Ceremony only! So confused

posted 4 months ago in Etiquette
Post # 31
13946 posts
Honey Beekeeper

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@jessig2b:  “For the people saying an hour drive is crazy talk, it shows where their priorities are. I have literally drove an hour and a half one way to watch a 15 min baptism and eat a slice of cake. It’s not about me. It’s about supporting people I love.”

You miss the point. I’ve gone to weddings all over the country and overseas when that’s where the couple or their family lives. This is an hour away for everyone involved for the sake of a view, which is an inconsiderate ask of people for a twenty minute ceremony with no reception. 

Would I go nevertheless for someone close to me? Sure. Is it a gracious way to host? No. 

Post # 32
2793 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: City, State

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@an0nb33:  This does seem to be the bride/groom acting like this is an elopement with random spectators.  If the bride and groom want to have a ceremony, do hours of photos, and take a nap, it may be best to just… have an actual elopment where there’s no one they should be hosting. 

Post # 33
6607 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Couple of things.

1. Comparing what you’re asking of your guests to your boyfriend’s daily work commute is a bad comparison, because your boyfriend actually gets paid for the 8 hours he spends every day between his commute times. Unless you’re going to send the guests a check, whatever anyone does for their job is irrelevant here.

2. It’s just rude as hell to invite people to come *pay attention to you* and then tell them to GTF out. It’s even ruder to try to get some of them to go wander around  for 5 hours while you have a nap and a photo shoot, then get them to pay attention to you again when it’s convenient for you.

3. Telling your guests what to expect doesn’t make it any less rude.  

If you want these folks at the ceremony, you need to show them a little gratitude for their time. If you can’t be bothered to do that, then have a real elopement (no one in attendance but you, your groom, and the officiant).

Post # 34
117 posts
Blushing bee

Yeah as a guest I would not be okay with a two hour drive to stand there for 20 minutes with no drinks or food. People who drive an hour to work are typically at work for 8-9 hours, not 20 minutes. 

And if I did somehow do that for you, I’m not sure I’d hang around the beach town all day.. doing what? Chances are they will be hungry and go get their own lunch, and not want to meet with you for another meal out after having a big restaurant lunch they had to pay for. As a PP said, are they getting hotels? Are they going swimming and hanging out at the beach, or just wandering aimlessly around the shopping centers for 5-8 hours? I also live an hour away from a beach town.. but we usually go to the beach with proper beach attire and toys, take the dog to hang out, or go to eat. I’m not sure where you are but I doubt they would have 8 hours worth of activities to do while they wait for you to nap and be ready to MAYBE buy them ONE drink?! I’d just go home, or to be honest, decline the invite all together. 

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@BuzzedBumblingBee:  “it’s an honor to be at your wedding, as if you’re a celebrity, and no one will care if you take your guests” – I love the way you put this. Yes, you are the guest of honor at your own wedding, but it seems highly selfish and entitled to make people jump through hoops to celebrate you when you don’t have the decency to host them and thank them properly. 

Post # 35
917 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2021

I think this thread just showcases the different social expectations that people have, and the different ways that people interpret what a wedding is. For me personally, when I attend a wedding, I just want to support the people I love. I don’t expect to be “hosted.” I don’t expect to be “thanked.” I’m down for pretty much whatever, as long as I’m told about it in advance and I know what to expect. I’m part of a social circle and a family that feels the same way. It’s clear that other people have different expectations, and that’s totally fine. But OP, YOU know your social circle the best. What everyone here thinks doesn’t really matter. If what you’ve described is something that would work for your people, then you’re good to go! 

Post # 36
298 posts
Helper bee

One of the best weddings I ever attended was in a room where there were appetizers, guests mingled, and then the bride and groom entered and got married amidst the guests. Following the ceremony more food came out and no one ever had to leave that room. It was elegant yet casual at the same time. And they were a wealthy family who could have done lavish and over the top.

My husband and I and the Justice of the Peace were the only ones at our wedding and I don’t regret that even in the least. We’ve had a solid marriage over 2 decades. No misgivings. We started out thinking we’d do guests and the whole shebang but then family started interjecting all their desires. It was already becoming a hassle and conflict so we just did it privately. Then WE went out to dinner afterward and it was a beautiful, happy and romantic celebrational day of the two of us.

Post # 37
2279 posts
Buzzing bee

I personally think the “plan” will be a moot point when you tell your guests what it is.  I am all about supporting my friends but I just wouldn’t do this as you’ve laid it out.  Drive an hour+ to watch a 20 minute ceremony, then drive home?  Nope.  Even coffee and donuts afterwards would seem like an awkward afterthought to be honest.  Like, why bother?  That just doesn’t make sense to me from a use of time perspective, I don’t get it and wouldn’t do it.  Especially if any of your friends and family have kids.  I would be prepared for lots of declines if you make your timeline clear.  And if you don’t, well…be prepared for lots of confused and probably upset guests (because as PPs pointed out, if you invite 20 people, they aren’t just witnesses – they’re guests, that’s enough for a party).

