Invites and Paper

Invitation wording and etiquette-- help!

Hi all, this is my first post so go easy on me :)

I'm the primary planner for a close friend's upcoming wedding. They are trying to be as frugal as possible since they don't have very much money. So far, we're leaning toward having a very small (less than 50 people) family ceremony in the MIL's backyard on a Saturday evening at a time that isn't during a mealtime (after dinner time), and then afterward having light hors d'oeuvres and drinks, some dancing and backyard games. For the reception, we were thinking of having it the next evening (also at a time that isn't during a mealtime; after dinner most likely) at their local tavern that has agreed to let them host the reception for free until 10pm, and serving cupcakes/cake/some sort of dessert and some light hors d'oeuvres. There would probably be around 100 people at the reception and it would be mostly friends and acquaintances. Think casual: pool, darts, corn toss, makeshift photo booth, etc.

My questions are-- is this tacky? I'm of the impression that as long as you schedule it at an other-than-mealtime time, and phrase it in a way that is clear there won't be a sit-down meal, then people won't be hungry and mad. She's worried about coming off as cheap, but I think it's better to be upfront about what the deal is (casual situation, providing less fare than a traditional ceremony/reception) than implying you might be providing more and run out of food/disappoint guests. How would you phrase those invitations? Any help anyone has is wonderful. Thank you in advance! :)

Re: Invitation wording and etiquette-- help!

  • mal928 said:
    Hi all, this is my first post so go easy on me :)

    I'm the primary planner for a close friend's upcoming wedding. They are trying to be as frugal as possible since they don't have very much money. So far, we're leaning toward having a very small (less than 50 people) family ceremony in the MIL's backyard on a Saturday evening at a time that isn't during a mealtime (after dinner time), and then afterward having light hors d'oeuvres and drinks, some dancing and backyard games. For the reception, we were thinking of having it the next evening (also at a time that isn't during a mealtime; after dinner most likely) at their local tavern that has agreed to let them host the reception for free until 10pm, and serving cupcakes/cake/some sort of dessert and some light hors d'oeuvres. There would probably be around 100 people at the reception and it would be mostly friends and acquaintances. Think casual: pool, darts, corn toss, makeshift photo booth, etc.

    My questions are-- is this tacky? I'm of the impression that as long as you schedule it at an other-than-mealtime time, and phrase it in a way that is clear there won't be a sit-down meal, then people won't be hungry and mad. She's worried about coming off as cheap, but I think it's better to be upfront about what the deal is (casual situation, providing less fare than a traditional ceremony/reception) than implying you might be providing more and run out of food/disappoint guests. How would you phrase those invitations? Any help anyone has is wonderful. Thank you in advance! :)
    Yes, this is tacky, but not for the reasons you are thinking. This is a tiered two-part reception. Think about how the 50 people who don't get an invite to the wedding and backyard deal will feel that they weren't invited with the other 50 people to the wedding ceremony and actual reception? They get a consolation prize party and are asked to celebrate something they weren't invited to attend. 

    If this couple wants to get married the day before and have a party, the ceremony needs to be truly truly private - immediate family and a couple of very close friends only. Receptions are designed to receive the guests who attend the wedding, so the next day wouldn't be a reception, just a celebratory party so she'd need to go easy on the wedding stuff.

    I think you and she need to rethink this whole plan a bit. 

    But in regard to your question, serving light refreshment at a non meal time is perfectly fine. I wouldn't start any earlier than 8pm though (and know your crowd - for some social circles, 8pm invite still means dinner). The invitations for the wedding ceremony and reception would be your standard invite with a note at the bottom that has some variation of "Cocktail Reception to Follow" wording so it's clear no meal will be served. 
    image
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Your friend can serve the light refreshments you and she have in mind if it isn't at a mealtime.

    But I agree that there are some etiquette issues with the plans:

    1) Is anything being served to those persons who will be attending the ceremony, immediately following the ceremony?  That's an absolute etiquette must-that actual ceremony guests be provided with appropriate hospitality for the time of day.

    2) What's happening the next day is a celebration of the marriage, but it shouldn't be called a "reception."  A reception is what takes place after the ceremony when the couple "receive" their guests.
  • Thanks for your quick replies! I'll try to answer you both as comprehensively as possible--

    Believe it or not, the (max) 50 people at the reception are the family and a few very close friends. The groom's family is enormous. His parents, siblings and grandparents all will total about 20 people; maybe a smidge more. Aunts, uncles and cousins aren't being considered. Her family is much smaller. I used 50 as the absolute maximum number. It will probably be closer to 35-40. I've been invited to wedding receptions immediately following a ceremony I wasn't invited to, and I haven't been offended... I assumed it to be what it was-- they were young and broke, and the small ceremony was just for close family. Is it really that offensive to not do both for people? I'm genuinely clueless there. 

    Food is definitely being provided for the people at the ceremony, with appropriate regard for the time of day. Like manatee mentioned, it will be a cocktail hour situation. But there is always room for changing that depending on what is more appropriate.

