private ceremony and large reception later

posted 3 months ago in Reception
  • poll: Would you be LESS likely to attend the reception?
    No, I'll be there to celebrate your happiness! : (15 votes)
    33 %
    Maybe, because it has been months since you were actually married. : (8 votes)
    17 %
    Yes, it was too long between events. : (6 votes)
    13 %
    Yes, that's just weird to not have them the same day. : (2 votes)
    4 %
    Yes, because I wasn't invited to the ceremony. : (12 votes)
    26 %
    Other, please explain in your comment! : (3 votes)
    7 %
  • Post # 16
    1130 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2017

    It’s not a wedding reception, it’s a celebration of your marriage at that point.  I wouldn’t come from out of town for it but I would probably go if I was local.  FYI even though you insist you don’t want gifts, people are going to feel they have to give you something.

    Post # 17
    547 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2018 - Farm

    I wouldn’t travel for a a celebration of marriage personally unless it was a close family member such as, sibling or parents.

    Post # 18
    283 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2018

    Something you may want to consider is doing the small ceremony, and then on your 1 year anniversary have the “party” with a vow renewal.  Regardless, I think that as long as you don’t bill it as a reception, I would be good to go.  I might appreciate a wedding announcement in the mail explaining that you had a very intimate wedding with immediate family.

    Post # 19
    213 posts
    Helper bee

    I’ve been to weddings where the ceremony occurred in the reception room and was then followed with the reception. They were beautiful. It was a beautifully-decorated reception where people were already gathered as if at the reception, the bride and groom then appeared, got married amoungst the people already in the room, then it followed with the reception. No one had to go from location to location, everybody remained in the same place. 

    Could you do this, even if you got married ahead of time? By doing a second wedding ceremony followed by reception, the people might not feel as left out of the wedding part because now they will be invited, so that they perhaps won’t feel you are just trying to get gifts via a celebration-only event. And the only extra cost would be the officiator, which isn’t much. Just a thought.

    You can make this like the real wedding even though you know it isn’t…this way they won’t resent not being invited to the first one. 

    For me, we eloped and people in the family are still a little raw on that one. So hence…

    Post # 20
    1528 posts
    Bumble bee

    northwinds :  Id be more likely to attend a celebration of marriage party than a ‘second wedding’. Unless it’s to someone else, you can only have one wedding- the day you say your vows!

    Post # 21
    213 posts
    Helper bee

    knickergold :  That’s why I really think the perfect scenario to squelch all concerns would be if they did that wedding ceremony and reception at the same time. But since they want to get married right now and have a reception for everyone else later, I figured that might be a way to do it if offending people was a concern. I knew someone who had a second wedding because there were people not invited to the first one which was a similar situation.

    Having a wedding with few invitations, then later having a big celebration with everyone else might make certain people feel they weren’t good enough to be invited to the wedding but good enough for gifts. It wouldn’t bother me, but some people it would. I would think a celebration later on would be a nice gathering to honor the couple.

    Post # 22
    213 posts
    Helper bee

    Each person has a reason for the type of wedding they choose, and that is the most important thing even if others don’t agree. Our families were spread all over the country and was a very difficult thing to try to plan to accommodate everyone’s time schedule, and weather conditions were a big factor also.

    Post # 23
    4542 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: December 2014

    We did this. We had a ceremony with just our parents and 2 of DH’s siblings in our current state and then a couple months later had a casual celebration in my home state. We did this because our family is spread out and most wouldn’t be able to afford to travel anyway. It was not a full-on reception with a fancy venue and 200 guests though, it was a party with homecooked food and a few homemade decorations with about 30 people invited (though this is actually fairly typical for a wedding in my family). I will say that some people did not make a huge effort to attend even though everyone was local. We had several people cancel the morning of or just not show up. Most everyone did give a small monetary gift ($25 or so). It was still fun though and I’m glad we did it. 

    If I was invited to such an event, I would definitely go if I was local, but I probably wouldn’t travel for it.

    Post # 24
    4494 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: San Francisco City Hall

    I would be completely fine with this idea as the reception is to celebrate and acknowledge your marriage and is not gift grabby.  Sounds like a good time.

    Post # 25
    106 posts
    Blushing bee

    How about calling it a welcome back party and I do think you should get gifts. I’m sure you have sent wedding gifts to people before. It’s your wedding. You’re still treating them to a party! If they care they will attend.

    Post # 26
    2355 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: April 2017

    A friend of mine had a small wedding in Hawaii with just parents and siblings present, then had a big marriage celebration a couple of days later after they got home.  The reason she did the small wedding was because she was getting a lot of pressure on who should be in the wedding party.  She and her husband thought by having the wedding out of state that it would be their “excuse” for not having a bridal party and hurting feelings.

    They actually did have the majority of guests show up for their “reception”.  I think the furthest guests had a 2 hour drive, so for the most part it was local.  They did not renew their vows or do any kind of first dances, although they did have a couple of speeches.  I also think it worked because it was only like a week after they were actually married, not months later.

    But some of those people that were hurt not invited to the actual wedding (aunts, cousins) still bring it up nearly 2 years later.  Especially since my friend’s cousin got engaged and they’re having a more traditional wedding.  My friend also regrets not having her friends be bridesmaids; it’s not something she dwells on daily, but something she had mentioned, especially since she was a bridesmaid in my wedding 3 months ago.

    So while i think it’s OK to do what you want to do, most people won’t treat it with the priority of an actual wedding.  You also have to be OK with not doing things the “traditional” way.

    Post # 27
    1021 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2017

    jagray :  I can see why you’d want to do it this way… but I think there are more considerations that exist that would cause someone to say yes/no to attending

    1. How close are these 200 people? How deep our relationship is would factor in more to me because it’s so far removed.

    2. Would many guests travel? Again… the space between marriage and celebration will make people even less likely to travel

    3. It’s a 2nd marriage + there’s a huge gap so I actually see the party as a little wasteful 

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