Attending the reception but not ceremony?

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: What would you do?

    Skip the ceremony, attend the reception

    Skip both - Tell the Bride/Groom NOW!

    Attend both and miss out on time with SIL and kids

    Other (comment)

  • Post # 2
    41 posts
    • Wedding: June 2019

    Hmmm. Tricky situation. I would probably attend. If anything, one attends the ceremony and both attend the reception. I would say it would look pretty bad if you just attended the reception and not the ceremony (free meal ticket and none of the non-fun stuff). Leave after dinner if you must. 

    Post # 3
    786 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2018

    How soon is the wedding? If you’re at least a month out, you might be able to politely retract your RSVP in time for it to not impact the final cost of the food. If you’re within a couple weeks, the bride is probably overwhelmed with last minute details and you might not want to start a conversation.

    Another option is to move the whole vacation crew to the same town the wedding is in. Are there cool attractions for the kiddos? Maybe you can attend the wedding while your husband spends time with his sister.

    Although the ceremony is the meat of the wedding (and the whole purpose of going), your RSVP impacts the cost of the reception. If she’s having a large wedding, she might not notice that you skipped the ceremony if you did (less wiggle room for a more intimate setting, but you did mention that you’re not that close). It’s not the most polite thing to do, but you’re looking for options to balance this weekend.

    Post # 4
    10282 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2016

    Call them ASAP and cancel.

    Post # 5
    2343 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2018

    I think it’s a bad look if you are invited to both ceremony and reception but only choose to attend the reception, it’ll look like you just came for the free food and booze. 

    Post # 7
    1962 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: April 2018

    Honestly, this is that time as a bride I would have been okay with you saying you couldn’t make it. Life happens, you value your family that you never get to see. 


    Let them know you are sorry, send a nice gift. 

    Post # 8
    2173 posts
    Buzzing bee

    How much do you want to attend the wedding? If you’re on the fence about going anyway, I’d try to decline. Likely, they still have some wiggle room with their caterer, etc. Mine allowed for a change of up to 5 plates up to 48 hours, so we could remove a last minute cancellation or two, but not a large group.

    If you would really like to attend, then I think you attending and dh joining for the reception isn’t a bad idea or taking off shortly after dinner. Honestly, unless it’s a tiny wedding, the bride is unlikely to notice you leaving early.

    Post # 9
    2971 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: January 2021

    I really don’t think there are any good options here. It’s too late to change your RSVP without being rude, but I also don’t like the optics of attending the reception but not the ceremony. Leaving right after dinner still means you’re not getting home til 10 PM or later anyways, so I see no point in that at all. I think you either need to let your SIL know that unfortunately, you won’t be around most of the day on Saturday, or you see if they want to take a mini family trip to the town where the wedding is, as suggested by one PP.

    Post # 10
    2246 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: April 2018

    You cannot come to just the reception. That’s super rude. You can just go to the ceremony though. Call them and explain 

    Post # 11
    338 posts
    Helper bee

    when is the wedding?

    Post # 12
    644 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: November 2018

    I agree that you going to the ceremony and your husband joining later at the reception would be the best bet. I’d still inform the Bride/Groom to let them know that is what will be happening due to unforseen circumstances. 

    We are all human. We all make mistakes in scheudling. Things happen. Just be honest and upfront and it shoudl be fine. 

    Post # 13
    38 posts
    • Wedding: November 2019 - Vineyards

    Showing up at the reception only really comes across as you’re just there for a free meal. I’d really avoid that option. Either send your apologies to the couple for your mistake or go to the full day event that you committed to.

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