Post # 1
Hi all, I’m fairly new to wedding planning as I’m the first among my bffs to get married. I’ve managed to stay remarkably chill about the whole thing (cake colors? who cares, it’s FOOD). However, there’s one thing that’s been really bothering me.
Our ceremony will be in a beautiful, accessible, and family-friendly park. It is on a Saturday evening. And yet, I’ve received multiple RSVPs that say: “We can’t come to the ceremony but we’re definitely coming to the reception!” WHAT?!?!? You can’t spend 30 minutes watching me get married, but you’re going to come anyways and eat? I’m no etiquette master, but isn’t that like horribly rude? Or am I just being silly – does this happen to everyone?
We sent out a RSVP that simply said: “RSVP by May 1 to (email or phone number)”. It said nothing about separate ceremony or reception RSVPs, nor does anything in our invitation, or on our website, make a distinction between the two, other than to point out that they are at different addresses. We didn’t even give a start time for the reception, just said “it will follow the wedding ceremony”! So if people are so busy that they can’t make the wedding start time, why on earth do they think they will know when to show up for the reception?
What do I say to these people? I don’t want to be rude or mean, but I also see that type of RSVP as a fairly large insult. So far, none of them have even been people that my FH or I have met, they’re all friends/coworkers of our parents.
Post # 2
I’d tell them the reception starts at (insert ceremony time minus 1 hour here).
Just to be clear, I was being facetious.
Post # 3
Is there a large gap between the ceremony and the reception?
Post # 4
Well apparently they don’t even know the times for either! Very rude.
Post # 5
I don’t think it’s the best thing to do, but I also don’t think that attending the reception is conditional on attending the ceremony. And once you send the invitation, you can’t really recind it for something like this.
You should accept their RSVP graciously. If they’re good enough friends to invite (of your family members, if not you guys), then they’re good enough friends to give the benefit of the doubt. They have a conflict that’ll make it hard to be at your ceremony on time and probably just don’t want to interrupt it. It does happen, alhtough it’s a litlte surprising that you’ve had quite a few RSVPs that say this. If they’re all friends of one of your parents, perhaps there’s another event that would cross over in their social circle?
ETA: Oh–i missed that you don’t have the timing for the reception on there! Well, it’s still possible that they really do have a conflict (maybe they’re flying in from a trip or something) and they’re not expecting to be there until well into the evening. But either way, yikes. Yeah, that’s kind of dick. But still think you have to accept the RSVP as-is.
Post # 6
Hella rude from my perspective, but maybe normal in their circle. Since they’re your parents’ guests not yours, talk to your parents about it.
I’d say something like “oh I’m sorry, we can only accommodate reception guests who are able to attend the ceremony! I’ll put you as a no, but let me know if you’re able to attend the entire wedding after all :)”
I feel the reception is a thank you to the people who supported your marriage by witnessing your ceremony. But if your parents are helping with the wedding then their opinion counts.
I was married at a public park as well, but we provided a shuttle between the reception venue in the city center and the park, so perhaps shuttles could be an option if you care.
Post # 7
My husband was in the bridal party, of a college roomate’s, in the late 1970s. It was a Catholic church wedding, with a significant time gap, before the reception. I travelled with the wedding party, since it was out of state and I didn’t know my way around. I was shocked at the small number of people, who attended the ceremony, and the way the average guests dressed – very casual/jeans. Only the immediate family and I were in formal clothes. Fast forward to the reception and the place was packed – maybe 3 times the number of guests, who attended the cermony, and all in formal/evening wear. I asked the other guests at my table, if it was out of the ordinary, and they said no; I don’t know if they had even attended the ceremony?
My daughter is in the health care field. Once she could only attend the ceremony, but not the reception, since she had to be at work at 7:00 PM. Other times she’s had to miss the ceremony, because she worked until 3:00 PM or 3:30, on a Saturday. Saturday pay rates are higher than weekday, so to miss a half shift would have been costly for her.
My daughter’s had their ceremony and reception venue, in one place. There were a few who arrived late; one couple even missed most of the cocktail hour (which was around $50 per guest, between the food spread and open bar.) We didn’t ask them to leave …
You can be as outraged as you want to be, but I don’t think there’s anything you can do about it. We had people who didn’t have the courtesy to even RSVP (including the bride’s uncle/aunt). One wedding had 4 no-shows and an extra/wasted centerpiece, which totaled over $900 down the drain. It’s a fact, that no one cares about your wedding, as much as you do.
P.S. My husband is disabled and uses a walker. He cannot walk on gravel or over grass – not even for one step. I’m sure we’d be skipping your ceremony, too.
Post # 8
Hey @Horseradish, there’s no gap between ceremony and reception, other than the time it takes people to go between the venues. (probably about 20 mins, considering how much my relatives love to mill around and hug each other).
And @Bluebird22, we did tell people the start time for the ceremony, but just said that the reception would follow directly afterwards – we didn’t anticipate that anyone would just be showing up for the reception, so we didn’t put a time estimate.
Post # 9
Yeah, I also work in healthcare so I would understand if people had a work conflict or a transportation handicap. Really, I would. I’ve already made several accomodations for guests with things of this nature, and I don’t mind at all – in fact, it means a ton to me that some people are taking time to drop by the reception or ceremony late after they get off of work, because I know that’s an extra hardship for them.
However, this seems not to be the case for the guests who RSVP’d in this fashion.
Post # 10
Based on your invitations, their responses seemed very rude to me. Particularlly since your ceremony will be short and your wording stated the reception would start right afterwards…
Post # 11
I’ve actually been that guest once. I was working grave at the time so making the ceremony meant that I would only have had to cut my sleep by two hours and total only 4 hours of sleep. I do realize that it is rude so explained my situation to the couple and asked if they minded.
Some people might have good reasons and some people may have bad reasons for not showing to your ceremony. It sucks that the rude people are not people you care about either so it’s harder to not feel resentful. But what can you do? Unless you think you can politely uninvite them under the pretense making space for other guests.
Post # 12
It is perplexing to me why they would do this. Can you ask your parents if anything is going on with them?
I went to a wedding last May that was just like this. Outdoor park wedding, then drive to the reception at a Hall. No big deal. I don’t know what they are thinking. Unless they think an outdoor wedding is some kind of hippie commune love-in.
Post # 13
Considering that the reception is the “thank you” to guests for attending the ceremony, if I were in your shoes, I’d be pretty ticked off. There’s a part of me that would so tempted to respond that I’m sorry that they can’t attend and that they will be missed.
Post # 14
Although rude, unfortunately I don’t think this is all that uncommon for people to do. The surprising part is that they would note on the RSVP that they won’t be at the ceremony, because usually the RSVP is really just for attendance at the reception for seating, food, etc.
Post # 15
That is strange! Not knowing the people who rsvp’d that way-could there be something in the bigger picture? Something random like people have really bad allergies or oppose getting married outdoors. For the record-I would find it rude too and would hope for more of an explanation!