Etiquette

Pastor's kid struggling with guest list

My dad is an incredibly thoughtful and sweet man who goes to great lengths to avoid offending people. Wonderful qualities in a pastor--but not so much when it comes to making tough decisions about who to invite to a wedding. Anyway, I grew up in the church that he oversees and most parishioners know who I am and/or have watched me grow up. When I got engaged, my dad happily announced my engagement in church the very next Sunday (groan...I'm really regretting that now!). Since my dad's announcement, I've been approached by several people who've inquired about my wedding details--people who barely speak to me otherwise and who I wouldn't even think of inviting--which suggests to me that they're expecting an invite. But I'm not about to have a wedding that's overcrowded with a bunch of random people. I want to limit church invitations to those members that I'm close to because inviting everyone will easily bring the guest list to 300-400 people since both FH and I have large families.My dad, of course, thinks everyone who wants to come to the wedding should come because he doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. But he also thinks that announcing the ceremony's details in church doesn't mean that people will just show up to the reception because they "won't have the information." Seeing how quickly word travels these days and how interested people seem to be in my wedding, I think going his route will set us up to have more than a few crashers. I know it's generally poor etiquette to have an open ceremony and a closed reception, but since my engagement was already announced and people have been hounding me for wedding details, I feel like I am in a bind. Is this the kind of scenario where it's acceptable to share general details about the ceremony but not about the reception? If it is, what kind of language do I use to be tactful but clear that anyone who'd like to attend the ceremony can but that the reception is by invite only? If it isn't, how do I invite the church members I'm close to while preventing the flow of information to people I don't intend to invite?

If it helps, the ceremony will be at the church which can seat over 1000 people and the reception is at a catering hall. My dad is paying for the majority of the costs for the reception; FH and I are paying in part for the reception and for all other wedding expenses. Also, FH and I are not doing a greeting line or cake and punch reception in the church hall after the wedding...we think we'll be too pressed for time since the church and the reception venue are some distance apart from each other. 

Looking forward to your insight/advice!!
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Re: Pastor's kid struggling with guest list

  • And it's fine if just people just want to turn up to the ceremony- you don't have to invite them to the reception. 
    PrettyGirlLostMairePoppyernursej
  • It's ok for someone to say "my daughter is engaged!" That's not a verbal invitation to a wedding. If he had followed that up with "...and I can't wait to celebrate with all of you!" then I would consider it more of a verbal invitation. 

    @CMGragain's advice is perfect. You probably know who congregants will ask and it's important that those people know what's going on. 

    You cannot lock the church doors and prevent pushy congregants from attending without an invitation. But you can do your best to ensure the right people are in the know and that the date/time are kept relatively private to prevent confusion on whether congregants are invited.
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    short+sassysparklepants41SP29OurWildKingdom
  • kaos16kaos16
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
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    abster said:



    If it helps, the ceremony will be at the church which can seat over 1000 people and the reception is at a catering hall. My dad is paying for the majority of the costs for the reception; FH and I are paying in part for the reception and for all other wedding expenses. Also, FH and I are not doing a greeting line or cake and punch reception in the church hall after the wedding...we think we'll be too pressed for time since the church and the reception venue are some distance apart from each other. 

    Looking forward to your insight/advice!!


    Others seem to have your main question under control, but I have a few questions for you:

    1. If you aren't doing a greeting line (which I assume is like a receiving line) do you have an alternative plan to thank all of your guests for coming?  Table visits perhaps?

    2. How far apart are the ceremony and reception?  Is there a gap between the two, or is the reception set to start right after the ceremony?


    InLoveInQueensOurWildKingdom
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
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     Also learn the bean dip.  If someone asks you about the wedding, give a succinct answer and change the topic.  I was really involved at my church when we got engaged & married, and our pastor announced our engagement without our permission  (my H proposed before Mass; the church ladies found out before I had a chance to call my brother).  

    Several members of our church community came to the Mass and gave us a quick hug.  They weren't invited to the reception and they didn't make a deal out of it.  There was one woman from church who point blank asked if she was invited,  and I told her we couldn't invite everyone we wanted to.   It all worked out fine. 



    Anniversary
    short+sassyDrillSergeantCatSP29OurWildKingdom
  • Thanks everyone! These are some great responses. I especially love  @CMGragain's "confused, distressed look"  and  @holyguacamole79's bean dip and I'll definitely be using them both. 
     
