Is it okay to do two sepatate receptions and one small ceremony?

posted 1 year ago in Reception
Post # 2
6217 posts
Bee Keeper

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
53 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: Los Angeles

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 # 5
13641 posts
Honey Beekeeper

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
1863 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2020

Given your specific circumstances, I think it would be fine. Maybe call the US party something other than a reception

Post # 7
4775 posts
Honey bee

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
306 posts
Helper bee

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
49 posts

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
681 posts
Busy bee

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
7964 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

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
3294 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

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. 

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