(Closed) Ceremony and Celebration 6 months apart…Invitation Advice

posted 5 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
9985 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

A reception is the way the couple thanks their guests for attending their ceremony.  In my social circle, I would find it very inappropriate to then have a party 6 months later (and even more inapprorpiate that you are intruding on a pre-planned family reunion to do so). 

Your guests may well feel slighted that they were not invited to the ceremony but then later invited to a reception where common courtesy suggests they should bring a gift.  Meaning, it looks like you didn’t value their presence enough at your ceremony, but that you do want them to come to the gift-giving portion.

I would not ask for gifts, though, because doing so is just plain rude in all senses.  It’s impolite to ask people to buy you things.  People may bring small gifts for you, but I wouldn’t expect a lot.  Honestly, if I were invited to a reception months after a ceremony, I’d probably bring a bottle of wine or something.   I also would not attend if I had to travel for it, as I travel for weddings, not for parties 6 months later.

And whatever you decide, it is 100% inappropriaate and rude to send information on your honeyfund to people invited.  You never mention registry information on invitations.

Post # 3
545 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

It’s not unreasonable to ask people to travel in January when they will be traveling in July.

however, if you wish to keep your wedding small I think the best thing to do would be to invite your immidiate family, and send an announcement later. In July I would not host a reception but a “meet your inlaws party” Do not call it a reception (for reasons pp mentioned it will just offend people), call it a party, keep it kind of informal and do not ask for or expect gifts. 

ETA I don’t think you would need a save the date for this. You can let people know by word of mouth and send an invite out later in the spring. 

Also worth mentioning with weddings no mater what you do people will be offended. We had a 50 person wedding of just immidiate family and close friends. The next week Mother-In-Law three us a “Newly wed party” for her friends and some of DH extended family showed up and had some choice comments about us having “two parties”… even though  We didn’t host and it was super casual. And some people were just offended they were not invited to the wedding. So you can’t really win No matter what 😉

Post # 4
38 posts
  • Wedding: September 2017

There’s nothing wrong with having a private ceremony and a bigger reception later. I think sending an announcement after you get married with the date of the celebration would be fine and maybe “formal invitation to follow” so you can formally provide details. I have plenty of family that eloped and then later held a party to celebrate with everyone because it was much less expensive and formal and what they wanted. 

Post # 5
1094 posts
Bumble bee

Although it is popular on internet wedding boards to condemn having a reception separate from the wedding, for the reason that it is “attention whoreish” or “gift grabby” or some other pejorative, you should know that standard etiquette actually considers hospitality a virtue and encourages hostesses to give parties and entertain guests. Anyone who finds herself thinking “Well, how awful of Ms Hitchin to invite me to a party! I’m so offended,” needs to seriously realign her sensitivities!

Note also that, although “reception” is a type of entertainment that most people in the last century primarily encountered only at weddings. A reception is an event where a hostess “receives” her guests, and the main entertainment is those guests’ mingling and conversing while nibbling savouries and sipping tea or champagne. If a more substantial entertainment, such as dinner or theatre or dancing or a combination of the above, is planned by the hostess then she would normally mention the nature of that entertainment in the body of her invitation. In addition to weddings — think the cake-and-punch type of reception in the church hall which was very common in the twentieth century — receptions are also held after citizenship ceremonies, oath-taking ceremonies of other sorts like doctors’ White Coat ceremony or graduations, at official government residences to meet particular dignitaries, after theatre opening nights, and in good weather in the gardens of old-fashioned ladies who like entertaining. The bottom line is, you can absolutely hold a reception whenever you want.

You also can invite as few people as you want to your wedding. The impeccably correct non-controversial method for combining the two is:
– Invite your thirty immediate family members to your private wedding, and serve them some sort of refreshments afterward.
– Send out announcements to the other one-hundred-twenty-plus  members of the family so that they know you have just been married. If they understand their obligations under traditional etiquette, then those who feel particularly intimate with you and understand the situation and that it is not meant to put them at arms’ length, will send you gifts at this point. You should not provide any indication that you expect gifts, however. That would be vulgar and materialistic. Send announcements immediately after the ceremony — have them all waiting and ready to go. Since this is a second wedding, you send the announcement in your own names:

Mr Samwise Gamgee and Ms Rose Cotton Gamgee
are pleased to announce that they were marriedin a private ceremony
fourteenth of January two thousand seventeen

– In July, invite people simply to “a reception” or “a dinner”:

Mr Samwise Gamgee and Ms Rose Gamgee
request the pleasure of the company of
Mr and Mrs John Oldfashioned
to Dinner
at six o’clock
Saturday eighteen July two thousand seventeen
R.s.v.p.                                                     dancing to follow

The ones who remember the announcement from back in January will put two and two together and realize that you are celebrating your wedding. At that point, if they didn’t send you a gift before, they may send you one now; especially if they saw the announcement as indicating that you didn’t consider them as an intimate connexion, and see this new invitation as being a correction to that impression. But again, you cannot provide any hint that you are expecting gifts of any sort.

Your house-downpayment honeyfun can properly be mentioned only if someone tells you point-blank that they want to give you a gift, and asks what you would like.

Post # 6
1746 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

View original reply
aehhitchin :  First off, would get permission before arbitrarily deciding your celebration (that’s what I would call it) will take place reunion time. Otherwise you risk being accused of hijacking someone elses event! Definitely do not put info on the invites about wanting cash for your home, or anything about gifts!  You probably will get some gifts but not what you would get if you held the usual formal wedding/reception. 

Post # 7
4786 posts
Honey bee

View original reply
aspasia475 provided you with great advice. The only thing I might add is to invite family to the ceremony in categories. For example, if you invite one aunt/uncle, invite all your aunts and uncles. Hold firm to your “rules” when someone begs you to invite just this one cousin. It will make your lives a lot easier. 

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