Is it too far?

Shoes GaloreShoes Galore Posts: 21 New bride
edited 25 January in Wedding venues
Hello everyone,

There has been discussions with friends and family regarding the location of wedding venues to where you and your guest live. 

My friend, who is also engaged and planning her wedding has found a venue which is 25 miles (50 mins) from her parents and approximately 45 miles (1 hour 15 mins) from her fiance's parents. They would be having a church service too so everything is not in the one location on the day. The church and reception venue are 25 miles (50 mins drive) from each other. So for example anyone who lives in the same area as her fiance's parents would have to drive 25 mins to the church and then 50 mins to the reception venue and then back home later in the evening if not staying  in accommodation nearby for the night. 

Approximately 5% of guest are from overseas and within the UK guests are spread from Manchester to London but 85% are located close to either set of parents mentioned above. The wedding would be on a Saturday (most of the guests are 9-5 Monday to Friday workers) so it won't  result in guests having to book time off work.  Sadly all grandparents have passed away so she doesn't have any aged relatives coming. 

After some of the comments she has received she is now stressing that people are saying negative things about her wedding (this is comments from people who have asked how the planning is going and what venue she has chosen. Her invitations haven't gone out yet) and that some people won't come and say its too far.  I have told her not to worry about those people and if people care they will make the journey, but she is still worried understandably. She is now contemplating putting on transport for guests from the church to the reception venue and then back again later on!

It got me wondering, when is it too far? If you were invited to a wedding where the church and reception venue were approximately 50 mins apart and you still had a little journey to the church in the first place would you consider this to be too much? If so what do consider to be the maximum distance you should ask guests to travel?  Would you decline an invitation for being too far? but not a destination wedding?

I would be interested to hear the distances of where your venue(s) are.



  • I don't think having a wedding that's far from where i live as an issue, as long as i had been given enough notice to make travel and accommodation arrangements and had time to save to do so. 

    I do personally dislike when the ceremony and the reception are a bit of a distance from each other, but only because logistically it makes things a bit awkward (unless transport is put on - but this can be costly) and i dont travel well as it is, so any journey over 45 mins i have to be well prepared for to avoid sickness, so the less i travel the better. My FH on the other hand had his friends wedding in Devon (a 4 hour drive from us) and drove down the morning of, then had a 1.5hr drive from church to reception, and drove home all in a day. If people want to be there they will. 

    I think as long as everyone has details and timings enough in advance they will come. Its incredibly hard for church weddings to be close to another venue, unless youre going for the accompanying hall! I dont think she should get too upset, people will still go, its one day of making effort for a very worthy reason. 
  • OmRumOmRum Posts: 805 New bride
    I agree with CoffeDogAddict. Unless you have very few guests or you all live in the same town, someone will always have to travel to get to a wedding, so the distance shouldn't be an issue.

    The distance between the venues is more troublesome but I have been to a couple of weddings where we had to travel (although only about 40 mins at most). We just made sure we booked a hotel near to the reception rather than the ceremony so that we could drive in the morning and drink at the reception!

    If the couple can afford to put on transport, that is a nice idea, but I would never suggest that they should sacrifice something else they really want in order to do so! At least give the guests taxi numbers and perhaps call up the firm beforehand to get an estimation on cost, so that guests are prepared. You'll find that a lot will share cabs anyway, so that cuts the cost for them.

