Post # 1
My fiancé and I are struggling with how to keep family and ourselves happy with the wedding planning. All of my family is in the UK and his is in America. I wanted to get married in my childhood kirk and the kirk where my parents got married- it has a lot of significant meaning to me and my FH has no place of significance to him for getting married in. Most of my family can’t come to America and most of his family can’t come to the UK, so we were thinking of doing a tiny wedding ceremony in UK with just my parents, his parents, our siblings (and SO’s) and my Grandma. Unlike my fiancé, I’m exceptionally close with my grandma, she’s my best friend, and unable to fly to America which is a large reason I want to get married at home. I am ready to stand my ground if his grandparents are upset that they aren’t invited (none of the family likes one side of his grandparents and the granny he is super close to can’t fly). We don’t want to do two ceremonies; we both feel like it’s a weird thing to do for us but no hate if that’s what you did. The question is then this: would it be okay to do a reception in America before the wedding (no gifts, no first dances- more like a wedding styled party) for our friends and family in America and a reception in the UK after the wedding (no gifts again, but this would be more of a traditional reception) for our friends and family in the UK? When I’ve looked for people’s opinions on inviting people to the reception and not the wedding most people have a problem with newlyweds expecting gifts. Even if we were doing a traditional wedding, I want to make it clear that my fiancé and I do not expect gifts from anyone. We just want to find a way to celebrate the start of our marriage with all of the people closest to us.
Post # 2
It’s fine. It’s not like you’re throwing an extra party so you can get more gifts or something. We thought about it ourselves since our families live on opposite coasts… only half were actually able to attend our wedding and I didn’t invite long time family friends because I felt guilty asking them to travel so far. My parents held a “meet the couple” party about a half a year later. We got one or two gifts but most people just came to say hi and no one felt put out by it in any way. It’s only sensible when the other choice is to ask people to spend thousands to attend.
Post # 3
I would hold the US party after the actual wedding, once you return, not before. Then maybe you can show photos from the ceremony, or a slide show or something, if you are into that. My sister had gotten married abroad and then had a reception when they got back to the US at our parent’s home that was catered and set up outside with a tent, music, and good friends and family in attendance. It was lovely. Had any of rest of the guests wanted to go abroad, they were invited. As it went, about 4 families made it to both events.
Post # 4
I do really like the idea of that and we did consider holding a reception afterward in the US! The only problem is my fiance and I are considering moving to the UK permanantly after the wedding so long as I can sponsor him as I’m a GB citizen so we may not be coming back after. If we choose to stay in America we may do as you suggested, I like the idea of having wedding pictures and such showing so it would feel more connected to the wedding itself for our guests
Post # 5
You can have a small ceremony followed by two separate receptions, but it is not appropriate to have a pre-wedding celebration and invite people who are not invited to the wedding. Gifts are not up to you, they are at the discretion of your guests and in any case, it’s improper to say anything about gifts on an invitation at all, including “no gifts.”
Even if they can’t come, I don’t know how you can invite your grandmother but not his grandparents without hurtung feelings.
Post # 6
Given your specific circumstances, I think it would be fine. Maybe call the US party something other than a reception
Post # 7
I’m not opposed to the two reception thing, but I agree that I find it odd to do a reception in the United States before you actually have the wedding in the UK. Usually the whole point of the two reception thing is so that you can share photos of the actual ceremony that people didn’t get a chance to see and celebrate with them in the same manner.
I would either throw the reception in the US after the UK ceremony and reception, or if circumstances don’t allow you to do that then I would dissociate the US party from being wedding related at all. Don’t even tie it to your wedding, just throw a kick-ass party just because you want to see the people you love and celebrate with them and call it a bon voyage party if you have to. You can throw parties without having to tie it to an event like a wedding.
Post # 8
I think it’s totally fine to have two receptions in two countries, but I think you need to invite everyone who’s invited to the US reception to the UK wedding ceremony as well, if they would like to make the trip. Or at the very least, close friends and family in America should be invited to the UK wedding, with the understanding that you totally don’t mind if they just make it to the American reception. It seems sad to me to not invite people – especially close friends and family – to the “real” wedding and then fob them off with a reception that’s not even very wedding-like at all, like they’re second place. I think if you invite everyone to both parties and they get to choose whether they travel to the UK or not, then you can have a real wedding reception in the US too and no one will feel slighted.
Post # 9
I don’t think that’s weird at all. I’m in a very similar situation: I’m American, Fiance is Australian. We currently live on the east coast of the US, so Australia is literally the opposite side of the world so hardly anyone can make the trip. We tossed around different ideas, including almost exactly what you’ve described, and currently the plan is to do our legal wedding with a reception in Australia where hopefully my mom will be able to make it. And then do a catholic blessing and reception in the US. This only worked for us because I’m from a Catholic family and they were appeased by the religious ceremony component rather than the legal one.
International relationships present unique difficulties and your friends and family will understand that you need to do what works for you. People will definitely have things to say about it, but stand your ground!
Post # 10
Girl, who cares what others think. I’m tired of people worrying too much about tradition. You want to have a reception in two different countries, which is super considerate since you don’t want to have you guests worry about international travel (especially durning this time). Who cares if you do gifts at both. You’re throwing a party, and its expensive. If you feel bad, you can tell people its optional. Just do what you want, and don’t worry about the rest.
Post # 11
Two receptions–no problem. A reception in the US before the wedding? It’s odd to celebrate with people before but not invite them to the actual wedding. Even if they likely will not attend.
Post # 12
I think it’s fine.
you could do the US party as a going away thing rather than a reception if you have to have it before the ceremony.