Etiquette

private ceremony in one state/reception in another

We are in our 40's and have been together 10 years and are planning wedding for 2017. His parents are in their 70's and cannot travel due to medical issues; my parents are younger and are willing and able.
Our thoughts are private ceremony here with only parents and siblings (about 12 of us total), followed by JUST a dinner. No bridal party; semi-casual dress (me: white informal dress with cowboy boots; him: nice jeans, dress shirt, vest), no dancing.
A week later we would like to go north and have the main reception/celebration with my family (about 50-70 guests), immediately followed by honeymoon.
I have read over and over about the etiquette of this, but there is no way with his parents' restrictions to do it all together. We want the first dance, the father/daughter dance, the cake cutting, etc.
I guess what I'm most unsure about is: do we do a vow renewal to help segue into the reception? It won't be a secret that we were officially married the week before; but my family LOVES the ceremonial aspect/traditions and especially loves the parties, so we want to make it the most enjoyable for all involved.

Re: private ceremony in one state/reception in another

  • I mean, technically, it's not a wedding reception, and really just a party.  You could still dance with your husband--even a spotlight dance, I think, would be fine.  But it's not your first dance.  You also can dance with your father--but I wouldn't make that a spotlight dance.

    You can have cake.  Cake is always good at any party.  No one will object to cake.  I don't even see a big deal with cutting it either.  I would just make sure to stay away from things like bouquet toss, garter toss, and anything else that makes it seem like you guys are a new bride and groom.  Because you won't be.

    And honestly, that's what this comes down to.  Celebrating your marriage at the party is fine.  But you have to realize you'll no longer be bride and groom, so you can't act like you are.  

    I would NOT do a vow renewal so soon.  Vow renewals should be done on milestone anniversaries.  A vow renewal soon after marriage is just weird and hokey.  Just make it a party celebrating your new marriage.  

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    OliveOilsMomSP29adk19
  • It wouldn't be JUST a dinner. It would be your wedding reception. And it sounds very nice. Why couldn't you dance with your father after dinner and cut a cake for dessert?

    CMGragainPrettyGirlLostlevioosa
  • Also, why can't you just have the wedding near your fiance's parents, and everyone can just travel there?  Why do you need the two locations?  Most people choose one location, and all their families have to travel there.  Your situation is not different.  Will some people not make it?  Sure.  But that's life.

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    STARMOON44OliveOilsMomMyNameIsNotInLoveInQueens
  • Thank you for the kind and sensical feedback
  • To Starmoon...there won't be any music to dance to; it will literally just be a dinner following the ceremony. I have a very close relationship with my Dad and have always dreamed of our father/daughter dance, so it's very important to me for that to happen.
  • To monkeysip: we have discussed that idea (one location) but it just doesn't make sense in our situation...he has a very small, elderly family here who would not be comfortable with the boisterous reception that my family is used to...if my family were to come here they would be disappointed with the small, toned-down celebration.  This is an effort to include everyone in such a way that everyone would enjoy, including us.
  • To Starmoon...there won't be any music to dance to; it will literally just be a dinner following the ceremony. I have a very close relationship with my Dad and have always dreamed of our father/daughter dance, so it's very important to me for that to happen.

    Put music on then? Most restaurants have a sound system, or if you're in a private room bring speakers for an iPod.
    InLoveInQueens
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    We are in our 40's and have been together 10 years and are planning wedding for 2017. His parents are in their 70's and cannot travel due to medical issues; my parents are younger and are willing and able.
    Our thoughts are private ceremony here with only parents and siblings (about 12 of us total), followed by JUST a dinner. No bridal party; semi-casual dress (me: white informal dress with cowboy boots; him: nice jeans, dress shirt, vest), no dancing.
    A week later we would like to go north and have the main reception/celebration with my family (about 50-70 guests), immediately followed by honeymoon.
    I have read over and over about the etiquette of this, but there is no way with his parents' restrictions to do it all together. We want the first dance, the father/daughter dance, the cake cutting, etc.
    I guess what I'm most unsure about is: do we do a vow renewal to help segue into the reception? It won't be a secret that we were officially married the week before; but my family LOVES the ceremonial aspect/traditions and especially loves the parties, so we want to make it the most enjoyable for all involved.
    I think Jax has a great idea.  Just do everything near your FIs parents.  At the start of the reception just keep it quieter and more low key.  Do your spotlight dances and do the cake cutting.  After the cake, the party can get turned up.

    If you decide to keep things small the way you do.  Do not do a new ceremony.  Just have the party.
    mollybarker11
  • What CMGragain said.

    You can have a party at any time, for any reason, so this later celebration is perfectly fine- but it is just that- a celebration, and not your wedding. Your wedding has already happened (and a private ceremony with immediate family followed by dinner is fine too!). 

    If you follow traditional customs, the hosts of a party would cut the cake and serve it to their guests. Thus, cake is always an awesome idea, and you and your husband can cut it. What you would not do is feed it to each other, as this is not your first meal as husband and wife. As this is a party you are throwing as hosts, you would serve your guests first. Similarly, the hosts may open the dance floor. Likewise, you can have a dance with your father, because you want to (you don't need a reason to dance with your dad), but don't put it on as a show of your dad dancing with the bride. No garter or bouquet toss. But cocktails, dinner, dancing with a band or DJ, dessert- go for it! 
    CMGragaincharlotte989875adk19
  • To Starmoon...there won't be any music to dance to; it will literally just be a dinner following the ceremony. I have a very close relationship with my Dad and have always dreamed of our father/daughter dance, so it's very important to me for that to happen.
    It doesn't matter if there is music or dancing (though I do recommend background music, which restaurants generally have anyway). What makes it your reception is the fact that you are feeding the people who have witnessed your marriage.
    image
    PrettyGirlLostInLoveInQueens
  • Thanks everyone for the input.
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