Newbie here...I have a dilemma!

beckerooOctober 25, 2006

Hi everyone, I am new to this forum and I have a huge dilemma.

I live in North Dakota and I come from a small town. My DF comes from a neighboring small town (only 25 miles away). Anyway, the church I grew up in is a beautiful little country church. However it is super duper small!!! I was planning on having a big wedding (300-400 people) and there is just no way everyone will fit in my church. My whole family wants me to get married's been my dads dream of walking his only little girl up that aisle and I don't want to break his heart but I just don't know what to do.

My other choice is having the wedding at DF's church....which is a large church in his hometown. I know for a fact that everyone will fit there and it is a nice church too. But I know my family will be a little disappointed. My SIL keeps telling me to just get married in the country church because it will be so unique and we could put chairs in the basement and just MAKE it work....she thinks I will regret it if I decide not to get married there....and I'm kinda worried I might too.

What would you do if you were in my situation???????

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What church will be your church after you get married? That might play into your thoughts.

What is the capacity of the small church as set by the fire marshal? That might limit things.

Would large church building + small church minister be a possiblity?

My choice would probably be to go with the larger church. Life will be SO much easier for you that way. I'm pretty sure your family would manage the disappointment alright.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 2:18PM
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Your family is putting emotional "dreams" ahead of the logistics of your wedding. In a nutshell - I can't think of too many other things to intentionally set up for a wedding than putting your guests in the basement to "make it work." that could be anymore rude. I would be deeply deeply offended. Along with the fact that the "seating arrangements in the basement" would be a strong topic of conversation at the reception.

The way I see it, there are 2 choices here - have a small private ceremony and big reception (not everyone will agree with that, but Miss Manners says it is okay), OR move your wedding to a place that will hold everyone COMFORTABLY.

Please, please, do not shoehorn these people in the basement so your SIL or father will be happy about where you get married.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 3:55PM
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I agree with the other posters. People are more important than setting.

Please don't put some guests in the basement. If you absolutely have to use that smaller church, then invite fewer people, or else have a private ceremony and a large reception. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as you don't have, say, 150 at the ceremony and 300 at the reception. Just close family and your attendants at the ceremony; otherwise, what you have is not a private ceremony and a large reception, but an A-list and a B-list.

Are you sure you won't fit? Will all 300-400 people show up? Or is the church not big enough even accounting for people who can't come?

If it were my wedding, I'd go with the bigger church and include all the people you all want. Your SIL is overstating things; you are not going to be consumed with regret if you don't choose the little church (did SHE let YOU decide where to have HER wedding?). Your dad will be disappointed very briefly, but I am sure that when the time comes (and forever after), he will be so happy that no church in the world could make him any happier, because it is YOUR wedding and you are marrying a man he likes.

Maybe you can do something else at your little church. Could you have the rehearsal there? Then he really could walk you down that aisle.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 4:08PM
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duckie- (1)Our church will eventually be his big church
(2) I don't have a clue, my mom fit 200 people in the church part at her wedding
(3) I am not sure which minister will be doing the ceremony so I don't know how that will work

nanaof2- Almost every wedding I have been to has had overflow to a basement or different room or people end up standing. It wouldn't be like...Oh you're not good enough so we are putting you in the basement. It would be a you're late so thats how it goes. I don't think anyone would really be offended...especially if there was a TV or something that you could still see and hear the wedding. And it's not all about my father or entire family has ties to the country church...including myself. And I do fear that I will regret it if I don't have it there.

This is horrible...I still have no idea what to do. Someone once suggested to me that I could do seperate invitations (some wedding and some reception only) and then have the wedding videotaped and have the key points played at the reception so everyone could see...I don't know about that either!

I am torn up on this! I really have no idea who will and will not come to the actual wedding part. The country church is beautiful and the pictures would be amazing and unique. MY SIL isn't some witch that is trying to tell me how to plan my wedding.....shes trying to help because she had a HUGE wedding so she didn't have her wedding at her home church, and now regrets it. She doesn't want that to happen to me.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 4:41PM
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Customs -- and what is acceptable and no cause for comment -- vary by location. Being a nearly life-long SOUTH Dakotan, I can easily imagine that in your rural community it is just as you describe: The individual churches may be small, but the community is close-knit, with everyone invited to weddings, and therefore the later arrivals head to a basement or different room.

I get the impression you really do want the wedding in your beautiful, unique country church. My suggestion is
(1) figure out exactly how many the church will hold -- don't guess. take a couple of people with you and do some leap-frog sitting in order to count how many can fit in a pew. Then set up chairs, etc. for the extra seating, and add that to the count
(2) Check with the fire marshal to make sure that number is legal
(3) Make out your guest list as completely as you can so that you know as closely as possible how many you are INVITING
(4) Try to figure out how many will actually come...I've heard different rule-of-thumb percentages (wedding coordinators? Do you have any input to share on that one? and does the percentage change based on how many are invited?). But no matter what kind of percentage you are given, your own community/family/friends may be different. So check with some of them who have gotten married in the last couple of years and find out what kind of percentage they had

The point of all this information-gathering is so that you can make a decision that is based on facts and not on guesses. Perhaps you'll find that the little country church is completely do-able. Or you might find that it is just out of the question.

Good luck, and let us know what you decide!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 3:14AM
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Of course, there's still going to be SOME guessing...because there is simply no way to know for sure what the attendance will be. But perhaps you can come pretty close.

And, no matter what you decide, try to do so and then leave it alone...don't be second-guessing yourself. Because you will have made the best decision you could make at the time with the information you had.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 3:25AM
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I would go with the bigger church also. Putting the overflow of people in the basement just doesn't sound very nice. Why show up at all then. You go to a wedding to WATCH a couple get married. I would be very offened if stuck in another room while my friend/family member was getting married and not part of what I was sent an invitation for. Go with the bigger church so all your guests can see how beautiful you look walking down the aisle. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 8:06AM
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You wrote: "Almost every wedding I have been to has had overflow to a basement or different room or people end up standing."

That makes a big difference! If it's common in your community, then it won't have the effect on your guests we imagined it would have on us, who have never been in that situation and would find it odd. Were any of these weddings at this little church? If so, then ask people how they felt about being in the basement or whatever. How did YOU feel, if you were ever in that situation?

But I also still don't think that there is a problem with simply not inviting everyone to the ceremony, as long as you only invite a very small group to the ceremony, not as many as will fit or half the list or something. How small? Small enough so that what you have is a private ceremony and a big reception, not an A list and a B list of guests.

I would not show a video at the reception. Trust the instinct you seem to have that this would just be too much already. So some people won't see the actual ceremony -- so what? Just let that go; it's the compromise you make in order to have the ceremony at the church of your dreams. A few people may be a little disappointed, but they won't be destroyed. If anyone is really that curious, and you are having a video made, you can show it to them some other time when they are over at your house.

Grace gave you some EXCELLENT advice:
1) Do some research, so you are making an INFORMED decision
2) "no matter what you decide, try to do so and then leave it alone...don't be second-guessing yourself." Hard to do, but really, really good advice that should come in handy throughout the wedding planning and beyond!

It sounds like you really, really want to use the little church -- so there you are. Use it, and make it work either by having basement overflow or a "private" ceremony and a big reception elsewhere.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 12:04PM
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When are you getting married? Next spring or summer? You could have it outside the little church if there is a nice area for that.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 5:50PM
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