Etiquette question: scheduling two weddings

My fiance and I got engaged last August, but because of several factors (paying for the wedding ourselves, unemployment, moving to a new apartment) we haven’t yet been able to put down money on a location, so we don’t have a firm date yet. We were hoping to schedule the wedding in early May of 2011.

A little less than two weeks ago, my fiance’s brother and his long-time girlfriend also got engaged. Her affluent parents are paying for their wedding, and they’ve just announced their location and date - May 26, 2011. :smack:

Setting aside the temptation to stick with my preferred date of May 7 (oh, so tempting!), how long should we wait after their wedding to schedule ours? My fiance’s family places a lot of emphasis on gift-giving, and I don’t want the two weddings to turn into a burden. We can’t wait too late in the season, though, because my family will all be flying in, and we don’t want to risk a snowstorm blowing in and grounding all the planes.

Why don’t you talk to them about it? You could reduce the overall burden on your fiance’s family by having the two a week apart- sure, they’ve got to buy two presents, but only one plane ticket. Erm, assuming your locations are close. If they’re getting married in Vegas obviously that’s not going to help.

I agree with this, but I also have to say that you have no obligation to schedule your wedding after theirs. If you want to have it May 7, have it May 7.

His family all lives within a half-hour drive, so fortunately it won’t be a travel burden on any of them. I guess I’m concerned that if the two weddings are too close to each other*it’ll feel like some kind of competition. I already know that some members of his family will be judging them, and our nonreligious budget wedding (while more fun, IMHO) won’t compare well (in their opinion) with the other couple’s Catholic wedding and pricey reception, and it’s grating on me. :mad::frowning:
*All three to/oo/wo’s in one phrase. Score!

Am I not understanding the “having the two a week apart,” solution? Are you saying that these good people would not only have to buy two presents, but spend a week of their vacation hanging out waiting for the next wedding?

It sounds like the real issue is that you feel your wedding will be compared unfavourably and that bugs you, not that you’re concerned about the burden on anyone else.

Get over it, and just focus on planning and enjoying a day you’ll remember. Check in with the parents of both grooms if you’re really concerned that the scheduling will be an issue. And if you feel like you really want a more expensive wedding consider postponing until you can afford what you want. But in the end, it’s just one day, no point getting a chip on your shoulder about the wedding someone else’s family is providing. This will be your extended family from now on, don’t get competitive about all the little life events you will face.

My mother has a friend who was forced by her parents to wait a year after her sister got married before her wedding. Of course, she was young,Italian American, Catholic, living at home, and the parents were paying for both weddings.

And I strongly suspect the engagement period for wedding #1 was on the order of six months, and wedding #2 was eighteen months, and the parents of the brides forced them to rotate through the sisters so each sister was Maid of Honor once, and bridesmaid twice or whatever . . .

In general, the parents exerted a measure of control over the wedding that was not neccessarily the done thing 25 years ago, and would sound down right odd to many of us today.

Comparisons are inevitable, but will not neccessarily be in the richer couple’s favor. Pick a date which makes you happy, talk to parents, siblings, other near relatives as appropriate, but don’t turn yourself into a pretzel trying to make other people happy.

And if no one knew you were dreaming of a May 7, 2011 wedding, then don’t hold it against them if you end up rescheduling or not reschduling and feeling overshadowed.

Worrying about scheduling so people will have money for a present is not something to worry about. Stop it.

Take some of that money you and your fiance have been saving for your wedding and take a fabulous vacation to Las Vegas. Eat at some great restaurants, see a show or two… and stop by the Little White Wedding Chapel while you’re in town.

When you get home, send out cards to your family and friends announcing the happy occasion. Anyone who wants to send you a gift will do so, but of course it’s not really about that. (Right?)

I am completely serious about this. 13 years after my own wedding, I still wish it’s what I’d done.

Is romance dead? Whatever happened to double weddings? Speak to your soon-to-be-sister-in-law. Obviously you’ll be paying for your wedding guests.

Quartz, obviously you have yet to experience at close range the Modern American Bride.

In any case, the OP is having a secular wedding and the SIL-to-be is having a Catholic wedding- ie., in a Catholic church.

Just that. Personally, I’d rather spend a week hanging out with family than fly to the same place twice in a month, or whatever. Since there won’t be many (any?) flyers, that’s not an issue, though.

Well, that’s just something you’ll have to live with. People inclined to do that sort of thing will still remember the other wedding whenever yo have yours.

Remember, though: the people who matter don’t mind, and the people who mind don’t matter.

I’m getting married on Saturday. I’ll let you know how this early May thing works out. :slight_smile:

The fiance did that with his first wife, so I’ve laid down a strict limit of one Vegas wedding per lifetime. I am tempted to move the wedding to California, where a plurality of my family lives.

Thanks, and good luck!

Aside from the half-religious/half-secular wedding you are suggesting, consider the disparity here.