    At the end of the day, people who want to be there will make the effort.
  • I don't think it's too far, but then again, I've had a car drive of an hour each way to work for about 11 years now.  I know a lot of people with lengthy commutes who wouldn't think travelling a bit for a wedding is a big deal; there isn't much in the way of public transport in our area, so most people I know are used to doing a lot of driving I suppose.  And as you say, it's a worthy reason (a fun one actually!) so I would be willing to make the trip.
    For my previous wedding, we did not have anyone coming from overseas, but most all of our guests did live out of the area of our venue by an average of 1 hour.  Basically, most of the beautiful, "estate" style venues here are in more remote areas, so if you want one of those, you are going to be travelling.  On the other hand, no one we knew lived in the "city proper" either, so there would have been about as much travel involved to have a city-center type wedding as well. 
    I know some people do appreciate having transport provided when the ceremony site and reception site are separate, but I don't prefer it actually.  I like having the ability to take my own car and come and go as I please, in the private company of just my OH.  She knows her guest list better than we do, and if she thinks that transport between the two is going to be an issue for more people than not, should consider working that into the budget.
  • Yes I think the distance between the church and the reception venue is what she is worried about the most. As you say @CoffeeDogAddict she found it difficult finding the type of venue that she liked near to the church that she has set her heart on. The venue she did choose was picked as it was the closest of those on the final shortlist!

    I have put the effort in and travelled some distances for weddings in the past and never moaned about doing so, just saw it as a nice day out and part of the excitement of going to a wedding.

    I didn't realise the distance was ever a reason given why someone might decline an invite other than the knock of effects of the expense of travelling the distance but not the distance in its own right. 
  • Thanks @OmRum and @KittyFiennes I agree with you both. 

    I'm too, not bothered about transport and prefer a little privacy in my own transport. But she is worried about any negative comments about people travelling and the knock on cost of travelling but also that if no transport is provided people may start to leave early in the evening to get home -  a comment one of her work colleagues has said to her!! (whereas if there is transport people will stay to the end or whenever her transport is scheduled to leave).

    I think she is finding the process quite hard as it gets closer to the date and more and more people are aware of her plans and are making their comments, I think she is aiming to get her invites out in February for her wedding in late May 2019. She is trying to make the day as lovely as possible but has been trying to please lots of people and therefore doubting herself and second guessing her choices. 

    I feel bad for her as I see her stress levels rise when this is supposed to be a happy time and in theory a lot of what is considered to be the hard decisions (choosing the venue) have passed. Both sets of parents are happy with the venue choices which is a good thing but she is now worried about spending all this money to cater for people who might not come or leave early.
  • OmRumOmRum Posts: 805 New bride
    I feel sorry that she is having to deal with negative comments like that. She can't please everyone, so you need to discourage her from compromising on what she wants so that other people are happy. The most important part of the day is the ceremony, and if she and her fiancé have their hearts set on that church, then that's that. They've gone for the closest reception venue reasonably possible that suits their requirements. The guests who have an issue with it need to remember that it is her day and they are blessed if they get an invitation at all.

    Personally, I will always try my hardest to get to a wedding I am invited to, even if that means spending some of my savings on a hotel, because they have obviously invited me because they want me there. People making negative comments to her about how she is making things difficult for them are probably making her feel like her wedding is a chore to them, so no wonder she feels stressed about it!

    Unfortunately it is the case that some people will need to leave early to travel home if they can't afford a hotel or if they have little children - that is the case with every wedding, and can't be avoided. But guests shouldn't try to guilt-trip her into paying for transport because of it! If she does hire transport, it should only be between the venues. It's not the couple's responsibility to pay for everyone to get home!

    Sorry for rambling, I just dislike it when guests try to make a wedding all about their own wants and needs!
  • I agree @OmRum, it's really upsetting to see and I feel it for her. I have tried to reassure her but she can't shake the negative comments. I think she will be quite glad when its over to be honest. I think if she could have her time again she would elope!

    For mine, there is a little journey time (about 15/20 mins) between church and reception and I am also beginning to wonder if guests will have a problem with it. Some people make such flippant remarks and don't understand how it can impact on someone, especially at a time of heightened emotions such as planning a wedding. 
  • MrsGtoBMrsGtoB Posts: 712 New bride
    I agree the distance between the church and venue is quite long but it wouldn't make me decline an invite.  I might have a moan with hubby and/or friends but not to the bride.

    Transport is a nice idea but then your car would be stuck at the church, I'd rather make my own way and stay near the reception venue.

