Wedding Etiquette Forum

Small ceremony/separate party a week later?

My fiancé and I recently got engaged and have started to plan our wedding. We've  decided that we want to do a small wedding (Immediate family, grandparents (only two left between us both) and 1-2 friends that we want as bridesmaid/groomsmen. As we've figured it, it comes out to about 16 people including us. We're planning on a nice dinner to follow the ceremony with those people.

However, we both have large extended families and friends that we know are going to be disappointed in not being invited. We're considering having a party the following weekend and inviting everyone that we would have invited had we had a large wedding. We'd be having it at our house, have it be casual, either have heavy hors d’oeuvres or a light meal (either way, nothing seated) and have it where people can just stop in and visit. 

Would y'all think that this is rude? We want to see our friends and family and celebrate with them but definitely have our minds made up on the small ceremony. What would y'all label the party on invitations if not a reception?

Thanks for your input! 

Re: Small ceremony/separate party a week later?

  • Open House...  Nothing more nothing less...  No wedding related anything otherwise it's rude AF and here's why...  You want people to celebrate with you yet recognize how disappointed they'll be in not being invited to celebrate with you.  What you're wanting to do still leaves them disappointed in that you're not inviting them to the main event, the very reason for having a wedding celebration!  This also for better or worse comes across perceptually as gift grabby even though that's not your intention.  You get one wedding day, the 16 people you're inviting are your only guests if you choose this route.  You are making your choice that a small intimate ceremony is more important to you than the rest of your extended family and friends, that's o.k. and your choice, PPD's are frowned upon because they are rude no matter how they're packaged as is only inviting a few people to the ceremony and everyone else to a big reception party even if on the same day.  
  • Jen4948Jen4948 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited January 2018
    As disappointing as it may be that it may not be possible, practical and/or desirable to celebrate your wedding with all your extended family members and friends present, while having a delayed celebration later without a reenactment of the ceremony or other wedding-related trappings is acceptable per etiquette, you are still asking people to "celebrate" an occasion they weren't invited to attend.

    And for some of them at least, that might compound the initial disappointment by making them feel "second-best." What you're doing isn't rude per se, but it could have a negative impact on your relationships with them.

    I think that when you can't or don't want to "include" everyone by inviting them to the actual wedding, you need to own whatever disappointment you may be creating - both yours and theirs. It's okay to tell anyone who expresses disappointment at not being invited  that you regret that it wasn't possible to invite everyone you would have liked, and you don't need to make excuses as to why they weren't invited, but I at least would reconsider the later celebration.

    If you do have the later celebration, then you owe your guests the courtesies of not pretending that this is your "wedding" because it isn't, not calling it a "wedding reception," and forgoing reenactments of the ceremony and wedding-related trappings like attendants and gift registries, and I would not wear your wedding gown or do spotlight dances or cake cuttings (other people may have different opinions about these elements).
  • scribe95 said:
    OP never said anything about reenacting etc. She didn't even call it a reception. I think what she is planning is absolutely fine. An open house. 

    Even though, again, I don't get it. Have one event. Big or small. Make your choice and own it.
    I agree that she has no intention of reenacting her wedding.  However, it sounds as if this is indeed a "consolation prize" (as a PP commented) because OP does acknowledge that friends and family will be disappointed.  By any other name, this is and will be considered a reception with it being held so quickly after the wedding. 

    If OP really wanted to celebrate with these people, they would have invited them in the first place.  In that respect, I don't see it as "fine'.  I see it as rude.

    Knottie32526855, since you asked, I will tell you that honestly I would perceive it as rude.  It makes no sense to host two separate parties, one week apart, when they could be one event.  Own your choice.  You've already disappointed these people.  Don't compound it by offending/insulting them.

  • I see no problems with the OP's plans.
  • scribe95 said:
    Well we have said for years on this board that having a truly private/intimate wedding with a larger reception is fine by etiquette. They are going to host these people and aren't having a PPD. It is up to each invitee whether they feel affronted enough not to attend. 
    Only one person has said that what the OP plans to do violates etiquette, and that's because she plans to hold the party so close to the actual wedding date.

    But everyone always says that the feelings of others, and future relationships with them, need to be taken into account when trying to "include" them in something without actually inviting them to it. Some people are going to be hurt, and as I noted above, that's something the OP should own in continuing with her plans. If she doesn't want to do that, then she should figure out how to invite these people to her actual wedding.
  • I see no problem with this plan, especially if you keep it as a more casual open house style event as others have said. I’m sure that your extended family and friends want to celebrate with you as much as you do with them. Just make the invite casual too and clear that it’s a post-nuptial celebration, versus a reception. I also agree with PP’s that there shouldn’t be any of the traditional reception elements (cake cutting, first dance, etc.). Depending on the time of year you’re doing this, perhaps just wear a white sundress and have a cute tented picnic with some finger foods, cupcakes, etc.  

    If you don’t want it to look like a gift grab, then don’t register. Not even for a few things that you’d expect those invited to the ceremony to fulfill. Your immediate family will likely know what you need without a registry, and then it clears you from looking like you expect gifts at this event. Now, whether your great aunt still wants to cut you a check is up to her but it at least removes a bit of the obligation. 
  • People can have a wedding (and reception) on one day, and a totally unrelated party a week later. That's fine. There are no rules that you can't throw a party the week after your wedding. You can throw a party every weekend if you want. Party, party, party!

    The only issue with the plans is the thought of "people will be disappointed they're not invited to the wedding, so we'll throw them a party a week later". Remove that thought, and just throw a party, and you're good to go.

    It's OK if people are disappointed they're not invited to your wedding. You don't owe anyone an invite to anything.  I'm disappointed that I'm not invited to the royal wedding. And that's OK. They can't invite everyone, and I just didn't make the cut. The same as your relatives need to be OK that they're not invited to your wedding. 
  • I'm of two minds about this, and it maybe depends on how you present the situation to your extended family. There's nothing wrong at all with a truly intimate ceremony, and you're hosting your wedding guests afterwards which is perfect!

    I think if you make the party a true open house and kind of like a "meet the newlyweds" type thing, it would be fine. We did a similar thing for my family in my home state who weren't able to travel to our wedding. Super casual, cookout at home, etc. Stay clear of anything that hints at a wedding (from your plans it seems like you're good there). Are most of the people you'd invite to that party local? I probably wouldn't travel super far for something like that, but I would travel for a wedding, which is just something to keep in mind. 

    I could see how your extended family may be a little hurt since the party is a week after your ceremony, so I would definitely limit wedding conversation with them unless they ask. If you're comfortable sharing the reason for your private ceremony (nerves, venue, etc), that might help some people understand. 
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited January 2018
    You are invited to a party
    to celebrate the recent marriage of
    Bride and Groom
    City, State

  • CMGragain said:
    Do  understand that some people may not want to travel to a wedding celebration party.  My niece is getting married this spring, and we will travel to California for the wedding.  Her sister eloped last month, and is planning a celebration party in NYC.  While I am happy for her, we won't be going to her party.  If it had been an invitation to her wedding, we would have spent the money and traveled to attend.
    Exactly this. Unless it's a sibling or really, really close friend, I'm not traveling for a marriage celebration party. An actual wedding? Yep! But I have way too much going on in my life to spend thousands of dollars, take time off work, and arrange childcare to go to a party.

  • Why can't you skip the dinner for 16 and just host a reception at your house the same day? I just don't get it, especially with the at home gathering being one week from the wedding. 
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