• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO
Etiquette

Small Ceremony, Big Reception

Ah ladies - it's happened again.   While talking to a co-worker who's daughter is getting married she mentioned that her daughter is planning a wedding with a small ceremony, followed by a big reception with all their friends and family.  Why?  Because the young woman can't imagine walking down the aisle in front of all those people. However, in the same breath, she couldn't imagine not having all those people there to celebrate her day with her.

I cringed, apparently visibly so, and was asked my thoughts.   So... I gave them.   If you don't want a big ceremony, fine, but don't have a big reception.   How can you justify to someone that Susy is important enough to warrant an invite to the ceremony but they're not.   I just don't get it.    You want a small, intimate affair?  Fine.  Do it.   But don't have so little regard for your friends and family by inviting them to come to your reception (many who would have to travel by plane) only to inform them they're excluded from the actual wedding part of the wedding. 

I guess my co-worker thought the same thing but assumed it was a 'generational' thing and didn't want to ruffle feathers.  I being close to her daughters age and completely against the thought, she realized it wasn't a generational thing and will now try and talk to her daughter about changing her mind.  


SP29lizybeffweddingcactusnovella1186

Re: Small Ceremony, Big Reception

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I agree with you.  I don't get this planning at all.  You don't want to walk down the aisle in front of a lot of people, but you have no issue with having all eyes on you at a reception?  Doesn't make sense. And like you said, could be very hurtful to some of your reception only guests.

    lovegood90lizybeffAmanderson1290
  • I agree with you, however as a guest I probably wouldn't care because I have been to some looong ceremonies before and would have preferred to have just gone to the reception. :)

    But one time I thought we were invited to a "wedding" but then they just played their ceremony video on a projector. It was pretty weird, I had a tough time justifying that in my mind.
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Yeah, the reasoning is off.  I could be generalizing, but I feel like a true introvert who used that reasoning would just want an intimate affair all around because it's the reception that would be draining (all of the talking and socializing), not the ceremony (although it might be uncomfortable to be the center of attention).  I say that as an introvert. 

    Either way, having a small ceremony with a huge reception is rude, although I give a pass to ceremonies where it is immediate family only followed by a large reception/small ceremonies for religious reasons (like a Mormon Temple ceremony). 


    image
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I've been invited to 2 such weddings.  Both OOT, both times I attended.  I had no issue.

    the first one was my cousin. She had attended the same church since childhood.   Unfortunately it was very small.    Getting married in that church was extremely important to them. So they had a very small ceremony and then a larger reception.      Everyone I talked to didn't seem to mind the setup.   The ceremony is about the couple and respected their commitment to that church.


    The 2nd one was DH's cousin.  His wife had been married before.  She wanted to elope.  He wanted to celebrate with his family and a few friends.  It was a battle on the type of wedding.  The compromise was a small ceremony of just them, parents and siblings and then a larger (only 50-60) people reception.    We all understand and happily attended only the reception.

    While I might be disappointed in not seeing the vows being said, I do not get my panties all up in a wad when my family or friends invite me out for an evening of hanging out with family/friends while enjoying free food, booze and dancing.   (yes, I've never attended a wedding that didn't have those things) 

    It just does not bother me one bit.   


    That said, if say 30 people were invited to the ceremony and 40 to the reception I would be doing some side-eyeing.   You need to keep the ceremony to 10-20% of the reception list.  Preferably just parents and siblings.   Although if you are the Duggars siblings could outnumber the rest of the guests.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    whovianstarkabbyj700
  • lyndausvi said:
    I've been invited to 2 such weddings.  Both OOT, both times I attended.  I had no issue.

    the first one was my cousin. She had attended the same church since childhood.   Unfortunately it was very small.    Getting married in that church was extremely important to them. So they had a very small ceremony and then a larger reception.      Everyone I talked to didn't seem to mind the setup.   The ceremony is about the couple and respected their commitment to that church.


    The 2nd one was DH's cousin.  His wife had been married before.  She wanted to elope.  He wanted to celebrate with his family and a few friends.  It was a battle on the type of wedding.  The compromise was a small ceremony of just them, parents and siblings and then a larger (only 50-60) people reception.    We all understand and happily attended only the reception.

    While I might be disappointed in not seeing the vows being said, I do not get my panties all up in a wad when my family or friends invite me out for an evening of hanging out with family/friends while enjoying free food, booze and dancing.   (yes, I've never attended a wedding that didn't have those things) 

    It just does not bother me one bit.   


    That said, if say 30 people were invited to the ceremony and 40 to the reception I would be doing some side-eyeing.   You need to keep the ceremony to 10-20% of the reception list.  Preferably just parents and siblings.   Although if you are the Duggars siblings could outnumber the rest of the guests.
    Reason #546 not to be like the damn Duggars!
  • jacques27jacques27 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 1000 Comments 5 Answers
    edited January 2015

    Am I personally bothered by this trend?  No.  But I also don't understand it.

    I am an introvert through and through.  And I mean this in the true sense of the word, not in the bastardized sense it's become where people think introverted means "shy" or "having social anxiety".  I am not shy.  I can be the life of the party (when I want to be).  I can have some social anxiety sometimes, but I know that's not the same as being introverted.  I prefer small groups and get my energy and recharge from alone time.  Large social gatherings exhaust me.  Small talk is my own personal version of hell.  I'm horrible at asking people questions because I always feel like it's intrusive and if they wanted me to know things they would tell them to me on their own.

    If it were not against etiquette, I could maybe understand having a large ceremony and small reception.  Come one, come all to see me for 15-30 minutes where I don't have to interact with you and am so intently focused on my future spouse and saying vows that I probably won't even notice whether there's 30 of you or 300.  But even thinking about having to individually greet and engage in small talk with 150 or 200 or 300 people and circulate around a room for several hours makes me feel uncomfortable and drained.  Starting 300 mini-conversations all focused on people talking about the wedding and me and my spouse and answering questions about myself/us just seems like torture to me.

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    scribe95 said:
    I thought we had agreed this was NOT an etiquette faux pas - to have a truly intimate ceremony (like 10 people) and a larger reception?
    It's not.  At all.     

    Sure you might be disappointed missing watching the vows, I get that.  But I do not get being upset at getting an invitation to a party.  That is what reception only invitations are, an invitation to a party.   OMG, how horrifying for your family/friends invite  you to a party.  The nerve of them wanting to spend money on food, beverage and  possible musical entertainment on you.









    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    plainjane0415
  • If it is a truly intimate ceremony (immediate family, BFF), that's one thing, but otherwise I agree with the OP. If you want intimate, go intimate.

    I get that the ceremony is the one thing all about the B&G, but to me, THAT is the wedding, and I like to witness it. 

    So maybe I'm just selfish, but I LOVE witnessing the ceremony. While I would never want to forgo the reception afterward, the ceremony is often what I remember most about a wedding. 
  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I suppose it's because this was mainly my feeling as well, but I don't understand how people DON'T understand this.

    My wedding ceremony felt very intimate. I basically poured my heart and soul into my husband and vowed our unity 'til death do us part. That's a VERY intimate moment for me, and not something that I felt comfortable with extended family or friends witnessing.

    Partying it up and enjoying a great meal is not nearly as much of a vulnerability.

    That being said, we had a very intimate ceremony and very intimate reception. But I knew 100% that I wanted a small ceremony regardless.
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards