Post # 1
I’m starting to think about my save the dates, but need a bit of advice on something I’m a bit concerned about….!
My venue for the ceremony can only hold a maximum of 50 guests, so the plan is to hold the ceremony with our 50 close family and friends, who will then join us for dinner at our reception venue (with less people we can afford nicer food/drink etc), then in the evening, have another 50-100 guests arrive for the evening reception, dancing and buffet.
As we only recently set a date for the near-ish future, I haven’t contacted anyone except immediate family and a couple of friends, and wanted the save the dates to go out to surprise everyone!
However, I’m starting to worry, when people receive save the dates will they automatically assume that they are invited to the ceremony as well as the reception? Obviously on the formal invitiation I’ll make the distinction, but I don’t want anyone being disappointed. Should I enclose a note with the save the dates explaining the situation? Or should I not bother with them at all, and just send out an email letting people know the date, and that the ceremony will just be close family mostly, but that they will be invited to the reception?
Any advice or experience would be greatly appreciated!
Post # 3
I would definately not provide all this detail with the STDs. Usually, the STD just indicates the date, and that you’re going to be married, and that a formal invitation will follow.
You normally sent STDs because people need to make travel arrangements, or because it’s a holiday weekend and you don’t want people to make other plans. I’m sure you’re not expecting people only invited to the reception to travel for that, so maybe you really only need to send STDs to the people invited to the ceremony. Or maybe you don’t really need to send STDs at all – and a short note or email to potential Out of Town guests will suffice. I know the STD is the trendy thing to do just now, but it’s really only necessary under fairly special circumstances.
Post # 4
This is a difficult question. There are going to be people offended, be prepared for this. Basically, the question on everyone’s mind is "Why didn’t they invite me to the ceremony too?" I would urge you to consider only inviting guests to the reception that you have inviting to the ceremony. You would avoid any breaches of etiquette that way and could send out your save the dates to all guests. A guest that receives a STD will assume they are invited to all wedding festivities. It would be very weird to see a extra card in the STD telling me I didn’t make the special ceremony list.
Post # 5
I agree with Niki. I think that if you invite people to your reception, they should be invited to the ceremony. Keep your guest list at 50 and don’t invite anyone else. Sometimes there are people that will only come to the reception, but you should not take any chances.
Post # 6
It is not necessary to invite everyone to the ceremony. The ceremony can be very small and intimate with a large reception to follow. I’ve been to several weddings like this, both as an invitee to the ceremony and reception and as an invitee just to the reception. The invitations are clearly different from eachother, and there should be no confusion on the part of your guests. I think the invitation for the reception only read something like:
Come celebrate the marriage of _________and _______________
and then gave only the information for the reception. Somewhere on the invite I am pretty sure it mentioned that the reception was following an intimate family wedding.
I wasn’t offended, and as far as I could tell no one else was either. It was great because there were only 20 people for the ceremony, but she was able to celebrate after with over 200 of us!
Post # 7
OH — and save the dates should be sent to anyone who will be attending the reception (whether attending ceremony or not). STD’s are a nice way of saying — keep this date open!
Post # 8
Thanks for the comments!
Caliocteach – thank you for your comment – its nice to hear that you weren’t offended at only going to the reception, and that you’ve had experience with a wedding like this!!
Niki & lethie – thank you for your suggestion, I can see why you say it, but our venue is pretty special to us which is why we’ve chosen it – but we don’t want to leave out other friends and our (quite large!) families which is why we’re going for a larger evening reception.
Chances are I’ll see or speak to all the guests before the formal invitations go out, so I think I’ll send out save the dates (as the wedding is over a holiday weekend) and then explain to people as I speak to them the reasons for the small ceremony number. Hopefully no-one will be offended!