Post # 1
I need feedback, Bees! My fiance and I are planning our wedding which will be a destination wedding for my family and about a 2 hour drive for his. Our vision was a laid back vacation weekend spent with our closest family and friends, with a wedding thrown in. We were expecting about 35 people total, but now that word has gotten out, a lot of my fiance’s friends and family members want to come since it’s still close to them. We were originally planning to get married in a public park on the ocean, and then go have dinner. Now, he’s proposing we open up the ceremony to whoever wants to make the trip, and after the ceremony have a get-together on a nearby beach with dessert, small appetizers, and drinks followed by an intimate dinner with our original guest list of 35.
I was thinking if we do this around 2-3pm, people won’t be expecting a meal and we would be clear on our invites. I’m just worried on offending people by only offering dinner to a small group afterwards instead of everyone. We wouldn’t broadcast this, but we want to say thank you to our friends and family who made the trip to celebrate with us. Is this rude?
Also, I’m concerned on having the wedding in a public place. We can’t reserve a spot and we can’t set up chairs or anything, except for the elderly and handicapped. It’d be similar on the beach, we could set up chairs but not reserve a spot just for our group. Has anyone else done this? Is 35+ too big of a group to have this work for? It’d be immediate family, and 3-4 friends for each of us (plus their SO). The wedding is in York, Maine if that helps.
Post # 2
Not trying to be snarky, but 35 people does not sound like an intimate dinner. If only a few people invited to the ceremony/reception aren’t also invited to this dinner, it’s probably going to hurt feelings.
Post # 3
co_katherine : Stick to the 35 people, have them at the ceremony and then treat them to dinner.
You could let the other friends/family who have basically invited themselves that you’ve already confirmed your plans and unfortunately cannot host any more guests.
Since you’re going to be there the whole weekend hanging out with friends and family, maybe let these other friends know they can meet up the following day if they’d like?
ETA I voted the third option, ultimately it’s your day and you know your guests better than any of us, we don’t know how offended they;’ll get.
Post # 4
Other bees can let you know if this is rude by etiquette standards or not. I’m not sure how I would feel about it as a guest though. It almost feels like being invited to the cocktail hour and not being allowed to stay for the dinner. 2 hours is a pretty far drive to not feed people dinner. Knowing how small York is (which is a beautiful spot, by the way!) I’m picturing people leaving your cocktail reception to go find a real meal and walking into the restaurant where you’re hosting just some of your guests. Awkward.
The logisitics sound a bit stressful, too. Not having a reserved spot could be a problem. What happens if it rains?
Post # 5
York Beach in the summer is packed. Will you be okay with tourists in bathing suits plopping down next to you to oggle while you’re trying to do the ceremony? I think you should stick to your original plan with the 35 people. Anything else I think would be a logistical pain in the rear.
Post # 6
Yeah, and the transition could be awkward. People normally attend a ceremony, then cocktail hour, then dinner. Now, will you ask people to leave after cocktail hour? Just thinking through logistics. “Thanks for coming but we’re having dinner now and you’re not invited.”
Post # 7
Honestly, having a wedding ceremony AND cocktail reception with no chairs on a public beach sounds like enough to re-think this plan. That sounds horrible.
Post # 8
futuremrs2020 : I like that idea! We had thrown around the idea of letting people know we’d be at the beach on Sunday and they’d be welcome to come hang out with us that day.
I agree with most of you in that I’d prefer to keep our original 35 people. My fiance’s thought behind including thosewho have invited themselves was: “we’re getting married in a public place, so how can we tell them they can’t watch us get married but complete strangers can?” Which I understand, but I don’t think he realizes the logistics behind everything. I don’t know these people (which is why they weren’t part of our 35), but he swears they would be happy to just be allowed at the ceremony. I feel like it would be rude and we shouldn’t exclude them or totally change our plans because they invited themselves.
We wanted a small wedding mainly to keep stress low, but planning with him has been tough! I have had to fight tooth and nail to get him to agree to a dinner for our guests, a place to sit for everyone during said dinner, and not cooking the food ourselves. Yesterday he suggested those not invited to the dinner but just the ceremony “can pack a sandwich or eat ahead of time”. I’m trying, Bees! I appreciate your feedback!
Post # 9
bostonbee2018 : That would be a nightmare if they showed up for dinner where we were! Thanks so much for bringing that up, I hadn’t thought of that.
We’re going to have the short ceremony at Nubble Point, which is pretty large so I think we can find a space for us to stand. For it being a public place, we are very easy going and our 35 guests are all immediate family and closest friends, so they are all aware of these plans. There’s no rain plan though, we will have to keep an eye on the weather and sort something out if it is looking bad. I have a call in to ask about renting the gazebo at Ellis Park which would give some cover, but not sure if Fiance will go for that since we ideally would like to get married in front of the lighthouse.
I think the public ceremony spot is about as much uncertainty as I can handle. The logistics of having a cocktail party on the public beach would add so much stress for me! Just trying to find a good compromise with Fiance to include those he cares about but that aren’t in the 35 guests.
Post # 10
co_katherine : “We wouldn’t broadcast this” — You wouldn’t broadcast it because you know it’s rude. That’s your answer, bee. This is a hill to die on. Your fiance is wrong and you need to stick to your guns on this. Word WILL get out that there’s a dinner, and people will rightfully be hurt and angry. This is really bad. You aren’t inviting the strangers to watch you, they just happen to be there. If you INVITE people to be there, and then treat them second rate, that’s terrible.
Post # 11
Daisy_Mae : “You aren’t inviting the strangers to watch you, they just happen to be there. If you INVITE people to be there, and then treat them second rate, that’s terrible. “
Perfect way to phrase this, thank you!
Post # 12
This is known as a tiered reception and in the US it’s definitely rude and unacceptable. If the wedding is not local to you or either family then it’s also a domestic destination wedding, which is an imposition on all of your guests as well.
I would stick with your guest list and would not invite people to any wedding related events who are not also invited to the wedding, including the next day.
Post # 13
co_katherine : That’s funny that your fiance suggested they pack a sack lunch lol, men… he probably doesn’t understand the “etiquette” that comes with wedding planning.
If it isn’t a far trip for the other people, I don’t see anything wrong with celebrating with them the day after although that type of thing is pretty frowned upon on the bee (refer to PP and like a million other threads here) but I think it’s just about knowing your crowd, which it sounds like you don’t know these extra people but your fiance does.
Good luck with the planning!
Post # 14
I know a few time here in Australia this occurs. People self invite to a beach ceremony because it’s public and no one wants to say no you cannnot come.
The bunch that actually show up are pretty few and usually elderly. They don’t seem miffed about not attending reception.
I don’t understand how people feel they can invite themselves though!?
Post # 15
co_katherine : Don’t do it. A tiered event is tacky af in the USA.