(Closed) Inviting to the reception but not the ceremony???

posted 9 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
37 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2009

This is exactly what we are doing too.  We are having a private ceremony for just our immediate family and wedding party, then inviting everyone to our reception.  We have made it know from the start that thats what we were going to do.  That way no one has hurt feeling that they werent invited to the ceremony.  We have had several friends ask us if they could come to the wedding still and we just make it clear that we would love them to come celebrate with us at the reception, but bc of space issues we cant invite too many people to the ceremony.  I think everyone understands.  Im still working on the invitation wording, but we will have 2 sets going out.  The set for the reception only will say something like " please join us to celebrate the marriage of mr and mrs toews".  Still have to fine tune that, but it give you an idea. 

Post # 4
Member
45 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: February 2018

I am so glad to see this post! I am actually in the exact same situation. My FH and I decided almost immediately after getting engaged that we wanted a private ceremony with just our immediate families and bridal party. (I have anxiety issues the way it is, and walking down the aisle with tons of people staring at me sounds like my worst possible nightmare, and FH is a reserved, private person, so it just seems like the best idea for us.)

 That being said, we still wanted to be able to celebrate with all of our friends and family, so, we too are doing a private ceremony with a bigger reception. So, yes, it is very possible! Like Soontobetoews, I think the most important thing is to be upfront with all of your friends and family once you’ve made the decision.. I was lucky because my brother and SIL did a private ceremony, so my family was prepared, however, FH’s family was not. They’ve since warmed up to the idea as we’ve been very open about why this important to us and why it is also important for all of our friends and family to be there to celebrate with us. As my wonderful, insightful mother said to me, no matter what decisions you do or do not make, someone will always talk, so at least, if you are happy and they are talking, it won’t be so bad. The worst thing I’ve heard so was from FH’s uncle, who said, "Just remember, our generation of women live for this sort of thing, so they might be offended if they don’t get to witness the ceremony firsthand."

Soon-to-be Toews: I just posted two wording options this morning that I am considering for the reception-only guests on the "Beehive" board if you are interested in getting some ideas and giving some feedback. 

Soon-to-be Mrs. B: Good luck in making this really important decision. Just keep in the back of your mind whenever you think you are ust going to give to what others want because it is easier (Believe me, I almost did several times when the tension got too great with FMIL), this is day is about the two of you, and no matter what, the love your family has for you will not change because of a decision you make that they disagree with. That being said, if you need any additional support or help on how to approach people about your decision, feel free to ask! I’d be happy to help. 

 

Post # 5
Member
45 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: February 2018

Oh, one last thing – make sure before you do any talking to anyone (other than those closest to you), you have decided HOW you want to draw the line on who will attend the ceremony and who will not. I can assure you, it IS really tough knowing some of my closest friends and my favorite aunt won’t be there, but in the end, we obviously couldn’t hand pick and choose who got to come and who didn’t.. so, draw some kind of clear line of who will and won’t be there so there aren’t any hurt feelings that this friend got invited and that one didn’t. Good luck!

Post # 6
Member
2641 posts
Sugar bee

During your reception you should show a replay of the ceremony!   Maybe during the cocktail hour or something.  Maybe you could even send a small picture from the ceremony when you send your thank you notes.  It will seem like they were there. (And they’ll se just how small it is too.

Post # 7
Member
161 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

Well, as a guest that was just told I wasn’t invited to the ceremony I can tell you I was actually very hurt.  The ceremony & reception are being held at the same place and I don’t understand how she can say there isn’t room at the cermony but there is at the reception.  This was someone I considered a very close friend and since she has got engaged she has seemed more and more distant.  Maybe I am being overly sensitive because I feel hurt by other actions. 

 Oh – I also agree you need to send seperate invites. My invitation HAS the ceremony info on it … and was just asked to come later.

Post # 8
Member
216 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

Uh, Amber, that makes no sense! Why would your friend send you an invite with the ceremony information on it and then ask you not to come? No wonder you’re hurt–that’s totally thoughtless!

We’re having a smaller ceremony and a bigger reception, and ours is all in one place.  I personally think you need to have the courage to be able to tell people why you’re doing this if you’re going to do it.  I’ve seen lots of people tell me "oh, just say it’s space issues" but as you can see from Amber’s post, people can smell BS, and I personally don’t like saying things that aren’t true (go figure!) The more often I had to tell people our reason, the easier it got. 

We did two separate invites, and the one for those coming later, to the reception only says that we invite them

"The Celebration of their marriage

May Sixteenth Two Thousand Nine.

Please joins us at half past four o’clock in the afternoon

For cocktails, dinner and dancing"

And of course, there’s no reception card.

 

Post # 10
Member
216 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

Love it! Our reception is the same kind of thing. I drool whenever I see magazine wedding photos of white tents outside with the soft glowing light of a wedding reception inside.  Tres Romantique!

Post # 11
Member
752 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Hi, Soon2BeMrs.B!

I think that’s a completely acceptable thing to do! According to  the "usual" etiquette rules, anyone you invite to you ceremony should be invited to your reception, but there’s no rule operating in the other direction! 

If I were you, I’d have two types of invitation drawn up. One should be for the ceremony, and it can be just like any other wedding invite with a reception card included or the reception info on the invite itself. Then, have fun creating a second, less formal invite that asks guests to join you for a party celebrating your marriage at x date and time. The reception-only invite should explicitly yet tactfully make it clear that the wedding will have already taken  place, but that you are looking forward to celebrating that with them. 🙂 

If you’d like specific ideas for wording, let me know!

I hope this helps! Good luck!

 

Post # 12
Member
1719 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2008 - Winery in the Gold Country

I think it’s perfectly fine to invite all to the reception and not the ceremony… but not vice versa!  So you’re golden!

Post # 13
Member
2373 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

I second Mrs. Penguin

Post # 14
Member
97 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

I agree.  You can totally do this.  If you do seperate invites I think you just need to state that a private marriage ceremony is taking place and you would like all to come celebrate the marriage at _____________ on the reception invite just so people understand the situation.  I have seen it before and haven’t felt bad about not being invited to the wedding.  People understand (or should) that it is about you and your fiance and how you want to celebrate this day.  Good Luck!

Post # 15
Member
461 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2009

JDH said it great in remembering the wording. I once was invited as "come celebrate our marriage" and was a little bummed I missed the ceremony  , not that I didn’t understand , but the warning would have been nice.

Post # 16
Member
4 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: October 2010

its your day, do whatever makes you comfortable. I am dealing with the same issue. You dont want people sitting in the church going, "Whats the brides name again?" Its not worth it and I think that weddings that are huge are over rated. I think sometimes it takes away the intimacy and meaning.

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