(Closed) Limited Guest List for the day….how to invite partners to evening only?

posted 4 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
142 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

I would go with the second option – two invitations, one for day and one for night. I’ve seen it done this way before, and it’s a clear way of getting it across. 

it’s worth trying to spread by word of mouth the fact that you’re limited on space for the day, so people don’t feel offended. You may lose guests – especially if any of them have to travel. 

And expect to get a lot of negative comments on here – this is not something which is acceptable in much of the US! 

Post # 4
2600 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@liskathefox:  According to etiquette,  married, engaged and live-in couples are considered a social unit and it’s rude to eclude one half of the couple to events at which they would have an expectation of being invited to together. If they’re just dating, the two invitations are fine although some people may be put out they can’t drive together. 

Have you considered just cutting the guest list down to those that can fit in the venue for both the wedding and reception? 


Post # 5
7561 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

I wouldn’t separate couples. I think you’d be better off not including extended family like cousins during the day. 

Post # 7
6015 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012

I thnk the second option makes the most sense.  Like PP said, it makes things pretty clear. 

Post # 8
41 posts
  • Wedding: December 2013

I also live in an an area where it’s acceptable to invite guests only to the evening part of the wedding, but as a previous poster said that is quite unusual in the US so bear in mind you might get a few negative comments from confused US bees! 

Even in the UK though, I do think it’s quite unusal to invite one half of a married couple and not the other, so I think there is a risk that some people might get offended and/or not attend (although you know your family and friends better than a stranger on the internet does, so take that with a pinch of salt!) 

We were in a similar situation at our wedding with venue restrictions etc. We took a slightly different approach though. Where couples were married or living together we invited both partners to the whole thing. Where couples were dating and not married or living together, we invited the partner we were friends with or related to to the whole thing and the partner we didn’t know as well just to the evening. Is this something you could consider, or does that not really help in your situation? 

Alternatively, you could keep couples together but move some couples to the ‘evening’ list and keep some on the ‘day’ list. Unless that means having to rank your cousins, which probably isn’t going to work either. 

On the invitation question, we had separate ‘day’ and ‘evening’ invites and that worked well and I think prevented any confusion. Where we were only inviting one partner to the whole thing, we made a point of calling as well to explain why. 


Post # 9
312 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I live in the US and I went to a lovely wedding like this. I think the ceremony had less than 20 guests and the recception had perhaps 100+ guests. My husband (a close friend of the groom) was invited to the ceremony and I (who didn’t know the couple) was invited to the reception. I don’t recall how they did the invitations. But 2 seperate invites would make sense. 

I think everyone understood and it wasn’t a big deal. 

Post # 10
567 posts
Busy bee

Guests will need to realise that one does not want to get into debt to feed a +1 for everyone who comes.  It’s very hard.  We’re making sure that we have close family and friends at dinner reception who will include +1s but then all other friends and partners will be invited to the later evening reception. 

In the UK this is very much the done thing.

Post # 11
12247 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

I would do two invites–One of the people invited to everything, and a second for the people only invited to the evening portion! Though I might only invite cousins to the evening portion of the event, so they don’t have to split from their partners.

Post # 12
1698 posts
Bumble bee

@liskathefox:  Good manners require that

a) a hostess must not invite only half of a couple to any social event, and

b) a hostess must not invite anyone to only half of a social event.

A “couple”, for social purposes, is two people who have made a public and permanent commitment to one another: to whit, who are married or engaged (or who are living together as if they were married, since for all you know maybe they are.) The social definition of a couple does not include “anyone who thinks of themselves as being in a relationship” despite what you may read on wedding-boards, if only because that definition requires hostesses to be mind-readers able to know what people think of themselves. You may cut non-permanent or uncommitted dates off your ceremony guest list; but you must include wives and husband, fiances and fiancees, and any true “partners”. Draw the line for your ceremony at only those people who are so close to you that their wives and fiancees also matter to you. Send those guests an invitation to the ceremony. After such a ceremony it is normal and proper to greet your guests in the narthex/lobby or grounds of the church or approved site,  and generally offer light refreshments such as a glass of punch or a cup of tea, and maybe a sliver of cake.

Hold your wedding breakfast as a separate event. You already have a separate venue, as is proper for such a solution. Make sure the timing also separates the two events: leave enough time in between the two separate events that ceremony guests have time to change into evening clothes, so that they don’t stand out as being differently dressed from the rest of the dinner-dance guests. Issue separate invitations for the separate events (you may put both invitations in the same envelope for your ceremony guests.)

Post # 13
451 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@aspasia475:  This is mostly correct, but I do believe that all couples should be invited. Of course you do not have to be a mind reader – you can call up your guest and simply ask if they are in a relationship. And then send that person his/her own invitation.

OP, what you are proposing is incredibly rude. Please reconsider.

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