Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Where to Wed? NY vs NC

When Nathan and I first started talking about marriage, I was deadset on getting married on Long Island, for a long list of perfectly rational reasons. Now that we've spent a few weeks discussing our options, searching for venues, and comparing price tags, I'm starting to consider other options. Namely, getting married in North Carolina, our home for the foreseeable future. We hope to have this issue settled by the end of the weekend, but just in case you were feeling left out of the planning process, here's what we're thinking and why.


I was originally pushing for Long Island for a few reasons. The first and most important is that Long Island is where my extended family lives. My family is much bigger than Nathan's, and Nathan's family actually likes to travel whereas mine rarely leave Long Island. I often feel distant from my extended family due to - well - my distance from them. I miss out on a lot of gatherings and celebrations, and it would mean a lot to have them around me on my wedding day.

In addition to my family, Nathan and I met in New York, when we were undergrads together at Purchase College. We have a lot of friends in New York that we're inviting to the wedding, so a good bulk of our guests wouldn't have to travel too far. (The other bulk is coming from Texas, and while I love Texas, I don't feel compelled to go back there to get married.)

The downside of Long Island, and the reason we started looking elsewhere, is that interesting venues  we felt encompassed our aesthetic and values were 1. super expensive, or 2. non-existent. Plus planning a long distance wedding was already giving me a headache. Because of Nathan's work and school schedule, the leg work of traveling back and forth while searching for a venue, caterer, etc, would fall on me. Not high on my list of fun things to do while trying to save money and get the most out of my MFA program. Plus this is our wedding, and Nathan and I both wanted him to be more involved in the planning process. 


Nathan originally brought up the idea of having the wedding in North Carolina, but honestly the possibility had already crossed my mind. If we got married in Wilmington, we could do so much of the planning together - looking at venues, visiting caterers, brainstorming ideas for decor, hosting our guests in a town we're comfortable in and familiar with. It would also be a great chance to show our friends and family the place where we've made a new home, not to mention the fact that Wilmington is a vacation destination to begin with. There's stuff to do here and it's much cuter than Long Island (sorry, LI, but we both know it's true). Also: things in North Carolina are cheaper than they are in New York. Much, much cheaper.

The main downside of a Wilmington wedding is that it would essentially be a destination wedding, since 90% of our guest list lives elsewhere. This means that a lot of people (including my extended family) probably won't be able to make it. While this would be disappointing, I'm coming to terms with the fact that it's not the end of the world. I will almost surely have a bridal shower on Long Island, and I am certain my aunts, grandmother, and cousins will come to that, which is something. I'm reading the book A Practical Wedding, which is amazing and will get it's own post soon, but for now I'll quote this line about guest lists: "When you walk down the aisle, the people who are there are the ones who matter - those, and the people you hold in your heart." I love this idea, and thinking about that way makes me this whole location debate seem downright melodramatic.

So that's where we stand on the location debate as of right not - somewhere in between Long Island and North Carolina. We hope to visit another venue in Wilmington this week, and make a final decision by Monday. Wish us luck!

8 comments:

  1. I'm not much of a wedding person, but I am enjoying following along with your wedding planning! Also, I sympathize with you about the family that won't travel. I have a big family in Michigan, and most of them will not visit me, wherever I happen to live. Of the bunch, my parents are the worst. Since I left home, they have only come out to visit me three times over the course of 12 years. 12 YEARS! And all three of those times were milestone events--they will not travel just to visit me. I feel sad about it, but I've accepted it too. I also don't feel guilty on their behalf for choosing to live in Texas because the distance is almost irrelevant. (I do feel guilty about my niece and nephew, as I know their parents would drive to see me if I were still in Chicago.)

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    1. I know what you mean. My sister lived in Queens and then in Harlem, and my parents almost never go to visit her either. She might as well have moved as far as I did!

      I hope that some of my extended family will come to the wedding, but I'm okay with the fact that they probably won't. As long as my mom, dad, sister, and grandparents show up, I'll be happy.

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  2. I have known people to have one ceremony+reception and then another reception at the other location. Secondary "Reception" could even be somewhere small or someone's house but your relatives my still feel like you included them.

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    1. Oh, that's a really good idea! My parents love hosting backyard bashes. Maybe we could do a second reception in the summer, just for family? Might be too much time, but definitely something to think about. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  3. I don't know you at all. I just linked here through a blogher link, but I live in Raleigh, I used to live in Manhattan, and a Wilmington wedding is always a lovely idea. Have you looked into Southport or Bald Head Island at all? They are also both nice. And if you do decide on NC, do yourself a favor and hire this girl to take your pictures: http://www.amarishames.com/

    Seriously. And also, congratulations!!

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    1. Thanks for the photographer suggestion! I am 99% we're going with NC so this will most definitely come in handy!

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  5. Seconding the other commenter's suggestion about holding the wedding and the reception at two different venues. As much as it would be a little more costly that way, at the least, with two venues in mind, you get to:

    a) Have the wedding at a place you'd like best, and
    b) If not all of your extended family can make it to the wedding, at least having the reception at a place near theirs would make up for that.

    In any case, the decision's all up to you. Good luck with the venue hunt and the wedding preps.

    PS - By the way, I read about your post on your Iron Man III audition - what an experience it must have been :) Good luck with that!

    Kindra Leomiti

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