Post # 1
FH and I are planning a non-traditional ceremony / reception in a sense.. The ceremony will be at his family church because of generations-old tradition BUT we aren’t having any bridesmaids or groomsmen and we’re only inviting family and VERY close friends to the ceremony. Now for the questions..
1. Is it rude to invite people to the reception but not the ceremony? We both have lots and lots of friends that we love and care for, but neither of us are comfortable in front of crowds and being the center of attention (hence the small ceremony.) I don’t expect gifts from people who don’t attend the ceremony so it’s not about that at all.
2. Donuts instead of the traditional cake? We’re on a very strict budget and donuts are cheap and everyone loves them. We’d have our two special donuts with a white glaze while the rest would be glazed in icing that matches our wedding colors. Too untraditional or a nice change?
3. Not an “open-bar,” but a few kegs of beer and alcohol we provide? Since we’re on a budget we can’t afford a set amount of money per-person for an open bar and risk people not showing up.
4. Not having the reception catered? STOP. I know you’re thinking “uhm, what?” but I can explain. My family owns and operates a very large cattle farm. My FH and I will have a cow prepared for our wedding so we’ll have steaks, hamburgers and chops for the reception. We also planned on going to Sam’s Club and buying baked beans, rolls, mac and cheese, etc in bulk so it’s cheap and easy. This will save hundreds and we won’t have to worry about paying for people’s food even though they don’t show up.
Trust me, this would be very different if we had plenty of money to spend but sadly we don’t. We still want to enjoy this day with as many people as we possibly can and make it special. I also don’t want this to be the worst reception anyone has ever been too because it won’t be like any of the others they’ve attended. Am i too worried about what everyone else thinks?
Post # 2
Plan the wedding you can afford. If the food and company is good, no one is going to care. You know the people you’re inviting. If they enjoy eating beef, and the sides you’re providing, then it’s all good. If your people are all vegetarians and you’re providing beef, you’ll run into issues.
As far as “tradition” goes, that’s a pretty fluid subject these days. Many people do desserts other than cake – donuts, pastries, candy bar (like, wide variety of different candies, not a hershey’s bar). The options are endless. Make sure your guests are warm, and comfortable, with good food and enjoyable company, and everything should turn out just fine.
Post # 3
CaroAbb : I don’t see a problem with it. Sure it’s not a “traditional” wedding, but if my friends threw a wedding like this, I wouldn’t hesitate to say no! It sounds like a fun time! You do you bee. It’s much more important for you to be financial stable, happy, and less stressed than to fulfill other people’s expectations. It will NOT be the worst reception because it’s different! If anything, that atmosphere will make people feel more relaxed and able to enjoy themselves plus more memorable.
As for inviting people only to the reception and not the ceremony, again I don’t see any problem in having this. Most people care more about the reception anyway.
The donuts are a good thought in cost-effectiveness and while I personally don’t want them for my own wedding, if I were attending yours, I wouldn’t really care what dessert was as long as there was some and would happily eat the donuts! Another thought for a cost-effective cake (if you want cake at all) would be to go the Sam’s Club route. They’re cheap, pretty, and delicious. That’s what I always planned on doing (until a friend who’s a baker offered her services).
Overall, I think you should relax and not worry so much about other people’s opinions. Your close friends and family will be there to celebrate your love and marriage. So have fun! Best of luck ~
Post # 4
CaroAbb : I wouldn’t mind not being invited to the ceremony if I knew it was super small. As for the food… my only this is preparation. Food safety for all those guests is a must so make sure you have someone experienced manning this part.
Post # 5
To answer your questions,
1. We were invited to DH’s cousin’s wedding reception but not the ceremony. We both thought it was rude, especially as we had travelled for multiple hours and stayed overnight. The ceremony is my favourite part! Also DH’s family kept coming up (multiple people) and asking where we were sitting at the ceremony because they didn’t notice us there, and he had to keep explaining that we hadn’t been invited.
2/3/4. All sounds great 🙂 host the wedding you want and can afford! As long as people have food and drink it sounds lovely.
Post # 6
somathemagical : of course! my parents also own a large franchise of restaurants so food safety is a non-issue! definitely a good thought though, thank you!!
sapphire27 : I was worried about that, but anyone that I’ll be inviting from “far away” is invited to the ceremony. My aunt lives in Colorado and my FH’s grandparents and aunt & uncle live about 2 1/2 hours from us. They’re family so they’ll be invited to both. (We’re in Missouri, for reference)
Post # 7
CaroAbb : Sounds a lot like my wedding, only higher on the hog. Inviting people to reception only is cultural. I would not do it and I’d be somewhat insulted if I were only invited to the party – I want to see my friend get married! Additionally people will feel obligated to bring a gift, whether you mean them to or not. But if it’s normal where you are, then no big deal.
