(Closed) Is it OK to invite guests just to the reception for an out of town wedding?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
509 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@Happy7: Just do a private ceremony. I’ve seen it done before and been to a reception where the ceremony was private. Honestly, I feel the same way but am having an open ceremony. My issue is with people having +1’s that I don’t know or have never met. It’s an intimate moment between FI and I, as well as a celebration for us and our families. If you were to do a private ceremony I would suggest only doing immediate family and friends. If it’s private most people understand and don’t take offense in that (or least they shouldn’t). As far as the STD’s go, it’s just an announcement and I wouldn’t worry about it. If you put ‘invitation to follow’ on them just be sure to mention that it’s a private ceremony in the invitations. I hope this helps a little bit.

Post # 4
Member
8325 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Honestly I would attend an out of town reception- a ceremony and reception sure but just the reception no way.

I think it is asking a lot of your guests to do that. A lot of people will think- You aren;t important enough to us to see us get married but you can drive 2 hours to come party with us and don’t forget the gift! If there was no travel involved then sure a private ceremony followed by a reception might fly but I think it is the asking of guests to make a 4 hr round trip that is the problem.

Post # 5
Member
1243 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

@Happy7:  We did something similar.  Our ceremony was family only and we had a reception on a different day.  I think that having the events on different days might make this easier for you, because then you don’t have people talking about how beautiful the ceremony was in front of people who weren’t there.

Our issue was that it didn’t matter where we had the wedding, people would have to travel.  We decided to have it kind of at the middle point of both families and where we and most of our friends live.  

For us, it was a great decision (although I would rethink the 2 day schedule if I had to do it over again).  My husband wanted a intimate civil ceremony and I didn’t want a lot of production so that we could focus on family and our commitment.  It also worked out because I didn’t want a bridal party (other than my sister) and this way, I had an out with my friends who were hurt (“it’s family-only”).

If your family and your FI’s family are cool with this, I’d go ahead.  Yes, we asked a lot of people to travel to our reception (2-3 hours each way), but they could also decline if that was too much for them.  We got a great deal at a hotel right downtown if people wanted to stay.  Once they came to the reception, they were completely covered.  I would not do this unless you are prepared to really treat your guests well in terms of food and drink- for us, that meant full open bar.  I sacrificed everything else (including my dress, did a tonne of DIY, found a friendor to do my flowers…basically everything that didn’t really effect my guests’ experience) to ensure that we had a great location, fantastic food, and free-flowing drinks.  We also made a speech thanking everyone for making the extra effort and told them how much they mean to us.  I would highly suggests doing that.  I would also mention how much you appreciate them in your thank you cards.

We had nothing but compliments…even from one person who initially wasn’t overly thrilled at the idea of coming to “a fake wedding”.  They had a wonderful time.

Post # 6
Member
2584 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Around here, it’s pretty common to invite close friends and family to the ceremony and dinner, and then invite more people to just the dance, so I would see no problem with doing it the way you want…. but honestly, I wouldn’t invite out of town people to anything except the whole thing. Especially if you’ve already sent out STDs. I think a private ceremony could potentially work, and if I were a local guest I’d be fine with it. But if I were out of town I probably wouldnt’ make the trip, depending on how far away it would be.

Post # 7
Member
1243 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

@Happy7:  Ack!  I didn’t see that you already sent out STDs…and this is why I don’t get Save The Dates, to be honest.  Much more stressful in the end.

I think that, because you’ve sent out the STDs, you’re going to have to have everyone at the ceremony.  I don’t know what the wording was on your STD, but if it was a standard “we’re getting married on this date, see you there!” kind of thing, I think that you’re stuck.

Post # 9
Member
1243 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

@Happy7:  LOL  Stressful times.  I gets it.

I think so, to be honest.  You might want to feel people out about this (talk to your mom or grandparents, etc) to see if you can gage reactions.  If it is easier to move the ceremony to the day before, I would do it.  I said above that it’s something that I would change, but to be honest, it was for selfish reasons.  I was exhausted…I fell asleep in my hairdresser’s chair.  Not good.  Obviously your FI is onboard, which is really the biggest part.  If the both families are fine with this, then I would do the small ceremony and big reception.

We had invites printed for the reception and then I handwrote little invites inviting our family members to the ceremony and dinner the day before and inserted them into our pocket fold.  I was very clear on the “official” invite that it was a cocktail party “to celebrate the marriage of”, so that people weren’t confused.

Post # 10
Member
509 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I failed to understand the out of town part. smh. I swear, my mind is freaking jumbled today! Scrap what I said. I wouldn’t expect anyone to drive two hours just for a reception. -Did I read that right?- FI and I were going to originally get married up north -2 hours north for us, further for some others-. The only reason we didn’t do it is simply because my cousin had an up north wedding -also 2 hour drive- and about 150 (if even that) of the 350 that were invited showed up. It’s just too inconvenient. If it wasn’t an out of town wedding I wouldn’t see a huge problem with it.

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