Wedding Etiquette Forum

Courthouse wedding

I am recently engaged and have so many questions. I want to start off by saying I am a really shy and private person. I have never wanted a huge wedding. I hate being the center of attention. I found a company that will marry us in a park near out house. It's a beautiful park! I would like for it to just be my little family ( my fiancé myself and our daughters) my parents would like for us to have a party after. Which is fine I know they want to be apart of this moment in my life. Should I do the party the same day or maybe the day after. How should I word the invitations for the party? Should I just announce our wedding and we would like for everyone to celebrate with us? Also my sister is telling me I need to register but I wasn't sure about that since I'm not having a big wedding or even having anyone other than my children. Also at the party should I have a cake? Like a wedding cake? I have never been married before and have no clue how to plan any of this. Please help! I do want my family to celebrate with us but like I said I want my actual wedding to be private. I like the idea of getting married in the park. I know it's pretty much like getting married at the courthouse but at the same time it's not.

Re: Courthouse wedding

  • bpooh229 said:

    I am recently engaged and have so many questions. I want to start off by saying I am a really shy and private person. I have never wanted a huge wedding. I hate being the center of attention. I found a company that will marry us in a park near out house. It's a beautiful park! I would like for it to just be my little family ( my fiancé myself and our daughters) my parents would like for us to have a party after. Which is fine I know they want to be apart of this moment in my life. Should I do the party the same day or maybe the day after. How should I word the invitations for the party? Should I just announce our wedding and we would like for everyone to celebrate with us? Also my sister is telling me I need to register but I wasn't sure about that since I'm not having a big wedding or even having anyone other than my children. Also at the party should I have a cake? Like a wedding cake? I have never been married before and have no clue how to plan any of this. Please help! I do want my family to celebrate with us but like I said I want my actual wedding to be private. I like the idea of getting married in the park. I know it's pretty much like getting married at the courthouse but at the same time it's not.

    Life is about choices. It's fine to have a small, private wedding, but if your objections to a big wedding is not wanting to be the centre of attention, I fail to see why you'd then want a big party where you will be the centre of attention.

    A reception, with wedding cake, is appropriate only when guests are being received after a wedding. Therefore you should have cake (because all parties should have cake always), but it should not be a wedding cake and there should be no cake cutting or other ceremony.

    Since you are having a private wedding, and anyone invited to pre-wedding parties should be invited to the wedding, that means no pre-wedding parties, which means a registry is unnecessary.

    There's nothing wrong with a courthouse wedding, or a private wedding, or a small wedding. But whatever decision you make, own it.
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  • KatWAGKatWAG member
    First Anniversary First Answer First Comment 5 Love Its

    I dont understand how you are a shy private person, who wants a smal wedding. But you are fine with a big party later in the day. It seems like a logic fail to me. 

    If you do decide to have a party at a later date, then it should not have any of trimmings of a wedding reception. No cake cutting, bridal party, first dances, etc.

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  • Are your parents offering to pay for and host your party? It sounds like you are only considering the party because that is what your parents want. If they are not paying (and not even attending the wedding!) then you should do what you and your FI are most comfortable with. Unlike a lot of other weddings on here, a private wedding with just the couple means that the couple can do whatever they want on their wedding day, even if that means NOT holding a party.

     







    [Deleted User]ashley8918
  • I am sort of in the same boat!

    Fi and I are having an intimate ceremony with 6 guests. It's exactly what I want! Our parents, his mom especially, keeps suggesting that we have a party to celebrate back home. I'm just not into it. I'm relatively introverted and don't really enjoy big gatherings. Plus I just don't really like hosting. Ski think that's something we'll stick and opt for private dinners with friends.

    Choosing a small wedding does make you choose a lot of other things: as mentioned, anyone invited to pre-wedding parties has to be invited to the wedding (otherwise it's a bit rude). I did invite a few close friends to go dress shopping with me (and my mom bought us all lunch), but when I asked on TK there were mixed reviews on if it's ok.

    If you have questions about small weddings, a few other girls are currently planning them. But most etiquette stuff is all the same, you just have less people to handle!
  • I think your small, private wedding sounds lovely.

    I'm confused, though, about how you don't want to be the center of attention, but then it's okay to have a big party where you will be the center of attention.  Are you having this party because you want it, or your parents want it?  I say stick to your guns and only have the party if it's what you want.  Just like we tell brides they are not entitled to have the big over-the-top wedding of their dreams, guests are not entitled to make you have a party so they can celebrate with you.  Just own your choice if you want the private wedding and no party.

    If you do want the party: honestly I'd side-eye it a bit and wonder why those guests aren't just invited to the wedding.  If you still want to do the party after the wedding, word the invitations as a "celebration of your recent marriage."  Don't do any of the typical wedding stuff: don't recite vows or walk down an aisle, wear a big wedding dress, have a wedding party, have a first dance, etc.  Cake is always awesome, but it shouldn't look like a wedding cake.
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  • Maybe I'm missing something, but I dont see where she said anything about having a "big" party after. She said her family would like to celebrate with her after. If it's just a family event after then I say have it later that day or like on a sunday afternoon at a restaurant and have a celebration of marriage.
    ashley8918
  • magee2011 said:
    Maybe I'm missing something, but I dont see where she said anything about having a "big" party after. She said her family would like to celebrate with her after. If it's just a family event after then I say have it later that day or like on a sunday afternoon at a restaurant and have a celebration of marriage.
    You're right, we are just inferring the party will be big.  I think it was the formal invitations and potential registry that made me think big.  But either way, "celebration of our marriage" is the correct wording.
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  • lilacck28lilacck28 member
    First Anniversary First Comment 5 Love Its First Answer
    edited May 2014
    I think I can understand the inclination of wanting a small wedding ceremony, but being okay with having a larger party afterwards. A lot of people at a wedding ceremony means a lot of people looking at you, whereas a lot of people at a party means a lot of people talking to different people at a party. If you don't have any of the first dance, cake cutting, and speeches type of traditions, you can avoid a lot of people looking at you at once. The level of intensity can be modified at a party where the focus isn't on watching something in particular, and it can be easy to hang back in a big crowd. 
  • If your party is being held the same day as your ceremony, it can be a wedding reception, and you may invite guests to that.
    If the party is held on a different day than your ceremony, then it is simply a party to celebrate your marriage, and should not have any wedding trappings.
    If you are hosting a party on the same day as your wedding, you can word it like this:

