Post # 1
Fiance and I are having our ceremony and reception at two separate venues. Our reception will be for 150 guests. The chapel where we’re getting married is very large and would be able to seat more people. It is way too expensive to host a reception for 250+ people. Is it poor etiquette to have an open ceremony at the chapel but have a closed reception? We wouldn’t send out separate invites – we would just make it “publicly” (not public public but you know what I mean) known that our ceremony is open and we welcome any family, friends, acquaintences, etc. who want to share and witness our union. What are your thoughts?
Post # 2
- Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle
Terrible etiquette, honestly. Only invite those to the ceremony who you can host at the reception. If people hear through the grapevine and ask if they can come, that’s one thing, but putting the word out is not a good idea.
Post # 3
No. The reception is meant to thank guests for attending your ceremony.
Post # 4
There are some cultures where this is socially acceptable, but in my area, it’s not. Whoever is invited to the ceremony is who should be invited to the reception, at least that’s my line of thinking. Generally if you’re getting married at the church your ceremony will be posted in the church bulletin so people most likely will just show up anyway.
Post # 5
Awful. Your reception is the “thank you” for your guests who came to your ceremony. You shouldn’t drop hints that you want them at the wedding then fail to thank them.
Post # 6
There is one situation where it is acceptable to indicate to people they are welcome to the ceremony but are not invited to the reception. That is where the ceremony takes place in a church attend by the bride and/or groom. The minister announces the wedding at a regular service or it is published in the church newsletter. Because the church welcomes its’ parishioners at all times, it is not polite to exclude someone who wants to witness a co-parishioner’s ceremony.
Rather than pass the word publicly, (it could be interpreted as “you didn’t make the cutoff for the reception, but there’s lots of room for you at the ceremony”), I would wait to see if someone asks if they can witness the ceremony.
Post # 7
Very rude. The reception is a thank you to your guests for attending your ceremony and hosting them for the first time as a married couple. Anyone invited to the ceremony must be properly hosted afterwards. If you can only afford to host 150, then you only invite 150 (to everything – the ceremony and reception are not discrete events unless you are having a private wedding with no guests and a celebration of marriage afterward). Thems just the breaks of being an adult without unlimited funds – sometimes you have to make hard decisions like who to cut from your guest list. Sorry.
ETA: Plus how awkward would it be for the 100 people at the church to figure out the other 150 get to go off to another location and get dinner but they weren’t good enough to make the cut? Cause that’s not staying a secret. You do have another option besides cut your guest list and that’s to host everyone with the reception you can afford. So maybe that means a morning wedding with brunch reception because brunch is usually cheaper than dinner. Or you host it at a non- meal time and just have cake, punch, and a few hors d’oeuvres.
Post # 8
Yes, that would be incredibly tacky and rude. The ceremony is join two people and for your guests to celebrate your union…the reception is a thank you to your guests for attending.
Post # 9
You’re towing a fine line. Generally speaking, no. You can’t invite folks to just the ceremony. But, it sounds like you’re not saying that exactly. It’s generally acceptable to have a relatively open ceremony if you’re a part of a congregation. I’ve seen it done a few times, generally for pastor’s kids or folks who work in ministry. I was just at a wedding where the bride was a teacher at the parish school of the church the couple attend. All of her current and former students were invited to the ceremony. Those kinds of broad categories are generally acceptable — your whole church of 500/ 200 former students / whatever, knows they wouldn’t normally be invited to your wedding but are happy to celebrate with you nonetheless.
Any other kind of invite would be a problem. For instance, telling all your friends that uninvited friends can still come to the ceremony, or telling Aunt Betty that your Great Aunt is welcome to come to just the ceremony. If you do a semi-open ceremony, you have to make sure that it’s done in such a way that no one is offended, and that’s particularly hard to do.
Post # 10
I still remember as a little kid, my mom getting a wedding invitation, and putting it straight into the trash. She said it was an invitation to the church wedding only, not the reception.
She told me the church is a public place, no one needs an invitation to go, anytime. The reception is the thing you need to be invited to, and she wasn’t, so the hell with that.
Post # 11
the church is a public place, no one needs an invitation to go, anytime. The reception is the thing you need to be invited to, and she wasn’t, so the hell with that.
That is an excellent point.
Post # 12
As people have said, this happens in traditional Christian weddings where the church is an open place. I’ve been to ceremonies of people in my congregation without being invited and everyone knew that was fine. It might not work with people who don’t have those expectations though, they might just be confused (or upset if you’re actually close to them). I’d just do invites as normal and then just leave it unless people actually ask if they can sit in on the ceremony.
Post # 13
I’ve always thought this was pretty poor form, however it is very common in my religious tradition. The building, as someone mentioned before, is a public place and technically anyone is welcome inside and may witness any worship service taking place there (including weddings, funerals) whenever it is open. The last few weddings I attended, I was also invited to the reception but felt awkward for those who weren’t because the officiant usually made some sort of announcement pertaining to the reception, including reminding people not to show up unless they had received an invitation. I intentionally did not get married at a place of worship for this reason. Having a private ceremony was non-negotiable for me.
Post # 14
I agree with PP’s I don’t think it’s a good idea. I would be offended if I received an invitation to the ceremony only, knowing that others were invited to the reception but not me. I would not go.
Post # 15
Very rude. Would you like it if you were invited to someone’s ceremony only and not the drinks, dinner and dancing portion?