The overseas wedding: stretching the friendship?

I’d be the first to admit I’m no hopeless romantic. That, and a wealth of bitter experience, have forced me to procrastinate on tying the knot with my wonderful man for the last three and a half years since he laid his heart on the line and asked for my hand in marriage.

Even once I managed to get over the business end of getting married (because why the hell bother these days?), it took me a lot longer to come around to the idea of actually organising a wedding.

So when the (one and only) place we looked at booking in London fell through, I threw my hands up in despair and declared that this was a sign, that we should save our money and go on another holiday. Despite my dramatics, the boy actually stood firm. We were going to get married, he declared, the proper way.

We negotiated (read: I threw countless hissy fits while the boy made constructive suggestions). And somehow we ended up agreeing that getting married in Thailand was an excellent idea. It seemed to make so much sense at the time: halfway between the UK and Oz, a place we both loved and had travelled to together, and we’d get a whole holiday with our family and friends for the same price as having a one day affair in either London or Sydney. Sounds perfect, right?!

Cut to six months later and I can assure you, this scenario is far from perfect. Very, very far. There are a few organisational niggles that come with deciding on a location where you know absolutely no one – including being at the mercy of the internet to find out anything about everything you need to throw a good old shindig.

But the thing that started to really tug at the heartstrings of my conscience early on, and is now a full blown guilty burden, is that when you choose to have a wedding where none of your friends and family live, everybody has to pay to get there. Nobody gets away with it cheaply, and those that do have had to disappoint you by letting you know that they can’t be there. It not only costs friends and family money, but time – precious annual leave days that they may originally have ear marked for a different use. Is it too much to ask?

Not to mention from a selfish viewpoint, being at the age where grown up responsibilities of getting married, having kids, and buying a house are starting to enter the fray means we’ve also had to accept that not everyone we would love to be there to share our day can be.

But then again…there are some great things about having a wedding abroad. For starters, our far flung friends from other parts of the world that we don’t get to see often will be coming to spend almost a whole week with us in a tropical paradise. You can’t meet everyone you need to depend on, or visit locations you’re interested in, so you have to learn to trust and not sweat the small stuff that could become completely consuming if we were organising closer to home. We get to have an actual pool party for our wedding, PLUS did I mention we get a kick arse holiday with a bunch of our loved ones?

So on balance, would we do it again, if we had the choice? I’ll have to get back to you on that one once I’m a missus.

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5 thoughts on “The overseas wedding: stretching the friendship?

  1. This may be mistaken as such a “first world issue”, but in fact a very real and practical modern concern. With increasing geographical mobility, how do we share significant milestones and experiences with your nearest and dearest who are spread all over the globe? What is the win-win situation without having to have 3 wedding celebrations across 3 cities? … For example, if you have it in London or in Sydney, some people will be inconvenienced – is it “fairer” either way? who are you willing to “sacrifice”? … so a third location between where the family home is and where your current life lives seem to make sense. However, how do friends generally decide how many of these wedding trips they can afford to take? and if they are unable to have these shared experiences – what impact does this have on the ongoing friendships? …

    I’ve just been reflecting on how few weddings I have flown back for – mainly because I didn’t want to be in the dilemma of deciding which ones i attend, which ones i’ll have to miss – it’s a tough decision! … and now it seems suddenly after 6 years, I have almost passed that point in life where friends are stil getting married …

    My personal thoughts are just that this is part of a much bigger theme: there is a new challenge we need to work through as expats all over the world – how much do we invest in loyalty in relationships when we acknowledge how transient and geographically mobile our support networks are?

    For meaningful, sustainable friendships in life, how do we weigh up shared experience and history on one hand, with shared interest and current realities on the other?

    Brings me back to basics of commerce/ economics – limited resources, unlimited wants! If only money/ annual leave was really just no object!

    • So true on all points. Funnily enough, we spoke to one place which had web streaming facilities so you could live stream your ceremony to the world, and have it hosted for a couple of months after in case anyone wanted to watch it later!

    • Very interesting points s! I’ve often thought about your points at the end and how much such I cling to relationships with shared experience and history when I don’t necessarily have anything in common with them anymore. In fact, there may be an article on this exact topic coming out very very soon!

  2. YAY! I’m sure you won’t regret it. One of my closest friends was wed this past January, they held a very intimate registry wedding in the UK followed by a wedding in Thailand. Of course the heart strings pulled as the rsvp’s came in but they did a great job of throwing their hands up and going with the flow. And it was a fabulous holiday for us too, how often do you get to have an extended wedding celebration and holiday with friends? Worth every pound, esp as we made it our honeymoon as well 🙂

    Best Wishes!!

    • Thanks Stacey! I am sure post wedding the event will more than compensate. We will just have to make sure our guests have a fabulous holiday too!

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