When it comes to choosing your venue and wedding location, there are many important factors to consider: atmosphere, size, accessibility, price – the list goes on. Decades ago, most couples had a tendency to remain in the area where they grew up when choosing their wedding venue. While that’s still pretty common today, changes in education and job markets have many more people moving to a big city when they reach adulthood.
Your new, adopted home is likely where you met your future spouse, and it can make for a great location to tie the knot for that reason – in addition to convenience for you and your friends. Those who want the celebration of their nuptials to last the whole weekend may prefer a destination wedding, but faraway locations are not always practical, especially if you want more friends and family members to be able to attend.
In this day and age, an increasing number of couples are choosing to make their big day into an extended vacation for friends and family, opting for a destination wedding that's easy for guests to travel to. While typically most couples elect tropical or culturally rich locations when they choose to get married afar and host a destination wedding, many prefer hosting a destination wedding at a more familiar site: the groom or bride's hometown.
There’s something to be said about the comforts of home: especially when preparing to exchange your vows. But, as with all other wedding-day decisions you’ll make in this wedding-planning 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.
Photo by Adam Frazier Photography; Bridal Salon: The White Dress; Planning & Design by Andrea Eppolito Events; From Real Wedding: A Luxurious, Classic White Wedding in Bride's Hometown of Las Vegas
If you’ve been dreaming of your wedding since childhood, now you have the chance to actually use the wedding venue from your scrapbooks. You also get to show off your hometown to college friends, coworkers, and the rest of your wedding guests. You may even want to have an at-home wedding ceremony or reception – or both!
During the stress of your wedding weekend, being back home might be just what you need to stay comforted and calm. You can take a stroll around the block with the family dog to ease your nerves before getting married... You can drive to all of your favorite high-school hot spots for a sentimental trip down memory lane... The options are endless – from the wedding-planning journey all the way to the wedding weekend surrounded by your loved ones!
Wedding planning is stressful and the big day can make you nervous no matter how excited you are to marry the love of your life. Spending the last few days before the big day in a familiar place – perhaps even sleeping in your childhood home – can help you feel relaxed before the festivities.
Finding the perfect venue and caterer is less of a hassle when you already know the best hotels, event venues, restaurants, and bakeries in town. You’ll already likely know which salons, rental companies, planners, and photographers to trust too. You also 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 or the wedding planner she chose for her own celebration) and you can use that to your advantage.
Additionally, if your parents or other family members still live in the area and you no longer do, you will have reliable allies to check out businesses you’re not familiar with if you're long-distance planning.
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 wedding reception, or select the park where you had your first kiss or use to hang out with your school friends as your ceremony space. What a wonderful way to blend the past and the future!
Photo by Abigail Lewis Photography; Entertainment by EastCoast Entertainment; From Real Wedding: Hometown Wedding with Green + Gold Color Palette in Nashville
After moving to a new city with your future spouse or even before you ever met, your hometown might seem too quaint by comparison for a location to get married. If you didn’t grow up in a tourist destination, perhaps it doesn’t feel like the site of a fun weekend away for your friends.
Unless you and your beloved grew up in the same town, you’ll have to decide whose hometown gets the honor of hosting your wedding. 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 from Seattle, you may have a big problem.
Choosing which city will play host to your wedding can cause conflict, and because the issue tugs at the heartstrings and either the bride's family or groom's family will have to travel, friction may be especially painful.
Assuming your hometown is smaller than where you currently live, there are probably fewer options in terms of vendors, venues, and more when getting married.
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 families with all your heart, but something about being boxed in at your parents’ house makes most people more willing to complain or offer up a plethora of opinions. You could do without the added tension.
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?
Photo by Jenny Haas Photography; From Real Wedding: Detroit Lions' Taylor Decker's Timeless Wedding at Ohio Statehouse
If you do choose to have a hometown wedding – or you and your beloved decide to provide a taste of your hometown as you're getting married, take a look at these tips. For more wedding planning ideas, find out how to prepare for an at-home wedding and what you need to ask before booking a venue. 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 John Cain Photography; Entertainment by EastCoast Entertainment; Floral Design by Bella Flora of Dallas; From Real Wedding: At-Home Dallas Fête Inspired by San Miguel De Allende Weddings