Post # 1
My wedding date is right-smack in the middle of the work week (please ignore the date by my ID). Fiance and I never wanted a big wedding and are extending invitations only because we would like people to share in our day, though we don’t expect anyone to go out of their way to take a day off work to come to our wedding. We’re on the older side and wanted to keep things low-key and intimate anyway.
The wedding start time is at 3 and probably will be over by 3:30. We were thinking of having a cocktail reception from 4-6 with heavy appetizers to make up for the fact that there isn’t a full dinner. We want to make things short and sweet so we can have time to catch up with our guests, and then send them off early enough so that they have plenty of time to commute home, get a good night’s rest and get up early to go to work the next morning. BUT (!) I’m anticipating at least a handful of people raising a stink asking “We took a day off, drove all the way out here for your wedding, why aren’t you feeding us with a sit-down dinner?!” The prepared response (in my head, of course) would be, “Well, you didn’t have to come to the wedding.” And besides, people would know the deal ahead of time because we would indicate “Light Refreshments” or “Cocktail Reception to follow” on the invitation. (Though, it does occur to me that it seems like a lot to ask people to take a day off to attend a mid-week/almost mid-day wedding for such a scant amount of time. Again, we’re older and not expecting much attendance…even though guests are family and would probably feel “obligated” to come.)
Did anyone who opted for a cocktail party regret the decision? Since our reception time is estimated 4-6 (or even 4-7) and is cutting into dinner, should we just bite the bullet and have the formal sit down? For “ettiquete’s sake?”
Post # 3
@Suerte: I am a bit biased as I am having a sit down dinner but (as you asked for opinions :-), I think if you are expecting some negative feedback about it, I would try to avoid that confrontation by having a dinner. If it is far too expensive and you simply cannot afford it then that is ok to not do one but if you can afford it I think it would be nice for your guests. And you are already listing reasons why people might expect one. I once went to a wedding where they served very little food (and it hadnt been stated on the invites though), it was sit down meal with one small amount of food served and no choice offered to guests. I heard a lot of people grumbling and the lady sitting next to me walked out as she did not like the food or couldn’t eat it.
Post # 4
No, I dont think you have to bite any bullets for etiquette sake. But if you do want people to share this special time with you, don’t make them take off work. I think 6-8/9 is a much more appropriate block of time and people can still get to work the next day. I’m pretty sure most adults stay awake past 9.
I’m totally into cocktail receptions and I think it can easily make up for a dinner. It’s really popular these days to start off light and proceed with heavier small plates. I think it’s tasteful and more fun. Also, because it’s so casual, it won’t make people feel like they HAVE TO stay through the whole thing – which is defintiely more appropriate on a week night. A seated formal dinner would definitely run longer and people would feel obligated to stay through the end. I think you have the right idea!
EDIT: for your info, I’m having a plated dinner so I dont want you to think I’m just biased to cocktail receptions!
Post # 5
Thanks, traveller and nushka!
@nushka: “Also, because it’s so casual, it won’t make people feel like they HAVE TO stay through the whole thing”
We wanted to have the ceremony start much later so people wouldn’t have to take a full day off (somehow we thought 3 pm would be late enough to swing a half day) but unfortunately we have only one option for an officiant (for our religious wedding) and 3 pm was the latest he could do 🙁