(Closed) Small Private Wedding – Big Party Later?

posted 11 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
6009 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I don’t think there’s any problem with this.  We’re having a smallish wedding (about 75 people) and then my parents are throwing us a huge hometown reception a couple months later.  I’ve also heard about people having multiple receptions in different locations or getting married overseas and then having big receptions once they get back in the States.  Or, I’ve heard of people eloping and then having big receptions with everyone a little while later.  So I don’t think your situation is too out of the box.

Are most of your guests from around the Sacramento area?  If most of the people you would invite are local, I don’t see why they wouldn’t want to take an hour or two drive for a party to celebrate your wedding.  I would just make sure that when you write out the invites, you specify that the second party is a reception only and that the first party is the actual ceremony.

Post # 4
1205 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

I think that’s a great idea and a really good compromise. As long as your family or whoever would attend the ceremony as well as the reception can make 2 trips, it would fantastic.

Are you considering doing some of the wedding reception traditions at the party later? I think that would be a really good idea so people feel like they’re celebrating your marriage, not just going to a party. 

Post # 5
208 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

I’ve been to a post-wedding reception. They are fairly common, for the reasons you state.

Ditto mary-alice that you should try to make the reception feel wedding-ish, even though you’ll already be married. Wear your dress again, cut a cake, do a first dance. The reception I went to just felt like a reception for anything, but with some wedding photos displayed. I was surprisingly disappointed to not see the bride in her dress.

By The Way – Don’t let a "long" Catholic wedding alone detur you from having a large wedding. It’s not an unreasonable thing to ask of your guests. But it sounds like space limitations and a desire for a private ceremony are more your reasons for wanting a separate reception.

Post # 6
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

We’re also planning on a small(ish) wedding this fall followed by a picnic/BBQ/"reception"/open house at my parent’s home next spring/summer.  We may also have a "reception"/party at my fiancee’s hometown, too, since the wedding’s in Iowa, I’m from Chicago and he’s from NYC.

The only questions I have is that my Mom is SUPER excited to throw me a shower.  Most of my family are 3rd & 4th cousins and won’t be invited to the actual wedding, but they’re going to be invited to shower…I’m not sure what to do about that.

Post # 7
92 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

I had dilemmas about how to handle a bridal shower as well.  My fiance and I are having a very small wedding this summer in his hometown with just our immediate families and closest friends, about 25 people total.  We wanted to have a very personal wedding and the thought of exchanging our vows and such in front of 100-some people just didn’t appeal to us.  In the fall we are having our post-wedding reception where we currently live for extended family and more friends. 

Both my close friend and my mother wanted me to have a shower.  I resisted at first thinking that people invited to the party but not the actual wedding might find this presumptuous.  My mother told me that I might regret not having a shower though and my friend told me that if people didn’t want to come, they just wouldn’t come, no harm done in inviting them.  She also said you would be surprised at how excited people who might not be invited to the actual wedding would be at the idea of still being able to celebrate with you at your shower.  So to the previous poster, I wouldn’t stress about it too much.

Post # 8
606 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

In my opinion, the reception is the part I look forward to when attending weddings. I wouldn’t be offended if you had a personal, close family only ceremony and a party later. People who do destination weddings do that all the time. 


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