(Closed) Small Wedding, Then Big Reception Later?

posted 6 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
804 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015 - Southern Plantation House

Does it have to be a couple of months after? That sounds a little strange to me. The only set up similar to yours that I’ve experienced has been flip-flopped. I’ve attended weddings where the ceremony was large so that everyone could witness it, but the reception was invite-only. To me this is a reasonable & affordable set up and everyone that you love gets to celebrate with you on your actual wedding day.

Post # 3
137 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

I pretty much want to do something similar but still have the reseption later that day.  I have a small family (Parents/grandparents/aunts/uncle/cousins) on my side at up to under 30 and half of them live out of state. I want to do the ceremony and have like a mini reception with the imidiate family and then invite extended family and friends to a more casual “after party”. 


I haven’t quite worked out all the details yet, but that’s basically what I have in mind. I’m thinking about doing like an annoucement/save-the-date type thing inviting those to the reception only and formal invites w/RSVP’s to those invited to the ceremony. 

Post # 4
137 posts
Blushing bee

View original reply
sweetaliceblue:  I am doing this! I am having a destination wedding and we are only having just over 20 guests. My Fiance has a HUGE family, so to keep them included we will be doing a “backyard BBQ” the month after we get back from the wedding. I sent out seperate invites for both events. If you treat them as seperate events I think it makes it easier. For the wedding I sent out formal invites in the mail and for the backyard BBQ I will just be sending out e-vites. I sent out my wedding invites last year and will be sending out the e-vites for the BBQ next month.

Post # 5
3723 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

View original reply
sweetaliceblue:  My friend is doing this. They wanted and had a less than 40 person wedding in February. This weekend the bride’s parents are throwing a big party in their hometown where they are expecting many, many guests.

Post # 6
6963 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

Are you having your small ceremony somewhere else? Like a destination? Or are you planning on having a small ceremony in the same area as your at-home reception later?

I am having a very small (35 people max) wedding in Puerto Rico (we live in Chicago). For us, we are doing an at-home reception a few months later where we’re inviting a lot of people to that. We’re calling it a Happily Ever After Party, that way guests don’t get confused and think they’re coming to our actual wedding. At-home receptions are very common for destination weddings. They’re also common for courthouse weddings/elopements.

But from what you’ve said, I’m not sure if you’re planning on those or just a small wedding first and then a few months later having a bigger reception? 

Post # 7
1565 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

We’ll be doing something similar because of money. Our wedding will be small, probably about 15 guests made up of family and our closest friends, followed by a dinner reception. I found an awesome museum venue that will allow you to have a small ceremony in their Egyptian hall and take photos all over their grounds, so I’ll still get to have a pretty wedding without the expense. It’s a nice alternative to getting married in the courthouse, which we really don’t want to do. I’m not sure of our timeline since we haven’t yet picked a date, but we’ll do a larger backyard or in-house celebratory party for all of our friends, either right before or after our honeymoon. I guess my only question about your plan is why have the party months later? I think it would seem more festive and help your guests feel like part of the wedding if it was held close to your wedding day.

Post # 8
5356 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2016

We are having a small destination wedding with just our family and close friends, so 12 guest. We will then have a reception a couple of months later in a family friends backyard. I’m not even sure we are sending out invitations for the ceremony because we will all be staying together and it’s obvious they are coming. But we will send out invites for the reception, probably a couple of months before. I plan on showing our ceremony video at the reception and wearing my dress again so it kinda feels like you are there. Pretty much everyone knows are plan so they aren’t expecting to come to our ceremony.

Post # 9
408 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

This is common* in the UK. 

* Disclaimer: I’m not from the UK, I’m in AU. But about 50% of my friends here at from the UK and they all have these types of weddings. But not everyone has them. It’s preferences. 🙂


You have your ceremony and then a sit down meal earlier in the day. Then you have a reception later that night and that’s where you invite all the extended family, the work colleagues, the school friends that you never see but when you do it’s like your best friends again. 

Having it a couple of months later is odd though. 

Post # 10
6236 posts
Bee Keeper

This is what we are planning.  Just as Thrburk89 says.  Mainly due to cost.  We are funding our wedding ourselves so having small gathering for ceremony and meal together afterwards for some speaches etc then that will lead on to drinks reception and a big jolly party in the night where many more people will be invited.

Post # 11
87 posts
Worker bee

My situation is a little different then yours… but similar to a few people who have commented.

We are having a destination wedding and our current estimated guest count is at 15-20 people.

My Fiance and I have picked out these invites because we want to keep everything organized. I’d rather do one main invite vs. online/seperate. This way it’s a little mini book…first two pages will be about destination wedding and the last page I will include our two local receptions. The RSVP card will have to areas to respond to as well- one for destination wedding and one for local reception.


BUT… there are a handfull of people that weren’t invited to destinatiion wedding, but we’re going to invite them to the shower/local reception. I may do a seperate more informal invite for those guests.

So i personally do not see anything wrong with inviting people to backyard reception if they weren’t invited to small ceremony. I agree with others that a few months is along time to wait. Ours will be three weeks after our trip! 

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