Post # 1
Hello Bees –
I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to manage sites, an increasingly out of control guest list, etc…par for the course, I guess. One solution I recently stumbled upon is having a morning, formal ‘traditional’ ceremony (i.e., a 10:30am ceremony, followed by tea and cakes from 11am-12pm). Then we’ll have the very informal backyard BBQ open house reception from 6pm – until. With an open house, we can have a few more people than we would have planned for originally because people will not all be there at the same time.
I think this could work because 90% of our guests are either coming from out of town, or live in my parents’ neighborhood. The church, hotel for out of towners, and my parents house are all within 4 blocks of each other. So the out of towners could go back to the hotel and relax for a bit, the neighborhood folks could go home, and the non-neighborhood folks (who are all immediate family or best friends in the bridal party) would just go back to my parents house for last-minute prep (and hopefully a little nap!).
And, yes, I am ok with people skipping the ceremony (I know if I wasn’t their sister, my brothers certainly wouldn’t go!) or the reception.
Post # 3
@rosiedee: That sounds doable, but I would be concerned about assuming people will show up to the BBQ in shifts. Many will probably assume it is a traditional wedding and try to stay for the whole thing.
Post # 4
Well, most of my dad’s and my FI’s family are super-late for EVERYTHING, while our neighbors tend to show up early. It will be ok if there is overlap, but it might get a bit crowded…but because this is super-informal, I think it will be ok.
My only concern is that people may try to go straight from the church to my parents house, and we’re thinking about doing a trolley between the church and the hotel to prevent that (thinking about it, the hotel is 4 blocks from my parents, but my parents live 4 blocks from the church. So people may not want to walk a mile to and from in their nice clothes, especially the elderly people).
Post # 5
Why not just have the ceremony at 4:30 and the reception at 6? Noon until 6 pm is a rather long gap for wedding guests.
If you put BBQ on the invitation, I’m willing to bet that most people will show up at dinnertime.
Post # 6
I think that’s a huge gap to fill. If there was something to do in your area that might be better. We had to wait 5 hours in between once and it was insanely long and boring. We visited and drank casually so much in this time that we didn’t enjoy the reception near as much, which is basically just visiting and casually drinking some more.
Post # 7
I would go to both, all the events are only 4 blocks apart! If I was coming from out of town, I could go back to my hotel, take a nap, swim in the pool, check out a shopping district, sightsee, talk a walk, read a newspaper, change my shoes, maybe wear something less formal to the BBQ.
Post # 8
We are having a church wedding, so we don’t have much choice about the time slot
The wedding will be in a historic neighborhood in Chicago very close to Lake Michigan, with lots of restaurants, bookstores, cafes, and historic homes, including one by Frank Lloyd Wright. There is even a small movie theater across the street from the hotel.
Post # 9
Yes, I thought that the out of towners in particular might appreciate the break! And we will definitely be dressing down for the BBQ – I have a tendancy to spill on myself, so no way will I be wearing my dress!
Post # 10
- Wedding: April 2013 - Rhode Island
Are the same people invited to the tea and cakes thing? I guess I’m confused because it sounds like you’re having two receptions on the same day, which implies two different guest lists. If everyone is invited to everything, I wouldn’t expect the non-local people to stay for the BBQ.
Post # 11
I’d make sure that it’s very clear that the ceremony/cake is the wedding, and that the BBQ is a seperate, informal, drop-in event!
And I would definitely attend both!
Post # 12
Everyone is invited to both. The out-of-towners are all staying at the local hotel, so I’d be surprised if they only came to the ceremony with refreshments and not the BBQ.
Yes, I’m thinking of doing a more formal invitation for the ceremony, and then a separate more informal invite for the BBQ. They will both be mailed out together, but I think it makes it clearer that there are two distinct events.
Post # 13
@rosiedee: “With an open house, we can have a few more people than we would have planned for originally because people will not all be there at the same time.”
- Wedding: April 2013 - Rhode Island
If the invitation states the 2nd reception starts at 6pm, why would you assume people will not be there at the same time, thus allowing you to invite more guests than the venue can hold? I’m not sure that’s good planning. If eveyone shows up at the same time, what will you do?
The reason I say a lot of out-of-towners might not stick around for the later reception is because of what happened at my wedding. We had a fairly small event with 46 expected guests total. A couple people were no-shows and quite a few people left early. Our wedding was at 2:30pm and the reception was from 4-9pm. So I was really really shocked that people felt the need to leave early. But apparently a lot of the out-of-towners didn’t plan on staying the night and drove home during/after the reception.
So, I say this to you so you won’t be disappointed if it happens to you too. Personally, I would probably stay for both events. But I could understand that people are coming to watch you get married. So after the ceremony and the cake cutting and wishing you well, they may feel like their obligation is fulfilled and they’re ready to start back home. Hopefully that doesn’t happen, but it’s a possibility worth considering so you’re not caught off guard.