Post # 1
We are having our ceremony and reception at the theatre we met at (he’s an actor, I’m an arts administrator) and we have a very limited budget (see: he’s an actor, I’m an arts administrator). Our original plan was to invite about 70 people (family and close friends) to the ceremony and then for a dinner reception followed by dessert and dancing. We would then be inviting additional friends for the dessert and dancing since the cost will be minimal. The more I think about it, the more I’d like to invite said dessert-and-dancing-only friends to the ceremony, too. Can I?
Our ceremony will be in the main theatre downstairs and our reception will be in another theatre upstairs, so while they are in the same building they are quite removed from one another. Will the ceremony & dancing people be upset that they’ve not been invited to the dinner in between? Is it tacky? How do I word the separate invitations? The one thing that may work in our favour is that the people invited to the dinner portion are either family or involved in the ceremony – does this make things easier? Or should I just stick to inviting them only to the dessert and dancing?
Post # 3
I’m going through a similar decision of "do I rally need to invite my thrid cousin who I didn’t know existed until my mom said I should put him and his wife on the guest list JUST because he is technically family?"
I see nothing wrong with inviting people to the dessert and dancing portion and not the rest, but I think it gets too tricky to ask them to the beginning and end but not the middle. Of course, I’ve never been through this before so I don’t know. Good luck!
Post # 4
It is not proper to invite someone to the ceremony but not the reception. Yes, I understand you’ll say, that they are invited to the dancing portion. Doesn’t count. You are excluding them from dinner. Technically, I don’t think that it would be proper to invite people to just dancing after dinner, either. That’s like a double whammy. You don’t make the cut for the ceremony, and you have to find yourself your own dinner too.
With that said, if your friends all are aware of what is going on and are OK with it, then why not? Wedding etiquette is there so that people are not offended. If those folks in question won’t be offended with the way you want to invite them, then it isn’t a problem. But I would really try to get a feel for whether or not they would be on board with this.
Post # 5
I kinda gotta say that I think it will be awkward at best to have people at your ceremony, not at your reception dinner, and then at your reception dancing. If the ceremony were earlier in the day or at a different location (i.e. different building, not different floor) then this might work. But you’re going to end up with people not really understanding that there is a dinner that they’re not invited to and confused as to why some people are heading upstairs right away and others not. Unless, of course, everyone is so close that you can tell them this is the case directly. I just think it creates an awkward and inconvenient window for people to show up for a ceremony, leave for an hour and eat on their own, and then come back. I went to a wedding at a manor once where there was an afterparty for some of the closer friends to stay the night. But b/c it was in the same place and people started heading in and changing early, those who weren’t invited felt very confused and somewhat rejected. I just think that it was pretty uncomfortable for those guests, and I wouldn’t want to leave people feeling that way, especially after they went to considerable effort to attend my wedding. Some of the not invited people had traveled cross-country and at great expense to be there. It was even more confusing b/c many of the people who were attending the after party didn’t know that it was a limited guest list, so they were also confused as to why some people didn’t know about it.
But I apprecite your sentiment that you want to include these people at your wedding ceremony, so maybe can you move the timing up? If everyone’s going home and some people happen to come back earlier for dinner then it won’t be so strange.
Overall I think it’s likely that some guests will feel slighted if you do this, and it’s up to you whether that bothers you or not. It will very likely depend on how much effort they have to make to be there in the first place.
Post # 6
Thanks for the comments, everyone. Since it doesn’t seem like a popular choice, we’ll probably end up not inviting additional people. I forgot to mention that this is a destination wedding, but only for us. I’m from Toronto but living in Vancouver, so we’re getting married in Toronto where our family and friends are. I’m just trying to think of a way to see all of my friends around the same time without having to pay for so many guests to eat. I’ll have to go back to the drawing board with that.
(Oh, and today we found out that the venue is going to cost 4 times more than originally budgeted – which is very frustrating as we’ve both worked there in the past – so we may not be getting married there after all. Bad, bad day for this bride-to-be.)
Post # 7
It reminds me of the scene from Father of the Bride when Steve Martin tells his 8 year old son that his friend can come, but can’t eat.
Guest lists are tough! We’re planning a small affair too and are having the same problems. Good luck!
Post # 8
Maybe you could work a comprimise, and skip the dinner. Hold your ceremony later at night and provide all guests with light apps and dessert only. This way everyone can have a little something, you still get your cake and dancing and the time with all your friends, and it cuts down on costs.
Post # 9
- Wedding: June 2010 - Indiana Memorial Union
I’d also perhaps consider the thought of a cocktails and appetizers reception, or just cocktails and dessert. There’s no rule saying you must feed everyone dinner, and here you could include everyone you wanted.
I was on the "dessert and dancing" list once for my mom’s friend’s wedding. I was a college kid so of course I wasn’t exactly offended that I had an invite for free drinks and dancing. But my mom seemed miffed that I didn’t make the dinner portion. So if it’s younger people on your dessert list, they’d probably be way more understanding than a relative. With the ceremony though, I don’t honestly know how I’d handle that.