Irish & UK brides – Please explain this to me!

posted 3 years ago in Reception
  • poll: How do you feel about inviting people to the "Afters" only? Choose all that apply to you please!
    I am NOT Irish/UK and I have NEVER heard of this tradition. : (16 votes)
    11 %
    I AM Irish (or from the UK) and I HAVE heard of this tradition : (37 votes)
    26 %
    I AM Irish (or from the UK) and I have NEVER heard of this tradition : (1 votes)
    1 %
    I am NOT Irish/UK and I HAVE heard of this tradition. : (19 votes)
    13 %
    This IS common place - I am overacting and my fiance is right. Invite them to the "afters" only : (36 votes)
    25 %
    This IS common place - But it is still very rude &bad etiquette. Invite ppl to everything or nothing : (8 votes)
    6 %
    This is NOT common place - It's only "normal" in my Fiance's head, and it is actually super rude : (2 votes)
    1 %
    Whether or not it is common place - I would NOT be okay with it. : (12 votes)
    8 %
    Whether or not it is common place - I WOULD be okay with it. : (14 votes)
    10 %
  • Post # 3
    2581 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: October 2014 - UK

    @HappinessIsInDaisies:  This is totally common in the UK. You’d have your close family and friends for the ceremony and the meal, and then after speeches etc you open up the disco and other people arrive.


    Usually a buffet is put out mid-way through the evening so the evening guests get some food as well.




    I can’t explain where it came from, but honestly it’s just accepted as 100% normal here, and people would actually be surprised if that wasn’t the way you were planning it.


    I guess the easiest way to think of it is that the evening is for work colleagues, people you’re not so close to but are still friends with to come and pay their respects and wish you well – it’d be ‘weird’ for them to come to the whole day because the relationship is not that close, so they’d feel out of place with your closest friends and family all around, but they still want to be there for you in some way, and wish you well!


    Post # 4
    1043 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2014

    This is common all over, its not just an irish thing. My brother got married in Canada amd had his work buddies just come to the afters. He even charged them $20 since it was open bar! Ive only lived in ireland for 2 years and only been to 2 weddings here, but i didnt notice anyone come to just the afters… 


    Where is the wedding?!? Im in Ballyvaughan Co. clare right now, and its stunning on this coast!

    Post # 5
    2419 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    Actually, I’ve just realised I’ve voted wrong! I should have gone for “I AM Irish (or from the UK) and I HAVE heard of this tradition.”

    It’s really not at all uncommon to have an evening reception that doesn’t necessarily include dinner. A lot of couples marry, have what’s confusingly called the wedding breakfast (because it doesn’t happen at breakfast time!) for all the guests (usually family and very close friends) that attended the ceremony and then, later on the same day, have an evening do where all friends and, perhaps, workmates are invited. It isn’t considered rude or an invitation to drink everything that isn’t nailed down either. Although being part Irish myself, be prepared for a merry time no matter how you arrange your wedding!

    People don’t go to these evening receptions because they don’t care about the wedding either. They care very much but accept that it isn’t always possible to fit everyone into the wedding breakfast. Don’t forget that both Ireland and the UK are VERY small countries. We don’t have anywhere near as many huge venues that aren’t exceedingly expensive as you do in the US and Canada. So having a day and evening do is a good way of getting as many people as possible to celebrate with you.

    As an example, I had 22 people at my wedding and luncheon afterwards. 200+ people came to our informal evening do. Our ceremony venue only held 40 people and we weren’t prepared to choose one friend over another so we kept the ceremony to family only. Our evening event was fantastic and certainly nobody attended who “didn’t care” about our marriage.  


    Post # 6
    1670 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2014

    This is common in Ireland. FI’s brother is getting married next summer so I’m learning all about Irish weddings! I’m very excited for theirs, which is next June.

    Mostly, I’m afraid they’re going to think our wedding is boring, because where I am from, you have the reception, it ends at midnight, and then you go home! We won’t be raging all night. Good thing their wedding is first!

    It would be considered rude where I am from, but it is not considered rude there, its the done thing, and I’m really excited to see it in action. It will be quite the party!

    Post # 7
    2581 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: October 2014 - UK

    @HappinessIsInDaisies:  I think I voted wrong as well – I was sure I clicked “I AM Irish (or from the UK) and I HAVE heard of this tradition!”, but looks like I got the HAVE NOT option instead.

    Seriously though, it’s not something ANYONE would bat an eyelid at over here.

