(Closed) Reception Only Invite

posted 13 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 17
Member
4 posts
Wannabee

Maybe its just me, but I’m struggling to see how someone would be offended because they were invited to the party but not the ceremony. I know that my friends, co-workers and extended family, who might not be close but who I would love to see on my special day, would be even more offended if I left them out entirely! Plus, anyone who was a friend or even a co-worker would surely never think a couple were ‘gift-grabbing’ – what friend would think that of another? If they knew that you were struggling to afford too many people, they would be happy knowing that you thought of them at all!

I know that people come from different backgrounds and traditions, but I would be hurt to think that anyone would ‘think less of me’ if I couldn’t afford to invite them to the ceremony/meal, but still wanted them to share with me the love, feelings and emotions of the day (which I think are more important than a short ceremony and meal).

No offence to anyone, I just can’t understand it. 

Post # 18
Member
197 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

Wait, I’m confused, she’s inviting them to the reception and not the ceremony, so she’s spending the money on them. Ceremony wouldn’t cost extra, right? Maybe I’m missing something. Because she said about not dropping the cash for the food, but… I’m just really confused.

Post # 19
Member
699 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

I’ve been to a few weddings that did this and I never thought it was rude.  Guests invited to the dance and not the ceremony and reception generally don’t bring gifts, but they get to join in the fun and celebration!  I second rebecca!

Post # 20
Member
1 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: May 2009

I think it depends on how many people are being invited to the entire event and how many are being invited to the dancing only.  If it is only family and the wedding party invited to the ceremony and dinner, I would expect the rest of your guests to understand.  However, if the majority of your guests are being invited to all events and only a select few are only being invited for dancing, some people may feel left out and uncomfortable.  The issue is not that everyone isn’t invited to the ceremony, but that some people are seemingly being asked to arrive late to the reception and not participate in dinner.  Is that the case, or are the dinner and reception at different locations?

All that being said, I’m sure you know your friends best.  If that’s the way things are handled in your area, and you are confident no one will be offended, do what you’d like 🙂  I agree that a single card that says "we request the pleasure of your company at a reception to celebrate the marriage of…" would be great.

Post # 21
Member
232 posts
Helper bee

Leah – I think she’s inviting them to the dance portion of the reception – AFTER the ceremony and dinner.

Whatever you decide to do, I think you should make it clear that they aren’t getting food at the reception. If I would just invited to a reception, I would think I would be getting fed. 

Post # 22
Member
197 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

Jma- Thanks for clearing that up for me.. haha. How much time is there after the dinner though?

Post # 23
Member
1131 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2021

Ok, now that it’s a bit more clear, I stand by my answer. I think it’s very rude to invite people after you’ve already eaten, etc. It’s like saying…We want your gift and we like you a little bit, but not so much that we want to spend any money on you. I don’t care if it’s common where you are from or not, it’s tacky. 

Post # 24
Member
34 posts
Newbee

Sorry…i’m confused…she’s only inviting them (acquaintances) to just the dance part of the wedding, AFTER the reception? How do you know when the dance part starts? That doesn’t make sense…being invited just to come to the party afterwards?

Post # 25
Member
222 posts
Helper bee
  • V
  • 13 years ago

I find it odd…and yes, maybe a bit rude…If I drop in at the time everybody has already been there for hrs. and see food plates but no food…is like an afterthought….BUT if your dinner and reception are at two different places and you have refreshments at least…I guess it could be OK…like a house party or something.

Post # 26
Member
64 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Obviously, there are some regional differences in ettiquette on this.  Since the dance-only people are likely to be locals, they will probably be fine with it if it is common in your area.

I think one way to avoid the appearance of gift-grubbing is the simple phrase "Please NO GIFTS" somewhere on the dance-only invite.  I’ve also seen this expressed as "Your presence is your present"  but I think that is too vague and sounds like you really DO want a gift anyway. 

Post # 28
Member
26 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: October 2008

Sweeny2Be, we are doing this as well and everyone we discussed it with thinks it is a great idea.  We are using the following wording:

Please join us for a reception and dance honoring Jenniferb and Fi, Day Month date year/ Location

We plan on having everyone after dinner has been cleared and before dessert, so they will get food, drinks and fun!  We are also having a late night food surprise, so they can have dinner too.

Good luck!

 

Post # 29
Member
50 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Hi Sweeny2Be!

I have to say…you caused quite the stir, didn’t you? *wink* lol

Regarding the invitation design, I second previous suggestions to create something that is keeping the theme of your full invitations. Use similar patterns, font, colors, papers, etc. but simplify down to a single card and your choice of RSVP option. Perhaps you have an RSVP post card stacked on the invitation and bind it with a belly band or a sleeve of some kind.

I do not personally take offense to your method of handling your guest list. We have a unique schedule as well so I can understand your desire to include more people in the celebration while watching budget. Weddings are expensive, but that does not limit our desire to celebrate with people so I think creative means of allowing for that make for great ideas! Jenniferb brings up some great ideas in referring to her own wedding…I think the idea of providing a party for people and still including some level of refreshments (dessert, cocktails, and/or snack foods, etc.) is really important so guests understand they are welcome and appreciated and you know they are comfortable. But then, this is true of any event one might host so I do not personally perceive your desire to invite additional people to the party as desiring to be inhospitable…but that is just me! 

At any rate, best of luck and I look forward to what you come up with! 

Post # 30
Member
1 posts
Wannabee

I think this is becoming more commonplace.  We also are planning to have work friends and acquaintances at the dance but not the ceremony or dinner so that we can keep the count under 300!    These people realize they are coming to have a good time, and that we don’t expect gifts from them.  They appreciate that we are including them in our day and are excited to party with us!!  Anyhow, I second a lot of the previous posts:

  1. Make sure the dance invites have a start time long enough after the reception so they show up for the dance only and not while people are still seated at dinner.
  2. Go with a simple one sided card stock invite with a cute design.  These don’t have to be as fancy as your regular invites, but could include a similar decal or design as your original invites.
  3. Depending on how well you know the group you are inviting you can make these a little more fun, but a safe wording would be: 

    Sally and Joe invite you to join us at a dance celebrating our marriage. Please come get down with us at 7pm on Saturday, the 10th at the Bla bla bla Venue in Madison, WI.

Post # 31
Member
20 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: July 2009

I’m all for inviting people to the dancing part of the reception. It may be rude, but I don’t have an unlimited budget. Plus, it’s a great way to invite people you aren’t super close to but would still enjoying seeing at the wedding. I’m having 130 guests (close friends and family) at my wedding–we originally wanted 90.

I would like to invite SOME of my corworkers and employees to the wedding, but since I can’t show favouritism, I have to invite them all. All 60 of them. I can’t afford that. So all my corworkers are getting a pretty evite (inexpensive and green) to join us for drinks, dancing and desert around 9pm.

If they get offended, tough. If they decide not to show up, no problem. I’m happy and comfortable with the fact that I’m extending an invitation to them.  

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