  • cs2thecoxcs2thecox Posts: 260 New bride
    I just went to Australia for a friend's wedding, so I have no problem with travelling a long way for a wedding! Also done Seattle, the alps near Geneva, and all over the UK. I think the majority of people will travel to go to a wedding of someone they care about.
    Really, this is a Dr Seuss situation...
    "The people who mind don't matter, and the people who matter don't mind."

    That said, I think making sure the transport works well for the guests is quite important. If there is a drive between church and reception, then that can be ok as long as there is plenty of parking at both venues. I've been to a wedding where this was the case, but parking at the church was really tight which made things a bit awkward. It was maybe 20-30 minutes drive. It worked out ok in the end though, just took a while.

    A friend got married in central London years ago, and put on a routemaster bus to get everyone between Islington town hall and the reception venue. Cars really were not an option as there was no parking at either venue, and everyone used public transport, so they HAD to provide transport to keep everyone together. They gave us glasses of prosecco for the bus ride, which made it fun.

    Earlier this year, I went to a country wedding where the reception was at the bride's mum's house, and the church was in the next village over. There was parking at the reception, but really limited parking at the church, so they put on buses to take people from the house to the church and back.

    So as long as there's ample parking at both locations, I think it's fine. It might be nice to add something to the info card/wedding website/whatever about why they picked that church, particularly if it has some special meaning to the couple. That might help any doubting people understand why the venues have been chosen that way?
  • MrsPB2019MrsPB2019 Posts: 693 New bride
    edited 25 January
    My registry office and reception venue are about a 45 min drive apart, we’re not providing transport and I’ve not had anyone comment on it. I’m guessing because our registry office only holds 40 so we only have family coming (to that part, another 60 joining the reception) and none are local to our registry office so would have to drive to get there in the first place anyway.

    Yes it is nice to have a whole day in one location but I’m guessing that’s not possible more so if the couple want a church ceremony and at the end of the day it’s their wedding so they should do what they want. As others have said, those that really want to be there will make the effort.
  • Now Mrs PNow Mrs P Posts: 29 New bride
    To me, any distance between the wedding venue and reception is an issue as I don't drive. Having said that though, every wedding I have ever been to where there has been a journey between the wedding and reception of any kind, someone has organised lift shares .For one wedding where I was an usher, that person was me. Just ask who needs a lift and ask who has space. Put the 2 together and everyone gets there fine. Even better if you can put together similar people, friends of groom, friends of bride or similar. I have travelled all over for weddings and never had a problem .
  • Now Mrs PNow Mrs P Posts: 29 New bride
    Other way I have seen it done, is where everyone is asked to meet at the reception venue, then transport to the ceremony, then back to the reception venue after so everyone's car is in the right place at the end of the night/next morning. 
  • Honestly I’m a little different to some of the previous replies in that I really think you should put the guest’s needs and comfort higher up your list of priorities than say flowers or dresses etc. Most people won’t really remember or care what you had on tables but will remember the day they had to leave home early, drive a long way for a lengthy church service, drive a long way again to a reception with only their phone sat nav which turned out to be quite wrong, and no other directions were provided, and then were left standing around starving and bored whilst the couple had millions of photos taken elsewhere - to give one example from my experience. 

    Thats not to say having to travel to the ceremony or between ceremony and reception is a bad thing, but just that if you are asking guests to do that just be aware of what you’re asking, be appreciative of the effort made and ensure you provide as much info as possible (maps, taxi numbers, approximate prices etc ) and consider your timings including what time guests would actually have left home, so you’re providing food drink and entertainment at the necessary times so people are not left hungry or made to feel like unwanted extras at your elaborate photo shoot. And yes, if providing transport between the two venues is an option that will help people it’s worth looking into, but then if everyone has to drive to the church anyway it might be a bit pointless?

     I’m not for a second suggesting your friend hasn’t thought of these things, I just sometimes think the ‘people should be honoured to be invited’ thing can go a bit far. I’ve seen couples say they couldn’t possibly afford to put on a minibus from the station when spending literally thousands on ‘venue dressing’ and then be offended when people declined the invite. 