    @kaos16
    1) We will be doing walk-arounds at the actual reception for those who attend to say thank you
    2) Reception and church are about 20 mins away from each other, but FH and I are stopping by a nearby venue to take some photos before we head to the reception hall. The cocktail hr is set to start about 30 mins after the wedding
    DrillSergeantCatSP29MesmrEweOurWildKingdom

  • abster said:

    Thanks everyone! These are some great responses. I especially love  @CMGragain's "confused, distressed look"  and  @holyguacamole79's bean dip and I'll definitely be using them both. 
     
    @kaos16
    1) We will be doing walk-arounds at the actual reception for those who attend to say thank you
    2) Reception and church are about 20 mins away from each other, but FH and I are stopping by a nearby venue to take some photos before we head to the reception hall. The cocktail hr is set to start about 30 mins after the wedding


    Are your guests expected to wait around for 10 minutes before the cocktail hour starts? Cocktail hour should be ready to start the minute the first guest arrives at the reception hall after the ceremony. 
  • Same. Our ceremony and reception were at the same venue, and the reception was "scheduled" to start a half hour after the ceremony. The ceremony only took about 15 mins, and we did do a receiving line after, but the first guest was into the reception area about 10 mins before the reception was supposed to start; the bar had no problem serving them a drink that little bit early. 
    STARMOON44SP29PrettyGirlLost


  • Same. Our ceremony and reception were at the same venue, and the reception was "scheduled" to start a half hour after the ceremony. The ceremony only took about 15 mins, and we did do a receiving line after, but the first guest was into the reception area about 10 mins before the reception was supposed to start; the bar had no problem serving them a drink that little bit early. 


    I'm glad that it's worked out for others. I've been at weddings where we had to physically stand in the lobby (or outside) because the doors to the room were locked until a designated time. In that situation, 10 minutes does matter. It's "only 10 minutes" but it ruins your night if you're crammed in a little space, cold or wet, holding your purse and a card, standing in heels, just because the bride and groom figured 10 minutes didn't matter. No matter how nice everything else is, you'll come off looking like selfish tightwads if this is the situation.

    If guests can get in and start mingling and it's just that food and drink isn't served yet it's not the end of the world. If drinks are served early, then cocktail hour started early and everything is great!


  • It ruins your night to get stuck waiting 10 minutes? Srsly? That's ridiculous. 


    Yes, being treated very inconsiderately definitely ruins my evening. Being awkwardly blocked from entering a cocktail hour/reception space is rude and that affects my opinion of the evening. Same as not having seats for people, or any other etiquette nightmares people do.

  • MandyMost said:





    It ruins your night to get stuck waiting 10 minutes? Srsly? That's ridiculous. 




    Yes, being treated very inconsiderately definitely ruins my evening. Being awkwardly blocked from entering a cocktail hour/reception space is rude and that affects my opinion of the evening. Same as not having seats for people, or any other etiquette nightmares people do.


    That's a special definition of nightmare you've got. 
    PrettyGirlLostJediElizabethbanana468MobKaz
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
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    MandyMost said:





    It ruins your night to get stuck waiting 10 minutes? Srsly? That's ridiculous. 




    Yes, being treated very inconsiderately definitely ruins my evening. Being awkwardly blocked from entering a cocktail hour/reception space is rude and that affects my opinion of the evening. Same as not having seats for people, or any other etiquette nightmares people do.


    This is a bit melodramatic. 

    Did you ever try knocking on the door to the venue to see if they'd let you in early?

    But again, a venue not letting guests into the venue 10mins early is a venue issue.

     

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    STARMOON44banana468charlotte989875sparklepants41
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    MandyMost said:





    Same. Our ceremony and reception were at the same venue, and the reception was "scheduled" to start a half hour after the ceremony. The ceremony only took about 15 mins, and we did do a receiving line after, but the first guest was into the reception area about 10 mins before the reception was supposed to start; the bar had no problem serving them a drink that little bit early. 




    I'm glad that it's worked out for others. I've been at weddings where we had to physically stand in the lobby (or outside) because the doors to the room were locked until a designated time. In that situation, 10 minutes does matter. It's "only 10 minutes" but it ruins your night if you're crammed in a little space, cold or wet, holding your purse and a card, standing in heels, just because the bride and groom figured 10 minutes didn't matter. No matter how nice everything else is, you'll come off looking like selfish tightwads if this is the situation.

