Catholic by birth? Maybe that had something to do with it. Non-Catholics marrying Catholics have to go through RCIA in order to be able to be married in the Church. Some may think that's foolish, but them's the rules.

    I think it is pretty realistic to think that many people who are members of bible churches do not recognize the Catholic Church as a Christian church, foolish as that belief is. Is that part of your problem with your wedding and the difficulties involved?
  23. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    That's not true. You only go through RCIA if you convert. You can get married to a Catholic, in the Catholic church without converting. I had the sacrament of marriage recognized by my church, and my husband is not a Catholic and has no intention of being one. He did agree to raise our children as Catholics. My sisters was the same way, with a non-Catholic minister co-officiating. Their children have been baptized as Catholics.

    (I think it is more complicated if the spouse is not a Christian, however.)
  24. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    Actually, it was true that marrying outside of the faith meant you couldn't have a wedding in a Catholic Church. My mother was Catholic and my father was Lutheran. He didn't convert, but agreed that all of us kids would be raised Catholic. They were married in the Rectory during a small, private ceremony. I think that changed after Vatican II.

    The Catholic Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) is not just for people who are converting from another faith; the classes are for anyone who wants to join the Catholic faith and have not received any of these sacraments through the Church: Baptism, Communion, or Confirmation. I have a friend who was baptized Catholic as an infant and returned as an adult to receive First Holy Communion and Confirmation through the RCIA program. (At the Easter Vigil Mass - very exciting for him.)

    skatemommy's problem may have been a result of the "parish districting" that took place in the 1960's and 1970's. It was a misguided effort to prevent parishioners from going to parishes at a distance, leaving their local parish without members. It happened most often with Churches that had school attached - people would change parishes to save money on tuition since discounts were often offered. If the local Church didn't have a school/a good school, they would lose parishioners once they had school-age children.

    Another possible cause is the name-only Catholics. There are many people who walk away from the Church after making Confirmation in middle/high school, only to knock on the door years later when they want to have a big church wedding. Then they disappear until it's time to baptize the new baby. They don't understand that those sacraments are intended for practicing Catholics, not people who are fair-weather Catholics.

    Judging by the original statements, I suspect that a combination may have happened to skatemommy. Her husband may not have been to the parish in years - they didn't know him any longer, plus the happy couple lived over a 100 miles away, so it was unlikely that they would join the community. The "100 mile" remark may have been to show that there was no need to travel all this way unless you were inviting that many people.

    Churches are families that administer sacraments, not catering halls that you can rent when you want to have a party. Sounds like it was his "boyhood" parish that no one in the family had attended or supported in many years. If that's not the case, you should have had an active parishioner make the request on your behalf and it probably would have been more well-accepted.

    I had a similar situation; my mother's family (incl. her siblings & parents) had been in the same parish for 70+ years, but my mother stopped going to church after my father died. My sister and brother aren't observant and only set foot in a church if they have to make a guest appearance, lol. My husband and I joined his parish after we were married and loved it there. We were very active in the faith community, although it was a long way from our home. When my mother died, we had quite the dilemma: no one in the family was a parishioner at her parish. It didn't make sense to drive 30 minutes each way to have the funeral at my Parish, then come back for the burial 10 minutes from her old parish. It was important to me (and to my mother's siblings) that she have a funeral Mass.

    My pastor called and explained the situation to my mom's parish, and they agreed to let us hold the funeral Mass there, remarking that even though she was a stranger, this was her home parish and they would be honored to lay her to rest. No problem at all, but I think it was the approach that mattered and the fact that I was an active parishioner elsewhere after my marriage.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  25. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    My great uncle had not attended church for something like 50 years but had left the request that his funeral be in a Catholic church. My father, who was in charge of the arrangements and inherited his estate, simply contacted a local parish and it was arranged very easily since my uncle had been baptized and confirmed. My father is not Catholic and lives in a different state, but there was no problem with this request. They had a funeral service but not a mass.

    My grandmother just died earlier this month. She left the church in the late 50s and became a Lutheran. Yet in the hospice center, she asked for last rites. They called a local priest and he came and administered them without questioning it.

    The Catholic Church is really not that difficult about such things.
  26. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    We had services for my mother in the parish closest to where she grew up as her childhood parish had closed. The funeral home arranged it for us and we had no problems. We arranged a memorial at her home parish. I guess it depends on the diocese.
  27. Rock2

    Rock2 New Member

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    Sorry...I know there have been a gazillion comments and I'm not taking the time to read, so...sorry if this is repetitive.

    1. Not sure $1,000 is necessary. That's a lot of dough.
    2. Call them and personally share your predicament (without going into details) and point out how much you adore them.
    3. Maybe you can do something else that's meaningful to them. If you are in the right geography, maybe host a reception or party when they return for those who couldn't make the wedding.

    Hope you sort this out. Good luck!
  28. KCC

    KCC Active Member

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    You probably gathered enough responses to formulate your decision, but here are just a few other options to consider: 1) split the amount you want to give the couple between the shower and wedding gifts (still very generous); 2) offer to take care of one special bill from the wedding -- the photographer, the cake, flowers, the DJ/band, champagne, a hotel bridal suite, etc.; 3) simply offer up the cash with deep regrets about not being able to make it but that you hope that your gift will be useful as they start their lives together as a married couple. In any case, I think it makes sense to talk to them by phone ahead of time about your situation and try to get a feel for what might be useful and appropriate.
  29. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill Staff Member

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    I think it does depend on the particular Catholic church, or even priest.