    People will always have moans and grumbles about weddings - dear god read any mumsnet thread where the mere act of hosting a wedding is portrayed as the most selfish thing you could do which always annoys me - and that doesn’t mean your friend should change her plans if she’s happy with them, but she maybe does need to be prepared either for some declines or just more moaning and as long as she knows she’s done what she can to provide/ make things easier for her guests then hopefully she can shrug that off a bit more? 

    FWIW my wedding is probably a 40-45 minute drive for many of the guests, and there are those coming from the other end of the country and abroad, which I did really worry about so I’m having to take my own advice - it is all one venue but I know we’ll have to think carefully about what we can do to show we appreciate the effort people have made and to minimise it where possible, and also to just accept that some people will probably grumble about it! 
  • Pisces91Pisces91 Posts: 167 New bride
    I don't think the distance is an issue. But then, all our family live far away so we're used to being the ones to travel for events.

    I went to a wedding this year where the reception was over an hour's drive away (in an entirely different county!). Everyone still went. I drove there and back. A lot of people who didn't have hotels did leave relatively early, including us but to to honest, people just partied harder in the time they had! We left at about 11, I think.

    If she can afford to, it might be nice to put transport on. However, ultimately, people are big boys and girls and if it's really an issue, they should get a hotel. 
  • Shoes GaloreShoes Galore Posts: 21 New bride
    edited 28 January
    Thanks everyone for your comments its really interesting to hear all the different view points. 

    @cs2thecox I LOVE that Dr Seuss situation quote, will definitely be telling my friend that and hope she takes it on board.  Ample parking is a very good point!

    @MrsPBtobe yes I agree I think because civil ceremonies are so popular now at venues that can also host the wedding reception I think we have all become accustom to minimal travelling between the 'legal' part i.e., church and 'party' part i.e., the reception. Unless you opt for the church hall next door but in most cases they aren't very pretty buildings.

    @NowMrsP that's a good idea, I think she is going to add a something in with the invites asking if people would require transport/ a car share to see numbers and to arrange something that would help people out. 

    @CavalierBride this is half the problem! she is going out of her way to meet lots of demands from others saying there MUST be accommodation on site, a certain size of venue, no corkage, the option of outside catering allowed etc and therefore putting the guests needs very high in her list of priorities but in order to get all the things on the list it has resulted in the venue being the distance that it is! She has shown me her plans and besides the distance the guest will not want for anything on the day. They will be fed, watered, options of accommodation on site if they choose to stay and entertained in a beautiful location. I haven't seen her dress but she isn't going over the top with the bridesmaids and groomsmen outfits or flowers and decorations etc. 

    The transport is the only sticking point and she is trying to alleviate that with the transport option so hopefully in time, as you say, she will know she has done what she can to make it a bit easier for her guests.  

    You have definitely got me stressed about my own wedding now though! haha (not from a transport point of view as I said its a 15/20 minutes journey for my guest) I get that whatever you do someone will moan but if any of my so called friends or family thought that way about my wedding I think I would prefer them to decline and stay away as they don't really wish you well. 

    I'm quite surprised by some of your comments about people won't care about what they had on the tables, lengthy church service, or having to wait for people to have photos done etc and only be concerned with what inconvenienced them such as how early they had to set off on the day. If they only remember the bits that bugged them  and not the fact that they have watched the significantly enormous occasion of you getting married, were given free food and drink to see them through the day and had a good boogie with friends and family at what should be a joyous occasion then I don't know what to say.

    Don't get me wrong, I know that guests are making an effort and sometimes sacrificing things and spending money to come including hen dos/stag dos, outfits, wedding gifts, overnight accommodation (potentially), transport which can add up to a lot, but in many cases others also did it for them/ will do it for them on their day and unless you host massive gatherings regularly it is the only time you will asked this of your guests. 

