Budget Weddings Forum

To Invite Church Members or Not? That is the question...

My fiance and I are on a strict budget. We initially wanted to keep our guest list to 200p, but it has now climbed to 225. The majority of our invited guests consist of family and close friends.
My fiance grew up in the church that we are getting married in, and has close relationships with several members (some of whom are invited to the wedding). However, we could not afford to include everyone. Many of the members ask me regularly about my wedding planning and imply that they will be attending. *clears throat* BUT THEY ARE NOT INVITED. 
I don't want to offend anyone, but I feel like some people will be upset when they realize our wedding is an invite-only one (a previous couple invited the entire church to their ceremony. In my defense, their wedding was much more budget friendly).
What should I do? Go into debt inviting these people or prepare for the backlash? I really want the church members to like me, but we just cannot afford to push the guest list up anymore.

Re: To Invite Church Members or Not? That is the question...

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    You don't have to invite everyone from your church. It's okay. Some people may be offended, but they'll get over it. Here are some strategies to deal with it:

    -Don't talk wedding in the presence of anyone who isn't invited. When someone asks you about planning, give a vague answer and then bean dip. "It's going fine, thanks! Say, I heard Billy is playing tee ball this year. How's that going?"

    -When someone implies that they expect to be invited, say something like, "Unfortunately we aren't able to accommodate everyone" and bean dip. I know it's rude to say who's not invited, but if there's a way you could let the gossips in the church (yes, every church has them) know that it's invite only, they may spread the word for you.

    -Make it clear to the pastor (and wedding coordinator, if your church has one) that it's invite only. Get in touch with whoever publishes the church bulletin and ask them not to include any mention of your wedding until afterward.

    -If you are really concerned about uninvited guests showing up, use assigned seating or tables to let uninvited guests know that you do not have a seat or food for them. It may be worth hiring a DOC to handle any uninvited guests that show up.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker

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    I've heard in some areas is common for the ceremony to be open to the invited guests & to the church members (assuming the couple getting married are members of that church also) but the members under stand that the reception is official invite only. I guess it's a form of a tier wedding, but in reality you aren't sending the church members invite, it would either be in the bullution or the pastor would make an announcment at the Service the weekend prior to the wedding & state that it's for the ceremony. First thing, Talk to the pastor and find out what the norm is for your church. Do they extend the invite for the ceremony to church members & explaining that you can't afford to invite them to the reception. Second thing is, if 90% of your guest list comes, would there be enough seating still for the number of church members that you think would show up? If not, then that takes care of that issue. The other posters have given great advice on how to bean dip the church members.
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    Thank you all so much. We definitely will talk to our pastor about expressing the reception being "invite-only".

    It's just been so difficult because many people keep asking about details and saying they are available to attend, and in my head, I'm like "ummm...awkward...you're not invited...awkward"
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    If you are having the reception away from the church, then make sure that info doesn't get spread around.  If you have programs, don't put that information in there.  Only put reception info in the invitation that will be sent to guests.

    A Church is a building open to everyone, so you can't keep anyone out during your ceremony.  But having your reception away from all Church buildings will be easier for you in the long run.  

    Prepare a line that you can use with any church member who starts talking about the wedding, but won't be receiving an official invite.  "That's so sweet of you!  Yes, FI and I are really excited about the wedding.  We can't wait!  What did you think of pastor's sermon today?  I thought that x was a great point!"
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