(Closed) small wedding/large reception how to do it properly??

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
59 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2010


That’s so awesome that you are getting married in a lighthouse.  There is one in my hometown I always fantasized about getting married in.  I now live across the country so have gone with another option, but how romantic!

It’s hard to say how not to offend people, but I think most people will understand if you tell them there is a limit and you are keeping the ceremony small.  Maybe just invite family and your wedding party/closest friends (even if it’s under 50 people).  Then have your big celebration.  It’s nice to see people get married when it is someone dear to you, but most people look forward to the party I think…

Post # 4
7152 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

That sounds gorgeous! Do you have pics of the lighthouse?

I agree with just letting them know that you can only have 50 people there. Then they should understand that you only invite your close family and friends. I am all for including the out of town guests, if possible!

Post # 5
1982 posts
Buzzing bee

I know that you have limitations, but I’ve seen topics like this on the board before, and I have to say that it’s almost impossible to invite people just to the reception if the reception is immediately after the ceremony–the people who were there will talk about the ceremony and the people that weren’t will feel bad.

Ruby has the best advice so far, but I still think it’s a touchy thing. People will be offended somewhat, you know? It’s hard to plan these kinds of things!

Post # 6
248 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Here’s my opinion (but only opinion!):

Invite only the people you are closest with to the ceremony.  Don’t worry if they are out-of-town or not (unless they are staying with people invited to the ceremony, then invite them!).  Have your wedding invitations be for the reception, and then include ceremony cards for those people invited to the ceremony.  This is unusual but accepted.  One way to word the reception invite might be: “_ and _ invite you to celebrate the marriage of their daughter _ to _, son of _ and _”.  Or maybe “invite you to a reception to celebrate”.  Think of it as a destination wedding, almost, and the party afterward.  Of course this can only work if the number of people invited to the reception is significantly greater than the number invited to the lighthouse, say, 150 and 35, or something.  If you invite 75 and 50, then the 25 will feel snubbed.  You can tell anyone who asks that the ceremony was “immediate family only”.  You don’t have to justify your reasoning beyond that!  And for out-of-towners, be sure to give them some info so they can have a fun day beforehand, just as you would if they came the whole weekend but you only had time to see them at a Sunday wedding.

Post # 7
6572 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2010

we are doing the same kind of thing, having a private 30 person ceremony with a bigger reception after with 100 people. that’s 15 people on each side, we have immediate family and very close friends. we gave seperate invites for the reception and ceremony.

people were upset, i don’t think there’s a way to get around that. when you tell your family that you’re getting married, and that they can’t be there for it, they aren’t going to be happy. we had our reasons for this, and i think they were good ones. i get very bad migraines, lots of times due to stress. weddings obviously are stressful, and i especially don’t like to be center of attention and have people looking at me. just thinking about it brought me to tears, so we decided right away that it had to be a small ceremony. we wanted to decrease the likelyhood of having a migraine on wedding day. even with explaining this to family members and friends… some chose not to come at all, some hung up the phone on my mom, some still aren’t talking to us! which i think is sad, the day i need support from my family and they’re being increadibly stupid.

that being said, i don’t think you can not offend everyone, but i still think you should do what makes you happy. even with all the stress i’ve been through with my family, i wouldn’t change it. i want my small ceremony!

Post # 8
2395 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

Due to religious reasons, I could only invite a certain few to the actual ceremony, but had many I wanted to invite to the reception.  On my invitations to “everyone else” I announced everything you normally would, but then said “request the honor of having you at their reception” instead of ceremony.  Then for the people I did invite to the actual ceremony, I included a matching invitation insert that included the details of the ceremony.  I kind of had an easy out because of religous beliefs, but there were still those that were like, “Can’t you bend the rules just this one time.”  Ofcourse, I was thinking, “uh, you really want me to bend the rules on a religious belief that I REALLY BELIEVE in on the most important day of my life, uh heck no! lol”  In the end people got over it.  Even the majority of my DH’s family couldn’t be in the ceremony and they completely understood.  I think being upfront and honest is the best thing.  If you don’t explain, because you feel it will be awkward, then that only makes the situation more tense.

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