     I know that your guests won't care to the same degree as the couple getting married but surely they would like to see the venue looking pretty and effort made by the hosts? Part of that is for the guests just as much as the couple as no one would want to go into a room looking blank and bare, regardless of what you choose or how much it costs for your decoration.

    Or understand that people have photos taken on the day. It is a wedding after all. Most people have either had a wedding themselves or been to one in the past so they know how things go, the format pretty much stays the same for the order of the day for every wedding. If grown adults can't have conversations, enjoy the refreshments on offer and not begrudge the couple taking photos on their wedding day, again I am lost for words. Even if the couple are having photos for an hour, I don't think this is an issue, but I will definitely take it into consideration and have a word with our photographer for our day or make sure there is more booze and canapes so there are no moans. 

    I just think that seems quite a selfish perspective from the guests point of view which is a bit sad but I understand some will think like that. 

    I understand what you mean, it is difficult to take advice and stay strong in any decisions that are made as this is probably for all of us on here, the only time we ever have or would be hosting such a large event. 

    Its so good to get this view point as its so different from what I think but it will help with my planning and also I will tell my friend to check her timings of the day and quantity of food so she can try and prevent any further grumbles to add to the distance.

    @Pisces91 yes she is scared of people leaving early. Whatever she does she is a bit of a worry wort bless her. She can't do right or wrong.

    Gosh weddings are stressful aren't they!

    Sorry for the long post  :D

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,934 New bride

    I wouldn't find it a massive issue, but I'm not a big drinker and we drive. My fiancé is from a different area of the country to me so we travel to almost every wedding we go to anyway.

    As someone said above, if you can match non-drivers with a lift then I don't see an issue really.

  • @ShoesGalore in that case it sounds like your friend has gone above and beyond to make people happy, and really shouldn’t worry about any remaining moaners! I didn’t mean to imply she was not caring, I think the wedding I’d been to where less consideration was payed just plays on my mind, but to be fair I’m sure that was unusual! I still had a great time on the day, once we’d finally got some food and drink! And I’m with you in agreeing that the vast majority of guests, whilst not caring about the finer details as much as the couple do still appreciate a pretty room and come prepared to enjoy themselves and with an understanding that they’re there to wish the couples well. Like I say, too many mumsnet threads where it’s nothing but moaning and mean spirited digs, but then mumsnet can be a weird place sometimes- much nicer on here. I’m a bit sensitive because there was a thread where everyone was agreeing that a wedding near Christmas was the height of selfishness and it made me really worried when that ended up being our date. So when I put feelers out to guests checking they were ok with it and the overwhelming response was ‘don’t be silly, it will be lovely and we’ll be there no matter when or where’ I was really relieved. So, like you say, in general people are happy to be there and just want to wish the couple well - that will be the case with your friend too it’s just unfortunate that the grumpy people are being more vocal at the moment. 
  • Thanks @MrsCToBee, I do think the car share maybe is the best way to go, i'll definitely suggest it to her.
  • @CavalierBride as I said its good to here that point of view as it can be preempted now in some way as none of us would want that to be the lasting memories of our special day. 

    That's a shame about people being unpleasant about your date. Again, people can be so flippant and not understand that their comments can play on your mind even if they didn't mean any harm by it. I don't see anything wrong with a date around Christmas at all, everyone is already in a happy, party mood so seems lovely to me.

    I went to a wedding a couple of years ago that was on 28th December, 1.5 hours away and I was only invited to the evening reception and I drove there and back the same night afterwards and had no problem with doing so (otherwise I wouldn't have gone) and it was lovely and all christmasy!
  • OmRumOmRum Posts: 805 New bride
    @CavalierBride I had a wedding near Christmas and it was wonderful. No one complained (at least not to my face!). If anyone's selfish it's the people who expect you to plan your wedding around what's convenient for them!
  • longhaullonghaul Posts: 22 New bride
    I don't mind traveling with the UK for a wedding (were hardly a big island) but as someone who doesn't drive getting 50 minutes from one venue to the other would be very hard

    I also think its the very top end of distance for drivers too
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