Catholic bride’s parents foot the bill. So Catholic bride won’t be as conscious of what things cost, i.e., “Oh, just buy three of those and add an extra tier to the cake! It’s not my dime…”

Meanwhile, our lovely, humble OP is probably counting pennies and budgeting very, very carefully and may not wish to take such a lackadaisical attitude toward cost containment.

Then I predict Bride Wars: Catholic Bride wants XYZ pricey crap and wants to split costs 50-50, Doper Bride wants to keep things simple and only wants to pay for her share because 50-50 on Catholic Bride’s shopping list means Doper Bride is forced to go way over budget… or Catholic Bride is forced to scale down.

Do you really see that all going down without violence and fisticuffs? Have you ever* met *a bride? :dubious: (Not to imply that our lovely Doper Bride would ever be a Bridezilla… but I am looking right at the nameless, shameless hussy Catholic Bride…)

‘Oh how lovely of you to be so generous…’ :slight_smile:

Seriously, though, subsidising someone’s wedding would be an excellent wedding present.

And please note that I was very careful to stipulate that the OP contact her sister in law, and not her fiancé his brother. I’m fully aware of how clueless we men are at this. :slight_smile:

I am currently planning my wedding that is coming up in August. Let me share with you the most important thing I’ve learned about weddings:

Almost no one is going to be happy with any decision you make about the wedding. Almost all of your guests, from your parents to your future in-laws on down, will hate all the decisions you make and will go out of their way to make sure you know how your wedding choices suck. Just do what makes you happy and don’t worry what other people think about it. If you want a May 7th wedding have it on May 7th. No matter what date you choose it is going to be a problem for someone so you might as well get what you want.

She is 100% right.

  • zweisamkeit, married this past Halloween.

While I agree that this will most likely work in this situation, I do want to point out that this is not an absolute. Truly thinking “Do what makes you happy” is what leads to Bridezillas. You always need to consider the other people to some extent. For example, if your favorite date were the anniversary of some death in the family, I assume you would not want to cause heartache.

One thing people forget about a wedding is that they are still hosting a party. the guests still matter. If you want them there, you should try to make as comfortable as you can while still giving yourself the best wedding that you can. How good would your perfect wedding be if no one showed up because you pissed them all off? Balance is the key.

Only you know if the date thing is worth it. It wouldn’t be for me, but, then again, I’m a guy. I don’t care about how the wedding happens, as long as it does.

While you are correct that you need to think about others and you are throwing a party for people a wedding is absolutely the most difficult party you will ever throw. Every single guest feels like they should have a final say in every single decision you make.

If you were invited to a party where no kids were allowed would you think about whether or not this was a deciding factor in going or would you call the host and call them a selfish whore for not wanting your three year old at their party? If you were invited to a party and they were serving chicken but you didn’t want it would you just eat early and keep quiet about it or would you throw the mother of all tantrums because they weren’t considering your needs? Weddings tend to bring out the latter response from everyone about everything. I cleared my wedding date choice with 12 different people and switched it around 3 times to accomodate other people’s schedules. I sent out invitations 6 months in advance so people would have plenty of time to plan for plane tickets. None of that stopped my aunt from defriending me on facebook because of my wedding and 8 people from boycotting it and taking a vacation to the grand canyon instead over my not wanting their kids to attend the ceremony but still inviting them to the reception. None of these people would have said anything about a party but a wedding is a whole different kettle of fish.

No matter what date you choose for your wedding it will be horrible for someone. Somebody will have a death/divorce/traumatic event that happened on that day or will have some other huge life event going on that stops them from being able to come to your wedding. You can’t please everyone so you need to please yourself first. Take care to think about the needs of your guests of course, but when it comes down to it this is your wedding and even if it is just you, your fiance, and your parents in a courthouse somewhere you aren’t any less married than you would have been with a six figure wedding.

Op you say you are thinking about moving the wedding to CA. Would that make a different set of family have to travel than those who will attend your brothers? If so I think that is your best bet; it spreads the cost and travel around and feels somehow less competitive to have the wedding in a completely different place.

Also, if it matters to you and brother, if you have your wedding right before, will you be onyour honeymoon during his wedding? We had good friends who married right before us and couldn’t attend our wedding because there were in Fiji or Niagra Falls or wherever…

It’s my fiance’s brother, not mine. If it were my brother, I’d be thrilled to have a double wedding! Except that my brother is officiating our wedding, so we’d have to find someone else to that. Maybe he could officiate mine and I could officiate his. :slight_smile: Anyway…

Moving the wedding to CA would mean that my fiance’s family would have to fly across the country, while my family stay where they are or travel no further than they would have to if we kept the wedding in Boston. It’s awfully darn tempting, but as my fiance points out, would make all the planning a much bigger PITA.

I’m going to let the May 7 date fall by the wayside; it’s too much trouble. I might still fight for mid-April, once we have money for the location and can discuss dates more concretely. My fiance is concerned that he doesn’t want too much overlap between our wedding planning and his duties as best man for his brother’s wedding (whatever those duties turn out to be). At this point, I think the date will largely depend on what’s still available at the location we want by the time we can pay for it.