    The pleasure of your company is requested
    at the wedding reception of
    Bride's Full Name
    and
    Groom's Full Name
    Day, date
    time o'clock
    The Smith Residence (or Venue Name)
    Address
    City, State

    Rsvp.

    Wedding cake is fine.  I would expect it!  You don't need to do any dancing, bouquet tossing, or any other traditions.  If you are just having cake and punch, the middle of the afternoon is the best time.

    If you are having a wedding celebration on a different day, you might word it like this:

    The pleasure of your company is requested
    to celebrate the recent marriage of
    Bride's Full Name
    and
    Groom's Full Name (etc.)

    You can still serve cake, but don't do the cutting and feeding each other ceremony.  It won't be your wedding day.

    I think that, either way, you plans sounds just fine.  Have a lovely wedding and party.

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    beethery[Deleted User]KeptInStitchesashleyep
  • I was kind of uncomfortable with the idea of being the center of attention as well, but I have to say for me, it was really only the ceremony and pictures where I felt like this was the case. Of course, people wanted to talk to me at the reception but they were all the friends and family that I had invited, so it was really nice. At the ceremony, I didn't notice the attention too much, I was concentrating and it was over quickly. The photos were awkward but then they always will be. If you only do candid photos, you probably won't notice.
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  • I think your small, private wedding sounds lovely.

    I'm confused, though, about how you don't want to be the center of attention, but then it's okay to have a big party where you will be the center of attention.  Are you having this party because you want it, or your parents want it?  I say stick to your guns and only have the party if it's what you want.  Just like we tell brides they are not entitled to have the big over-the-top wedding of their dreams, guests are not entitled to make you have a party so they can celebrate with you.  Just own your choice if you want the private wedding and no party.

    If you do want the party: honestly I'd side-eye it a bit and wonder why those guests aren't just invited to the wedding.  If you still want to do the party after the wedding, word the invitations as a "celebration of your recent marriage."  Don't do any of the typical wedding stuff: don't recite vows or walk down an aisle, wear a big wedding dress, have a wedding party, have a first dance, etc.  Cake is always awesome, but it shouldn't look like a wedding cake.
    This is great advice. Your private ceremony sounds lovely, don't let anyone tell you differently. That said why have a party afterwards if you are worried about the attention? Nothing wrong with having a party to celebrate the marriage afterwards, but if you're going to do that it seems logical to invite those guests to the wedding too and just keep the invite list small. Then you can do all the fun reception stuff because it will actually be your wedding.
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  • I think your small, private wedding sounds lovely.

    I'm confused, though, about how you don't want to be the center of attention, but then it's okay to have a big party where you will be the center of attention.  Are you having this party because you want it, or your parents want it?  I say stick to your guns and only have the party if it's what you want.  Just like we tell brides they are not entitled to have the big over-the-top wedding of their dreams, guests are not entitled to make you have a party so they can celebrate with you.  Just own your choice if you want the private wedding and no party.

    If you do want the party: honestly I'd side-eye it a bit and wonder why those guests aren't just invited to the wedding.  If you still want to do the party after the wedding, word the invitations as a "celebration of your recent marriage."  Don't do any of the typical wedding stuff: don't recite vows or walk down an aisle, wear a big wedding dress, have a wedding party, have a first dance, etc.  Cake is always awesome, but it shouldn't look like a wedding cake.
    This is great advice. Your private ceremony sounds lovely, don't let anyone tell you differently. That said why have a party afterwards if you are worried about the attention? Nothing wrong with having a party to celebrate the marriage afterwards, but if you're going to do that it seems logical to invite those guests to the wedding too and just keep the invite list small. Then you can do all the fun reception stuff because it will actually be your wedding.
    This. As @HisGirlFriday13 loves to say, life is full of tough choices. If you want a small, intimate wedding, that is a perfectly valid choice. If you want to celebrate with some people, that is also a valid choice. But you have to pick one and stick with it.
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  • I just have to add: the "attention" that you get during the ceremony is (well, I think it will be, I have no experience personally) different than the attention that you get during the reception. Stating my vows and pledging my love to my future husband, that's heavy stuff, and not something that I feel comfortable having all of my friends and family witness. It's an intimate moment for me and I do not feel right sharing that with anyone but only the nearest and dearest. But that doesn't mean that I don't feel comfortable celebrating my love with my friends and family (well, I personally do, but you get where I'm coming from with this…).
    beethery
  • For me, the ceremony was the easy part. I hardly noticed the guests because my back was to them and I was focusing on the ceremony. That said, when it came time for the reception, that's where my social anxiety kicked in because everyone wants to talk to you and you're being pulled in different directions all night. I can absolutely see the opposite feeling like @JennyColada‌ said. I think the most important thing is to take a deep breath and decide what you are comfortable with and if you want to compromise. If you are doing it because the parents want it, but you don't, I think that's a recipe for a stressful/unhappy/uncomfortable party.
    Wheaton's Law: Don't be a dick.
    JennyColada
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