Post # 1
I need a bit of etiquette advice. I know that a lot of people who elope or have a really small, intimate wedding throw a larger reception later. My Fiance and I originally wanted to elope–just the two of us–but my mom told me that she would be absolutely devastated if we did this. As much as I still love the idea of a romantic elopement with just my Fiance, it’s really not worth it to crush my family in this way. So we regrouped and approached my family with the idea of having an intimate immediate family-only wedding this September, with a reception in December. My mom liked this better, but now she really wants to throw a larger reception immediately following the wedding. She’s really excited about this, and although the idea was kind of off-putting at first, it’s actually really grown on me.
My concern, though, it that because the reception will directly follow the ceremony, people might be offended that they haven’t been invited to the ceremony as well. I guess I’m worried people will be confused why they’re being invited to a reception, but not to the ceremony on the same day.
Given our circumstances, this actually does makes sense (or so I think): we’re having a Friday wedding, and the ceremony will take place in the late afternoon, so most people couldn’t make it without leaving work early (the reception will be in the evening, so people won’t have a problem attending that). Also, my Fiance and I are really private and don’t like being the center of attention, and we’ve wanted an intimate ceremony because we feel most comfortable exchanging vows in front of our nearest and dearest, rather than a larger crowd. We also are looking at a ceremony venue that caps the guest list at 30. We love the venue and thought the cap was totally fine when we originally came up with the idea about an intimate family wedding.
What do you think, bees? Has anyone done something like this before, or been to a wedding like this? If you think this is OK, do you have any advice about invitations and such? I’m hopeful that since we’re still having a pretty small reception (probably no more than 75 people), we can actually spread the word amongst our guests, so no one is caught off guard, and we can explain to them why we’re doing this. But my Fiance and I are still undecided because we really don’t want to hurt or offend our guests, so any feedback and advice on this would be greatly appreciated!
Post # 3
People wont be offended if you explain it to them, Usually people are offended if they invited to the ceremony and not the reception. But if you tell them the ceremony is family only I dont see why they would be upset, since the reception is the “fun” part of the day
Post # 4
I am in this exact same position! My Fiance and I wanted a small intimate ceremony as well. My ceremony venue will hold about 40 people- I have already booked it so there is really no going back now. I have a HUGE family, our total guests are estimated at about 120-130 people for the reception, which will be after the ceremony later that day.
I have stressed about this so much throughout my Wedding planning. I am afraid I will offend the people that will not be invited to the ceremony and I am sure that will happen. But, bottom line- I try not to worry about what others are going to think because you will never please everyone.
The most important thing is that you do things the way you want them to be done. Weddings have become too much about what the family wants and too little about what the bride and groom want.
Good luck with your planning and decision.
Post # 5
Thanks so much for the feedback! I know that people get offended when they’re invited to the ceremony and not the reception, so I wanted to check if the same would happen in the opposite situation. I’m glad to hear people are understanding, and I totally agree–the reception is the most fun!
FallBride100111 I am so glad to hear that I am not the only bride doing this! Thanks so much for sharing about your experience. And I totally agree with you: ultimately, it’s about what my Fiance and I want, and we both feel like an intimate ceremony and a larger reception is exactly what we want. It gives us the best of both worlds–a private declaration of our commitment to one another and a fun party to celebrate with our family and friends. And thankfully, our families are very excited about this option, which is a big plus. I’m feeling so much better about our decision now, so thanks again for sharing. I’m sure your wedding will be beautiful!
Post # 6
I think you can have a reception immediately following and it will be fine. As long as you limit family members to the ceremony, I don’t think anyone will say anything. It sounds like a good idea to me! 🙂
Post # 7
My wedding was similar but a bit different. We also did a friday ceremony and wanted it to be very small and intimate family only. The slight difference is that we chose to have our reception the next day by our preference. We had 37 people at the wedding ceremony including my husband and I, our pastor, and our wedding party. We had 76 at the reception.
Everyone understood our reasoning and no one complained. 🙂 We did have a few people wistfully say they would have liked to have been there though. With the reception being the next day, I was able (thanks to some amazing friends!) provide a few pictures of the ceremony for people to see. 🙂
Post # 8
Thanks so much for the positive feedback, ladies! I’m feeling so much better about moving forward with this plan now.
@dodgercpkl Would you mind telling me a little bit about your invitations, i.e. how you worded the reception-only invitations? I have a few ideas, but if you have advice to pass on, I’d love to hear it!
Post # 9
@T.R.Bride: I don’t mind at all. 🙂
This is for both:
Ma and Pa Bride
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Son of Ma and Pa Groom
Friday, the Fifteenth of October, Two Thousand and Ten
at Two o’clock in the afternoon
301 East Maple Avenue
Reception will be on the following day – see insert for details
For the reception only invite, this is how it differed:
Ma and Pa Bride
request the pleasure of your company
at the reception to celebrate the marriage of their daughter
Son of Ma and Pa Groom
Saturday, the Sixteenth of October, Two Thousand and Ten
From five o’clock to nine o’clock in the evening
Norman P. Murray Center
24932 Veterans Way
Mission Viejo, California
I was very careful to let people know that the ceremony was going to be a private intimate affair by word of mouth prior and via the website as well. I’ve also heard and seen people add something about the ceremony being private, but for me, this is what I liked and felt worked best. 🙂
Post # 10
@dodgercpkl Thanks so much for sharing! This is really helpful! And your reception-only invite looks EXACTLY like what I envision sending out. I’m also going to spread the news by word of mouth (another benefit of keeping the reception guest list down and only inviting people who I would actually talk to about this decision), as well as add information about the ceremony being intimate and family-only to my wedding website. Thanks again so much! This is amazing!
Post # 11
@T.R.Bride: Glad I could help! 🙂
Post # 12
So nice to see chat about this, we are also doing a very small ceremony in the morning and then having a large reception in the evening. Our parents both have large families and we are also private. We have been dating for years and marriage seems like kind of just the next step… our invites looked really similar to the ones you posted here.
Also, I think our website helps people understand our small ceremony… so far there have been people that are sad that they won’t be there, but they are coming to terms with it. Ultimately everyone says do what you want to do… I can’t help but be nervous about it though! thanks for sharing and making me feel less alone :o)