(Closed) Family-Only Wedding, Large Reception, FI HATES the idea…

posted 9 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
29 posts

I hate to say it, but my future mother in law got an invitation to a reception but not the wedding, and she was very offended. She also feels that the ceremony is the most important part of the wedding. That being said, having a very small wedding perhaps followed by a celebration dinner/reception with your family then hosting a huge party the next summer to celebrate your marriage is a great, fun, and very appropriate idea.

Post # 4
349 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

I first wanted to say that I’m getting married in Saratoga Springs (Gideon Putnam), so woo hoo! to that (even though I know you’re getting married in Philly).

Oy, your situation is definitely complicated. I actually wouldn’t be offended if I was just invited to a reception, especially if I was aware of your situation with the venue, pushing up your arrangements, etc. If I had to travel more than, say, three-ish hours, I probably would politely and regretfully decline the invite for just the reception, but I certainly wouldn’t be offended. But I’d be happy to attend if I was local.

I think a good compromise here would be to do the small wedding in December and the same people who attend the ceremony, attend a cocktail hour (maybe going to a nice restaurant after, limiting the menu to finger foods, drinks and dessert, or having it at a family member’s house). And then, host a larger reception the following spring/summer for all your extended family. People WILL understand that you want a small wedding, so no one will have the right to complain they weren’t invited. I think that after your ceremony, if you skipped celebrating afterward all together, you’d really regret it. You’ll be on such a high from getting married, you’ll want to celebrate with everyone who attended.

Post # 5
313 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

My FH and I are inviting all of our family and closest friends to our wedding (ceremony & dinner/dance), and then we are sending out casual invites to friends that we don’t see as much (people from highschool, and childhood friends that have been an important part of our lives – but we just don’t see hardly anymore) just to the reception dance. This way we can include everyone we want in our big day, but aren’t stuck paying hundreds of dollars worth of food that isn’t necessary. I think people understand that we just aren’t financially able to pay for everyone’s meals and what not… so I hope your guests would understand as well, the stresses that go into getting space/ rental items such as chairs and tables/ food for so many people! I definately think people will come and congratulate you, and enjoy a good time – the party is the best part of a wedding after all!

Post # 6
2819 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

Well, first of all, I have to (in part) agree with your fiance: the whole point of a wedding is the ceremony. I hate it when people talk about only showing up to the reception (when they were INVITED to the ceremony!) because to me, it just smacks of rude. "Hi, we didn’t bother to come hear your vows of commitment, but we’d like some of that free booze and cake!" In-con-sid-er-ate.

But anyways. That’s not what you were talking about.

If you want to keep your ceremony small and intimate, that’s your prerogative. Lots of people like it like that. Ariel (from http://offbeatbride.com) did that; they had a very small family-only ceremony, and a huge fun-filled reception afterwards. It works! Lots of people love it! =)

Some people might be miffed that they weren’t invited to the ceremony, but if you’re having a gap between the ceremony and the reception, a lot of guests might be grateful that they’re just invited to the reception, because it seems to me (from reading this site) that a lot of them just skip the ceremony anyways if there’s a gap (again, hate this, ugh). I might suggest having a morning/early afternoon ceremony, that having the reception start at, like, 7 or 8 pm so that there’s less awkwardness. 

Post # 7
29 posts
  • Wedding: July 2010

I like your idea of having the ceremony in December, and then a huge party the following summer to celebrate your union. I had a friend do something similar this year, and it wasn’t weird or awkward at all to be invited to the reception sans the ceremony. I think everyone had a great time.

Post # 8
2 posts

A few summers ago a couple i am very close to found out that the groom was being deployed to Iraq.  They moved up the wedding and did a small family only ceremoney.  While the ceremony was taking place all their friends and the non-immediate family were back at their parents house setting up for a huge blow out reception.  It was an amazing reception.  They had asked most people to help out so it made us all feel like we really were part of the wedding (even if we didnt witness the actual ceremony). 


p.s.  yay Saratoga.  I grew up there.

The topic ‘Family-Only Wedding, Large Reception, FI HATES the idea…’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors