(Closed) Is it acceptable to have a All Day vs. Reception Only Invite??

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: Is it acceptable to have an All-Day vs. Reception-Only Invite???
    Yes, if you are limited in space. : (4 votes)
    6 %
    No, they are coming to your event, they should be invited to it all. : (58 votes)
    88 %
    Unsure, depends on the guest or situation. : (4 votes)
    6 %
  • Post # 3
    4352 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    Invite everyone to the entire day and have dinner be a little cramped or cut guest list (ETA: or find a venue which can accomodate all of your guests). Don’t invite some people to only part of the day. They will feel like second tier guests (which apparently they are) and be insulted. They will find out that the rest of the attendants got to go to more events and wonder why you bothered to invite them to only the reception.

    Post # 4
    864 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    If you had the ceremony and reception during the day for everyone and then later on had a dinner for the out of town guests that would be ok, but you definately can’t just leave people out of the dinner part after the ceremony and expect them to come back. That is really rude.

    Post # 5
    604 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: March 2014 - Narrawallee reserve/beach & Mollymook golf club

    Find a bigger venue, or invite everyone. Our only exception to this rule is that kids are allowed to attend the ceremony, but not the reception (though a little birdy told me that most are planning on not bringing their little ones). Cut your “B list”

    Post # 6
    2874 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: March 2013

    @thatjengirl:  so the b list wouldnt be invited to the ceremony OR dinner? theyd just get some appetisers and cake? nah i think thats super rude. i wouldnt attend only a reception particularly if i would have to shell out for a hotel room and travel a far distance to get there

    edit – i reread it. option 3 is worse in my opinion. telling people they have to go away for a few hours while the rest of the guests eat – uber rude

    Post # 7
    6123 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2012

    It is considered poor etiquette to have a tiered wedding meaning some poeple are invited to ceremony and reception while others just one part.  So I would not condone partial invitations.

    I’d also just invite the exact number of guests that the venue can acually seat (a little over 80?).  If you really really really know that great auntie Kate from Cali is not showing up but you want to invite her out of sentiment, then count her in the guest list, but don’t do this for too many.  There are weddings where 100% show up, so I’d honestly just invite 80+ and that’s it.  No A list or B list.  Then you don’t have to deal with any potential sticky etiquette situations.

    Post # 8
    9952 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: December 2012

    In America, it is considered rude by most people, to have a Wedding that has layers…

    In other parts of the world, it is more common (UK, Canada, etc)

    Someone else from the UK can speak to how this is handled there…

    BUT I will tell you how it works in Canada when it is done.

    The General Rule of Thumb is… once you are “at the event” you are there for the duration.

    So if you get a Wedding Invite for the Ceremony … then you’d be invited to the Reception Dinner – and Dance part of the evening.

    If you got a Dinner & Dance invite you’d be at those events.

    And if you got a Dance invite you’d be at just that portion.

    Layered Invites tend to be used for two main reasons…

    1- The couple has chosen to have a very small intimate Wedding Ceremony (just alone, or just with immediate family)


    2- The couple wants to celebrate with a ton of friends & acquaintances (likes folks from work etc)… BUT truly don’t have the funds (or space) to accomodate everyone at Dinnner… so they send out Invites for just the Party & Dance portion

    Over the years, I’ve been to both of the above types of Weddings here in Canada, in addition to the regular all-day type.

    I thought nothing inappropriate of the Invites… because they are common enough here.

    BUT as I said, they aren’t that common in the USA so you could find that some folks will be offended that they “weren’t good enough” for the whole event (or that they see it as being gift grabby)

    If your Reception Hall sits 80, then that is the numbers you need to aiming for… going over and you’ll be in a position where you’ll be violating fire codes… and no doubt have some very uncomfortable Guests who are “squished” in.

    There are certainly ways to manage an A-List and B-List for Wedding Invites.  But ultimately it does mean that you have to sit down and figure WHO are your priorities… and worse case scenario, who wouldn’t make the top 80.

    Either that… or look at finding another venue that can hold everyone… and adjusting your expectations or budget to accomodate the extra 45 Guests.

    Hope this helps,


    Post # 9
    5170 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: January 2010

    Put me in the “this is rude” camp (and I am in Canada). I would find it very rude to be invited to ceremony and reception but NOT dinner (especially when that means a bigger gap and it means going to eat somewhere by myself while you feed the guest “worthy” of a dinner invite!) as well as to be invited to the reception but not the ceremony (which to me is the most important part of a wedding!). That seems gift grabby and somewhat insulting. I would rather not be invited at all and would find that not rude at all!

    Cut your guest list, or find a different venue.

    Post # 10
    2105 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    So rude. 

    Post # 11
    1710 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2013 - Walt Disney World

    I agree with the others…I would be upset if I were only invited to a portion of the celebration and wouldn’t go to it, period.  You should cut the guest list to accomodate the hall.

    Post # 12
    2655 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: March 2013

    My sister thought it was extremely rude when I mentioned ‘afters’ invites. However, I am only giving them to work people who were happy to travel to the afters of a colleagues wedding a few months ago and delighted to be invited. What I am getting at is that it is ok in some circumstances but you need to be pretty sure that it will be acceptable to your guests. 

    Post # 13
    343 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2012

    As This Time Round said, this is fairly commonplace in the UK – I invited some of my less close colleagues and the choir who sang for us at the ceremony to the evening reception for a buffet and dancing. This is absolutely standard and not considered rude in the slightest. We weren’t far away from where most of our guests lived and any further away were invited to the whole event. The whole issue of evening guests is one of the things that is just so normal in the UK and that I don’t understand about US etiquette!

    Post # 14
    2104 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: November 1999

    If I lived 10 minutes away from where the wedding was, I’d think it was rude but I might still attend.  But traveling from 4 hours away and only getting invited to certain parts of it??  Oh hell no.  I’d decline and start to evaluate what kind of friend would want me to travel that far to attend the ceremony, then wait around for a couple of hours while the bride and groom feed the people they felt were worth feeding dinner to.

    I suggest inviting only 80 people to everything or find a bigger venue.

    Post # 15
    786 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2014

    Add me to the rude list.  If I was a “second” tier guest that that was invited only to your reception I would not go; honestly I’d think that person was just being gift grabby and wanted my gift but not my company.  If these people are not important enough for you to invite to the ceremony (the most important part of the day) than you are not important enough for them to drive up to 4 hours away just for some cake.  Sorry if that came across as harsh but that’s how I would feel.  I think either cut the guest list or find a bigger venue.

    Post # 16
    4336 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    Don’t you have another option? You could cut some or all of the B-list people completely…

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