Hi @earlgreytea25: First and foremost, I see this is your DEBUT Post on WBee… so a BIG Welcome to “the Hive”
I am a bit of an Etiquette Snob here in on WBee… in that I do know most of the Rules… but probably more importantly that the truth is there is a RISK / CONSEQUENCE involved in when someone breaks them…
So you most certainly have to know your audience if you wish to go against the grain.
With that said…
There is nothing wrong with a Dessert & Dancing Reception… infact it sound wonderful
And there is nothing wrong with wanting to have an “Intimate Wedding” that is small and just for family.
BUT at the same time, it is considered RUDE to invite someone and then “dismiss them”… so the correct procedure is once they are present, they are there for the duration.
# 1 = In so much as you wish to have an Intimate Dinner for JUST Family, then you either need to have your Mealtime event happen BEFORE the Wedding (Meal – Ceremony – Party). In which case the meal could be a Breakfast BEFORE an afternoon Ceremony… or a Dinner BEFORE an Evening Ceremony
# 2 = OR you need to have your Celebration / Party on another Day for ALL your Guests (Ceremony & Meal one day…. Party another)
# 3 = OR Ceremony & Party one day… and the Meal for Family another (ie Day After Brunch)
# 4 = The only other same day option that would be seen to be polite, would be have your Wedding Ceremony & Meal for immediate family… and then later on invite everyone to the Reception / Party afterwards (so the bulk of your Guests would only be coming to the Reception Party)
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As for paperwork / stationery…
Ceremony & Meal (or Ceremony & Reception) … Wedding Invitation would follow the norm… with the Closing Line “Reception to Follow at location “
When there is a Party held on another day, the Invites would follow the norm for a Belated Reception (those used for another date, not the same date as the Wedding itself). Sometimes referred to as a Wedding Celebration
Let me know which one of the options laid out here (# 1, 2, 3 or 4) you are leaning towards, and I’ll provide you with the appropriate wording if you like.
Hope this helps,