Post # 1
So, I wrote a whole long post and then it got deleted, so I’m going to give you the cliff notes version. I want a big wedding, Fiance doesn’t, so we compromised and cut many people off of our list to narrow it down to immediate family and close friends only, about 150 people. I’d still love some of the people we cut (family friends mostly) to be able to come and some have expressed that they’d like to be there as well. Since we’ll most likely be getting married in a church, I thought it may be ok to extend an open, informal invite to these people and some others (coworkers, old friends, etc) to attend the ceremony.
I’ve read on the Bee that it’s ok to attend a ceremony in a church without a formal invite as it’s a public space. I’ve also read that it’s rude to invite someone to the ceremony and not the reception. Where is the line between “invited to one, but not the other” and “you can come if you want, here’s the info” drawn? I feel like the rules contradict each other, but it may just be that my understanding is wrong.
Is it ok to just pass along ceremony info, but not mail out or give a formal invitation to the whole event? Would you be offended if you were only “invited” to the ceremony and not the reception?
Post # 3
I don’t think it’s rude, though I expect to be in the minority by a wide margin.
Post # 4
@Duncan: Thanks. I added a poll, so we’ll see.
Post # 5
My understanding is that no one can stop someone from coming to a church wedding, as churches are public spaces, but you shouldn’t be advertising your ceremony to people not invited to the reception. The only exception I’ve ever seen is where the bride and groom put a notice in the church bulletin and church members choose to attend the ceremony, knowing that they’re not invited to the reception (I’ve never been to a church like that, but to each their own).
150 guests really isn’t a small wedding. When you invite guests to the ceremony but not the reception, you’re basically saying to them, “come see me get married, but I don’t want to have to host you or feed you!” I get what you’re saying about people in your life who genuinely want to be a part of your wedding day — I had people at my wedding who would have happily attended the ceremony had they not been invited to the reception. I just never would have been comfortable putting them in that position. If you’re close enough to these people to want them to be a part of your wedding day, I would find a way to invite them to the whole shebang.
I don’t know how many extra people you’re thinking of — if you were having a 30 or 50 person wedding, a few extra people would be pretty obvious, but unless there is a financial issue preventing this, you won’t notice extra people when you’re already looking at 150 guests. You’re going to have people decline too, so you probably won’t be looking at a full 150.
Post # 6
Etiquette Snob here… lol
Generally speaking if you are doing the Inviting… and then wanting people to “disappear” it is considered RUDE
The Traditional Rule of Etiquette is… once you are invited… you are there for the duration !!
If someone wants to stand on the public sidewalk to see you arrive… or stand in the back of the church (public property) then they can do so
BUT that is something they figure out for themselves… having read your Engagement Announcement in the Newspaper, or heard about your Wedding thru the grapevine
If you marry on private property (ie a Resort / Hotel etc) … one would assume they wouldn’t do so
The “allowable” bend here… is often given to children & youth. So if a Bride or a Groom were involved with a Child or Youth Group… say as a Volunteer or Coach… (Sunday School – Cubs or Brownies – Sports Team) then if they wanted they could extend an Invitation to the children to see them get married … accompanied by a Parent of course.
It would be made quite clear… that the invite was only for the Ceremony… and oftentimes there would also be some sort of tie-in for the kids at / after the ceremony (ie throw blue & gold confetti if that was the teams colours etc)
And occasionally, such “allowances” also include say an invitation for “Refreshments” such as Fruit Punch in the Church Hall… while the B&G are present…
The Regular Reception would follow for everyone else… and most likely at a different location
— — —
So your proposed scenario… most people would find your invitation as “good enough for the ceremony… BUT not good enough for the celebration party” to be off-putting / RUDE
Hope this helps,
Post # 7
@cmbr: 150 is small for my family. If we had it my way with all the people I’d love to have and invite we’d be looking at 3-400 people. Fiance can’t handle a crowd that big. He’s barely ok with the 150, but we can’t cut that down anymore without losing important family members. Most of the people I’m talking about are also parishoners, so maybe putting it in the bulletin would work? I just don’t know if anyone actually reads it (I know I don’t).
@This Time Round: It’s not that I want them to disappear and don’t want to/can’t afford to host them, it’s that Fiance will have a panic attack being surrounded by that many people. Seated in pews, totally fine. Crowding around, nope. It’s like claustrophobia with the added problem of being the center of attention.
I was planning on just letting them know when/if I see them, not mailing anything or seeking people out. Or letting my mom spread the word when she catches up with the family friends. It would be entirely word of mouth if we choose to go this route.
