(Closed) Come to the reception but not the wedding ceremony…?

posted 4 years ago in Reception
Post # 16
3293 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

U.K. Bee again here – perfectly fine to do this. It’s the norm here to have ‘evening guests’ who are usually work colleagues, more distant friends / family. 

Our best man had a really tiny wedding ceremony with just immediate family and then everyone else to the dinner and evening. Perfectly ok.


Post # 17
1356 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2021

Another UK bee here, this is completely normal over here and accepted. I have been to plenty of weddings as an evening guest and have never been offended. Usually close and friends and family attend the ceremony and the “reception” which is a sit down meal. Then colleagues and more distant friends and family are invited to the evening party. A lot of people prefer just attending the evening party as it doesn’t take up their whole day and is the most fun part.

I should note that there is less emphasis on gift giving over here. I have never been to a wedding where there is a “registry”, in fact most weddings I have been to the bride and groom have stated on the invite they do not expect gifts. Of course many people view it as polite to give a card and gift, but no one would refuse to attend as an evening guest because they feel they have to provide some kind of expensive gift and it’s not worth it. This is bizarre to me. 

Post # 19
3949 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

It’s delicate balance, but if you keep it to close family only (parents, siblings, aunts/uncles, grandparents, and nieces/nephews), I think you can pull it off.

However, if you decide to invite some friends and extended family, but not everyone, then it seems like a bad idea to me. As a guest, I would understand if the ceremony was family-only, but I would have more trouble understanding why some friends were invited to the ceremony, but others were only invited to the reception.

Post # 20
444 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

Another though to add from a UK Bee… Your receptions are too short! XD  People are far more inclined to attend an evening reception when its likely to go on for 6 hours or more.  Problem solved.

Post # 21
1409 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I disagree with it being a gift grab. If it were the other way around and you invited me to the ceremony only but not the reception, then I’d think gift-grab. 

Post # 22
5304 posts
Bee Keeper

I’d be disappointed. If you’re close enough to me that I’d  happily drive 3.5 hours to celebrate with you, what I really want is seeing you get married. I want to see the ceremony, I’d want to hear you say your vows etc, I’d want to watch you exchange rings and all that. IMO the reception is secondary to this, just a party. 

Even though I’d be disappointed, I’d understand if you were having, as others have said, a TRULY limited ceremony (immediate family only) but if you invited 100 people to the ceremony and 200 to the reception, IMO that definitely creates a ‘didn’t make the cut’ vibe to it. 

If the invite came from someone I wasn’t particularly close to (casually friendly co-worker/ friend of a friend/ third cousin I haven’t spoken to in years) then I’d probably just give it a pass regardless. 

Post # 23
334 posts
Helper bee

I made peace with this type of situation by having a double RSVP question: 1. Are you attending our wedding (yes/no) 2. Will you be attending the ceremony, reception, or both? 

I did this for 2 reasons:

  • There is an extremely irritating gap between the end of the our wedding Mass and the start of cocktail hour. I am doing RSVPs electronically and there is a blurb on the website acknowledging that this could be burdensome and inviting people to RSVP to the reception only if that is the case.
  • many of the guests are indifferent and even hostile to religion and an even larger group has no interest in participating in a 60+ minute religious ritual part of which they will be excluded from (communion.) 

Perhaps something like this is an option for you? I tend to think the group of people who would feel genuinely upset at not being able to sit through our wedding service is generally smaller than we expect. If you give them permission to skip the service and come to the celebration you may very well find many do of their own accord. 

The topic ‘Come to the reception but not the wedding ceremony…?’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors