Post # 17
I was invited to a reception only wedding and I was very hurt that I wasn’t invited to the ceremony. I chose not to go to the wedding because of this. The invitation stated that the church could only hold a small number of people because it was small and on a historic site, so only immediate family and the wedding party were invited to the ceremony, but all were invited to the reception. I don’t think it is fair to not include everyone.
Post # 18
the etiquette police would definitely approve of this! it’s rude to invite people to the ceremony but not reception, not the other way around. you have to make it clear on the invite that these people are being invited to a reception only though…use words like “celebrate the marriage of.”
yes, some people will be offended and throw fits, but people will do that no matter what you do. spread the word around that you’re having a very intimate ceremony, and the vast majority of your guests will understand. if they don’t, you probably wouldn’t want them there anyway!
Post # 19
I think it’s fine as long as it’s not the other way around…inviting people to the ceremony only and not the reception (only because typically, this is to save money, not due to space limitations). If you can do it on a different day from the ceremony, I think that’s even better. Think about how many people elope or have a civil ceremony, and then have a celebration at a later date. To me, this is the same situation. People may see that more clearly if they are on separate dates though, even if it’s just a day later.
Post # 20
I think it is fine if you do immediate family and bridal party only for your ceremony. People should understand why you cannot physically invite everyone to the ceremony. If they don’t . . I wouldn’t want people like that at my wedding anyway 🙂
Post # 21
As far as I know about etiquette, you can invite to reception only but can’t invite to ceremony only. To be honest, most people enjoy the party more than the ceremony anyway. I doubt anyone will be that upset if you decided only to invite a select few to the ceremony due to your restrictions.
Post # 22
@eupenmalmody: I’m curious as to what you would have liked them to do under those circumstances?
Post # 23
Ive seen it done the other way, where the ceremony was open to whomever but the celebration was for the invited only. But I do feel a bit off-put by asking to celebrate but not being allowed to see you get married… I feel like its along the same lines as inviting one to the shower but not to wedding… Though Im sure its not, it feel to me like a gift grabbing situation… (not saying you are, just saying thats the feeling it leaves with me).
I know not everyone believes this, but our wedding day is not only ours, but our families as well. We couldnt do the type of wedding we really wanted because we couldnt pick and choose family and we couldnt cut the guest list… So we had to pick a venue AND ceremony site that could accommodate both…
Post # 24
We got a reception only invite last year. And at first I thought it odd cause I’ve never rec’d an invite like that before, but I quickly dismissed it. I assumed they wanted the ceremony part to be intimate with only family and friends, which I completely understand. I wasn’t put off about it at all. They had their reasons for doing it that way, whatever they were, so it was okay with me.
Post # 25
Thanks for all the feedback, it really helped getting others perspective on this!! Still not quite sure if we will go through with this plan or not…something about just irks me and I dont want to have that hanging over my head on the day of.
Post # 26
We did this and had about 10-12 people at the actual ceremony and then about 40 more at the reception. Our ceremony was at noon and the reception was at 2 but I think its more acceptable if you do them on seperate days or atleast in separate locations. I also think the video of the ceremony being played at the reception is a great way to incorporate the guests who you couldn’t accomodate. We used this poem for our invitations and didn’t face any objections..
We found true love, so we’re tying the knot
We’re having the ceremony in a tiny, private spot
We hope you’ll join us soon after
For good food, fun, and plenty of laughter
Whatever you choose make sure its right for the two of you. Don’t let anyone pressure you into things you don’t want. Good Luck!
Post # 27
I did it. We got married with ONLY immediate family in attendance and are having a big celebration later. I think that there *might* be some people who are offended, but you can’t please anyone. The way I see it, if people see this as a gift-grubbing situation a) they don’t know me well and b) they’re kind of dumb. Seriously–it’d be MUCH cheaper for us to buy all the crap ourselves AND we’d still have money left over for a pretty swank honeymoon. As it stands now, we’re not doing a honeymoon this year in favor of the wedding. But at any rate, if someone’s offended, then they don’t have to come.
But, having said that, here are some of the “rules” that I think make this arrangement work a little better, etiquette-wise:
1. Small ceremony means SMALL ceremony. Like, your parents and siblings and grandma. But no one else. Once you start making exceptions, that’s when feelings get hurt.
2. Make it crystal clear via your invitation that guests will NOT be witnessing a ceremony and that it’s just a reception.
3. Consider doing something to bring your ceremony to the reception for a bit of ritual–make a toast, do a (short) slideshow of the ceremony, wear your dress again, or even consider reciting portions of your vows again. That will help guests feel more a part of it.
4. Be gracious and subtle about your registry. The best technique is to just use word of mouth. We have ours on our website (and links to the website on the invitation/STDs but NO registry information on either of those) because I know that my crowd would be more offended if there wasn’t registry info on the website–they prefer the convenience over tradition. But having your guests call your parents is the nicest option and discourages people from feeling like you’re gift-grubbing. Word of mouth means that if they want to give you gift, they’ll figure out a way.
5. I think that although it’s not necessary, you do get a little better understanding if there’s more time between the events, rather than a morning ceremony followed by an evening reception. People seem less inclined to feel offended when it’s two separate events as opposed to one event comprised of two parts, one of which they weren’t allowed to participate in. See the difference?
Post # 28
I would say that is fine. But make sure you indicate that on the invitations or people will be let down when they show up and there’s not a ceremony. Happened at my friends wedding… some pretty awkward moments!
Post # 29
If you don’t feel comfortable with it, don’t do it! When I follow this simple rule, 99.9% of the time I am happy with the decision that follows. The reason why, because you usually know what’s “right” deep down, but other things come up which make you rethink your initial thoughts. It may be tough, but it will work out in the end.
Post # 30
I think it’s fine especially given that both events are in very different locations. A lot of couples elope or have court weddings and then have a reception later–I think this falls in a similar category. What is not okay is inviting people to a ceremony and then not inviting them to the reception!
Post # 31
In my culture, it is common to invite more people for the reception than the ceremony, and has someone who has been invited to only the reception before, I was totally fine with it. I think what you are doing is fine, and it makes sense to want a smaller ceremony with just the immediate family and a bigger celebration with everyone.