(Closed) Have you ever gone to a reception but not the ceremony?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 16
1178 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Don’t do it. It will offend a lot of people.

Post # 18
87 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I personally would be offended if the ceremony was the same day. I’ve been invited to the reception only in this type of situation a few times and wound up not attending at all. I felt like I wasn’t ‘good’ enough to attend the ceremony.

However- I have been invited to ‘reception-only’ when the couple eloped earlier and was not offended at all. 

At the end of the day, it is your day though.

Post # 19
70 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

I think that’s a fairly standard thing to do as getting married costs a fortune! We are having close family and friends for the ceremony (made up of 50 people) and then extended family and work colleagues for the evening (going up to 80 people).

I wouldn’t be offended at all, it’s your day and your choices, and if your guests choose to come or not based on which part they were invited to, then maybe its a good thing they wouldnt be there, as they may not consider you “important” enough to go. 

An invitation to a ceremony, or reception is an invite to celebrate two people you know and love getting married, not a snobbery or offence competition! But as Barbie86 said, this is a common way to do things in the UK.

Post # 20
193 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

View original reply
ms_margarita:  I’ve never been in this situation but…I would think it was a little odd but I wouldn’t be offended.

“Did you still bring a gift?” – that sounds a bit gift grabby to me :/

Post # 21
267 posts
Helper bee

I think you should what you feel comfortable with. This is my Fiance second wedding and he wanted a total elopement. I want a wedding, but like you I also have no interest in walking down the aisle infront of a ton of people. We are doing a private wedding ceremony and  150 person reception. I do have one aunt who is pissed. The best way to avoid people being pissed ould be to have the ceremony and reception on different days.

Also, in my area (rural NY) it is very common to only go to the reception, even if you are invited to both. Usually the amount of people doubles for the reception. My Fiance refuses to go to ceremonies

Post # 22
944 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I skipped a ceremony once, but only because I was working. I got off in time to change, get to the reception, and meet the love of my life. Haha that last part is true! In all honesty though, you can’t do what you are thinking. It would hurt feelings. You will be just fine in front of everybody. Don’t lock you knees and eat something 🙂

Post # 23
14 posts
  • Wedding: February 2016

Either way somebody will be uncomfortable. It’s you And your fiancés wedding so do whatever you two want. 

Post # 24
703 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

This is just the way we do it, so i wouldn’t be offended at all. Even if it wasnt, i wouldn’t be offended, you still invited me to celebrate with you, and that’s all that matter. Do what you want. (some people get offended no matter what)

Post # 25
2189 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

As someone who views the ceremony as more important  than the reception I would not attend the reception if I hadn’t attended the actual wedding (Unless I wasn’t able to get to the ceremony). Just inviting people to the reception seems a bit gift grabby to me. If you want to celebrate with more people than you have at your wedding that’s fine – just do it another time and don’t call it your reception. 

Post # 26
3080 posts
Sugar bee

Do what’s best for you! Some people get hyper-critical about what others choose for their weddings. It’s not a democracy-vote situation – it’s your day.

I’ve missed plenty of ceremonies, usually due to the time gap. If the ceremony is at 2:00 PM and I’m scheduled to work on that day, I’ll make it to the 6:00 reception, instead.

Years ago (35?) we went to a wedding in the northern NYC suburbs. (Catholic church- both Italian families). My husband was a groomsman. At most half of the guests came to the ceremony – and it wasn’t because half of them weren’t invited. It was in a fairly small church – there was something going on in the family’s parish that day. And few of the guests were dressed up, some were in denim. I was shocked. I wore an evening gown because I was traveling with the bridal party. It seems that it was the custom to go home and get dolled-up, after the ceremony. At the reception there were 300, formally dressed guests.

Post # 27
2221 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - Walnut Hill Bed & Breakfast

I’d probably be annoyed… but still attend and still give a gift if you were a close friend. But you’d be the target of “how do I know you’re really married? i wasn’t there” jokes. 

Friends did something similar… but they got married at the courthouse a week before their ‘reception’. 

Post # 28
9124 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

View original reply
ms_margarita:  I personally would be offended if I wasn’t invited to the ceremony in this scenario, because there is a clear “A” and “B” list. I would not be offended if I was invited to a post-elopement reception however because in that situation all the guests are still being treated the same. I was pretty nervous about everyone watching us do our vows but looking back now I can tell you (1) you won’t notice them or care, you’ll be too focused on your husband to think that these people (who love you otherwise they wouldn’t be there) are judging you or whatever. (2) when things get hard in my marriage it’s nice to remember all those people that support us and think we can do this – our ceremony even included a congregation vow where everyone present promised to do just that. 

Post # 29
3791 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

View original reply
ms_margarita:  This is what we did. DH is not a big fan of being somewhere with a bunch of eyes on him. He wanted to get married outside in a Gazeboa at a local park and have a small ceremony. I was fine with whatever (although my mom was not). We ended up just inviting family (parents, grandparents, siblings, nephews, aunts and uncles), and there were about 40 guests. It worked for us, and was great… especially when our ceremony was 7 minutes long!

I would have managed with more people there, but it was nice to walk down the small sidewalk with as few eyes on me as possible… I hate the limelight, as well. I still don’t regret it, and it seemed more personal for the two of us.

As a result, we sent 2 different invitations out to guests invited to both the ceremony and reception, and then to guests that were only invited to the ceremony. It did explain that we were having an intimate family ceremony before the reception, and many friends (and family friends) understood why we were doing this. As far as we know, no one had an issue. We still had a wedding website that indicated where we were getting married, but didn’t list a time.

One of my cousins did this same thing the year before, as his wife is not a people person. However, they only had parents, grandparents and siblings attend. My mom, and another aunt, were actually very offended by this – hence, the issues she had with it for mine. Our thing was, DH has a large family, and had we included cousins (their spouses and kids) – we could have just as well had a big guest list for the ceremony.

Post # 30
222 posts
Helper bee

View original reply
ms_margarita:  I have personally been invited to the reception only. A cousin of mine had a ceremony with about 12 people and then a reception with 50 – it is still causing strife throughout the extended family. Yes, you will probably offend people [especially older guests] and it may come across as gift-greedy. [Her reception also only included cold-cuts and they ran out of food before everyone was served, plus outdoor ceremony in the rain…it was bad.]

If you have tons of food, make the environment about a true party, and ask for people to not bring gifts then it might go over ok. But if the real reason you don’t want a large ceremoney is because of anxiety in front of such a large crowd then you might want to just consider only inviting 50 people to the ceremoney and reception. 

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