Opinions please

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
3570 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I don’t know.  Don’t a lot of people do this?  So the majority of guests would just go to the big party and not the ceremony?  I don’t see the big deal. 


Post # 4
2642 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

In the US, and I think Canada too, tiered receptions are indeed rude.  It says that some guests are good enough to watch you (general) get married and buy you a present but not good enough to feed.  Imagine how awkward it would be to show up to a wedding, then ask the person next you what time dinner was, and that person not be invited to dinner.  I don’t think you were harsh telling him that.

I can’t really comment on the toonie bar.  I personally think cash bars are rude, but apparently in some circles they are totally acceptable.

Post # 5
852 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

You will have a lot of replies saying its rude.

I would say its expected (as I’m from the UK and its common to have one set of guests to the day and another join in the evening).

So my advice would be to think about all the weddings they have been to in their area and their circle of friends and go with what they think would be acceptable to the guests…..and affordable for themselves.

Post # 7
606 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

It doesn’t sound right to me.  I think it’s rude.  But I don’t know the cutsom where they live. 

Could they have a luncheon reception (i’m thinking sandwiches, salads, cake and punch) for all of their guests and then have a big party afterward?  I think toonie bar is one where drinks cost $2 each, right?


Post # 9
89 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

I’ve been to a wedding that was like that. Our invitation said that we were invited to only the reception. Okay, cool! Food’s usually at a reception, right? Nope. We showed up at the time in invite stated and noticed that everyone was finishing up eating. The food was only for the guests that were invited to the ceremony. I understand trying to save money where you can, but as a guest, I felt extremely slighted. 🙁 I wouldn’t recommend this. Especially if the guests are going to walk in on other guests eating and not have those same opportunities given to them…

Post # 10
3217 posts
Sugar bee

Even in places where tiered receptions are popular, guests can only be added, never subtracted.

Once you get invited to a portion you are in.  There is no in then out then back in again.

Your friend should host the wedding they can afford.

Post # 11
1243 posts
Bumble bee

@Trixxie_90:  Here is what we are doing:

1:00 pm marriage ceremony for immediate family and any OOT guests (looking like 24 people with us)

2:00 pm luncheon with the folks above, at a restaurant

6:00 pm large cocktail party and dance with appx 110 ppl (including the family and OOT guests) (guests will be fed at the reception, just not a seated meal)

How we have arranged it is not cheap. We are spending just as much as a full seated dinner for everyone (hors d’oeuvres are generally more expensive than seated dinners). But we wanted a small and intimate wedding, and a large party, so this is what we’ve arranged. (Our friends are very happy with the format)


Post # 12
917 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

I’m not thrilled by the notion of a tiered reception, but sometimes it’s the only way to celebrate with all the people you want to see that day. I wouldn’t advise against it, but I would encourage your friend to explore all other options in terms of guest list and food.

My own parents had a tiered reception (in 1980) where dinner was for family/bridal party only and the open bar dance party was for everyone they wished to invite. My grandparents simply couldn’t afford to feed everyone and their local friends were more interested in the boozing than the catered dinner  at the reception anyway. They’ve never mentioned anyone giving them crap for it. This happened in the US, in semi-rural Ohio.

Post # 13
2649 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@Trixxie_90:  No, it’s all incredibly rude. They seem to want an audience rather than guests since they don’t want to provide an iota of hospitality. If they don’t want to provide a full meal then they need to plan their ceremony during a non meal time. It’s perfectly fine to have a cake and punch reception but its not at all fine to ask your guests to pay for their own refreshments. Why on earth do they think anyone would want to attend the event they have in mind?

Post # 14
681 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I think the twonie bar is totally okay (VERY common in Canada, especially Alberta). Of the 15 weddings I’ve been to in the last two years, 14 have been twonie bars. So all good there.

I do think it’s rude to not have dinner for everyone. So what – they would have the wedding around 1 or 2pm, and then guests would have to go off and feed themselves while family/OOT guests eat? Weird.

Post # 16
1644 posts
Bumble bee

@Trixxie_90:  The basic rule is, that

  1. you can invite whomever you want to any social event (yes .. despite what you may have heard to the contrary, and still providing that you cannot separate ‘married’ couples or engaged couples) but
  2. you cannot invite anyone to part of a social event, and you cannot talk to people about social events that they are NOT invited to; and
  3. you cannot invite people to events that are hosted by someone else.

So, you can have two different guest-lists for two different social events. But to be ‘different’ they need to have enough separation in time and place that you don’t risk the guests arriving for the latter event running into the guests departing from (or still lingering over) the former event. If the two events happen to be on the same day, you don’t want to have them at the same venue for that reason.

Typically a wedding ceremony is hosted either by a church on behalf of God, or by the civil court on behalf of society. So if people want to invite people to celebrate with them, they have to have some sort of reception after the ceremony and that, in turn, demands that some sort of appropriate refreshments be served. The ceremony and the ceremony reception pretty much have to be adjacent without much of a gap between them. Most properly, there should be NO gap; but certainly there shouldn’t be a big enough gap to fit in an entire separate social event at a different venue in between.

The groom can have something like what he is planning, but only if he rearranges the order of events. The most traditional way to have a big reception and a private dinner, is to have the wedding in the late morning or early afternoon, serve punch and cake to all the attendees and provide dancing if so desired, let the bride and groom depart formally from the social whirl tossing garters and bouqets in their wake (and receiving rice and old shoes tossed back at them) — and then retire to the family home and enjoy an intimate wedding ‘breakfast’ (which is to say, dinner) with their parents before actually departing on their honeymoon. After all, they have to eat dinner sometime, and there is no rule saying that they cannot eat with anyone else for the rest of time.

If the groom has his heart set on an evening dance party — actually a little untraditional by my longer-term view — then he can be non-traditional about a few other things, too. Like, schedule an evening ceremony for after the dinner hour (so that guests can enjoy a hearty meal at home before coming to the wedding) and have the dance-reception immediately follow the ceremony. Then he and his bride can schedule an intimate pre-ceremony family-only dinner. Of course, that means that he will see the bride before the ceremony. But it seems silly to worry about a little thing like that nowadays when couples frequently also have children and a joint retirement plan long before the ceremony.

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