Post # 1
I wanted to elope. Fiance didn’t. So we are planning a private ceremony (parents and siblings, bridal party and their spouses, and grandparents) at 3pm and a reception for 125 guests at 5pm.
I know that there are a lot of opinions out there about whether or not having a private ceremony on the same day as the reception is okay. This post is not about that, so please do not try to change my mind.
My question is, can we have a traditionally set up reception after a private ceremony?
Traditional meaning we are announced, we eat dinner, have toasts, cut cake, do special dances, and celebrate with our guests. Basically, a whole wedding reception, just without the ceremony prior. Should we be doing something extra to get the guests into “wedding mode”?
Has anyone else done this? How did you handle it?
Post # 3
What is the reason you want to elope?
The reception is the hard and stressful part of planning the wedding.
I personally dont think there is anything wrong with doing it that way. If I was a guest it wouldnt bother me, of course people would obviously ask you why and stuff, but who cares right? The reception is more for the guests annyway.
Post # 4
Don’t think there’s anything wrong with it at all. Its not like you’re invited some to the ceremony, some for dinner and some for cake.
Post # 5
@Black-Eyed-Susan: Etiquettely speaking, it is ok to have a private wedding if the total is like 20 or less, then have a bigger reception.
Just when your wedding has like 50 and you invite 100 to the reception is when it gets weird.
For your reception, maybe you can change a few things. Have a receiving line for when guests arrive for dinner? Or will you come out after being introduced as Mr. and Mrs?
Will those guests’ invitations indicate a celebration rather than a wedding?
Post # 6
I don’t get why you would not invite everyone to the whole wedding.
Post # 7
I am thinking that some people don’t like to recite intimate vows in front of long lost relatives they hardly know? Or it’s their comprimise for not eloping?
Post # 8
@Black-Eyed-Susan: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.
We are doing a private ceremony (just the two of us + officiant and photog though) and a mostly traditional reception. Before we come in there will be a lovely edited 5-10 min long slideshow and ceremony video. Then we will be announced during a champagne toast, then mingle for a short time and sit down for dinner. We will be foregoing some of the usual traditions like less special dances and probably no bouquet toss, but we will be doing cake cutting and the like. It will pretty much be a super fancy party with amazing food and free booze!
The reason we are doing a private reception is because we had originally planned to elope and then realized it would be nice to throw a party for our people. We are doing a mountaintop ceremony so it’s not like we can get all 60 of our guests up there anyway, and it works great for me so our vows can be more personal and private and intimate.
Post # 9
@Black-Eyed-Susan: That is exactly what we are doing! Except we aren’t having a dinner at our reception. Family is really important to us so we want our day to be shared but still private. We would still like to celebrate with our friends so we are essentially hosting a big party later that evening. We are also going to do a few pictures of the ceremony at the beginning of the reception.
Our ceremony will be us and 20 others (immediate family only) and our reception is about 180 people. We can only get 60 people into our ceremony venue so instead of excluding some people we are just doing a private ceremony.
Do what makes you happy! Its your day!
Post # 10
We are doing something similar but without a sit down dinner – a cocktail reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres such as pulled pork and carving station sliders, mashed potato bar, etc. I think what you suggest is fine. Perhaps you and your new hubby could greet your guests as they arrive and spend the cocktail hour mingling with them?
Post # 11
I think that’s fine. Guests will be happy!
Post # 12
We are doing it as a compromise. I wanted to elope because I didn’t want to say the most important words of my life (my vows) in front of people who are complete strangers. So we are doing the ceremony as I prefer it, and having the reception as my Fiance prefers it – a big celebration for everyone.
We will be sending seperate invitations to the ceremony and reception guests. The reception guests’ invitations will say something like “you are invited to a reception in celebration of our marriage”.
Thank you for your help! I like the idea of having some sort of receiving line or having time set aside to greet all of our guests. That is exactly what I was looking for!
Post # 13
@Black-Eyed-Susan: I think that is fine, some people will want to see you get married, but as long as you add this to the invitation that they are invited to the reception after a immediate family only ceremony.
Post # 14
This is fine. It’s only a problem if you do the opposite: invite people to the ceremony but not the reception. I know, I know, the ceremony is the purpose and the most important part, but other than parents and super closest friends & relatives, to most everyone else, it’s the boring part you have to sit through to get to the fun part. So it is no faux pas to invite people to skip that and come straight to the party.