Etiquette

Private ceremony question

I'm officially confused about a private ceremony.

Backstory :
Fi and I want to go to NYC City Hall for the ceremony and then have a dinner reception.  City Hall can fit 30 people (not sure if that includes the bride and groom).  FI and I made a list of our parents, grandparents, first cousins, aunts, uncles, siblings, and best friends.  We have come up with a total of 39 people, too many for city hall.  

Dilemma:  
I don't think it's right to invite all 39 people to City Hall and pray that not everyone RSVPs for the ceremony.  So, we said let's invite our parents, grandparents, and siblings to the ceremony and everyone else will be invited to the dinner later that evening. 

So, I've heard (read) that it's rude to invite people to the reception, but not the ceremony.  I've also read  that it's okay to have the ceremony with a few people with a larger reception .  So which is it?  .  

Re: Private ceremony question

  • If you're keeping the ceremony VERY intimate - as in it's you and your immediate (parents and siblings) families it can work to invite those people to the ceremony and then more to the reception.

    But keep in m ind that you may be upsetting people who didn't get to see the two of you get married.  Is it possible to get married at the place where you'd want to eat dinner?
  • Very intimate ceremonies (only immediate family) are fine followed by a larger reception. It is more an issue when there are spots for 100 in your church so the other 150 you make wait at the reception hall for you.

    People may be upset not to see you get married no matter what the size (this happens with some DW as well) so you may want to gauge traditions and feelings in your family before you commit to a head ache you might not want to deal with.
  • If it was just your parents, grandparents, and siblings, I wouldn't be offended if I was just invited to the reception. What gets people in trouble is when the cut-off is really arbitrary.
  • For a ceremony of your size, I'd invite all the family first, early, see who can't come, and then invite the leftover 9 friends on a space-available base.
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  • You are correct - you can't just pray that 9 of them won't make it. Fire marshalls don't look kindly on squeezing in 2 extra people or whatever. Usually the private ceremony thing only works when you have immediate family only at the ceremony, then a much larger reception. You're talking about cutting out 9 people. Talk about a slap in the face. "You guys aren't as important as the other 30 family members."

    In your case, I'd look into getting married at the place you are having dinner, or an outside area, or even someone's home. You can hire a JOP, have a short ceremony, and then go to dinner.
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  • If I were you, I wouldn't just exclude 9 people - b/c think of how much it would suck to be one of the 9.  I'd do parents/grandparents/siblings and then invite everyone else for dinner.

    People should understand when you have a super intimate ceremony.
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  • edited November 2009
    I didn't mean that we would cut only 9 people.  I meant that we would invite our grandparents, parents, and siblings to the ceremony.  That would be a total of 7 guests at the ceremony (plus our photographer).  We would invite 39 people to the reception dinner.  
  • sucrets4sucrets4
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    edited November 2009
    Yeah, it didn't sound like that in your OP.

    I think that's fine.  If I was a good friend or family member, I would totally understand that.

    **edit**  oh, I see that now, but was unclear on how many people that actually was.  Got it.
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  • In Response to Re: Private ceremony question:
    Yeah, it didn't sound like that in your OP. I think that's fine.  If I was a good friend or family member, I would totally understand that. **edit**  oh, I see that now, but was unclear on how many people that actually was.  Got it.
    Posted by sucrets4
    Sorry for the confusion.  I was trying not to write too much and ended up not being as clear as I wanted to.  
  • Ohhh, well then yeah, that seems totally fine.
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  • Ah, if it's only 7 people at the ceremony, then that's fine. I was thinking you'd be approaching more than half your guest list invited to the ceremony, and then you might start to offend people.

    As other pp said, you may *still* offend people.  But only you can know if you have really sensitive aunts/uncles/cousins.

    I still think looking into a JOP at the restaurant you choose is worthwhile, but if you have your heart set on city hall, then limit it to your 7 family members.
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  • Where is Julez?  You should try paging her Goldie because I'm not entirely sure how NYC Marriage Bureau couples do it and she may have some pointers.  I was under the impression that you sit and wait while other people get married for a while so that 30 number may be reduced.  But I could be wrong.
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  • I don't think your plan is rude at all.  Invite parents, gparents, and siblings to the ceremony and everyone else to dinner.  I'm sure if you just explain to your friends that the courhouse can only allow you to bring a few people, they will understand.  I know I would anyway.

    What's not fine is inviting people to the ceremony and then excluding them from the reception afterward.
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