(Closed) Invitation to a wedding with no reception?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 18
160 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@Happy Donut:  Maybe to save yourself you could email her some of the other posts that match this one.  The knot and the bee have LOTS of posts about brides wanting to do this. Almost always the replies are ‘ARE YOU CRAZY That’s Selfish!’ Maybe she’ll get the hint herself. And if not, you can always say you tried!

Hey Cousin, 

I was looking into that wedding you’re planning and here is some interesting things I’ve found.  Enjoy reading..

Love, Happy Donut.

Post # 19
6386 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@Happy Donut:  Whether she is having a $500/plate reception or a “pay your own way” reception (I’ve never heard of this), she shouldn’t mention gifts in the invite.  If she wants cash, she should ask her friends to spread the info through word of mouth.  However, if I received an invitation like this in the mail (i.e. pay for your own dinner and give me cash), I’d probably laugh and throw it in the garbage.

Post # 21
3273 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

Um, bad idea. Are they getting married right now for any other reason than they want money? Because, with the basically free to them “wedding” and their expectation of cash gifts, this is going to look like a giant cash grab. You need to gently tell her that her ideas may not come across well to others

Post # 22
5136 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

@Happy Donut:  I agree with you Fiance on this.

There is no way to politely tell the guests in an invitation that you are invited to a “reception” but you have to pay for your own dinner, and please give us cash!


My Fiance went to a Civil Ceremony for his best friend and they didn’t send out invites, they told their closest friends we are getting married on this date, we are going to lunch after if you would like to join us. They didn’t ask for gifts, and they everyone would get their own bill.

Post # 23
17 posts

@Happy Donut:  I would tell her that she is being rude and if she wants people to attend her ceremony, she needs to do something to thank them, which is the purpose of a reception.  Cake and punch is perfectly acceptable and very inexpensive.  If she doesn’t want to thank her guests, she needs to have a private ceremony without any guests.  She absolutely cannot have people attend a dinner after her ceremony and pay for their own dinner.  This is incredibly rude and inappropriate.

Post # 24
2501 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I think this is a very awkward situation UNLESS this is normal in your social circle. I can see either paying for a low-key dinner as a guest or giving a gift (of MY choosing), but I can’t see both. I think it’s offensive, candidly speaking, to expect guests to foot their own dinner bill and cough up cash for that. Even when we’ve gone out with friends for a birthday dinner (and covered our share of the bill), we’ve either gotten a little token gift for the birthday person (e.g. bottle of wine) or nothing at all. I’ve never had a birthday dinner where people paid for dinner and gave me cash/substantial gift card.

I think she can either just invite people to the wedding and have light refreshments afterwards or she can just do an informal announcement post-ceremony that says, “Hey, we’re going to X restaurant to hang out and celebrate. Join us if you would like.” This, in my circle anyway, does not imply that they will host. I think people will give a gift either way as most people don’t show up empty-handed to such occasions, but unless it is the norm, I wouldn’t expect cash.

Post # 25
1441 posts
Bumble bee

I’m guessing she won’t be happy hearing that her plans may not be well received. 

I would ask her if she really want’s your honest feedback.  I’m assuming she’ll say yes, of course, she does.  But, then when she gets upset that you gave her your opinions you can remind her that she did want your input.   I think PP may have an idea as well as far as sending her an email with several threads about this topic and let her read for herself what others think.  

Post # 26
645 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

How would I advise her? To elope.

Post # 27
2884 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@Happy Donut:  Sounds like she’s going to create some enemies when the people who show up for the wedding realize that this dinner isn’t provided for them by the newlyweds.

Then, to ask for money explicitely? Sounds like a disaster (& I’m not even an etiquette snob!).

I would tell her to squash the idea of having 100ppl there to see her ceremony, & instead only invite enough people that she is willing to buy dinner for. As for the “asking for cash,” tell her not to. That’s going too far.

Post # 28
377 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Yeah, it was definitely smaller – maybe half that? Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention to the size of your cousin’s guest list. My bad!

Post # 29
442 posts
Helper bee

Can you maybe ask her mom to have a come-to-Jesus talk about what is & is not appropriate to do (and take the heat off you)? Sounds like it’s overdue!

Post # 30
215 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

@Happy Donut:  Although it doesn’t really fit with my cultural background, I think that a short civil ceremony + a dinner where guests pay their own plate could be ok.

But I don’t think she can ask for gifts (especially not cash) explicitly.

Also, similar to PPs, I think that 20-30 or so should be the max for people invited to this affair. And she would need to explicitly explain, up front, that the guests were expected to pay their own way.

Post # 31
4835 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@Happy Donut:  Easy, advise her that if she’s not hosting a reception she should NOT expect gifts.  Ideally, she should make that clear, at least she should stay silent on the issue (including not creating a registry).

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