    Post # 9
    1867 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: March 2013

    I’m from a part of Canada where this is quite common as well, and people who are familiar with/grew up where this is the practice won’t find it odd or rude at all. I personally wouldn’t do it as I only wanted a tiny family-only wedding anyway, but I know plenty of people who’ve done it.

    Post # 10
    852 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2013

    Yep, what @chronicwhimsy:  said.

    UK/Ireland weddings are usually long affairs (my ceremonly will kick off around midday) close friends and family and invited to witness our marriage we will then all move on from the Church to a nearby golf club for a four course meal and speaches.

    Around 6.30 the formal part of the day is over. We then invite other family memebers and friends/work colleages etc to a big party to help celebrate our marriage. We will be throwing on a hog roast to keep them fed, but there will be a cash bar (also common in the UK and I would have thought a must in Ireland ;)) so they pay for their own drinks.

    I’ve seen a lot on the Bee about gifts (covering the plate, expectations etc.) In case it sounds gift grabby (big party of people invited but not good enough for ceremony) Day guests will usually bring gifts. Evening guests will usually (in my experience) bring a card or at the very most a token gift no more than $20

    Its a bit like wetting the babies head. You dont have to witness the birth to want to celebrate with the couple, its fine just to raise a glass in the baby’s honour!

    I’ve never been to a wedding (except a destination wedding in NY) where there have not been all day guests, and then others invited for the evening.

    Post # 11
    86 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    I just gave a similar answer to a post yesterday!

    I’m from USA, but here’s what I know goes on aound here:

    For extremely solemn religious ceremonies, I’ve noticed families in the past  have included a much larger “Reception Only” invitation list than the  Ceremony/Reception list of invites.  It’s not considered a faux-pas to do  this, in fact for many it’s a relief not to endure an extended religious  ceremony, especially if it’s not their shared faith, and to just be included in  the celebration of and the expense of the Dinner, drinks and related  entertainment!

    So my opinion is – I would rather them enjoy the party and help us celebrate than have a great group of people suffering through my ceremony, because that IS what I want, a very tratditonal occaision including communion. And that is not the time to have an unsuspecting party crowd around in that setting.  Hope this helps!


    Post # 12
    844 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2015

    Yep, this is totally normal. I probably get invited to only the reception like, 80% of the time! Our ceremony will probably have about 40 people, going anywhere up to 80 for the reception. It’s totally not rude, it’s very very normal.

    Post # 13
    917 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: February 2014

    I’m from the US (as are my parents) and they had something similar at their wedding. They sent 2 sets of invitations. The first was for the whole deal, ceremony, dinner, and dance party. This went to close friends and family, as my grandparents could not afford above a certain number. The second invitation was for the ceremony and the dance party (meaning they were on their own for dinner). This went to friends who lived in the area that they wanted to celebrate with but that my grandparents couldn’t afford to feed.  TONS of folks showed up for the dance party, apparently. It worked out great for them and there were no bad feelings, as folks understood that they were on a budget.

    Post # 14
    2419 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    @HappinessIsInDaisies:  I realise that only 4 people for “afters” is relatively uncommon. Normally we have LOADS of people to the evening do. But also, since it is usual to get an evening invitation, it isn’t a reflection of unimportance.

    Post # 15
    4072 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: January 2014

    I was one of those evening guests last summer! I was visiting my FI (who lives in England) last summer, and he was invited to the wedding of an old uni friend and roommate. When he mentioned to the bride that I would be visiting during that time, I was then invited to the afters.

    My FI went to the full wedding – the 2pm afternoon ceremony, the dinner, toasts, etc. I came later in the evening, around 7pm, after dinner was done. The bride and groom had a recieving line for this new round of guests. Then they went and did their first dance and everyone got to partying!

    Shortly after there was some food set out. My FI said it was the same stuff that was served at their cocktail hour, plus leftover cake. It was good, and there was enough to fill me up.

    So yes, it’s totally normal in the UK.

    Post # 16
    1482 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2013 - Creek club at ion, SC

    So yea I am from the UK and all the White British weddings of my friends bar one I have been invited to the ceremony and afters but not the reception. Its pretty common and I wouldnt take offense.

    At the same time my mum thinks its rude and she Jamaican. In Jamaican/Jamaican- British weddings its the complete opposite. Often people turn u p univited and there is no seating charts not charge per head. 

    I think you should go with it, especially as the wedding is over here – its his wedding too.

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