Ragwort, I meant our children might have mixed feelings on the day. We're just aware that even though they're all older children, marrying each other means that there is no way that our 'original' families will be reformed, even though they know that logically there is no way that's ever going to happen. It might not happen (and I really hope it doesn't), but I'd rather not pile additional pressure onto them just on the off chance it might. We're pagan, by the way.
From a fuel point of view, we've worked out it only costs us about £50 to get to them and back- even less if we ride the bikes, as you say! Given this, it seemed reasonable to subsidise them to the same point as other guests who are coming from this area, as we can't afford to pay for their accommodation and all their travel, even though we'd like to. That being said, if they decide they can't/won't come for whatever reason, we will be sad, but ultimately it's their decision. We're not about to put pressure on them if they don't want to- just because our wedding is special to us doesn't mean it is going to be seen in the same way by them, especially as it's our second time around.
worldgonecrazy, your plan was exactly what we thought of doing initially. The problem though, is that DP's family are not very understanding of us, and would in no way understand or accept that we would see the legal register office thing as just that, with our proper wedding being the ceremony we have with our priestess and priest. They would, I can pretty much guarantee, make a huge fuss and effort for the register office, and not bother turning up for our wedding, which would make both of us sad. I think they'd do this even if we had a venue with a license- they just wouldn't see it as important. They would also be 'heartbroken', along with tonnes of emotional blackmail about "how could you prevent us from watching you getting married?" if we had the legal ceremony on the sly, without them knowing beforehand. Neither of us wants to take that risk, not to mention the thought of not being entirely truthful doesn't sit at all well with us- 'an it harm none', etc. Thus, the only way around it we can think of is to combine legals plus wedding in one, which for the time being means Scotland. I hear you about marriage laws catching up with Scotland...
Sounds lovely, but I do handfastings everywhere except Scotland, and we've managed it by either the couple having the Registry bit on a different day and treating it as purely a legal interview, or by them hiring a venue with a licence, doing the legal bit in the licensed room and then having the handfasting outdoors in the grounds. Both work very well and it is the norm in many countries for the legal part of the wedding ceremony to be separate from the religious ceremony.
I had my own legal wedding on a Friday morning at the registry office, and then spent the rest of the day preparing for the real wedding which was on the Saturday afternoon at a local beauty spot.
But having said all that, it sounds like you've found an idyllic spot for a handfasting and you have your hearts set on it. The adults can make themselves useful during the ceremony in non-traditional roles. If there are the equivalent of bridesmaids/best man, we usually get them to help when the bride and groom take wine and cakes to the guests, or to hold the broomstick when you get to jump over it. South coast to Scotland will be more than £50 fuel too, unless they're on motorbikes! The HMRC allowable rate for fuel is 35p per mile, to include wear and tear on car, insurance, etc. I'd probably up that a bit if you could afford it.
I will be very happy when the marriage laws in England & Wales catch up with Scotland.
I think the contribution towards fuel is very generous, especially given that you are paying for accommodation. I got married last year on south coast and all my dh's family live in the lake district. We subsidised accommodation but didn'teven consider helping out with fuel costs.
Also can't see any objection to not having nieces as bridesmaids when you have your own dc's.
When you say 'that it's quite likely they're going to have mixed feelings about the day, even though they're really excited about it' are you referring to your children or your SIL's daughters? If the issue of bridesmaids is going to be a big 'stumbling point' is it worth saying that in your religion (what is it, being nosey ?) it is not customary to have bridesmaids or something like that.
Do remember though that people are perfectly within their rights to 'decline' an invitation if they are not happy about the travelling/additional costs etc etc. How would you and your DP feel if people did not join you for your special day?
DP and I are in the very early stages of planning our wedding. It won't, and can't be, a traditional wedding for a variety of reasons, but we want to make sure that our plans aren't going to cause huge amounts of offense to people who will probably be too polite to let us know they are upset. Hence wanting to run things past people who aren't connected to us and therefore hopefully unbiased. It's probably going to be around late May next year. We've both been married before, and have 2 DC's each.
Firstly, we will be getting married in Scotland, as it's the only place we can legally get married and honour our religion at the same time. The ceremony itself will be very different from what anyone there has experienced before, as we are the only people in our family who follow this religion- it's not a mainstream one, but it's really important to us to marry within what is our norm. That being said, we've written the ceremony with our priest and priestess in such a way as to be as accessible as possible to everyone- lots of explanations etc at the appropriate points.
The venue is about 30 minutes north of the border, and is in the middle of a wood- it's about a half mile walk from the car park to the site. It will be a very intimate affair, with only DP's parents and sister, my grandmother, our children and our best man being there, as well as the celebrants and photographer. The ceremony is going to be in the late afternoon, followed by a relaxed bbq lasting into the evening. There is shelter in case of bad weather over both the site of the wedding, and the bbq area. There is also a hot tub and outdoor sauna which we intend to make good use of! All our guests will be given the option to stay overnight at the venue at no cost to themselves, though this will be fairly basic. We'll give them notice to wear suitable footwear- we intend to say something like pretty frocks and wellie boots are de rigueur!
The next day we want to travel back to where we live, and host a party for pretty much everyone who is special to us- probably around 60 people. We'll be providing a sit down meal of gastro-pub quality for everyone, along with a glass of wine and also fizz for toasting. Our guests will be able to either bring their own drinks, or buy from the venue at reasonable prices. We've been there many times, and it's about £2 for cappuccino or soft drinks, £2.50-£3 for alcohol. We'll also have some form of entertainment, probably either a ceilidh or cuban dance band etc.
The trouble with this is that DP's family live on the south coast. So, as well as them having to commit a whole weekend to us, they'll have to travel. DP's dad is going to be one of our witnesses, so we intend to pay for all his and his DW's travel costs. Ditto for my grandmother. We also are going to pay for all his family (if they want to) to stay in a local hotel on the night of the party, as well as give them a contribution towards travel costs, probably somewhere in the region of £50 per group.
We aren't intending on having any formal bridesmaids; something which we're pretty sure will upset his sister. We've been given strong suggestions already that she expects her daughters to be asked to fulfill this role. This is because we feel that if we were to have any 'attendants', it should be our children. We recognise, however, that it's quite likely they're going to have mixed feelings about the day, even though they're really excited about it. Hence, we both feel that to give them formal roles might be too much pressure. They're being given full chance to dress up in whatever manner they want, but with no expectations. All four of them have chosen to wear usual bridesmaid-y clothes, incidentally.
We are, as I've already said, going to have a joint best man/maid of honour. He'll be taking the role of what all the members of a traditional wedding party will do, ie everything, leaving me and DP to float around in bliss! He knows this, and is very happy to do it.
We really don't want any presents, and most certainly won't be including a gift list or request for cash.
So, do you think we're asking for an unreasonable amount? Basically, people attending the party are all local to us, or within a very reasonable traveling distance- say half an hour or so. Dp's family will have a lot of traveling to do (around 300 miles), but will have around £50 per group towards fuel, plus two nights accommodation paid for them as well as evening meals on both days.