Getting Married At Sporting Events

by admin on July 23, 2013

I had a friend ask me a question, and I think I know the answer, but I wasn’t sure. He has been invited to a wedding taking place at a ball game. Apparently multiple couples will be married on the field before the game. I have no problem with that, if that is what the couple will enjoy. However, they expect the guests to buy their own tickets to the ball game. And apparently they are expensive, in the $40 range-I’m not sure why, if the wedding event itself costs extra, or they want you to sit in a certain section or…? I told him I thought this was very tacky, but then I wasn’t so sure. They are still hosts, so shouldn’t they be buying the tickets for the guests? Or is there an exception for public events where you are getting entertainment other than the wedding itself? 0722-13

The baseball stadium or team owners are using the group wedding as a marketing ploy.  Invited guests are being used as a means to increase stadium revenues by having their desire to witness the weddings of friends and family exploited requiring them to pay a price for the privilege of witnessing what should be serious vows of commitment.

Weddings should NEVER have an entrance fee of any kind.    If you want to get married in the local Renaissance Faire, then buy tickets for all guests who have rsvped in the affirmative.  Want to get married on third base at Wrigley Field?  Buy the tickets for guests.   Having a wedding at a public sporting or entertainment event substitutes for the obligation to properly host your guests at a traditional reception in which the host provides the venue and food.   There is nothing wrong with having an unconventional wedding and reception but there are serious wrongs with expecting your guests to foot the bill by paying entrance fees to the public event and expecting them to buy their own food.   It’s like asking them to pay the reception hall rental and caterer. Mucho tacky and ungracious.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Cat July 23, 2013 at 9:30 am

If the reception is being held at the concession stand where you can purchase what you wish to eat, they have avoided the major money-gobblers of weddings: the venue and the food. A nice card of warmest congratulations is in order, but you can watch baseball on TV.

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Wild Irish Rose July 23, 2013 at 9:55 am

Admin is dead right on this. Personally, I think this type of thing is just a huge LOOK AT ME!!!! I have my own opinions about weddings, of course (we all do), but this comment from Admin says it all: “Invited guests are being used as a means to increase stadium revenues by having their desire to witness the weddings of friends and family exploited requiring them to pay a price for the privilege of witnessing what should be serious vows of commitment.”

Unconventional is one thing. Exploitative is another. I wouldn’t attend this wedding.

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Hanna July 23, 2013 at 12:18 pm

This is an expectation that must somehow come to an end!! It has somehow become common today to expect everyone invited to an event to cover their own cost. I have been invited to numerous birthdays lately held at restaurants, movie theaters,pools etc. where I have had to pay for myself (or my child) in the end -and I’m not referring to “dutch treat” affairs initiated jointly by friends for the birthday person–I’m referring to actual birthday invitations. Recently one of my kids was invited to a birthday at a theme park –only to get there to find out that I had to cover the cost ($35) And no one else seemed surprised or shocked that they had to cough up the money! When I asked (discreetly) how others “felt” about this, they seemed very shocked that I would feel this way and astonished that I would expect someone else to pay for me. I guess it’s no use fighting this one, I’ve just come to the conclusion that if I decide I do want to go on an invitation, I’d better bring my credit card from now on. (But to decline an invitation, based upon not having the funds, seems to indicate to the honoree that they aren’t worth me finding the money to go to the party honoring them and I end up looking like the bad one!)

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Library Diva July 24, 2013 at 11:49 am

That’s shocking to me. I think my parents had it right. Growing up, we were offered either a traditional backyard birthday party at home, or we could do something special with a limited number of friends (like 1-3). They paid any fees associated with having the friends come, so that’s why we had to limit it. One year, my parents took my sister, myself and two of her friends to the beach and had a cookout there. Another time, I brought two friends to an amusement park. During years where we had larger cliques, we opted for the pinata-cake-pin the tail on-style thing.

I sometimes worry about the attitudes that are being fostered by parents who are determined to deny their children nothing.

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No Wedding July 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I have had to do some specific wording on invitations and I’m sorry to say, have probably been rude, when hosting my children’s birthday parties, spelling out that I am paying for the invitee ONLY. Many times I have had parents show up with siblings in tow and expect me to pay for them to go to the skating rink/bowling/game park. A few times I didn’t mind because fewer kids showed up and it was one of those package deals, where you are paying for up to X amount of kids. But when I’m paying for individual kids? No, I’m not paying for random sibling that isn’t my child’s friend. Or, even better, the parents assume that I am paying for THEM to skate/bowl/play laser tag.

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June First July 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Depends on the “specific wording”, but I think this could be ok. Then you avoid the gimme pig parents promising the sibs they can go to the party, only to turn them away from the door.

Although, if you’re successful with RSVPs, that might be the best time to do it.

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No Wedding July 25, 2013 at 10:09 am

June, the specific wording was, “I will be providing a movie ticket/skate fee and skates/bowling fee and shoes/lazer tag admittance, pizza and a drink for Invited-Child’s-Name.” Oh, and I have never been successful with RSVPs, hardly anyone ever does respond!

The thing I never understood about the sibling thing is look, I’m a single mom. I have had to take a sibling along to a party because if you want me to stay, unfortunately that means the other kid is too because I don’t have anyone else to stay home with them while I go to the party with the invited kid. But I NEVER expected that the sibling is going to attend on the party host’s dime! I always took along cash for that child or a game for them to play/book to read. A few times, I was told, “Oh, they can play too, not everyone showed up, and I’ve already paid for 10 kids.” And that’s fine, I’ve done the same thing too. But I never expected it!

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Carol July 25, 2013 at 2:29 pm

It’s weird to me to think people would expect you to foot the bill for an uninvited guest!

I do have a nice story that counters that, though. My best friend’s son is my son’s best friend, so we often hung out together. One Saturday we were together, but her son had a birthday party to go to later in the day, at a movie theatre. The plan was the four of us would have dinner, then we’d drop her son at the party and then the three of us would go do something. When we got to the theatre the mother of the birthday boy, who did know my son slightly, invited him to come to the party too. I demurred at first, but she insisted and my son and his friend were happy to have more time together, so I said yes. She wouldn’t let me pay for him, either. I know a movie theatre party can’t be cheap, and I was so touched that she would do something so generous.

All that being said, I would have never in a million years expected my son to be included just because he happened to show up!

Yasuragi July 24, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Unfortunately, my mother was one of those parents. Oh, you invited my sister to a party? Then you won’t mind being a free babysitter for the other three kids, right? Worse, she’d often drop us off at the venue or at the end of the driveway and peel off, leaving the parents no opportunity to give her the polite spine. This was before cell phones too, so once we were there the hosts had no recourse.

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NostalgicGal July 25, 2013 at 4:08 am

The only birthday party I had as a kid, (7th), I had six invitees, and ELEVEN siblings, all younger than school age. Some were barely able to sit up by themselves. The mothers thought nothing of bringing the whole grouping, although my mom managed to get them to STAY to mind the smalls that weren’t on the invite. We ended up quickly having the cake and ice cream, me open my six (small) gifts while the younger batch was distracted with food, then I took my guests upstairs to play with my toys in my room while the downstairs which had been set up for the party, was the babysitting and naptime for the smaller ones. An hour and a half and mom declared it was time to head home , and we spent four days clearing that one up. That was many decades ago already, but. The moms thought they could just bring every one of their kids and drop them off… when their kids had parties don’t you DARE bring anything extra; but it was okay for them to do it… needless to say that was my last party until I turned 50 and threw my own party for my friends and Red Hatter’s group. So, this isn’t new…

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lulu July 25, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Not quite on original topic but the family we knew growing up who always brought extra siblings to birthday parties growing up turned out to be the same family who brought extra guests to my wedding… The immediate family was invited but also brought along a boyfriend we’d never met, two children who they explicitly said would not attend, and even asked a few days before the wedding if they could bring a random friend who happened to be in town that weekend. Fortunately I could say that our final guest count had already been turned in to the catering department to avoid that one.

They’re nice people, and given that I know their whole (large) extended family is really close I think it just doesn’t occur to them as rude/odd that they expect everyone is invited to every event.

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kingsrings July 26, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Hanna, I have also faced this with my own friends. A lot of my friends will hold self-planned (not group-planned, which I also agree is an acceptable dutch treat situation) birthday or graduation parties and expect us guests to pay for our own meal. I’ve even seen self-planned potluck birthday parties! Proper hosting seems to have nearly completely gone out the window, I’m afraid. However, I am quite shocked and dismayed to hear that children’s birthday parties are a pay-your-own-way deal. Growing up, the hosts always paid, and as far as I know with some of my parent friends nowadays, this holds true with them at least. This rude behavior is inexcusable! You don’t have the funds to pay every kid’s way, then you don’t have that kind of party, period.

