Is it possible to do private dinner and open reception?

posted 3 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 2
Member
3057 posts
Sugar bee

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stephelou :  Are you talking about having a ceremony and private dinner and then hosting a reception for everyone at a later date? That can absolutely be done.

If you are talking about having everyone at the ceremony and then just dinner with your family and then having everyone back at the reception on the same day, then that would be kinda of rude. 

Post # 3
Member
597 posts
Busy bee

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stephelou :  I’ve heard of people doing something like this but they still had dinner at the reception. Ceremony in the morning with everyone, lunch with immediate family, dinner and reception with everyone. Were you trying to save money on the food and only pay to feed your immediate family? It would be nice to give your guests something to munch on even if it’s not a multiple course meal.

Post # 4
Member
371 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

If I was invited to attend a wedding ceremony, then had to wait around doing and eating nothing while the bride and groom and immediate family/VIPs ate dinner privately, then was expected to dance with them afterwards without having been provided with any food… I would be very hurt, annoyed, upset, and hungry. I definitely do not think this is acceptable.

If you mean a reception days to months later, like PP said, that would be different.

Post # 5
Member
5471 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2018

Are the other guests going to be attending th ceremony?

Post # 6
Member
6167 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2017

So the other guests come by after y’all ate and drank and do what? Just sit around, chat and dance? What about drinks? Food? Would there be alcohol for them? If it’s just a way for you to save money by not feeding them then it’s really rude.

Post # 7
Member
653 posts
Busy bee

I think that if your concern is having the family dinner as a private affair, then you can certainly build that in.  Perhaps all of you should eat during what would be cocktail hour for your guests, and then while they are served or serve themselves from a buffet, you can all circulate amongst the tables to greet guests.  The only issue there would be setting aside time for photos other than during cocktail hour, but if you’re doing a first look, that should be doable. 

Post # 8
Member
5778 posts
Bee Keeper

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stephelou :  Can you elaborate on the timeline you’re thinking of? 

If it’s a small intimate ceremony with family members only followed by a family dinner, then a bigger party at a later date, this would be fine. 

If it’s a small intimate ceremony with family members only followed by a family dinner, then a dancing/ drinks/ apps party later with lots more guests (I think this is more common in the UK if I’m not mistaken, to invite guests just to the evening portion?) …..fence sitting on this but likely do-able. 

If you’re talking about inviting family and friends for the ceremony, then having dinner with only select family members while the B-list guests go find somewhere else to eat and rejoin you afterward, I think this would be a very glaring lapse of good hosting that will make some guests feel ‘second tier’ enough to decline. 

Post # 9
Member
324 posts
Helper bee

A reception is a formal social gathering/function where you ‘receive’ guests. It is in bad taste to host guests without drinks/apps. Esp if you shoo them away after ceremony to have dinner with small group of guests.

Maybe you are thinking of something more casual like going to a bar for dancing and afterparty?

Post # 10
Member
3353 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

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stephelou : we need more details here. without details, the off-the-cuff answer is that “in the US, that would be considered very rude.” this is assuming that you have a ceremony (where everyone is invited), followed by the dinner (with just family), and a larger reception for all the guests of the ceremony. that’s rude.

however, if you’re having a private ceremony and family dinner, followed by a reception where more people are invited, it’s a much grayer area. this is actually typical in the UK (the ceremony/dinner guests are “day guests” and the extras are “evening guests”). maybe this is acceptable where you live, but typically this is still frowned upon in most areas of the US. the idea here is twofold: that in the US it’s standard to bring a gift, and you’re essentially being gift-grabby by inviting people to give you a gift but not actually take part in your nuptials. and that you’re “tiering” your guests by creating two classes – those important enough to be included in your ceremony, and those who are not. both of these are big no-nos in the US. (in the UK, on the other hand, gifts are not expected of the evening guests and culturally class distinctions are a thing).

regardless, you must feed all your guests at the reception. this may be as simple ass punch and cake (in this case, it should be a short 1-hour affair), to heavy appertizers, to a full meal. but some food must be provided, and it should be commiserate with the length and timing of the reception.

Post # 11
Member
186 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

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stephelou :  what will you be offering your guests at the reception?

Post # 12
Member
147 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

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catskillsinjune :  oh wow! I didn’t realise that in the US that you don’t have Day guests and evening guests! As you said in the UK this is totallly normal! Your still expected to feed them mind but it’s usually a hot buffet. 

Post # 13
Member
6167 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2017

 

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rosieb52 :  hot buffet is better than the food at a lot of the north american weddings.

Post # 14
Member
1246 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

 

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lifeisbeeutiful :  What kind of food have you been served in North America for weddings? I’m just curious since I’ve had amazing wedding food (and I understand it’ll vary depending on who is hosting).

Post # 15
Member
6167 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2017

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dojx :  depends on the wedding but I’ve been to a few where food ran out, was cold, or meal consisted of cold finger foods for a reception that lasted until the early a.m. i also really dislike hokey potluck weddings where food temperature and safety are at your own risk.

TheseThese weddings at nice venues in Toronto and Woodbridge, ont Canada.

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