(Closed) Can we invite people to the reception only??

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: Is it OK to have reception only guests?
    Yes! Its your day, if you want a small ceremony go for it! : (68 votes)
    64 %
    No! People will be offended. : (38 votes)
    36 %
  • Post # 3
    Member
    411 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: January 2011

    I think it’s perfectly fine. Just make sure that you spread the word that the ceremony is immediate family only, but that you’ll be having a reception in order to celebrate with everyone that evening.

    Reception only is fine – ceremony only is not.

    Post # 4
    Member
    1872 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: February 2011

    I would advise against a big reception immediately following a private ceremony. I think it’s better to have your big reception at least a few weeks later (in full disclosure, we had our private ceremony five mos before our big reception, so obviously, I think this is okay!).

    The reason is that some people WILL be offended that you didn’t ask them to the ceremony (it’s sort of like, “What? We weren’t good enough to share in the moment?)–and they are more likely to be offended if the event in question had JUST happened. I mean, you guys will walk in all happy and excited and they will not have been around to witness it. However, if you set the events far apart, people seem to understand that they are two SEPARATE events (as opposed to being invited to “one half” of the same event).

    The other key is that you must keep the guest list to your wedding small and clear-cut–ie, family only or something. It’s not a good idea to create a social hierarchy wtih your wedding.

    Post # 5
    Member
    7307 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: October 2010

    I agree with JennyW1- if you have two events weeks apart it is fine.. Otherwise no.

    Post # 7
    Member
    2714 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    I have to agree with @JennyW1:, I would be offended if I was invited to a reception but not the ceremony that directly preceded it. I know a lot of people space these events out and that’s ok – i.e. my friend had a small private ceremony with the big blow out a few months later and I had no problem with that. But there is something about having it all in one day but not being invited to all the events that rubs me the wrong way.

    I would think about your guest list and what you think their reaction would be.

    Post # 8
    Member
    3982 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: July 2011

    I wouldn’t do it. If somebody invited me to their wedding reception but not their wedding, I honestly probably woudn’t go. I would just feel like I wasn’t important enough to them to be invited to their ceremony then they obviously wouldn’t miss me at the reception. Especially if I would have to travel much more than 20 minutes.

    Post # 9
    Member
    2714 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    @Miss Sardine: Just saw your update. Nope. You have a few different options here: Invite everyone to the ceremony AND the reception, have the reception on a different date, or find a different ceremony location that can accomodate your guest list.

    Post # 10
    Member
    3672 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: March 2011

    I agree with everyone else. For me, even knowing it was where you wanted the ceremony I’d still wonder why you couldn’t try to find a bigger ceremony location if you really wanted everyone to attend.  I agree with the three options TinyTina just gave.  

    Post # 11
    Member
    5755 posts
    Bee Keeper

    i think you can do it with some explaining as far as the size of the ceremony site and being unable to fit everyone. People will certainly understand that. I really can’t imagine anyone being so miffed as to not attend the reception because of it.

    Post # 12
    Member
    5118 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    One of my good friends had a wedding like this. I wasn’t bothered at all that it was a small, intimate, family only event. However, they did break up the day a bit and had a morning wedding (around 11), had a nice family lunch together, and then had a reception from 3-9. It was all very informal and sweet at their home, and I don’t think that anyone was offended that they weren’t invited to the ceremony since it was clearly a family event. 

    I don’t know I’d feel the exact same if I knew the wedding was going on while I was having cocktails and then just having the ceremony crew come over to join everyone who was waiting for the reception. Then I might be a little miffed, especially if it wasn’t ‘just family’ but more of an ‘A-list.’ To avoid hurt feelings, I would have some sort of gap to make them separate events, but don’t know that week in between is necessary. The few hours between my friend’s wedding seemed to be cool with everyone.

    Post # 13
    Member
    231 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2011

    I think that in the situation you described, inviting people to the reception only would be fine. However, I think you should set REALLY clear limits as to who comes to the ceremony (having just bridal party and immediate family members only would get rid of a lot of drama). Will people be upset that they couldn’t see the ceremony? Maybe, but if you set clear guidelines they will get over it!

    I think having a separate event a few weeks later would be fine too, but that wouldn’t solve the problem-no mater what you do, some people won’t be able to be there, and they’ll know they were “left out.”

    Post # 15
    Member
    1872 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: February 2011

    @Miss Sardine: You know your guests better than we do, so if you think they’d be okay with it, then go ahead.

    I am curious though as to why it’s important to you to have the reception immediately following–why wouldn’t you wait?

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