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LawGeek August 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm

My friends seemed shocked when my husband picked up the tab at my 30th birthday dinner. It was if they had never seen someone host a party at a restaurant before.

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Mae July 23, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Let’s see: possibly pay for hotel & travel expenses, possibly new clothes, pay for ticket to get in, pay for food & drink and gift for the HC? Um, I would decline.

Admin is 100% right. You are paying an entrance fee to see a friend’s wedding. Rude and tacky from beginning to end.

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Danielle July 23, 2013 at 2:12 pm

A friend of mine got married on a Roller Coaster at a local amusement park. They did buy all the guest’s tickets, arranged to make sure all of their guests got on the coaster at the same time for the festivities, and bought everyone lunch: hamburgers and frozen lemonades at the concession stand. It was a wonderfully fun day!

And for those of you who call tacky, y0u should know it was in line for this coaster that the happy couple met. :)

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Shannan July 24, 2013 at 6:41 am

Danielle, that’s what you’re supposed to do. Your classy friends found a way to be able to have their nuptials at the place they met. Though it’s an unconventional way to get married, they still managed to treat their guests the way a betrothed couple is supposed to treat guests: like guests!!

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Erin July 24, 2013 at 9:12 am

I think that sounds pretty cute.

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Wild Irish Rose July 24, 2013 at 10:28 am

I don’t find this tacky at all, because the HC paid for everything for their guests. That’s the way it’s supposed to be done. What’s tacky is “inviting” people to pay their own way for YOUR special event.

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KarenK July 24, 2013 at 10:44 am

Nothing tacky about this at all! It’s sweet and really reflects the HC. The difference is, they paid for everything. The tacky part is expecting your guests to pay.

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Carol July 25, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Did they literally get married on the ride? Like shouting ‘I DOOOOOOO’ as they went down the hill? Because that is awesome. That sounds like such a fun, wonderful wedding.

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Danielle July 25, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Yes, literally on the coaster. The groom’s brother is a minister…they went on the ride several times rehearsing the nuptials, so they could get the timing just right and get to kiss the bride as they were pulling back into the stop point. They are such fun people.

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carol July 26, 2013 at 8:15 am

Okay. That wins for coolest wedding ever.

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The Elf July 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm

I agree about the entrance fee, but I don’t see any problem with having only immediate family and best friends (thus keeping the cost way down) at the wedding/ball game and hosting a reception for a wider crowd later. That seems a good way to straddle the line.

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NostalgicGal July 24, 2013 at 2:03 am

A sporting event or a rennfair; is just renting a venue. You want your guests to attend, you cover the cost of the venue. Which means if you arrange to get married on the pitcher’s mound before the game, you buy the tickets for your guests. You want to get married at a theme park; you buy the enterance tickets for your guests… period. If they’re expected to eat there, you pick that up too, it’s catered in that case and you pick up the per-head just like a normal catering.

Same thing for a kid’s party at the Zoo, ChuckyCheese’s or any other type of restaurant. If you are the host you pay the catering and enterance fee.

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Maggie July 24, 2013 at 2:38 am

Danielle, that sounds like a wonderful fun wedding, and in a location very special to the couple. And kudos to them for paying for everyone. It’s the kind of wedding I would love to go to!

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Lo July 24, 2013 at 8:03 am

I believe that a wedding is always free for the guests. The guests are expected to dress appropriately and arrange their own travel and accomodations if needed. The guests must buy their own drinks if there is a cash bar because that’s an extra for some weddings and that’s fine. The guests ought to bring a gift but no one can hold them to it.

The guests must never be charged admission, cough up money at the door, be pressured to give cash to the bride and groom while at the wedding, pay for seats, pay for entertainment, etc. Food should always be free at a reception where food is available.

So it doesn’t matter where the wedding is held, if the vows are at a place that charges admission, a guest shouldn’t have pay admission. Doesn’t matter how many or how few there are. If you want to cut costs invite fewer people.

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Marozia July 24, 2013 at 4:35 pm

I agree with Admin. These types of novelty weddings should not be charged an entrance fee.
When my rather staid, ladylike mother read this post, she rolled her eyes and said three words:
‘Tacky, tacky, tacky’. I couldn’t agree more!

