(Closed) Invited to a 5:30 pm wedding but no dinner will be served. Rude or OK?

posted 4 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: Is it acceptable for a 5:30 PM wedding to not include dinner?
    Yes, it's fine. Weddings are expensive. : (59 votes)
    11 %
    No, that is terrible! Cheap! : (490 votes)
    89 %
  • Post # 46
    2552 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: August 2014

    This may be an unpopular opinion but I would bring a really cheap gift. I’m spiteful I guess.

    Post # 47
    2600 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: October 2010

    View original reply
    acb123:  I kinda agree with you. 

    Technically, if you have a wedding in which there isn’t a meal provided, you simply put this on the invite–“champagne and cake following” or whatever, and usually the time helps to indicate this (such as having cake and punch at 2pm). It tells your guests that they shouldn’t expect a meal and can make plans otherwise, and it also gives them enough information to determine for themselves whether it’s “worth it” to go. Some people would balk at driving two hours or flying for a “champagne-and-cake” reception and that’s fine–they decline. But I don’t think you’ve committed some grave breach of etiquette in inviting people to a wedding without a meal, so long as you are upfront as to the type of event your hosting. And I also think that if a bride and groom want to wear the white dress and have pretty flowers and have everyone in their large families and large circles of friends attend, and that doesn’t leave them a budget for a full dinner, then doing a simple reception instead is fine. In fact, it sounds kind of unfair and nasty to say that any bride doesn’t “deserve” her wedding dress just because she can’t afford to do that AND serve a full meal to all her guests.

    There’s a lot of other things that go into making sure it’s not a breach of etiquette, of course, and we don’t really have all the information here. Time matters–if you aren’t serving a full meal, then your event shoudl be shorter.  If the couple in question is planning a ceremony and brief champagne toast afterwards which takes an hour or so all told, I think that’s fine. How you word things on the invite also matters, so clearly, “Dinner will not be served due to cost” is tacky, but saying “hors ‘d whatever-can’t-spell and cocktails to follow” I think is okay. I think most guests would be ble to figure that such an event would be about a 30-min ceremony, give-or-take, an hour of cocktails, maybe a toast or two, and then you can leave and go on to your late dinner reservation. 5:30 is a little on the late side for not serving dinner, but it’s not 7pm and again, we’re not sure how long the event is supposed to last anyway–if it’s really only intended to be around an hour, I don’t think 6:30 is too late to arrange your own dinner plans

    Of course, there’s a lot of things about this that sound kinda fishy, and yes–a full-on reception with dancing and speeches without a meal is a problem, as is NOT indicating somewhere in the materials that there’s no meal and relying on word of mouth for that–but we haven’t heard yet that’s what this couple is doing. 


    Post # 48
    3307 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: November 1999

    I don’t care where you’re from, this is just rude, you need food! Unless they’re just serving appetizers. Those are usually the best part anyway. 

    Post # 49
    7897 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper

    Even ruder is saying that you’re not having dinner “to save costs.” People won’t be sticking around very long because everyone will be wanting to eat dinner. As for a gift, I’d either give something small in value or just a card. It should be the thought that counts anyway. 

    Post # 50
    2633 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    View original reply
    raspberrybidet:  It’s only rude if you take offense. It’s not rude if you choose not to get offened and let the couple have the wedding they choose. If you go to the wedding, then plan to go out and eat after…no big deal. If you don’t like the idea and they don’t mean much to you as people or friends then respectfully decline to go. 

    Post # 51
    1689 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2016

    Who the f cares!? Dont go if you’re just going to sit there and critique everything. The Internet is fun. 

    I honestly don’t care what anybody chooses to do on THEIR wedding day. Unless you’re an etiquette biatch who does everything a book says. 

    Post # 52
    157 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: May 2016

    View original reply
    brideinthesix:  “If you can’t afford it then don’t host it”.

    Sounds to me like they wanted 20 of their close friends at the wedding and then their families freaked out because their great aunt Myrtle twice removed from 6-hours-awayville who hasn’t spoken to anyone in 4 years wasn’t invited.

