Invited to Ceremony, Not Reception – MC Wording?

posted 2 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
Member
3709 posts
Sugar bee

Don’t issue an invitation to the ceremony only. Don’t! You can cite venue restrictions. Just tell the people who inquire that it’s perfectly alright to attend just the ceremony, as though it was in an open-to-the public church setting. Setting guests up into tiers is AWFUL!

I remember when my daughter’s teacher got married and invited the whole class to attend the ceremony. I had to pick up some kids and drive into center city (45 minutes), then pay for a parking garage, and there was nothing for the kids, after the ceremony. To get out of the ceremony room, we had to walk through the room where they were serving the cocktail hour food. I took them to a fast-food restuarant, on the way home. AWKWARD! 

 

Post # 3
Member
240 posts
Helper bee

I’m sorry, but there’s no way to make this less awkward through wording. I know you’re hoping for some kind of magical answer that makes this easier to do, but there isn’t because it’s just not something you should be doing.

The ONLY way you could pull this off is to do the reception a few hours later at a different venue, or have the chosen ones come back to the reception. There is no possible way to politely tell half of your guests to leave while the others get to go inside to the reception.

If you really want to do this well, you’ll have to do the reception at another venue or another time. There’s really no way to pull this off and not come across really badly.

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by  Moraz.
  • This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by  Moraz.
Post # 4
Member
1619 posts
Bumble bee

I think the reason you’re finding it difficult to come up with the right words for the MC to say is because however you try to sugar coat it, it’s still awkward to basically say, “special people come eat – everyone else go home now.”    I agree with PP that without some gap in time between the ceremony and reception or some gap in venue this is going to be difficult ot accomplish.  

Post # 5
Member
11734 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

This is incredibly, incredibly rude.  How would you feel if you came to a ceremony, hung out at cocktail hour, and then were told, “Oh, you didn’t make the cut for the actual reception, go home now, but thanks for your gift!” 

I would be horrified, offended, angry, and hurt if I were one of your lesser guests.  Because honestly, you’re tiering your guests, and telling them at your wedding that they just aren’t good enough to go to your reception.  I can’t think of a nice way to tell some friends/family members they aren’t good enough to go to your reception.

Post # 6
Member
579 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Yeah, I’m sorry, but no matter how beautifully you word it, the message that is received will be, “sorry, you’re just not THAT important.”

I would try to be understanding if my friend told me that, but I’d still be hurt.

Post # 7
Member
6506 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear but don’t do this. I would feel pretty crappy if I realized only “special guests” were expected to continue on inside and that I was supposed to leave. You have no way of knowing that those extra 60-70 guests won’t be offended. The reason you’re having trouble finding the correct wording for the MC is because there is no “correct” wording. It still be awkward and likely hurtful for those that ate expected to leave. And what if someone makes a mistake and ends up inside even though they’re not invited to the reception? Are you going to kick them out?

Post # 8
Member
13 posts
Newbee

I don’t agree with other girls. I have been on plenty weddings and some of them I went just for the ceremony. For me is the ceremony what is actually IMPORTANT. Not the reception, nor the gifts etc. The ceremony where you exchange the VOW and promise to be there for each other no matter what. I think everyone should be glad you invite him to the ceremony because you show them that it is importnt to you to be surrounded by people you care about when you start a new chapter of life. Maybe I am weird but that is my opinion. 

For example I have friends from school,childhood etc. I would be so pleased if they came for our wedding and I donť feel weird at all that they will leave after ceremony. If I inveted everyone I want be there this wedding would be about 200 guests and I don’t see the poin of inviting everyone especially when is near to impossible to spend some time with every guest with this number. And Yes I know that 100 people is a small wedding in US but still the wedding is about vows and love not about reception. Of course I would not expect gifts from guests who go just for the ceremony but wedding is not about wedding gifts either.

Post # 9
Member
6273 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

this is the strangest thing i ever heard.  only issue invitations to guests that you are inviting to everything.

that’s like these people knowing you are having a dinner party in your house for your closest friends and someone else saying, i’m just going to watch you eat through the window because i want to see what you are serving.

weddings are expensive and not everyone can be invited.  stick to your list.

 

Post # 10
Member
11734 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Verulove1771:  The reception is how a proper host will thank the guests for attending the ceremony.  You’re right in saying that the ceremony is the important part, but I find it incredibly rude to think that people are willing to tier their guests and tell some that they aren’t worth the money of attending the reception.

Post # 11
Member
455 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Give me a break. You already know this is a bad idea. Don’t do it. What do you expect us to tell you?

Post # 12
Member
13 posts
Newbee

JiminyCricket:  I see this differently because we donť give “invitations” for our guests. In Czech republic you just give “annoucement” that the two of you decided to get married and where the ceremony will be. If you want to actually invite someone for the lunch and reception, you add a card with “We would like to invite you for the wedding table”. Usually the lunch is held just for the closest family and the reception after is for friends and etc. 

Post # 13
Member
2791 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - Walnut Hill Bed & Breakfast

This sounds very strange to me and I don’t think there is any possible way to word it politltey. The only possible option that seems “okay” is just casually telling the ceremony-only guests (like the older ladies at work) that they can just show up like it’s a public event for the ceremony/cocktail hour. 

I wouldn’t do it. 

Post # 14
Member
2791 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - Walnut Hill Bed & Breakfast

Furthermore, as a guest i wouldn’t want to spend the time getting ready and planning an outfit (cocktail attire isn’t everyday clothing for me!) and driving all the way to the venue (when was the last time a wedding wasn’t an hour drive?) and then driving all the way home looking for dinner.

Post # 15
Member
50 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I’ve heard of this before – I’m also in Australia and a colleague a couple of years ago invited our office to the ceremony.

I think people would get it right if you kept the ceremony-only invitees very casual. In my case he sent around an email a few days before saying where they were getting married and ‘we’d love to see you at the ceremony’. The message was clear enough.

I think certainly don’t issue any kind of formal invitation. If these people are as kind and understanding as you say, a very informal verbal invitation to the *ceremony* should be OK. Can the canapes be before the ceremony maybe? And then people can start making themselves scarce after the ceremony in the usual gap between ceremony and reception?

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