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ddwwylm July 25, 2013 at 4:49 am

I was invited to a Ren faire wedding several years ago. I am so glad I was not wrong to think it was tacky that we had to drive a fairly long distance to the event, pay for our admission, and pay for our food and drinks once we got there. I sort of get why the HC did it, it was the type of thing they and most of their friends were into, so most of their friends would be going to the faire anyway, but I and my husband had no interest in going to ren faire other than the wedding.
At the time, I posed the question to a wedding related chat group I was a part of and was fairly harshly rebuked for thinking it was tacky. I remember someone relating it to a parking expense, then when you go to a wedding and have to pay for parking you don’t expect the HC to pay for that. Well, glad to find out years later that I was actually right. We did get interviewed for a travel show about weird happenings around the state, but I don’t think it we ever made it on the air since we didn’t have much positive to say about the ren faire. the host was super excited about filming a wedding, too bad he found us after it had taken place.

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Hanna July 25, 2013 at 5:19 pm

This! This is my point when I ask others what they think of having to pay they always act as though I’m trying to get some sort of freebies or don’t want to cough up the money to pay for myself. People of the younger generation have NO idea you don’t ask others to pay for a party/wedding you invite them to!

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Nicole July 25, 2013 at 6:24 pm

My best friend got married at a Ren Faire. The event package the couple purchased included a set number of entrance tickets. The couple then purchased enough extra tickets to accommodate ALL of their guests. This was still cheaper than every other venue they considered. On a side note, they also chose to get married in the morning so that the guests could then have the rest of the day to do whatever they wanted, festival related or not. She was the farthest thing from a bridezilla I’ve ever seen.

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Wendy July 25, 2013 at 8:08 pm

The only time I have heard of this the couple had paid for close family and friend the people they really wanted there but either when pressured to invite more people eg distant relatives or pressured for an invite their response was its a public venue and we can’t stop you from coming but pay your own way.

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Sara July 25, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Just wanting an opinion on a similar subject, destination weddings. When having a destination wedding, what parts are the couple expected to finance for the guests and what is expected that the guests pay for out of pocket?

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Kimstu July 26, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Destination weddings are pretty non-traditional anyway, so there isn’t much in the way of standards of etiquette accumulated for them. Traditionally, the point of hosting a wedding was to celebrate your marriage with your family and friends, so why would anyone want to have their wedding in a faraway place that was difficult for their family and friends to get to? Nowadays, of course, many bridal couples live far away from most of their family and friends already, so some of them figure, “eh, what’s an extra few thousand miles”.

As I understand it, destination weddings work the same as regular weddings except for being far more expensive. That is, the hosts are expected to pay for any event(s) that they’re actually inviting the guests to, while it’s up to the guests to pay for getting to the venue and accommodations while they’re there, as well as for any non-hosted activities, even though this can run into thousands of dollars for destination weddings. Some bridal couples undertake to pay more of their guests’ expenses, but it’s never safe to count on that if it’s not explicitly stated.

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Decimus July 27, 2013 at 4:14 pm

In our case my SO and I are from different states in parts of the country so somebody would be traveling no matter where we picked. So we picked the location we met, where the friends who introduced us live, which happens to be roughly geographically between my parents and her parents. So it’s a destination wedding, but pretty much everyone would be needing to buy airfare anyhow, and the destination we picked is cheaper than either of the alternatives. We’re covering the rehearsal dinner and reception, and transportation to and from the chapel and the hotel (where the meals also are). Our guests cover their travel arrangements and hotel costs (at the group discount rate).

It actually seemed the kindest way to go for all!

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NostalgicGal August 5, 2013 at 11:55 pm

We did similar, we were from same state but met elsewhere and made everyone drive/come to where we now lived (college town). I did not want to get married in the little dismal church my mom was fixated on; I’d been in the one where her family had gone to have certain events happen as the one closest to where they were from was too small for anything…. that was about the only thing we ‘won’ over….

Nobody had to fly, that’s for sure!

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Elle July 27, 2013 at 5:24 pm

My husband & I had a destination wedding and we just told friends and family when, where and who we had booked with, if they wanted to join us, great. He has a lot of family members and extended family, whereas my side of the family is quite small. We originally planned to get married where we live, but we both quite tired of setting the date to accommodate his family. Then it got to the point that they wanted us to get married in his home town, as it would be easier for his side of the family, no consideration was given to what was convenient for us. By then we had gone to a travel agent, found out it was cheaper to go and do a destination wedding, and booked it. Since then, a lot of the younger members of my DH family have gone that route and haven’t regretted it. DH had one brother who got married close to home and said he wished he would have done what we did as it cost them so much and he found it a headache trying to satisfy their parents wish list. Trust me, when you have parents that have over 10 siblings on each one’s side and they and all their extended family members expect and invitation, you would do the same thing.

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