(Closed) Seperate Cemerony and Reception invites

posted 10 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
216 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2018 - Outdoor ceremony, banquet hall reception

I think people will show up at the reception. It’s kind of expected that when you’re invited to the ceremony, you’re invited to the reception as well.

I would just tactfull say to the people who are inviting themselves, "I’m flattered that you’d like to come, but we have restrictions on the number of people that can attend." And leave it at that.

You don’t have to invite every yahoo that asks! They’re being just plain rude!

Post # 4
95 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

Many people do send ceremony only invitations. I received one from a co-worker and was flattered that she wanted me to witness her importatnt ceremony.

 If you send ceremony only invites, don’t include registry information or hotel information.The "invite" should be casual, perhaps a handwritten note that states how much you would love to have them attend your ceremony. Allow for some space in between the ceremony and the reception so that all your guests can mingle and those that are not being invited to the reception won’t feel left out. Maybe even provide some beverages afterwards so that people can mull around the ceremony site while you snap photos and again, still feel as though they are celebrating with you.


Post # 5
2004 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

Check out this thread from a few months ago that addresses your situation:


I stand by my advice, which was that you should have some sort of reception for everyone who comes to the ceremony. That does not mean you have to feed them food or even do anything fancy, it just means that you should give them an opportunity to say hello and congratulate you and for you to thank them for coming. If that means congregating in the ceremony venue somewhere immediately afterward and serving punch and cookies, then that’s all you need to do. Or I think a receiving line would do the trick. You just want to make sure your guests have a chance to talk to you (and vice versa) and mingle a little bit afterward.

This very informal style of reception will be for everyone, and then you will have a formal reception for 250 people in the evening that is invitation only. So when people ask you about the wedding and want to come, you can invite them to your heart’s content. It might be appropriate to write on the ceremony card "reception immediately following" and then have your informal reception, and then have a separate "Friends and family" reception in the evening that is addressed on a separate card. Good luck!

Post # 6
2640 posts
Sugar bee

I believe it would be inappropriate to invite someone to the ceremony and not the reception.  (I believe there is an exception, I will get to in a moment.)  If you are having some festivity on your wedding day, that some people are not invited to celebrate with you, you are saying they are not good enough to make the full cut.  I believe they will likely find out and be hurt that they are not invited.  Or they will assume there is a reception and ask you about it, putting you in a difficult spot.  Who knows, cousin Gina sit next to your hair dresser’s daughterat the ceremony, who isn’t getting a reception nod, not knowingly, and start discussing the reception.  Then the daughter will be hurt, and next thing you know, you have purple hair on your next visit.

The cleanest thing would be to make the cut off.  It is kind of irrelavent that your church happens to hold 1000ppl.  The reception capacity is what you took into account when you planned the wedding.  Whether it is a money issue, or you planned that 250 would be plenty, and these people weren’t making the cut regardless, it is what it is.  The fact that they are invited to the ceremony, makes it difficult because then there seems to be some secrecy, which is not good.  If they are not invited to anything, at least you can say it will be small, or just family, or something to let them down easier.  Out of sight out of mind.  But to have them there, which might build them up, only to let them down when they figure out there is something more elaborate they aren’t invited to, is a mistake, IMO.

If you have a very sepcific group of people you might be able to get away with it. (I gave an example once, of my gym teacher who was geting married.  She told her students that they could go to the ceremony if they wanted.)  It was clearly understandable that she couldn’t have, nor would want to have a bunch of children running around at the reception.  But we felt it was considerate that she even invited us to the ceremony.  If you have a case like that I would think that is OK.  I know some people have things about their church congregation too.  If people absolutely know and are OK with just going to the ceremony, then I think it would be OK to allow them to do that.  But if you are in a situation in which you are tempted to keep some things secret, or feel awkward about the scenario, I would not do the "some guests are not invited to the reception" deal.

Post # 7
90 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

If only half the people at the ceremony are invited, I find it very easy for the other half to just follow everyone to the reception. They’ll think ,"Oh they forgot to give us the directions." When you go to ceremonies the first thing you hear people asking is who they can follow to get to the reception. People have a 50% chance of asking someone that was not invited.

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