Post # 1
I recently had a good friend get married at city hall, and email out for a post-wedding reception in her home. Since they live out of state, I didn’t attend and sent a small token gift and a card. I’ve never been invited to a post-wedding reception before – is this the appropriate etiquette, or should it be considered the same as a wedding? Frankly, if she had invited me to her wedding my husband and I would have attended and given a more generous gift. It just didn’t feel as important to come to an informal party as a formal marriage ceremony. However, I feel a little bit bad now in retrospect – maybe I should have been more generous? Can anyone advise?
Post # 2
I had a small wedding, then invited friends to an after wedding celebration/BBQ at a park. I didn’t expect any gifts. We had the party so we could celebrate with our friends. We both have a lot of friends and wanted a small wedding, so we thought this was a good compromise.
A lot of friends came and had a good time. I brought some wedding photos too. Other friends couldn’t make it because of work, they were too busy, etc and that was okay too. Like you said it was informal, so I didn’t expect everyone to drop everything to attend like they might with a wedding. I wasn’t upset about people who couldn’t make it.
Luckily this is a common trend in our group of friends. We are in our 30’s. Ours was the fourth or fifth small wedding, then big party, with friends in the last few years.
Post # 3
I think that since it was an email invite and hosted at her home, it sounds pretty casual, and you were probably okay to turn it down due to distance. I mean, you can always refuse an invitation, even if they had a huge wedding and invited everyone to the ceremony.
That said, since being on the boards and reading posts from people who have done private ceremonies & separate celebrations, I’m realizing that a lot of people really want their friends to treat those parties like a typical wedding reception, and make the effort to be there. I’m guessing most of those people send out formal invites, though.
Post # 4
Generally post wedding receptions are considered more casual. The fact that she emailed you an invite just shows that more. I think you were fine to skip it and send a small gift.
Post # 5
I’d say it’s appropriate. From what I’ve heard/read/seen most couples do this for their friends and families as a gesture with most preferring no gifts at all. Mine was formal in plans but casual in attitude. I was completely ok when guests couldn’t make it – especially one of my close friends who lives on the other side of the country. I told my friends it would be a good excuse for them to visit a city they’ve never been to but not to come specifically for my reception as I didn’t want it to be a burden/obligation. (Reception was held close to where our families live, not where we and most of our friends live.)
Post # 6
Yes, it’s fine that you couldn’t make it. As a pp said, the email invitation and home venue indicate that this is a casual affair. From the signals she has sent, it seems she wants a simple and quiet affair – not to worry about imposing a burden of travel and logistics on friends. She likely invited you because she would be thrilled if you could make it, but didn’t expect it. No worries.