Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Transatlantic Considerations

Okay, this isn't the most creative title for a Wedding Wednesday post ever - unlike yesterday's post, which is still cracking me up.  ("Danger's my middle name...")  I wasn't sure what else to say, though, as it's sort of a catch-all for everything we have to take into account due to the transatlantic nature of our engagement and marriage.  We've touched on some of this over the past few weeks, but I wanted to take a day to focus on some of the details that set a destination wedding apart from the usual hometown celebration.

Even though only half of the guest list is coming from the States, ours will be a destination wedding for every single person who RSVPs yes.  Our venue is a 2 hour train ride away from London, where most of our English friends are based - only Jon's immediate family lives in Suffolk.  Of course, the Brits only have to block out a day or two to join us, whereas the Americans will have to book flights and take more time off.

But also our wedding is on a bank holiday weekend in the UK.   A lot of people plan to go out of town at the end of August, and we want to claim space on the calendar as far ahead as possible.

Both of these facts contributed to our decision to go by a revised timeline so that we could make life as easy as possible for our guests.  Usually, Save the Date cards are sent six to eight months ahead of time, but we posted ours at the end of November and beginning of December - nine months before the wedding.  We aim to have the invitations out by May 1, which is nearly four months in advance rather than the recommended six to eight weeks.  We'll also be requesting that RSVPs come in a bit earlier than usual.

We really do hope this helps our guests, especially those who need the time to look for plane tickets they can afford!

The one thing we have no idea how to prepare for is our rate of acceptance.  Wedding websites generally agree that you can expect 10-20% of your list to decline your invitation, which would mean that we'd have 110-124 guests with us for the weekend.  However, the predictions vary widely for destination weddings - some say that, because you're giving people much more notice and they'll treat your wedding as a holiday, you should plan for 100% acceptance; others say that, because of the costs and travel time involved, you can assume 50% acceptance.  Obviously, there's a huge difference between those two possibilities.

I've heard horror stories about whole tables of guests not showing up having RSVPd yes as well as whole tables of guests arriving not having RSVPd at all.  Maybe I'm being naïve, but I don't think that this will be a huge problem for us as everyone has to plan to attend (or not) our wedding well in advance.

And, actually, we've already gotten a few solid replies just from the Save the Dates.  We have one friend coming from Australia who booked her flight back to London last week, and two friends who know that they won't be able to come because of school and work commitments.  I wondered if it would be bad etiquette to ask for RSVPs on the Save the Dates - apparently it can be done but isn't really the thing to do, if you know what I mean - because the earlier we get a good idea of numbers the sooner we can finalize the other pieces of the wedding.  But I'm learning that you just have to be patient for so many wedding-related things!

If any of you have any experience with acceptance rates for destination weddings - or, really, with any of our transatlantic considerations - please leave me a comment of wisdom!  We could really use some help here.  After all, we've never done this before!

linking up with something charming today


  1. We sent out our invitations early as well - since we were trying to save money where we could, it was nice to know exact numbers early on in the planning process! Good luck with your continued planning... :)

  2. We sent out save the dates really early too, and then the invites pretty early. We had a much smaller turn out from our UK friends because it was in the US, but everyone who said they would come from the UK did. We had a party in the UK for friends and family would couldn't make it, which was fun too! I think we only had 2 people not show up for our wedding who said they were coming, but they had a good reason (he was hit by a car on his bike the day before!).

  3. YES. you have mentioned the other huuuuuge benefit to getting all this out early... saving money! definitely a factor :)

  4. oh YIKES I hope he was okay in the end? you and your family and friends don't do well on bikes...

    we thought about doing an engagement party in the US for friends who can't come over, but the timings don't worry. We'll do one after maybe!

  5. We send our save the dates a year in advance, and it was really helpful to everyone involved I think, except some Brits who were a little bit confused about this 'invite but not quite an invite' that arrived in the post.

    We pretty much knew who from the USA would/wouldn't be able to travel to the UK, it was the people from Scotland and England that we weren't sure about (like your wedding almost everyone had to travel, including some from remote Scottish islands). Those from England were most likely to comment on the need to travel (shh, I didn't say that).

    I did get a bit worried that visitors would struggle to find accommodation because we too got married on a bank holiday weekend, during a golf tournament, in St.Andrews, and I went overboard with giving travel advice. But people will sort themselves out (eventually).

    Our acceptance rate was about 75% - 80%, not including two wedding crashers, but we were able to accommodate those two without any issue!

  6. i don't have any words of wisdom unfortunately but i am in a transatlantic relationship, so i'm following along to pick up tips for the future!! :) xx

  7. haha yes the Save the Date seems to not be a usual thing in the UK - but, like for your wedding, it'll probably be the most helpful for the Americans! thanks for sharing your acceptance rate :)

  8. I know exactly what you mean about wanting acceptances NOW. Our last day to RSVP isn't for another month but I'm still like "what is taking people so long?!?!" And it's mostly friends/family in England that we're waiting for!! (I think part of the reason is that the more local people are like "oh we'll just drop the rsvp around their house instead of post it!" and then it just sits there because they're too lazy to drive it around. Then at the last minute they'll stick a stamp on it...)

    I don't really have words of wisdom considering I'm in the same boat as you! I didn't invite many people from America to be honest. The invite was "there" but they told me well in advance that they wouldn't be able to afford it or they couldn't get the time off of school/work. And I was perfectly okay with that. And the people who were coming to our "destination" wedding confirmed they were coming like, the day we got engaged. It made it that much easier on us now!

  9. Love the passport-styl save the date. I unfortunately have no words of wisdom about transatlantic rsvps, but I'm sure it will all work out. Somehow "the more the merrier" might not be the best phrase in this situation. People tend to get cranky when there aren't enough appetizers for them.

  10. isn't it clever? I love it. though now that I've been through the rounds with our designer, I can imagine how much it would cost to make.... eek!

  11. I'm more worried about the people coming from America, so I'm banking on your luck!

  12. I love the travel themed invites. Especially the plane ticket ones!

  13. Congrats on the engagement! I'm so glad you stopped my my blog because I have loved catching up on yours, newest follower here...obviously ; ) I love the ideas you have for the invitations. Best of luck with the wedding planning!

  14. Loving those airline ticket themed save-the-dates :) All of this is good to know... especially considering that you're just ahead of jurgen and I... we might just ride on your coattails!


  15. haha do! let me know if you have any questions - I'd be happy to chat.


I love reading your thoughts and suggestions! Please do leave a comment so we can get to know each other better.