Will a Reception Only Wedding Affect Turnout?

posted 3 years ago in Guests
Post # 2
Member
653 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: London, UK

It’s funny you say you feel like people don’t enjoy ceremonies, I’m the opposite. I see that as the actual marriage, and even if I’m bored I’m still pleased to be there 😂 We are considering having just a reception and my mum suggested we did a faux ceremony at that (even if we have got married privately in a town hall earlier that day) as people enjoy a ceremony. Maybe my mum is deluded 😂

I’m not sure if it will affect turn out to just have the reception, but I’m following this thread with interest.

Post # 3
Member
4767 posts
Honey bee

I mean, people like free food and booze if they happen to be available that day.

I guess I’m confused – are these two separate events happening on two separate days?  Is the reception occuring elsewhere or in the same mountain town where the ceremony is?

If it’s all one event on the same day, I guess I don’t understand why you wouldn’t just invite everyone to everything.  Don’t make the assumption for other people that they don’t like ceremonies.  You don’t know how other people feel.

If it’s two separate events on different days in different locations, then make sure you’re still hosting the people invited to the ceremony immediately after the ceremony and make sure the people invited to the separate party know they are attending a “celebration of marriage” and not a wedding.  It might affect turn out.  It might not.  Again, people really dig free food and booze but it will depend on how convenient the date/time/location is for them. There are some who won’t feel inclined to go to great lengths to clear their schedule or travel if they won’t actually be witnessing the ceremony and it will just depend on what else is going on.

What is more likely to be affected is whether people get you a wedding gift (not that this ought to be a consideration and you should never expect gifts).  I think people are less inclined to give a wedding gift if they aren’t actually witnessing the wedding ceremony or they are more inclined to give along the lines of a host/ess gift (bottle of wine or booze, picture frame, etc.) when they do attend the separate party.

Post # 4
Member
6213 posts
Bee Keeper

View original reply
rob31 :  I want to attend the ceremony. That’s the whole point of the wedding. A reception is an unnecessary party. If you want friends at a party, cool. Throw one. But don’t call it a reception because without the wedding, it isn’t (A reception is a thanks to your guests)

Post # 5
Member
9869 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

To be perfectly honest, I value attending the ceremony way more than the reception.  The whole point of being there is to witness the marriage, and the reception is the thank you for attending the ceremony.  

If I had to travel for a reception only event, I would decline the invite.  If it were local, I’d go, but I would probably be sad/annoyed that I wasn’t valued enough to be invited to the ceremony.

Post # 6
Member
2323 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

We had a private ceremony then a reception and invited about 70 people or so. We had a great turnout, although most of our guests were local, we did have people fly in but they were family so it was important for them to make it and most of them were included in the private ceremony. We still called it a reception, the definition of “reception” is a formal social gathering to celebrate something, so you’re throwing a reception to celebrate your marriage. 

Just be aware that some people may feel hurt that they weren’t able to witness the ceremony and in turn might not come to the reception.

 

View original reply
rob31 :  

Post # 7
Member
222 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

You might actually have a higher turn out because it’s reception only. Your close circle of friends and family want to see the ceremony but most people come for the reception. 

Post # 8
Member
3378 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

Myself and DH actually hate getting reception only invites (when we lived in the UK), the ceremony is the most important part! We would be much less likely to travel for just the reception. 

Post # 9
Member
10388 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

View original reply
rob31 :  

The ceremony is the  wedding ,  the reception is just a party . Nice, but not  the main point  . So I would invite everyone to both , assuming the reception follows the ceremony that is . Are you  planning to have it in the same town as the ceermony  or somewhere   else ? Your OP is not terribly  clear . 

Post # 11
Member
10388 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

View original reply
rob31 :  

outdoor scenic ceremony so it may involve a bit of a hike. Having an intimate ceremony with only family also cuts down on cost..”

You mean the hike  may be too much for some?  Well, that’s  up to them to decide , I wouldn’t worry about that part . And as for cost, I don’t understand why it would cost you anything for a guest to attend an outdoor scenic site .? I must be missing something.    

Post # 12
Member
1606 posts
Bumble bee

I’ve know quite a few people who’ve eloped, or gotten married at the courthouse or city hall, only to throw a reception later. My own sister and sister in law both did that. People enjoy celebrating with you. 

Post # 13
Member
667 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: City, State

This forum probably isn’t the best place to ask, people get all bent up out of shape if they are not invited to the whole thing like they have some right to see you get married for them to want to celebrate that union with you. 

Im going to have both day guests and reception only guests (I’m in the U.K. where this is normal) but people on here will make you feel like you should be hung drawn and quartered for even thinking such things. 

I say put feelers out with your absolutely must have guests. See how they feel about it and base your decision on that. You know your audience best. If they find ceremony’s boring (I’m with you on that I’m having the shortest ceremony I can have) then just have the celebration afterwards. 

Post # 14
Member
727 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2018 - Farm

View original reply
rob31 :  I would love to attend the ceremony. I think its the most important part. I love watching the couples say their vows to each other. I’ve never been to just a reception. I’ve always been invited to both. I also understand if a couple wants to have a private ceremony that’s their right and I would celebrate with them at the reception.  I don’t understand how only inviting them to the reception will cut the cost.  The reception is normally the biggest expense for a wedding. You would provide food and drinks for guest and rent a venue for a reception. Even with a low key reception or party you still would provide food and drinks. How would you save money? 

Post # 15
Member
1217 posts
Bumble bee

My experience has been people are less likely to attend a reception/celebration of marriage only than a traditional wedding/reception, especially if the ceremony is on a separate day.

I don’t understand your logic.  How is having a private ceremony saving a significant amount of money?  And I’d also be annoyed to only be invited to the reception, especially knowing your ceremony was earlier in the day.  It gives the impression that I’m good enough for my gift but not good enough to witness your vows, which really is the more important of the two.

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