You can do whatever you want as far as your wedding and celebration goes, but so can your guests so I would just be prepared for blowback, that’s all.

  • This reply was modified 3 months, 4 weeks ago by krm1984.
Post # 40
1530 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

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@an0nb33:  Lol you missed the point: seeing a close friend get married is way more important than a coffee to me. Your priorities seem more food-based. And yes I’d gladly drive an hour for a simple 20 minute ceremony, and be honoured to do so! It’s not just 20-30 minutes, it’s getting to watch one of life’s most special moments.

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@jessig2b:  “It’s not about me. It’s about supporting people I love.” Yes, this exactly! Also to me it’s an indication of the special place I hold in someone’s life that I would be invited to such an intimate affair.

I was the maid of honour and official witness at the last wedding I attended; I spent a lot of money and devoted entire days of my life towards that occasion (which was also an intimate ceremony lasting about 20 minutes) and I certainly didn’t do any of that for a reception (which we didn’t have). I did it because the bride was my closest friend! I’m glad I don’t have people like some of the PPs in my real life 😂

OP I sincerely hope you’re ignoring most of the comments on here.

Post # 41
8007 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

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@mrsg20:  If you don’t want to have to be the center of attention or interact with a bunch of people you and your fiance can just actually elope, with no guests at all. There are even some places where you can marry each other without an officiant or witnesses, so just the two of you and a photographer. Then you could celebrate with others at a later time on your terms. 

Post # 42
2279 posts
Buzzing bee

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@beethree:  This is a great idea given OP’s update.  Make it a true elopement and celebrate later!

Post # 43
381 posts
Helper bee

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@valintine:  sorry, but I want to have a personal experience with a close friend. Not have them witness my wedding like I am some spectacle like the royal wedding or something ohhing and ahhing and then departing without even saying hello. I think YOU are missing the point. 

FWIW – I think OP’s coffee and donuts suggestion is fine. That is NOT what she came here stating originally. She first came here suggesting people would witness her ceremony and then she would go off to take pictures while people would just be standing around wondering what to do before realizing there was nothign to do except to leave. The majority of the people that said this was super rude were referring to her original plan. Responses were much gentler once she came around to the idea of hosting SOMETHING instead of immediately disappearing for photos. Some said they wouldn’t do that, but for the most part, people said at least it’s something. 

No matter how you want to swing that, that is incredibly rude and comes off as if the bride and groom are not close to these guests at all, but rather important celebrities that can’t even bother to say hello to their guests. 

Post # 44
2328 posts
Buzzing bee

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@valintine:  I don’t think it’s about the food – I think that most people are puzzled why OP wants to invite 20 people to witness her wedding but doesn’t want to spend any time with them.

My wedding was very much like OPs – we had a dozen people attend a very brief ceremony, followed by a quick group photo and then everyone left.  There was no reception and no hanging out together after the ceremony.  The difference was that we got married immediately lockdown lifted, and that was the most we were allowed to do by the restrictions.  Yes, we were touched and humbled that a dozen people took a day off work to attend a 30 minute ceremony, but we didn’t expect it (we actually rang them all to say what the wedding would be like and that we 100% understood if they dropped out) and we would have loved to have been able to spend more time with the people who are most important to us.  It made us really sad that we had to walk away without saying more than ‘thank you for coming and goodbye’ to people who were so special to us. 

If this is the wedding OP wants and her guests are happy to come, that’s fine.  But I guess I’m just bemused as to why people who are important enough to invite to witness your wedding are not important enough to spend half an hour chilling out with after the wedding.

Post # 45
78 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2025

I think a lot of it might depend on how you invite people – if I got a paper invitation to a wedding, I would expect some kind of reception or event, and would expect to be a guest rather than a spectator. If a friend phoned me and said “I’m getting married on the beach in a couple of weeks. If you’re free and would like to come and see me get married, details are…” then I would go if I was free, but wouldn’t dress up and wouldn’t expect a registry (but I would get a card and small gift). I don’t like your original plan of having no interaction with your friends until the evening (and none at all with the non drinkers because you would be choosing to hold the evening celebrations in a place you know they wouldn’t feel comfortable going to) but I think the coffee and donut plan is fine, as long as you stay and socialise with your guests for a while – if you left the guests eating donuts but you still left immediately, I would find it rude.

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