Post # 1
From the responses I’ve been reading, I see that people have strong opinions about tiered receptions favoring both sides of the issue.
We’re getting married and having our reception in the same building. Guest will only have to climb stairs to the ballroom and grab a drink. The cocktails, appetizers and music will begin as soon as the ceremony ends so there is a seamless transition.
We’re having a short ceremony somewhere around 30-45 minutes. The room we’re having the ceremony in can hold a maximum of 100 guests, there is no wiggle room on that number.
My fiancé’s family is very large, and so between his side of the family and close friends, we easily cap the 100 we’re allotted for the ceremony.
The ballroom where the reception will take place is much larger. There are people who we can’t fit onto the 100 guest ceremony list that we’d like to invite to be part of this. We don’t expect gifts from those people, only for them to have a great time with good food, music and an open bar. They would be invited for everything except the ceremony, so from the cocktail hour onward.
The people we’ve been considering inviting to just the reception are mostly work friends and friends of my fiancé who are guys that really would prefer to skip the ceremony part if given the choice.
I have people telling me it’s not a big deal and I can do whatever I want. I have people telling me it’s rude and people telling me they’d prefer to be invited to just a reception….in the land of etiquette are there absolutes of RIGHT and WRONG in this situation?
Post # 2
I don’t know why people get so worked up about this- the ceremony is the boring part and the reception is the fun part. Unless you are my sibling or best friend, I’d love to skip the ceremony!!
Post # 3
My only concern with the way you are describing the flow would be if (non ceremony)guests show up early to the reception to make sure they are on time (I always show up 15+ min early to everything) will those guests have to walk past where the ceremony is? Or will the room the ceremony is in will have closed doors? I think it might be a little wierd if I was going to just the reception but then walked past you as you were going into your ceremony. I would feel like I didn’t belong. But if the 2 rooms are on different sides of the building it could work without issue.
Post # 4
I think you need to find a different venue that will accomodate everyone or invite less people. The people telling you this is okay are assuming they are on the “VIP” list. Of course they’ll think it’s okay as long as they aren’t one of the poor schmucks who will be barred from actually witnessing the purpose of your party.
Please don’t do this. It is extremely rude.
Post # 5
I wouldn’t consider that a tiered reception, and to me personally, I think it’s fine. I’ve seen mixed info from the published “experts” (Miss Manners, Emily Post, etc) on this. My thinking is the same as CanadaJane’s — the reception is the fun part, and unless you’re a 1st or 2nd degree relative, the ceremony is mostly boring. Lovely, special, but usually pretty boring. I know a lot of Bees say “The ceremony is the important part! I’d be so offended if I wasn’t invited to that” but to me, that’s someone looking
to take offense. I would be hurt if my sister or beloved neice couldn’t fit me into her top 50, but a cousin or friend from college — I hold no delusions of being in their inner circle so would be perfectly fine with a reception-only invitation.
Post # 6
I think this is fine. I’ve heard of it done lots of times. Like others have said, the teception is the fun part. That’s where you dance and socialize and have food and cake. i love weddings, but I think more people than not feel like they have to “get through” the wedding to get to the good part, especially if they’re not super close to you. I would be way more offensed if I were invited to only a ceremony, which I’ve seen people on these boards say is fine. (It’s not)
Post # 7
I personally find it rude to do this. I like the ceremony — after all, that’s the important part of the day! That’s when you truly get married. The reception is the party to thank your guests for attending your ceremony. I would be hurt to find out that I didn’t make the cut to attend your ceremony, but was included in the reception (and the gift-giving portion). If I had to travel, I would not attend.
A tiered reception is a total no-no in my social circle. We are also very conscious of etiquette (which is essentially a mechanism to make sure your guests feel welcome, appreciated and are properly hosted) and care very much about hurt feelings and the appearance of favoritism in events. Perhaps your social circle is different in these things and people would care less about a tiered reception.
Post # 8
Not a fan of tiered receptions. They come off as very gift grabby to me.
If I’m not good enough to make it onto your A-list, but good enough for me to give you money/gifts, how do you think that looks?
Brides always say, “Gifts aren’t expected or wanted”, yes, but it’s socially even ruder to come to a reception without a gift. So while the bride goes, “It’s okay!” it’s not.
Post # 9
Etiquette is a regional thing, so regionally you’ll be in the white (ok, maybein the grey–probably everywhere having everyone invited to everything is preferable) or in the black on this one. Do what you’re gonna do–unless you are seriously consideirng changing who you invite or where your ceremony is held based on these answers there’s no point making yourself feel bad about your own wedding!
Post # 10
Yes, in “the land of etiquette,” you invite everyone you want at your wedding to both the ceremony and the reception. You are honoring them by asking them to witness your marriage, and then thanking them for being there by hosting a reception for them.
However, if you don’t really care about classic etiquette, and you think the reception-only people wouldn’t mind, why not? It sounds like already know what you want to do.
Post # 11
Why would I be offended that you are inviting me to a fabulous reception? I wouldn’t. If the cocktail hour is right after the ceremony, people coming early should not be a problem. The ceremony will be long over and drinks are ready to be served. As far as the gift grabby thing, no one is ever going to win that battle. Too many rules and unwritten rules and too many people don’t follow any of them.
Post # 12
I’m getting married in the UK. Our venue has an evening buffet (after the meal and all that) and or contract actually required us to invite at least 25 more people for the evening. I don’t know if that’s a normal UK thing- I’m Canadian and that’s not done. But around where I’m from, an invite to just the reception is pretty common
I’m still not sure how I feel about our evening thing, but my Fiance has a bunch of his high school friends coming and they will be around for drinks and dancing and the “party” part.
Post # 13
I would love to attend a fabulous reception!! It sounds like the guests you are thinking of inviting to that won’t mind either. Go with your gut on this one and have a fabulous day!!!
Post # 14
It’s rude here, too, not just at The Knot. What I don’t understand is why are you asking? It’s pretty clear you’ve already decided to do it. Some of your guests won’t care, most will. Here’s this big, important, life-changing event you’re having and you’re telling some of them they’re not important enough to witness it. Not caring about the gifts is one thing but they’re going to feel it’s required anyway since it is, after all, a wedding.
Post # 15
This is common in my culture, and people who aren’t close to the couple would not think anything of a reception-only invitation. My parents have been on the receiving end of it and weren’t bothered by it. My mom actually wants to invite only 100-150 out of 250 to my ceremony. I’m personally not into it, though, because our ceremony space can hold 250, so I’d rather just avoid stepping on any toes and invite everyone to both things. We will be doing the latter.
I do think in “general” American culture, it’s not really done. I wouldn’t necessarily be offended if I received an invitation like that, probably because I doubt I would be close with the person. I would not, however, go out of my way to go to the reception — if travel was required or I had something else going on that night, I would skip it. I think there’s a possibility that your FI’s coworkers won’t come.