Hi Ladies - I'm writing this post, basically to just talk something out, cause right now that's about all I can do.
FH and I got engaged in April and have been planning our dream wedding for August 2008 at his sister's house. Beautiful outdoor ceremony on the front lawn with reception in backyard. We've got the tent and the caterer and the port o johns and the DJ and photographer all hired and just about everything else all planned out and then WHAMO! FSIL is in the military and just received new orders. She's being deployed to Turkey in April for 15 months. The news that she's being sent away for such a long period of time is devastating enough for us, but there's no way that I can pull off a wedding for 200 people at her house when she's not even going to be there. So now we're in the position where we need to get married before April, so that she can be there, but we also need to figure out where we'll have it, if we'll keep it simply to family for now and then still have a celebration in August, just in a different place (save the dates have already been mailed) or go all out now. Can I pull off a wedding for 200 people in 2 1/2 months. I'm so upset that my dream wedding is now kinda out the window, since I've been planning for months, but now I need to wrap my arms around a completely different type of wedding. Winter vs. Summer, inside vs. outside, different colors, different flowers, who can come now vs. summer vacation time, etc. It's all just totally overwhelming and I'm still taking it all in.
I know I'm sounding a bit selfish cause FSIL has to leave her husband and children for such a long period of time, but I just needed to vent for a minute and then I can get over myself and move on.
Oh, my! So sorry to hear that you are having to deal with this, and that your FSIL will have to be so far away from her family for such a long time!
I would say the first thing to do is sit down with your FH and any other family members who care a lot about the wedding (your mothers? dads? any siblings? any lifelong friends like your MOH or his BestM?), and evaluate your options. You could do it in person or with some sort of group email or Wiki. Try to have everyone keep an open mind while different options are put on the table, then go around the "room" and find out what pros and cons everyone sees with each option.
If by chance you're in a contentious family situation as some families are, it might be too complicated to have everyone participate in this brainstorming session, but at least you and your FH should do it. I think that's the best way to come up with a plan that you'll be satisfied with in the long run. Even if your new plan doesn't go perfectly, you will have peace of mind knowing that you selected it after considering a range of options.