(Closed) Inviting people to ceremony and not reception

posted 10 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 17
39 posts
  • Wedding: September 2011

my friend had a small quick reception in the church fellowship hall and then headed to her big reception.  make an announcement that members of _________ church are invited to the reception in the fellowship hall after the ceremony.  serve cupcakes, punch, cheese and crackers, spinach dip, fruit and finger snadwiches.  that is cheap, not expensive and that way they will not have been cheated.  if they ask why 2 receptions.  just say the place you booked was not big enough to hold everyone and you wanted to make sure you celebrated with everyone who shared your special day with you. 🙂  problem solved…   

Post # 18
1089 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

I was invited to a church member’s wedding but not reception. It was an announcement made in the church, and I also received a personal request from the Bride’s grandmother (who was my Sunday School teacher) I didn’t find it offensive, I understood their financial reasons for not inviting all of us to the reception. For a Church Congregation I wouldn’t see why they would be offended. They know you and want to share in your joy and honestly the whole purpose of a wedding is the Ceremony and not the Reception.

Post # 19
254 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

When i first started planning, I wanted to do this. Invite ppl to the ceremony- the most important part. And then the reception would be close family/friends. I thought it would be an honor to only be invited to the ceremony. 

Then I talked to my mom. oops.

Maybe you could word it like, at a church announcement, that they would love to have them celebrate the marriage, but they are only having close family at the reception.

Post # 20
1692 posts
Bumble bee

The general rule of etiquette is, that you never invite a guest to *part* of a social event, nor ever invite a guest as a ‘second-class’ guest. It is a good rule. And like most etiquette rules when applied to weddings, it gets oversimplified to the point that some mavens would have you believe that if you invite someone out for coffee while you are shopping at Davids, you are consequently obliged to invite them into your bedroom for your wedding night. In fact, while it is absolutely true that you cannot tell your second-class guests to get lost now, because it’s time for the real party to start and they aren’t invited; you CAN do as you are suggesting and do it graciously, and it is completely proper and traditional

The secret is to have two events: a “wedding” (which must be accompanied by a “reception” in the classical sense of tea-and-cakes with stand-up conversation, following a ceremonial public service of some sort); and a “wedding breakfast” (which is to say, dinner) at another location held as a private party. You request the “honour” of your fellow church-members’ attendance at the church service. That is, in fact, the *reason* for that old-fashioned distinction between “request the honour” and “request the pleasure”. Technically, the former wording serves to indicate that you are just announcing a public event and that God and the Church are the actual hosts; the latter indicates that you are the host and are controlling who attends. “Requests the honour”, by the way, also indicates that the guests cannot assume gifts will be accepted; so with a church-only wedding invitation, traditional etiquette, at least, holds you innocent of gift-grabbiness.

This is the reason that so-called reception cards exist, as a second invitation to the second separate event, to be sent in the same envelope as the ceremony invitation, but only to those who are being invited to the wedding breakfast (which is a “breakfast” because devout believers used to fast until after any church sacrament that they were participating in, and the wedding dinner is when the bride and groom break their pre-wedding fast).

The weakness of this tradition is, that modern guests always seem to include a few who don’t have the sense God gave little green apples, and never learned in kindergarten not to talk about parties in front of people who might not be invited. You need to handle their gaucheness proactively, by mentioning casually in conversation with (and social notes to) those potential trouble-makers, that the wedding-breakfast is going to be a private party for just your closest friends that you are asking them to after the “main” reception. Even if you have a hundred and fifty “closest” friends, appealing to their vanity in that way may encourage them to use more tact than is their wont.

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