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Etiquette

Should guests pay for their meal at my SMALL wedding?

My FH and I are getting married at the courthouse and are only inviting about 15 of our closest family and friends. We would like to go out to dinner afterwards.

I said we should pay for dinner. My future father in law told my FH that our guests should pay for themselves. I was simply trying to be polite but in all honesty I was most worried about coming off as cheap to his parents. 

What do you think? Should we still pay? Maybe we could buy drinks for everyone? Dessert?

Re: Should guests pay for their meal at my SMALL wedding?

  • achiduckachiduck member
    5000 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited November 2012
    Whether you have 4 or 400 guests, no matter the size of your wedding your guests need to be hosted properly. And that means they don't open their wallets. 
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    Anniversary
  • If they are your guests then you are to host them... Your FFIL is the one coming off as cheap. Just because you're getting married at the courthouse and having a small dinner party at a restaurant afterward doesn't mean that it's not a wedding! 

    You are correct in wanting to host your guests, after all it is a thank you to them for coming to witness your ceremony. 

    Find a nice restaurant with a private room available and reserve it for your wedding dinner. If you can choose a set menu with different entree and appetizer options then do that. Also, decide on a bar package with them... if you only want to host beer, wine and champagne as well as all the non-alcoholic beverages then do that. Have a personalized menu printed up to include at the table settings so that your guests know what to order from (you can do this part yourself). I would even bring in a small cake from a local bakery, if the restaurant isn't able to provide a cake. 

    Basically, if you choose to invite guests to a celebratory dinner then it means that you are paying.

    Anniversary
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Guests should never be expected to pay for any part of the hospitality offered to them.  Your FFIL is wrong about this.  If you invite them, it's your responsibility to pay.
  • I think it might help to think about it as a party :-) Think about having 15 friends over for dinner--would you charge them to eat at your home? That's how it is for a wedding reception--a party you host (a nice way of saying "pay for") for your guests.

    As another poster suggested, whether you have 4 guests or 400, you pay for everything--food, booze, parking, etc.

    My parents literally had their wedding "reception" at Pizza Hut. It was the 70s and they were both enlisted in the Air Force and got married a month after meeting, so funds were tight. They did what they could with what they had.
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  • That would be VERY tacky. Very.
  • You're right - you should pay for your guests dinners/drinks/desserts/whatever after your wedding.

  • You definitely need to pay for the dinner. 

    522805_10151186959893168_80368830_n_zps80e4c057
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  • They are guests and your are hosting they should not be paying the host should. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker There is no right or wrong way to have a wedding.
  • 3 time MOB here - your FFIL is dead wrong.
  • AdeleDazeemAdeleDazeem member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited November 2012
    In Response to Should guests pay for their meal at my SMALL wedding?:
    My FH and I are getting married at the courthouse and are only inviting about 15 of our closest family and friends. We would like to go out to dinner afterwards. I said we should pay for dinner. My future father in law told my FH that our guests should pay for themselves. I was simply trying to be polite but in all honesty I was most worried about coming off as cheap to his parents.  What do you think? Should we still pay? Maybe we could buy drinks for everyone? Dessert?
    Posted by Green492-2
    Woah.  You pay.  You invited them to your wedding, so you thank them appropriately by paying for their dinner, drinks, dessert, appetizers, etc.  It's not a typical recepetion, but it's a reception nonetheless.

    Your future father in law is so dead wrong.
  • Your FFIL is wrong.  At a party for your wedding, no matter how small and lowkey, you need to host your guests to thank them for coming to support you.
  • you shoudl pay.
    it shouldnt be that much.

    we had 11 at our RD - sit down meal in a nice seafood restaurant.  i think it cost all of $425.  we were able to do a prix fix menu to control the costs.  look into that option.
  • My sister just had a small wedding last week.  A judge and a small gathering of about 10 people- parents and siblings/spouses only.

    She chose a little local restaurant and paid for a meal for everyone.  She ordered a little one tier cake that had flowers in the colors of her brooch bouquet.  She ordered 2 bottles of champagne.  The restaurant put us in a semiprivate area and put the tables in a square so we all could talk and see each other.  It was lovely.  Very intimate.
  • If you and your FI hosted a party at your home, would you charge your guests an admission fee for food, drinks, entertainment, etc?
  • No, guests should NOT pay for their meals at your SMALL wedding?  "Guest" implies a person receiving another's hospitality. It is not at all hospitable to make your guests pay for their meals.
  • You must pay for the dinner to your invited guests.  To control costs you can select a restaurant that is in your budget and work with them on a fixed menu of perhaps 3-5 entrees to choose from.   Another idea for this size group is to choose a restaurant that allows you to order family style.   Italian and Chinese is commonly served family style. This can be a nice option that you and you groom can pre-order.  You are not obligated to host a heavy or 3 course meal but do make sure it would be enough to be considered dinner.    While you must pay for the dinner I believe it is your right to limit the type of beverages you host.   I work for a hotel and plan many catering events.  It is acceptable for the bride and groom to host only non-alchoholic beverages.  For your size event it should be possible to work something out with the restaurant where each guests pays for any beer, wine or mixed drinks if you want that to be the option available but want to limit the possiblity of killing your budget. 

    If those options still do not work within your budger then a reception at your home or a family members with appetizers and dessert served is an option.
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