The rest – go for it! We bought a variety of cakes from the grocery store and did a strawberry shortcake bar. Donuts sound awesome. So does fresh beef, as long as you accommodate for anyone who isn’t into meat (and I mean an actual meal, not sides). As to the alchohol, while we didn’t do kegs, we did just buy a bunch of local beer and that was it aside from nonalcoholic drinks. Your wedding sounds like my kind of party!
Post # 8
I think it’s rude to invite people to the reception and not the ceremony unless there’s some religious reason (e.g. you are Mormons having a temple wedding).
Everything else sounds great and 100% doable, especially if you are having smaller numbers in attendance. I like donuts more than most wedding cakes, think your alcohol selection is great, and am a meat and potatoes kind of girl, so I would personally love your wedding.
However, the logistical issues I see are:
1. you might need multiple grills. I’ve hosted a lot of BBQ parties and find it really difficult to serve more than 20 if there is only one grill.
2. Who will be flipping all of those burgers, steaks, and chops? You and DH? Family? Some teenagers from an adjacent farm being paid a small sum of money? This takes a lot of time, effort, and focus.
Once you work out those details I think it will go great.
Post # 9
CaroAbb : I think your wedding sounds super fun! We also did a pretty simple affair and brought our own alcohol and food and I wouldn’t change it for the world. If the people you’re inviting to the reception only are all in-town friends, I think that would be okay. Maybe word the invitation to read “Join us in celebrating our marriage” or something similar so they know it’s not a ceremony as well.
Post # 10
I was recently invited to the reception only and it made me feel… Awkward? I felt kinda bad seeing pics posted on Facebook before the reception. And at the reception I felt less sentimental about the whole thing. Maybe you can invite people but add “ceremony optional”? Younger people probably are glad to skip, but now I’m older and it kinda matters to me.
Your reception sounds delicious tho!
Post # 11
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
CaroAbb : I would just warn you that self-catering is a giant hassle and means that you and/or your loved ones have to stress about it, instead of just enjoying the party. (We threw a self-catered welcome BBQ for 150.) It definitely saves money, but that hassle and time and stress is also a cost in itself.
Buying food, prepping it all, getting it to the location, keeping it the right temperature, cooking the food that needs cooking, getting it done quickly so people aren’t waiting around hungry, making sure there’s enough and things are refilled as needed, cleaning up, dishes, transporting back home…. there’s definitely a reason that people like someone else to do the catering – it’s the biggest hassle of the whole wedding. Who’s gonna do all that stuff – your parents? Best friends? You – god forbid?!
Not to say you shouldn’t – but definitely something to think about.
Could you hire waitstaff from your parents’ restaurants to deal with some of it for you?
PS – I went to a reception-only wedding and it was great. We knew the couple was pretty private so they didn’t want guests for the ceremony part. If you make that clear in a polite way, it shouldn’t be a problem. Donuts sound delish!
Post # 12
You’re feeding your guests, providing some booze… it will be a great time. I would totally come!
Post # 13
CaroAbb : your wedding sounds like my wedding! We eloped and just had our witnesses, then had a big party for family and friends a few weeks later. We did all the food ourself, did cupcakes (I made and iced them), had burgers and smoked ribs, a whole lot of sides (ie we had waaaaay too much food!). We had a keg and boxed wine, with some coolers as well. People had a great time, we were still going 12 hours later! It rained (it was supposed to be in the back yard), so as it got later we moved the party into the garage so people staying with us could sleep if they wanted to go to bed. It was a long day but we had a blast and I wouldn’t change anything. I only think it would have been hard to self cater and have the ceremony/pictures on the same day.
Post # 14
The ceremony is my favourite part, you know, the whole point of the party after, and people WILL feel obligated to bring gifts because the reception is what costs money.
Depending on how many people you have, I really dont like the idea of self catering. Unless its literally 30 or less, I would not recommend it. People are going to be hungry and waiting around. Plus, unless you hire people to cook/serve, your friends and family are going to have to do it instead of enjoying the party. I also seriously worry about food safety issues.
its one of those things that seems great in theory, but is incredibly flawed once you dig into it.
I hate wedding cake, so Id be fine with donuts. I think wine and beer hosted is totally fine.
Post # 15
- Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle
1. Unless it’s a truly private ceremony (you two, parents, siblings and their spouses, grandparents ONLY) it’s rude. If it truly is a private ceremony, it’s fine. Invitations to others should say “invited to a reception following a private ceremony” or words to that effect. You MIGHT get away with inviting aunts and uncles if you say “family ceremony” but when you start inviting some friends and not others it gets very messy very quickly.
2. Donuts sounds amazing and delicious 🙂
3. So long as there is enough alcohol, I don’t see an issue with this. Can you buy from somewhere that lets you return unused supplies so you don’t run out?
4. Your food sounds delicious and I would be super happy to go to a wedding and find that kind of food provided. However I echo lolot’s words and concerns – who is going to cook and serve all this food? You do not want to be flipping burgers in your wedding dress, and it’s very unfair to ask your family to work on your wedding day. Plus food safety of course. Can you hire some staff to run the food side of things? If you do that, you are totally good!