    Good point about not calling it a reception since it's the next day. And another good point about going easy on the wedding stuff since it's more just a party. How should the invite to that be worded then?
  • mal928 said:
    Thanks for your quick replies! I'll try to answer you both as comprehensively as possible--

    Believe it or not, the (max) 50 people at the reception are the family and a few very close friends. The groom's family is enormous. His parents, siblings and grandparents all will total about 20 people; maybe a smidge more. Aunts, uncles and cousins aren't being considered. Her family is much smaller. I used 50 as the absolute maximum number. It will probably be closer to 35-40. I've been invited to wedding receptions immediately following a ceremony I wasn't invited to, and I haven't been offended... I assumed it to be what it was-- they were young and broke, and the small ceremony was just for close family. Is it really that offensive to not do both for people? I'm genuinely clueless there. 

    Food is definitely being provided for the people at the ceremony, with appropriate regard for the time of day. Like manatee mentioned, it will be a cocktail hour situation. But there is always room for changing that depending on what is more appropriate.

    Good point about not calling it a reception since it's the next day. And another good point about going easy on the wedding stuff since it's more just a party. How should the invite to that be worded then?
    For the bolded - young and broke isn't a great excuse to treat people in tiers. I don't consider nearly half the invitation list to be small. Half the guests are invited to the ceremony and half are not. I'd really re-think it. Like I said, I think not inviting people to the ceremony is only acceptable when it's truly a private affair - 20 people at an absolutely maximum. 

    And she's not even saving money by not inviting people to the ceremony. The reception is by far the more expensive part, so the young and broke excuse really falls flat. People want to watch the couple get married; that's the whole reason they are celebrating. 

    What's the resistance to inviting everyone to the back yard celebration? That's great that you weren't offended in the past, but you can't speak for everyone on this bride's guest list. Some people may be offended to not be asked to attend the ceremony, but no one will be offended to be invited to both the ceremony and the reception. I'd rather offend no one than risk offending some, you know?

    Wording for celebration would be something like: 
    The pleasure of your company is requested
    at a celebration of the marriage of
    Mr. and Mrs. Newlyweds 
    Day, date
    time o'clock
    Venue
    Address
    City, State



    image
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Well, unless the wedding is a destination wedding or there's a restriction such as the Mormon church has about not allowing non-Mormons or Mormons without temple recommends into their temples that would prevent guests from attending a wedding, it does come off (perhaps not in your community, but elsewhere) that if you (generic) can afford to host 100 people at a celebration party of your marriage, you should invite all those whom you plan to invite to this "celebration" to the actual event that underlies the celebration, and not to do so, especially if there are any pre- or post-wedding related events like showers or bachelor/ette parties. So if you really want only 50 people at the ceremony, then those are the only people who should be invited to the following "celebration" as well as any pre- or other post-wedding related events. Conversely, if you really want to "celebrate" with all 100 of these people after the ceremony, then you should invite them to the ceremony if there's no restriction prohibiting it or if it's not a destination wedding.
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited August 2014
    Frugal wedding planning:

    Level one:  Bride, groom, officiant, license, witness.  Reception optional.

    Level two:  Add guests, cake and punch reception, invitations.  Other options include wedding dress, flowers, music, photography, bridal party.  Best time for this is 2:00PM to 4:00PM, or after 7:30PM.

    Level three:  Serve meal at reception.  Brunch, lunch or cook-out.  Dancing with an IPOD is an option.

    Level four:  Serve dinner at reception.  This costs about twice the cost of lunch.  Tuxedos may be worn.

    The wedding reception must happen on the same day as  the ceremony, with no gaps.  Any other celebration on a different day is NOT part of the wedding, but a separate event.  No wedding dress or wedding traditions are proper.

    Alcohol is always optional, but greeting your ceremony guests and offering them food and drink is required.  Unless it is a private ceremony, as in option one, it is rude to not invite everyone to both the ceremony and the reception.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    mal928
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited August 2014
    mal928 said:
    Hi all, this is my first post so go easy on me :)

    I'm the primary planner for a close friend's upcoming wedding. They are trying to be as frugal as possible since they don't have very much money. So far, we're leaning toward having a very small (less than 50 people) family ceremony in the MIL's backyard on a Saturday evening at a time that isn't during a mealtime (after dinner time), and then afterward having light hors d'oeuvres and drinks, some dancing and backyard games. For the reception, we were thinking of having it the next evening (also at a time that isn't during a mealtime; after dinner most likely) at their local tavern that has agreed to let them host the reception for free until 10pm, and serving cupcakes/cake/some sort of dessert and some light hors d'oeuvres. There would probably be around 100 people at the reception and it would be mostly friends and acquaintances. Think casual: pool, darts, corn toss, makeshift photo booth, etc.

    My questions are-- is this tacky? I'm of the impression that as long as you schedule it at an other-than-mealtime time, and phrase it in a way that is clear there won't be a sit-down meal, then people won't be hungry and mad. She's worried about coming off as cheap, but I think it's better to be upfront about what the deal is (casual situation, providing less fare than a traditional ceremony/reception) than implying you might be providing more and run out of food/disappoint guests. How would you phrase those invitations? Any help anyone has is wonderful. Thank you in advance! :)
    You need two separate invitations for two completely unrelated events.

    The pleasure of your company is requested
    at the marriage of
    Bride's Full Name
    and
    Groom's Full Name
    Day, date
    time o'clock
    The Name Residence
    Address
    City, State

    Reception immediately to follow

    The invitation for the second party, which is NOT a wedding reception:

    Mr. and Mrs.John Newlywed
    request the pleasure of your company
    to celebrate their recent marriage
    Date
    time
    Tavern
    Address
    City, State
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
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