Ceremony Invite Only

posted 3 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
8677 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

I don’t think it’s a good idea. “Thanks for watching us get married. Now get out.” That’s how it’ll be percieved. The reception is generally the bride and groom’s “thank you” to the guests for actually coming and supporting them.

Post # 4
1548 posts
Bumble bee

@BrideRhandi:  I don’t think you should invite everyone to a ceremony without them being invited to the reception but that’s just my opinion 

Post # 5
1491 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@BrideRhandi:  Amongst many of my Christian friends it’s common to get a ceremony-only invite because the church community is HUGE and people care more about witnessing the vows than going to the reception. I have had people ask to see my very intimate wedding ceremony after my invitations went out and my budget was set, so we have some extras coming but they have repeatedly said they wanted to support FI and me in our wedding ceremony, and don’t mind not coming to the dinner.


However, in most cases, ceremony-only invites can be perceived as rude. I attend these ceremony-only invites myself if I’m local and I’m not offended that I’m not invited to the dinner, it’s a huge cost. However, outside of my Christian friends, this has not been done. For most of your friends who are begging for an invite, the most appropriate response would probably be “our wedding venue is limited in size hence we regret we won’t be able to invite everyone”

Post # 6
4513 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Uhh… I think its really pretty rude honestly. Its like “come to the free part, but we aren’t feeding you.” I’m sure there are some people that would be okay just witnessing your actual vows, but :-/

Post # 7
346 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Poor taste, I wouldn’t do it. If you must give an excuse to these “beggars” just say you wanted to keep it somewhat small and intimate. 

Post # 8
7019 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@BrideRhandi:  First thing: people are incredibly rude fishing for an invitation, and you don’t owe them an invitation. I advocate saying something like, “Sorry, family and close friends only”.

I have known people to tell others where the ceremony is. In fact I did it myself – but only to the church community, and then as a general announcement, not as a specific invitation to anyone. (i.e. the church notice sheet said something like “Paula and fiance are marrying at the church 3pm next Saturday”). I’ve also known teachers and dance teachers to let their pupils know when the ceremony is in a similar way. If you’re having the ceremony in a church with lots of spare space, there’s no real harm in doing that. But anywhere else – where typically you need to provide seating for guests – it’s inappropriate. Because these uninvited people could take the seats of invited guests.

Post # 9
10219 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Etiquette Snob here… lol

Good reply here from @paula1248: (# 7)

Agree that those fishing for Invites are the RUDE ones more than anything else.

Whether casually inviting people to the church is rude… well a lot of that in my experience depends on where you are from and what is the norm where you live / in your social circle

As stated, a lot of times when there is a bigger Church, and the Bride is involved in the Church community, or with a Youth Group (ie Sunday School Teacher, Brownies / Girl Guides, Children’s Sports League etc) then often you’ll hear of invites to the Ceremony being extended to her beloved “fans” so they can come and see her get married.

(BTW this works both ways… Grooms can do the same)

Otherwise, in most settings the Invite to the Ceremony ONLY is extended to those whom are invited to the WHOLE event

— — —

Now there are exceptions to that rule

The first one is the practice of tiered Weddings which are common in the UK (and commonwealth countries)

But even they maintain the practice of once you are there… you are there for the duration, so one of the following scenarios…

Wedding Ceremony – Cocktail Hour – Reception Dinner – Dance


Cocktail Hour – Reception Dinner – Dance


Dance only

— — —

BUT that isn’t to say that going to just the Wedding Ceremony isn’t done

I know for a fact that in Canadian Small Towns, or tight communities, that there can be a big turn out when a local favourite girl (or guy) gets married

Sometimes people line the sidewalk, waiting for her to arrive to catch a glimpse

And if there is room inside the church, they might sneak in and sit in the back pews, or up in the balacony

(These occurances BOTH happened for my own First Wedding back in 1980… and is still very common in the community / small town I grew up in)

So yes in that situation, where that might be regarded quite normal… then when someone mentions the Wedding and you know you don’t have the ability to Invite them… it would be ok to say

“Well we are having a small-ish (or intimate… or Family) Wedding, so we weren’t able to invite all the people we would have loved to have present.  BUT it will be at St James, and you could certainly slip in and catch the Ceremony if you like”

As I said, this won’t fly in all situations… but it will in some, you really HAVE TO KNOW your Audience

— — —

As for B-Lists cause you’ve mentioned having one…

These are totally acceptable in the “Traditonal Etiquette” world AS LONG AS YOU TAKE GREAT CARE IN ADMINISTERING THEM PROPERLY

If you want more info on that you can use the WBee SEARCH BOX to find my previous posts on the topic, or ask me here

Hope this helps,


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