The perks and drawbacks of hosting your nuptials where you grew up.
When it comes to choosing your venue, there are many important factors to consider: atmosphere, size, accessibility, price – the list goes on. In this day and age, an increasing amount of couples are choosing to make their big day into an extended vacation for friends and family, opting for a destination wedding. Typically, brides and grooms elect tropical or culturally rich locations to host their nuptials, but some prefer to travel to a more familiar site: their own hometown.
There’s something to be said about the comforts of home: especially when preparing to say your marital vows. But, as with all other decisions you’ll make in this process, there are advantages and disadvantages to choosing your old stomping grounds as your wedding location, so we’ve complied a list of pros and cons to help you decide if a hometown wedding is right for you.
- Your established connections. Chances are, you’ll already know which salons, rental companies, and event centers to trust. You might have some history with these vendors (you can still remember the makeup artist that made your sister look flawless before prom all those years ago) and you can use that to your advantage. Additionally, if your parents or other family members still live in the area, you have reliable allies to check out the businesses and specialists you’re not familiar with.
- Good ol’ fashioned hospitality. During the stress of your wedding weekend, being back home might be just what you need to stay comforted and calm. You can stay in your childhood bedroom or your favorite little inn. You can take a stroll around the block with the family dog to ease your nerves. You can drive to all of your favorite high school hot spots for a sentimental trip down memory lane. Plus, there’s just something about sitting in your old tire swing after your rehearsal dinner that feels beautifully poetic.
- Hometown traditions. Remember the pizza place you used to frequent after school on Fridays? Or what about the tree you carved the names of each crush you’ve had since you were nine? These fun adolescent memories can serve as inspiration for unique, personalized aspects of your event. You can play old board games at the rehearsal dinner, turn your high school yearbooks into decorative props at the reception, or select the park where you had your first kiss as your ceremony space. What a wonderful way to blend the past and the future!
- Picking and choosing. If both you and your future spouse like this idea: great! Well, “great” if you’re both from the same place, of course. There’s a chance that both of you have strong ties to your childhood towns and would like to get married back home; but if you grew up in Buffalo while your sweetie is an original Seattleite, you may have a big problem. Choosing which city will play host to your nuptials can cause conflict, and because the issue tugs at the heartstrings, friction may be especially painful.
- Wall-to-wall relatives. With extended family coming together in familiar territory, the weeks(s) leading up to the ceremony may start to feel like a reunion of sorts. This phenomenon has the potential to cause extra stress – as well as unpleasant adolescent flashbacks to the Smith/Johnson Family Fort Lauderdale Extravaganza of ’97. You love your family with all your heart, but something about being boxed in at your parents’ house makes them more willing to complain or offer up a plethora of opinions. You could do without the added tension.
- Unfriendly faces & places. Like any other child, you most likely dealt with some uncomfortable and embarrassing moments while growing up. The chances that you encounter an old flame or a middle school mean girl increase when you’re back home: especially if your big day is close to a major holiday. Being in the presence of people, places, and things that remind you of unpleasant experiences can put a damper on your nuptials, and who wants to feel gloomy on the morning of their wedding?
If you do choose to have a hometown wedding – or you and your beloved decide to provide a taste of your hometown at your nuptials, take a look at these tips. Be sure to also find inspiration from real weddings from across the country, and filter the results by location, setting, or theme!
Opening photo by Samuel Lippke Studios