    Our wedding: ceremony at 4:30, “reception and refreshments” at 6, but we’re only doing sandwiches and salads and rolls and shit. And that’s still $2000 for the food. And my entire family is so fussy they won’t eat sandwiches and salads anyways. So yeah. You can’t please everyone. On the flip side I’ve also explicitly stated in the invite that gifts are optional.

    So I guess it depends on what the other expectations surrounding the day are. For us it’s like “ok yes families, we are finally getting married and having our big giant wedding that everyone wanted. Here you go. Now you can get back to asking us about babies”  Being an only child marrying another only child is rough… too many expectations of perfection lol.

    Post # 53
    3611 posts
    Sugar bee

    Yes, it’s rude. Serves this guy right if people are swigging out of flasks and snacking on cheetos during his ceremony.

    Post # 54
    2878 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2015

    View original reply
    raspberrybidet: a card saying “no gifts will be given to save costs.”

    Post # 55
    2403 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: NJ

    Seems to me that the food should be one of the primary budgetary concerns, and many other things come after that. A reception planned for 5:30 should include dinner, either buffet or sit down, no 2 ways about it.

    Having heavy appetizers, the kind you can make a meal of, is ok, but at the dinner hour? Every guest should eat a good lunch. I hope the reception is over by 7pm, then guests can go home or out for dinner.

    Serving no food at all is unacceptable when inviting guests.

    Post # 56
    46 posts
    • Wedding: August 2012

    I just wouldnt go,  they are cheapskates,  cashing in by inviting people….and it can be an unlimited amount if you’re not catering for them can’t it….hoping that people will bring gifts.  I would stay home with chinese food! 

    I once photographed a wedding,  where the bride and groom asked GUESTS  to pay for their 3 course meals!   OMG! 

    Yet they had morning suits for the men,  £2,000  dress,  vintage cars  and a massive wedding cake,  etc  etc,  but then realised the posh food at the hotel  they had booked was over-budget,  so all the guests had to pay £80 pp  for their meals…. 

    Again,  I wouldnt have gone. 

    They DID  provide me with a bar snack,  as I was there working,  but it was a cheese and pickle sandwhich,   and not the vendor meal they had promised me,  which was a cheek  because I was a childhood friend of the brides mum,  and the photography  was a gift from me,  something I usually charge £800  for…  so a cheese and Pickle sandwhich  was an insult.  


    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by  anneonvegas.
    Post # 57
    2076 posts
    Buzzing bee

    Okay for those that say you don’t have to serve a meal, but just heavy apps.  That is correct AS LONG AS you have enough heavy apps to constitute a meal.  And going this direction usually will cost you the same, if not more, then just having a buffet or plated meal.

    If you have your wedding over a meal time, then you must serve a meal.  Whether that be in a buffet, plated, or super heavy app form.  But a meal must be served.  Light apps are not acceptable.  And neither is saying “well the wedding is only going to be 2 hours.”  No.

    If money is tight then have your wedding at a non-meal time, like 2-5pm or 8-11pm.  BUT you must still offer some refreshments and light fingerfoods/dessert.  Remember, the reception is to thank your guests for coming to your ceremony.  To offer nothing would be incredibly rude.

    Yes, these people want to get married and they want their loved one’s to witness it, but that does not mean that others should just accept their rudeness.  If you want people to come to your wedding then the least you can do is host them properly as a thank you.

    Honestly all of this is basic hosting/etiquette 101 and to not follow the basics because of whatever reasons is not okay.

    Post # 58
    893 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: July 2011

    View original reply
    CaitlinAwesome:  Gifts are always optional.  No need to tell people that.

    Post # 59
    3287 posts
    Sugar bee

    Do you have to bring your own blanket?

    Post # 60
    1883 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: September 2014

    If you can’t afford to serve a meal, don’t have a wedding at meal time. Or have a smaller wedding so that you can afford to be a good host. 

    The topic ‘Invited to a 5:30 pm wedding but no dinner will be served. Rude or OK?’ is closed to new replies.

    Find Amazing Vendors