    My husband and I were not married in the Church, but he wanted our kids to be baptized. My son was baptized without a problem, but the priest who was in charge of my daughter's baptism refused to do it because we weren't married in the church. My FIL talked to him and he changed his mind, but he clearly was not happy to do it.

    We didn't get married in the Church because the young priest cleared us for a ceremony the older priest refused to sanction.

    There's one Catholic church in town that won't marry interracial couples.

    Maybe it's just a local thing, but here, at least, you can't assume that one church will do the same things another church would, Catholic or not.
  30. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    One of the most entrenched myths about the Catholic Church is that it is some monolithic institution with one policy for every issue and every person all around the world which is written on stone tablets and kept in the pope's Vatican office.

    The reality is far from that. Things vary by country, diocese, and parish.
  31. minx

    minx New Member

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    I doubt anyone cares about my opinion at this point but I say give what you can afford for any wedding, whether it's a little or a lot. A gift is exactly that, a gift, between the giver and receiver, and nowhere in wedding etiquette (yet) is there a big tote board that flashes a running total of loot gathered that is obvious for all to see. Louis could give the money and no one might ever know except the couple, which would be a wonderfully personal gift. Anyway, I read into the original post the idea that the wedding couple might think that cash is a poor substitute for the invited person's presence at the event. Like a rock star, meh, I'm too busy to go, here, have some cash. Phrasing the presentation is the hardest part of all of this. It does make perfect sense, and perhaps you could enclose an invitation for them to come and have dinner with you at some future time, all expenses on you of course.
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  32. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Eh, except with the Catholic Church (also Orthodox and Eastern Rite, though fewer levels of authority, as as I understand it the Anglican church, though they're having schism problems again) if you have the money, time and cojones you CAN keep complaining up the food chain, theoretically all the way to Rome if you're THAT upset about whatever the issue is. And the higher authorities can pull rank if they want to/feel it's justified.

    And the most stringent priests these days are often the young ones. God help you (literally) if you ran into our young priest at the church I went to in Arlington when you went in for confession.
  33. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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  34. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    Absolutely.

    For example, Mr. Mac and I were living together and we got married in our local parish with no problem. It never even came up.
  35. Allskate

    Allskate Well-Known Member

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    I think it's nice and generous and is a way to let them know how happy you are for them and wish you could be there. But, you know better than anyone if it would make them feel uncomfortable.

    My sister lives half-way around the world and recently had a baby. I felt bad that I couldn't be there to help her, especially since she was having complications and had been through so much to finally have a baby. So, I sent a lot of baby gifts, including a number of things I knew she'd want and would be useful, but she would never spend the money on. She mocked me relentlessly for going nuts, but I think she was really happy. Yesterday, she e-mailed me to tell me that one of the things I sent her was the most useful gift she had received. Mostly, though, I think she likes it because it reminds her that I'm thinking of her and am really happy for her.

    I imagine that your friends would be love to not only receive the money, but also know that you obviously want to celebrate their marriage. If you think they may be uncomfortable with the amount, just reduce it and send a wonderful card telling them how much you wish you could be there and how happy you are for them.
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  36. Really

    Really No longer just a "well-known member" Yay!

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    I think that's a lovely gesture, Louis! How very thoughtful of you!
  37. Meredith

    Meredith what a glorious day!

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    Louis,
    I think your idea is tremendously thoughtful, and have all the confidence in the world that your gift will be received in the spirit in which it is given.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  38. jadingirl

    jadingirl New Member

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    My friend who is Catholic decided to get married in Greece. When she contacted the first Catholic church out of 2 she found in Greece the priest refused to marry them as he said it was frivilous and showing a lack of respect to the marriage by coming all the way there to get married rather than get married in Canada at their local church. The priest at the other church said yes and the whole town came to their wedding and threw them a wedding dinner and party afterwards!
  39. mkats

    mkats New Member

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    Not directly related, but all this where-to-get-married talk reminds me of a clip I saw in the newspaper where a local couple had met on the yellow line of the DC metro and were thinking of holding their wedding ceremony on the station platform :yikes: Not that we have a say in it, obviously, but all my coworkers reacted with a big, loud NO... it's crowded enough on those not-too-roomy platforms during rush hour as it is.
  40. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

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    As danceronice said, just because it's at a destination doesn't mean it's a destination wedding. A co-worker got married across the country because it was extremely important for her grandparents to be there. Her grandparents are in ill health and have limited mobility, so she held it close to where they live. Most of their invited guests were across the country and had to decide whether to travel that far. On the other hand, some weddings are clearly destination weddings. The difference lies in why the bride and groom chose to hold it there.

    If it's a "destination wedding", as opposed to a wedding held at a destination, then many couples stay a few extra days, and that serves as their honeymoon.

    This case, according to Louis, is not a destination wedding. I think it would be appropriate to give a gift certificate for a few nights in a nearby resort or getaway. It looks less tacky and less like you're trying to show off how much money you have in comparison. Personally, if someone gave me $1000 in cash and told me to spend it on a honeymoon, I'd feel very uncomfortable accepting. Somehow, the gift certificate wouldn't feel the same, even if it's worth the same amount. There's something about cold hard money that's different.

    But that's just my view, and it depends a lot on the specific cultural and social circles.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
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