(Closed) Very small intimate ceremony bigger reception?

posted 8 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
656 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

That’s what we’re talking about doing… I think a lot of people understand if you view the ceremony as a family thing. 

Post # 4
24 posts
  • Wedding: August 2011

We had the ceremony with only direct family (12ppl in total including us) and reception with uncles’ families and friends of 42 ppl in total. People understood that we wanted an intimacy ceremony. One of the uncles insisted to come to the ceremony but we politely turned him down. Most of other guests asked about the right time to come and we confirmed to them the time we expected them to be there.

We liked our ceremony alot because it was only direct family, We were totally casual, smiling and laughing all the time. We also had a small section where we presented our parents and siblings+ thier partners our appreciation gifts to them for thier support of our wedding. Then they also gave us gifts after the ceremony. It was very private and lovely. We then went on a boat trip on those canals around the city center with drinks and snack for 1 hour so ppl had more time to talk and relax a bit between ceremony and reception.

One thing did happen out of our control was a friend of mine showed up because she read the invitation wrong. In the invitation we say the ceremony is at 4pm and she is invited to come to the reception at 7pm. She came at 3.30pm. I didnt have the heart to tell her she was not supposed to be there so we just went on with the ceremony. Later on I did visit her and saw our wedding invitation being displayed in her photos/card table. I just checked it to make sure I didnt send her the wrong card (We had two sorts of invitation cards. Cards for direct family say ppl are invited from 3.30pm for the ceremony at 4pm and reception to follow). In the end I sent her the right card, she just read it wrong and till now I still havent told her anything. If she figure out, she’ll know, if not, it’s already happened. I purposely chose pictures that didnt show her in the ceremony for the wedding album and also cut her out from the video clips. It bothered me alot yet I didnt want to make a scene and asked her to leave. She did drive all the way from the South of France to Holland the night before just to be able to make it to my wedding.

So I say wording in the invitation can be tricky if you put 2 different times there. If I would have done it again I wouldnt mention the ceremony time, just simply say it happens earlier in the same day and guests are welcomed to the reception at certain time.

Good luck have have fun planning your day!

Post # 5
662 posts
Busy bee

I went to a wedding of a dear friend who was a mormon and wanted to get married in the temple.  If you are not a practicing mormon in good standing, you are apparently not allowed in the temple for the ceremony.  They had only intimate family for the reception and then a lot of people for the reception.  No one had any issue with it.  It was all together more fun for those of us who didn’t have to sit through a long religious ceremony.  We did all show up to their ceremony space when they were done though so we could throw flower petals at them as they came out the church doors.

Post # 6
3314 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Our ceremony was a very small affair with just 38 people including the pastor and us.  Our reception was larger at 76 people.  We did let people know that the ceremony was just for family and while a few people expressed disappointment in not being able to see the ceremony, everyone understood our decision and supported it.  🙂

Post # 7
7 posts
  • Wedding: August 2012

We are having a VERY small wedding – we both have small families anyway, but we are purposefully only asking our immediate family to the ceremony and wedding breakfast – totalling 18 people including us! We are then inviting close friends – about 20 to the evening, where we’re having a relaxed bbq – no DJ, just an ipod and great speakers.  We picked our venue carefully so as not to make our small wedding party look sad and lost in big rooms.  Go with what you feel comfortable with, then you’ll have no regrets 🙂

Post # 8
153 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

We did this. There were 8 people at our ceremony (immediate family only) and the rest of our guests joined us for the reception afterwards. 


In our invitations we asked people to join us to celebrate our marriage, we didn’t mention anything about a ceremony. We did tell our guests though that we were getting married earlier in the day but that we wanted a private ceremony. 


We held the ceremony in a garden adjoining the hotel we had our reception in.

Post # 9
2704 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Intimate, small ceremonies with only family (no friends) are perfectly ok!  From my understanding, this isn’t against etiquette at all.

Post # 10
1597 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I’ve been to 3 receptions where the ceremonies were private and was not offended or “put off” at all. I think it’s a perfectly acceptable idea.

My friend’s sister REALLY wanted to get married at our museum, but the only room she could afford was the tiny room that only sat, like, 20 people. So they had a private ceremony and big reception.

Another friend got married a 2nd time, so she had a private outdoor ceremony with about 10 people and then a big giant picnic reception.

And my sister’s friend got married on the beach and then had a big reception back home. 

I’m actually considering doing this for my own wedding. My fiance hates crowds, and his family is literally just, like, 5 people, so a private ceremony would probably work best for us. I also would really like something more intimate so I don’t have to feel like there’s a million people staring at us. I want to be relaxed and feel at ease while saying our vows.

I posted on here awhile ago asking the very same question you’re asking and some people were kinda mean and said this would be rude, but I 100% disagree.

If it’s really what you want, I say go for it. 

Post # 11
9544 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

I don’t think it’s rude at all. You’re likely to have to explain it to some people, but I think that’s fine. God for it and have a great time!

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