(Closed) Invite only some people to ceremony and others to the reception?

posted 10 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
1094 posts
Bumble bee

The basic rule of etiquette is that you never invite anyone to part of an event. To do so would be rubbing their noses in the fact that they were excluded from the other part — equivalent to a child’s talking about his birthday party in front of the whole kindergarten class when only a few of his class-mates are invited.

The way to handle this is to treat them as two separate events. In formal social terms “reception” just means a stand-up gathering with light refreshments and conversation. Although a reception typically follows any sort of social ceremony (not just weddings: also graduations, citizenship ceremonies, even just Sunday Church), a receptioon can also be held as a stand-alone event, as can a dinners, dance, or dinner-dance. Simply invite people to the thing you are actually inviting then to, without mentioning the thing they are excluded from. Your friends know you are marrying, of course,so they will be aware that is what you are celebrating by your party, even though you do not mention it in the invitations.

Such an invitation is worded as follows (if formal — the words in italics are written in by hand):

Ms AandA Wedding
requests the pleasure of the company of
Mr John Smith and Dr Nancy Black
to a reception
on the twenty-eighth of July
at two o’clock
at the Johnson Memorial Gardens

If informal, it reads:

Dear Nancy and John,
Please join us for dinner with dancing to follow
on 28 July at 7 p.m. at the Main Street Legion.

For your close family who are also invited to the wedding proper, you send separate invitations or an enclosure card — either of which can be slipped into the same envelope as the other invitation. An enclosure card would simply read

“Ceremony one o’clock at the State Court building, office two-twenty-seven”

Post # 4
93 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

I am having a very small reception with around 30 guests and a large reception with around 80-90 guests. We sent out separate invitations. It might be kind of rude, but my fiance gets very nervous and anxious in front of a lot of people and we both wanted it to be more private. I got a lot of flack from my in-laws. 

Post # 5
208 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Problem is easily solved. Chose anyother place to have your ceremony. In fact the number of guests you are inviting should have been taken into consideration in the first place. Very silly!

Post # 6
32 posts
  • Wedding: May 2013

A close friend of mine had a private ceremony for family and the bridal party. My invitation was simply an invite to the reception. I was not offended and thought it was kind of neat that they wanted to keep the ceremony intimate.

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