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Catholic Weddings

Church but no reception??

I am torn and need some advice.  First I want to make clear what I am torn about..I don't want a reception.  I do want to have my wedding at a Catholic Church, that means a lot to me and my FI and I DO NOT WANT TO CHANGE THAT.  We do not want to spend money on a reception though.  We want to leave for our honeymoon immediately after our wedding ceremony.  At first we told our parents we wanted a very private wedding ceremony, just our parents and siblings. We would then all go out to a nice restaurant.  Both our moms said we could not do that because a church welcomes all.  So if my aunt wants to be there she can (and she will!! lol).  I have a HUGE family.  Just my mom's side of the family alone is about 120, that is only aunts/uncles and my cousins.  About the same goes for my FI family.  My sister married about 4 years ago and I helped out a lot and it was fun and all but not for me.  She had over 400 people in her wedding.  I just cannot do that and I cannot also pick and choose people.  Certain family would hate me or put my parents in a tough situation and ask why I only invited certain people etc etc.  My family is very out going and as soon as they heard we were engaged..it's all about the party now.  I have not broken the news to them that we don't plan on having a party.  How do I go about this?  Should I just tell my family I will not make invitations...I will only word of mouth tell who I would like at ceremony and those friends/family will understand why I don't want a reception...I cannot possibly throw a party for 400 people..I cannot.  I think I'm having anxiety just typing and thinking about a party that huge.  But because I am a very social person..I come from a large lively Hispanic family..I know they will say "WHAT?!?!" I told a good friend who knows me well and said she understands but she said "good luck telling your family!"  I love my family my friends and like I said I do socialize a lot and many know us and very happy for us..I get why they want to be part of celebrating but I don't want that.  Would it be "un tacky" to do an invite that says clearly no reception after but more than welcome to attend ceremony?        

Re: Church but no reception??

  • First of all, if you actually invite people you have to have some type of reception. The dinner you mention with family after a family only ceremony would be the reception. Could you do a marriage during a normal mass without actually inviting people? I've been told you could have the sacrament of marriage during a normal Sunday mass. If you do that and don't invite people then you don't have a reception. I realize that this won't make your family happy but it would give you the catholic ceremony and no reception.
  • Best of both worlds - cake & punch reception in the parish hall following the 2PM ceremony or ceremony during the Saturday vigil mass with cake & punch in the parish hall to follow (including everyone at evening mass - 96.3% won't come into the hall if they don't know you).  You're in a "Catch 22" the second you said Hispanic family (I grew up the next town over from a VERY Catholic Migrant community).  Watch the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding!" as your predicament comes to mind.  Much as I'd like to say "Stick to your guns on your immediate family only with going out to dinner (your reception)", culturally, good luck!  Ultimately it may be something you bring up with your priest during marriage prep as your wedding is a "public event" in a sense and will be announced in the parish bulletin for all to witness (not that anyone outside of your invite list will show)..  

    You can do Cake & Punch without a huge expense, Sam's/Walmart/Super Target/BJ's/etc. all make wedding/tiered and sheet cakes that you just pick up along with some soda/punch/bottled water that you toss into coolers for people to grab.  The cake can be mostly plated before mass begins (ask if it's possible to pay a church lady/staff to do this along with the cleanup, and provide enough disposable plates/forks/cups) so it's ready to go and won't last longer than necessary.  Having it during vigil mass also helps ensure that things move along quickly, and publicizing that it's a "Cake & Punch" in the parish hall keeps it short and affordable for you, though plan to give a (sizable) donation to your parish for the use of the hall.  

    The other option may be to have a "Celebration of marriage" party hosted by your sets of parents of which you get zero control over other than showing up.  You do not wear your wedding attire nor is it the same day of your wedding.  They control the guest list.  Or, you let your sets of parents fully host your wedding reception and hand the detail 100% over to them and you/FI are who is in charge of the ceremony with your priest/parish without ever lifting a finger in regard to your guests.  Ultimately, you need to work this out, you do have options, some more limited than others.
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