ETA: If it makes any difference, in my culture it’s very common to bring extra uninvited people with you to functions. The whole attitude is very “the more the merrier” so when you invite The ______ Family, you get mom, dad, siblings, their cousins and their spouses and kids, etc. It’s like, “What are you doing this weekend?” “Going to _______’s wedding” “She’s getting married? I haven’t seen that side of the family in so long!” “Why don’t you come with us? It’s here at this time.” That’s how my mom had over 900 family members at her wedding. They knew everyone there, but only about 500 were invited.
Post # 8
- Wedding: September 2014 - Banff, Alberta
I went to a wedding where I was only invited to the ceremony and dancing after the sit down meal. This was when I was 16 or so and was a family friend of the bride. I didnt think anything of it until just now. I think if you posted an announcement in the paper and then had your parents spread the word that would be fine. I know if it was convenient for my moms friends and my grandparents friends to attend the ceremony they would be interested.
Post # 9
To @HonoraryNerd: Maybe I wasn’t clear in my wording… so I apologize.
IF you issue any sort of an invite… written or verbal. And it is JUST for the Ceremony… then ya you truly are wishing they would “disappear” after that … vs coming to any sort of Reception that you (or a family member) would Host.
Unless you are going to explain your Fiancé’s condition to every.single.person (lol, which is another breach of etiquette… health issues are private… and need not be bandied about for the sake of not embarrassing the person). I don’t truly see HOW you could pull this off without people indeed thinking you were being any of the following… cheap or rude.
Personally, I wouldn’t do it…
BUT as I say often here on the Etiquette Board… I only present the Traditional Rules… we are all free to make up our own minds, weigh the risks / consequences… and go from there. Only you truly know your Friends & Family.
— — —
I cannot think of a better way around this solely because of his anxiety…
Normally, I’d suggest…
Hold the Wedding one day… followed by say a Bevvy & Light Eats (Cake or Finger Sandwiches) for those who came out / attended
(Altho that probably isn’t going to make your Hubby feel any more the better in the long run… as people will be a throng again)
And then hold the more Formal Reception on another day.
But with two events / crowds… it would probably make everything all the worse for him.
Post # 10
Just saw your UPDATE…
Well then ya I suppose it might work for you.
As I said in my last post above…
ONLY YOU KNOW Your Friends & Family (social circle)
And what would be seen as ok.
Post # 11
I think it’s ok if they’re members of the church. That way it’s more like they’re coming to church to see your wedding rather than them going to your event and then having to leave.
Post # 12
@HonoraryNerd: I wouldn’t have an issue with it! To me, and invite to the ceremony says “We really want you witness this amazing and special time with us, but we can’t afford/can’t house everyone or wish to spend the evening with our new families.” Why would I care that I got to see them say their vows and get married? I would be more (very) upset at being told Im not good enough to see the important and emotional part of the day, but they want me around for the afterparty.
I would, however, send out small relatively informal invites. I would probably put something like “Although we wish we could celebrate our upcoming marriage with all our loved ones, we simply cannot. We would, however, love for you to share in one of the most important moments of our lives, and witness our marriage ceremony at ….”
Obviously if you spent more than 5 seconds thinking about it you could make it sound much nicer 😉 But I would feel unwelcome and very very much an afterthought if I saw an ad for the wedding in the paper or whatever. It seems like you realised the church was huge and you wanted to fill it out, like you forgot a ton of people, like you were pressured into something by your family etc. etc.
Just, no to an ad!
Post # 13
I don’t find it rude, however many times people post those things on Facebook and while I want to go, it does make me question if that is something intended for me as well. Like, would they actually want me there?
Post # 14
@HonoraryNerd: I think you’re opening up a can of worms to give an informal open invitation to the wedding, and not the reception. I personally wouldn’t have a problem, I just can see it heading south.
What people do vs what they say they are going to do are two different things. You’d be opening yourself up to more wedding reception crashers.
Post # 15
I don’t find it rude in the slightest.
I’ve been to plenty of weddings where we were more like family friends, and therefore received and invitation to the ceremony but not the reception.
Additionally, if I didn’t know the couple extremely well, I wouldn’t wish to financially burden them with an obligatory meal that came from etiquette lol.
But then another thing to consider is the gap between your ceremony and the reception. If it’s very soon after then I suppose it’d be a bit awkward.
Post # 16
I’m stuggling with this too… I can only afford a smaller wedding BUT in my circle of friends (churches) It’s almost culturally accepted that wedding are basically open invitations unless you have a tiny wedding!!! I am VERY well known! I know there will be lots of people showing up, even if they don’t have an invitation! LOL It’s just how we do it. So trying to figure out who all coming will be fun! My Sweetie asked the other day, “Ssssoooo how many are we expecting?” I had no clue what to say!