(Spin off) Is it rude to skip the ceremony and go to the reception?

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: Is it rude to skip the ceremony and just attend the reception (without a good reason)?
    Yes it's rude : (98 votes)
    83 %
    No : (15 votes)
    13 %
    Other? : (5 votes)
    4 %
  • Post # 3
    9949 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2013

    I would never do so on purpose.  Two of my parents’ friends missed our ceremony because of traffic or something, but I didn’t think that was rude.  I thought, too bad!  Also…as the bride, I honestly didn’t even know they weren’t there.  My husband’s dad (hee hee I wrote fiance and had to change it) was sitting in a different seat than planned during the ceremony, so I noticed that he was missing, but I didn’t notice that my grandmother was BEHIND my husband’s mom until I saw pictures.  So I don’t think the bride/groom would notice unless they’re VERY observant or if you’re VERY close to them and they’d be looking for you in the crowd.

    Post # 5
    7019 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    Totally rude and I’ve never done it in 20-30 weddings over the years.

    I would only consider it for a very good reason (e.g. daughter has a dance concert) and even then I would explain/apologise to the bride or groom and ask if it was ok.

    Post # 6
    450 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    I am under the impression that the reception is a thank you for celebrating their new marriage. If you aren’t there to see the ceremony and beginning of their new relationship, I think it is incredibly rude to partake in the thank you.

    Granted, there are exceptions to this–mainly religious difference–but I still believe that if you intentionally skip the ceremony, you have no business at the reception.

    Post # 7
    1801 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    To be fair, in the other thread the OP mentioned that guests would have to leave home by 7:30 am to get to her ceremony two hours away (which means waking up around 6 to get themselves all ready and dressed up). I honestly think it’s kind of rude to inconvenience guests like that without a very compelling reason, so I guess that might be a reason to skip the ceremony. But honestly, I answered that I might skip it not because I would plan to, but because I might become very tempted to fall back asleep once my alarm goes off at 6 am on a Saturday. I do agree that it would be rude to skip if there’s no serious inconvenience associated with attending. 

    And apparently I’m in the minority, but I wouldn’t care if guests skipped my ceremony and came to the reception. I’m looking forward to the reception more myself. 

    ETA: The proposed scenario was also whether you would do this if you weren’t close with the couple but were invited as a friend of the parents. I would absolutely make any sacrifice to attend a ceremony for my dear friends and family. 

    Post # 8
    3889 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2011

    I say “it depends.”  If there’s a huge honkin’ gap between the ceremony and the reception, I might skip, depending on what my options for entertaining myself during that gap are. If there’s nothing offered by the hosts, and the ceremony and reception are in a fairly out-of-the-way place or if it’s cost-prohibitive for me to get a rental car (assuming of course this isn’t happening in or around my home town), I’d skip.  No, it’s not proper manners, but neither is expecting your guests to sit in a feild and stare at the sky for 2 or 3 hours while you get your photos done, without offering some sort of refreshments and something to do. Doesn’t have to be full-on entertainment but set up some lawn games!  And no, two wrongs don’t make a right– the hosts’ bad manners in not planning for their guests’ comfort and enjoyment— but after staring off into space for a few hours I’m not going to enjoy the rest of the event. Might as well turn up later with a good attitude.

    Post # 9
    1662 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    I did it once, and I felt like the biggest jerk.

    The couple are FI’s friends, not people I’m close with. (FI was the only person at the reception I knew!) I had to work until 3 and their ceremony was at 1ish… I cook for seniors and getting the day off is very difficult. Plus I was having a hard time waiting around then, and a wedding was SOOO NOT the best place for me to be.

    I really didn’t want to go and tried to decline. FI convinced me to be his date. I had been up since 5 in the morning and worked a 9 hour shift before throwing on some heels to go… I was dead on my feet. I think it was a lovely reception though, nice wine and dinner was great. But man, I hate hob nobbing with strangers even when I’m not exhausted.

    I don’t know if the couple even noticed, but I still felt like an asshole.

    Post # 10
    498 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    I do think it’s rude, the reception is a thank you for those who had come to the ceremony to watch the couple get married. I could see guests doing it because the gap is so large, but i would still attempt to make both. 

    Post # 12
    12865 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2011

    Depends on the reason.  If you’re skipping it cause you want to sleep in or cause you want to go to the beach, yes, it’s rude.   If you have to skip it cause maybe you have two weddings that day to attend, or a family gradution, then it’s more understandable.

    Post # 13
    7019 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    @Taeyers:  I think “the ceremony time is too early in the mine” doesn’t count as a valid excuse to skip the ceremony and only attend the reception. Rocking up at the reception because it was too hard to get up early enough for the ceremony = very rude, in my book. (Perfectly fine to decline altogether though).

    Post # 14
    10219 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: December 2012

    Etiquette Snob here… lol

    I was brought up under Victoria Values, and so according to “Traditional Etiquette”… the Wedding Ceremony is the MAIN EVENT, the Reception afterwards, the follow-up to that (some would go so far as to say the Thank You… I just prefer the literal translation… of “Reception”… at time to receive one’s Guests)

    IF you don’t go to the Main Event, then there should be no reason as to “receive you”… as you weren’t a Guest to begin with

    So ya, in my world at least… going to the Reception directly without attending the Wedding Ceremony (if one is invited) is indeed presumptuous and RUDE

    But then again, in this modern world, I am never amazed any longer on what people do and do not know about basic Manners, Etiquette or Society and how it operates (and what is expected of them)

    More often than not people put their own perceptions BEFORE others…

    So ya the Guest might see nothing wrong with just showing up for Lunch cause a 9:30 AM Ceremony was “too early” for them… and a Bride & Groom might see nothing wrong with planinng a Wedding for such an early hour, without the thought to how far their Guests may need to travel from etc

    Which is WHY I wrote in my Original Reply to that Bee… that I’d be there no matter what (polite Guest that I am)… BUT it would be best if she took the needs of her Guests into consideration.

    She could do that by finding a Group Rate with a local Hotel and informing her Guests of such…

    OR she could alter the time of her Wedding I suppose to one more hospitable to her Guests… so say 11:00 or 11:00 still followed by a nice Lunch / Brunch


    Post # 15
    4698 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    @MrsBeck:  I think it’s *usually* rude, but if you’re not close to the couple and they make it inconvenient (at a strange hour, on a weekday, somewhere far from home, with a giant gap before the reception, etc.) I think it’s understandable.

    I wouldn’t be offended if someone skipped my ceremony at all, it’s really only for FH and I, my feeling toward the guests is more like “well, we’re gonna do this, and sure, you can see it if you want to…” Though I would think it was weird because it’s gonna be real short and immediately followed by the reception. But honestly I probably wouldn’t even notice if someone didn’t show up until after.

    @paula1248: That seems a bit sad to me. If I had a guest who didn’t feel like going to my ceremony for some reason, but wanted to go to the reception, I’d MUCH rather see them at the reception than not at all. Am I really unusual in this respect?

    Post # 16
    252 posts
    Helper bee

    @Taeyers:  +1 i totally agree i wouldnt mind either. Sometimes weddings are on fridays and i cant take off of work to go to everyones church.. Aeven for saturday weddkngs if the mass is before 2 i am working as well. Maybe its different in my area since the masses are brwn 2-3 pm and cocktail hour starts at 7-8 so most people just go to reception unless they are family or really close

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