Wedding Reception Forum

Reception question

Would it be tacky to have an open church ceremony and small reception at the church with some finger foods and punch and have a separate private reception later in the day for close family and friends?  I do not want to be rude and I want to provide guests time to mingle with us after the reception, but because of budget restrictions I would not be able to invite all guests to a reception with food and dancing. I have contemplated a private ceremony and reception with just close family and friends, but it is hard because I am marrying a pastor and I do not want to cause problems with his congregation (I also am a member and attend church there as well).  This adds another 80 people.

Re: Reception question

  • I think it would depend on how much later in the day and how the invitation would read. The cake and punch reception would be the reception listed on your invitation. A dinner, dance party several hours later would have a separate invitation. At least this is what I've seen mentioned on here previously. I've personally never experienced one. The key is not to have the larger party too close to the first (i.e. reception ends at 3:00 dinner doesn't start until 7:00). Someone at our church (not pastor and spouse) just had an open ceremony but made it clear the reception was by invitation only. I totally side eyed that along with the fact they included their registry information.
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I think this is OK because your wedding is at the church and your reception is the cake and punch after, which is open to all guests. Etiquette states that you must thank and receive all guests who attended the ceremony with appropriate food and drink for the time of day, but beyond that, how you choose to do that is up to you.

    The dinner you have later is a separate event, and not your wedding reception. It's you and your future H taking out some friends and family for dinner. Which I think is fine- no reason you can go out for dinner later with some people if you've had a cake and punch reception. Otherwise, I feel like it would be saying, "if you have a cake and punch reception you must immediately retire home or to the hotel and do nothing else".

    However, dinner should be a separate invitation with no mention on your wedding invitation or wedding website.

    I see how your husband being a pastor would incline the two of you to choosing such a wedding+ reception, which is fine.

    I agree that an open ceremony with "closed" reception is not cool.
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