I’ve been under the weather this week; at five months pregnant, being struck down with an ear infection is not ideal! Aside from having to cope with a lot of pain (practice for the big day, I guess!) it has meant my energy levels are lower than ever and rest is so important. It has meant, however, that my beloved blog has been neglected. Luckily for me, the lovely Regina from Guests to Garters agreed to step in and be my guest blogger this week! Regina, who also lives in Galway, got married last year to an American guy. I asked her about the biggest issues they faced when planning a transatlantic wedding. I’ll be back to normal next week hopefully, but in the meantime you can enjoy Regina’s post and please do pay a visit to her Facebook page. — Caitriona xx
True Romance Weddings has written blog posts in the past on getting married in Ireland and the legalities of it (really useful knowledge to have by the way) but today I’m going to chat a bit about your wedding guests.
My husband is American while I grew up in the bog and the problems of planning a wedding here in Ireland when we were in separate countries were many, but the main concern for us was our overseas guests. There were some major concerns for us with those guests, namely: elderly relatives travelling during winter, couples bringing the kids (adult only wedding) and accommodation for everyone. Let’s dive in.
So let’s start at the invites. If there are overseas guests that you know for a fact won’t be able to make it to your wedding, for one reason or another, it can be very tempting to save on postage by not sending them an invite. This is usually fine if it’s a friend who you can explain the situation to but for family members, especially older ones, this is the height of bad form when it comes to weddings. There is an etiquette to wedding invites that, while slowly falling out of favour due to the internet and ease of communication, should really be adhered to for your older family members. Aunts, uncles and close cousins should get an invite even if you know that they won’t be attending.
This was a big thing for us as all of my husband’s family is in the states and many of my relatives are also there. We were told early on that his grandparents wouldn’t be able to travel over for our January wedding (weather was fine here but Chicago was a blizzard). Considering that I was making all the invites from scratch it was a bit tempting not to send any but we did and those invites still have pride of place on their shelves so the gesture will definitely help your relationship with your in-laws.
Guests with young kids
The next thing for us was our “no kids” rule. We wanted to give our friends and relatives a day off from being parents and this was fine for those who lived in Ireland. But cousins coming from the states with small children were a worry. I spent ages emailing my cousin trying to figure out an appropriate babysitter for their three year old son for our wedding, problem was anyone they knew here that they’d trust to babysit would be at the wedding.
So I suggest that if this is a problem for you set aside a portion of your budget for a wedding babysitter. This is a relatively new service that’s popped up in the last few years but there are many out there to offer it now. Just make sure the person(s) you hire are Garda vetted and have the correct insurance. Also it’s a good idea to get references and have an approximate number of the kids that will be there on the day so that they know if they’ll need to get help (make sure you know who that help will be as well).
The biggest issue with overseas guests can be accommodation. If they’re just hopping over from England for a long weekend it’s no big deal but with guests coming from the US or further it can be a bit hectic. A long weekend from America to Ireland is a little crazy to me, but I suffer from pretty bad jetlag (my parents-in-law did this for our wedding; we were all mightily impressed with their ability to bogie down and ignore their jetlag).
There’s a couple of ways to handle this and showing that you’ve put thought into it will be appreciated and make them feel special. Just remember that you are not their babysitter so you don’t have to organise all of their accommodation needs while they’re here. The easiest, and most common thing, is to include a list of B&B’s and hotels around the area where your wedding is going to take place. This works great for any guests who have to travel to your big day.
A more personal approach might be to look up what’s happening in the country around the time of your wedding; festivals, concerts, plays or parades that your guests might find interesting. Encourage them to make it a holiday and include the basics of what’s on offer while they’re here so that if they want they can avail of that too.
If you really want to go the extra mile try customising these lists to each person you send an invite to. If they’re a film buff and you’re getting married late June/early July why not include some info on the Galway Film Fleadh (July 8th – 13th). Or maybe they are a jazz lover and you’re getting married in autumn, include some details about that years Cork Jazz Festival (late October).
So there are just three of the main concerns with overseas wedding guests. Hope it helps if you’re in the same boat I was in and trying to figure it out. Pop over to Guests to Garters Facebook page to see some more wedding tips and inspiration.