    If guests can get in and start mingling and it's just that food and drink isn't served yet it's not the end of the world. If drinks are served early, then cocktail hour started early and everything is great!


    My brother and SIL's wedding guests were locked out of the reception room at their venue (ceremony was in another room) for a few minutes after the ceremony ended. Everyone had to stand crammed in a small space waiting for the venue staff to open the doors. But it didn't "ruin the whole reception" for everyone at all. That's silly hyperbole.
    STARMOON44ILoveBeachMusiceileenrob

  • MandyMost said:





    Same. Our ceremony and reception were at the same venue, and the reception was "scheduled" to start a half hour after the ceremony. The ceremony only took about 15 mins, and we did do a receiving line after, but the first guest was into the reception area about 10 mins before the reception was supposed to start; the bar had no problem serving them a drink that little bit early. 




    I'm glad that it's worked out for others. I've been at weddings where we had to physically stand in the lobby (or outside) because the doors to the room were locked until a designated time. In that situation, 10 minutes does matter. It's "only 10 minutes" but it ruins your night if you're crammed in a little space, cold or wet, holding your purse and a card, standing in heels, just because the bride and groom figured 10 minutes didn't matter. No matter how nice everything else is, you'll come off looking like selfish tightwads if this is the situation.

    If guests can get in and start mingling and it's just that food and drink isn't served yet it's not the end of the world. If drinks are served early, then cocktail hour started early and everything is great!


     
    *GASP* not standing AND holding a purse at the same time for TEN MINUTES. Sounds like torture.

    Seriously, the description of this hardship reminds me of one of those infomercial fails, like the people who can't open a milk carton. So sorry you had to physically stand up for 10 minutes, but this isn't a gap and it isn't a big deal. 
    STARMOON44PrettyGirlLost
  • If I invited you over to my house, and you arrived at the specified time, and you knew I was home, but I made you wait on my doorstep for 10 minutes you'd probably be pissed, right? You guys seem to think it's totally fine to leave a guest waiting on the doorstep for 10 minutes. I'm shocked. I mean, would you even wait 10 minutes, or would you just leave because I wasn't letting you in? These boards always say you wouldn't invite people to a dinner party then charge them for drinks, or not have enough seats, or server yourself something different than the rest of your guests...how is this different?! Apparently it's OK with all of you to invite people to a dinner party, then make then knowingly wait 10 minutes on your doorstep. Wow. 



  • MandyMost said:

    If I invited you over to my house, and you arrived at the specified time, and you knew I was home, but I made you wait on my doorstep for 10 minutes you'd probably be pissed, right? You guys seem to think it's totally fine to leave a guest waiting on the doorstep for 10 minutes. I'm shocked. I mean, would you even wait 10 minutes, or would you just leave because I wasn't letting you in? These boards always say you wouldn't invite people to a dinner party then charge them for drinks, or not have enough seats, or server yourself something different than the rest of your guests...how is this different?! Apparently it's OK with all of you to invite people to a dinner party, then make then knowingly wait 10 minutes on your doorstep. Wow. 




    If you rented a house where you were hosting the dinner and the landlord refused to let your guests in then maybe I could see the analogy. 
    STARMOON44PrettyGirlLost
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California
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    If I get to somewhere in good time (which is usually the case...I drive on the fast side) and I'm waiting around for ten minutes, no worries. I'll go use the restroom, I'll check out the grounds, whatever. Ten minutes isn't a make or break deal. Now, if I show up and the venue isn't ready for 30-40 minutes, I'm going to be annoyed. 


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    STARMOON44SP29
  • SP29SP29
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    Of course I would let "you" in- but that doesn't mean I'll be ready.

    We had a Father's Day BBQ at our house the other weekend and my grandparents showed up 15 mins early (they always show up early to everything). I welcomed them in, led them to the back deck where we would all sit but I didn't have food out, or drinks ready- I was finishing my hair and make up.

    10 mins between a venue change can be taken up by a quick chit chat with another guest/friend, or go to the bathroom and re-apply some lip stuff.

    I would think it a bit rude if a venue (the venue, not the B&G) literally made the guests wait outdoors with the doors locked, but I see no issue with being allowed to stand/sit in a lobby with use of the bathroom while the room is finishing set up.
    PrettyGirlLost
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