(Closed) Small Ceremony, Bigger Reception

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
2155 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I can totally understand where you are coming from. I feel the same way, really.  But in reality, think about those family members coming from far away. They might feel a bit shunned if they are only invited to the big bash, after coming all that way. 

In the end its still your day and you can do whatever you want, but I would suggest inviting at least the family members to the ceremony.

Post # 4
1474 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011 - Bent Creek Winery (Livermore, California); Reception: Family Residence (San Ramon, California)

Yes, it’s totally OK! Some people actually want that intimate ceremony–I know a lot of people don’t understand this, but it’s true. I just did this for my own wedding. We had a small intimate ceremony with only our immediate family, and then later that evening, we had a larger (about 90 people) reception with our extended family and close friends. It was perfect! Our ceremony was beautiful, and I was able to focus on my husband without feeling nervous that 90 pair of eyes were watching me. And later, we got to celebrate with everyone we love, and that was amazing, too!

I think most people are understanding. It’s your day and it’s what you want, and most people will understand and respect that. A few people were a little sad to miss out or didn’t fully “get” why we were having an intimate ceremony. But ultimately, it’s not their day, and they won’t remember or cherish our wedding in the same way that we will, so we did what was best for us. 

Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns you want to discuss (i.e. invitation wording, how to talk to your parents about this new plan, etc.)! I know I felt kind of in the dark at the beginning of planning, and I definitely felt like the first person who’s ever done this! 

Post # 5
2853 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I think if you can attribute it to a small ceremony site, people would be totally fine (as opposed to saying.. we’re not close enough, so I don’t want you to come). It might help, too, to have a “gap” between the ceremony and reception.. that way the people who are only invited to the latter don’t feel bad when your fam comes streaming in from the actual wedding.

I think the major etiquette faux pas is inviting guests to the ceremony but not the reception.

Post # 6
4824 posts
Honey bee

I truly think you can only get away with it if its immediate family and bridal party only. Otherwise it seems a little like you are saying

“You are not important enought to watch us get marriend, but we would like for you to celebrate the marriage you couldnt watch and please bring us a present”

I don’t really believe this is proper. I know if I received an invitation for reception only knowing the wedding was that day I would not be happy.

And, trust me, you will not know anyone who is there at all when you are walking down the aisle. You will be focused on a very select few people and everything else just fades away.

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