(Closed) Attend ceremony, skip reception, bad karma?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
2874 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

the reception is the bit that theyre paying for so i really would tell them you dont need a meal even though you are RSVP-ing yes.

if you say that its important to you to see them get married but you have another committment in the evening then i dont think theyd be offended

edit – if theyve already paid for your plate they might be less understanding. for example my venue wants final numbers 2 months before…its impossible to reduce numbers. so if a guest dropped out and i was paying over 100 dollars for them…i might be irritated they didnt just rsvp no

if you have time to tell them youre doing ceremony only – then attend ceremony, greet them and give best wishes, then leave

Post # 4
5950 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

@charmquark:  Well, it used to be acceptable for guests to leave after the cake was cut, but since newlwedded couples now stay to the end of their receptions I would assume that after the bride and groom have arrived and you’ve had a moment to congratulate them on their lives together it would certainly be fine leave rather quietly so that you can enjoy your day too….

Post # 5
951 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Did you RSVP? If you RSVP’d to dinnher, they have purchased your plate and it can be very expensive. One of the only things that would infuriate me on my wedding day is people that RSVP’d and didn’t show. That’s $100 per head down the toilet.

How far away is the wedding? If you talk to your friends now about the conflict and let them know you have birthday plans. That way they can take your name off the reception list, which is a much better alternative than a no show. If you are close friends, they will notice you ducking out early. 


Post # 6
13563 posts
Honey Beekeeper

There were some people who couldn’t make it to the reception but wanted to come to the ceremony. They told us ahead of time and it didn’t bother me; in fact, it really meant a lot to me that they would still come to see us get married even if they couldn’t stay for the “party.” And because they let me know, I didn’t include them in the count for the reception.

Is that an option?

P.S. Welcome to Weddingbee!

Post # 7
3885 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I wouldn’t be offended if  a guest joined us for the ceremony and left before the reception as long as their RSVP made their plan clear to me.  I’d be annoyed if we paid for their meal and bar tab and they didn’t stay to consume it, and the annoyance might turn into being offended, depending on the person and their relationship to me or my Darling Husband.

I would most definitely be disappointed at not being able to spend time with the guest who left. The bride and groom are so busy during the wedding itself and don’t always have the luxury of time right after the ceremony to say hello to guests.  I’d feel a little bad that the guest had gone to the trouble of getting dressed up and spending their time at my wedding when I couldn’t even say hello to them.  FWIW I still feel bad about a few folks who came to our wedding and reception but I didnt manage to spend more than 2 mintues with, to the point that we’re throwing a cocktail party next month “just because.”

OP perhaps a romantic birthday brunch would be a suitable work-around? 

Post # 8
174 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

I dont think its bad karma… However, you should definately be up front with the bride/ groom to be, by saying “I am very excited to witness your ceremony, but unfortunately, due to other commitment, I am unable to attend the reception” (Or something along those lines).

As I bride I would not mind this AT ALL!
However I would mind greatly if someone rsvp’d yes, then left before the reception (because I would have included them in the numbers, and thus paid for them to be there).

Post # 9
1426 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

If you RSVP-ed YES for the reception and they are feeding you/paying for your plate then it is rude that you’re leaving early.

If you let them know that you will attend briefly and don’t need to be fed then it wouldn’t be as offensive.

Post # 10
5976 posts
Bee Keeper

I think it’s better to attend the ceremony than the reception. Just be sure to let the bride and groom know so that they don’t pay for a meal for you. As a bride, I would personally prefer this over you skipping the ceremony over the reception! I think it’s nice that you’re trying to make an effort to still share in the special day!

Post # 12
4192 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

Personally, I’d celebrate my birthday another night. You’re sort of contradicting yourself- “I didn’t have any particular birthday plans anyway”, so why leave early, and not celebrate their wedding day? 

What do you mean that you won’t have the “emotional stamina?”

Post # 13
2295 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I’d be super excited to have a wedding to attend on my birthday! I don’t know how old you’re turning, but as you said, most of us don’t really have specific birthday plans after a certain age.

Woo! Someone is throwing a great party that I get to go to for free?? They’ll feed me and maybe give me drinks?

I’d be IN!

But, it sounds like you don’t want to. I’d talk to the couple and just let them know you can come for the ceremony but not the reception because of “already made plans” so they don’t spend any reception money on you.

I think you’re totally missing out by leaving though!

Post # 14
8439 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@NAvery:  +1, free dinner on your birthday is awesome

Post # 15
4474 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@rebwana:  +1


It seems like a lame reason to not attend someone’s reception.  

Post # 16
11165 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

We had several guests that just attended the ceremony and it didn’t bother us at all. We were glad that they were at least there in some way to celebrate with us…plus we didn’t have to pay for their meal. A win win! 😛

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