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Destination Weddings

Appropriate to have reception before DW?

My fiancé and I are having a destination wedding and are inviting both sides of our family plus friends. We have almost 200 people we invited although we knew most would not be able to attend. We are getting married in November. We live in KY so we were thinking about having a celebration/reception before we get married at our neighborhood park. We figured having it in July or August. Would this be appropriate? We were going to have cake, music and food. Maybe grill out or order chicken. What other things are appropriate if we were to have it before our DW? 

Re: Appropriate to have reception before DW?

  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    mod
    My fiancé and I are having a destination wedding and are inviting both sides of our family plus friends. We have almost 200 people we invited although we knew most would not be able to attend. We are getting married in November. We live in KY so we were thinking about having a celebration/reception before we get married at our neighborhood park. We figured having it in July or August. Would this be appropriate? We were going to have cake, music and food. Maybe grill out or order chicken. What other things are appropriate if we were to have it before our DW? 


    You can always have a party, but this wouldn't be a reception. I personally don't see the point, but as long as everyone invited to this party is invited to the actual wedding, you're good. Food, drinks and music are perfectly appropriate, but "wedding" stuff like a ceremony or spotlight dances wouldn't be.

    Just treat it like you would a family reunion or any other casual party and you're fine!

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    InLoveInQueensshort+sassy
  • Inviting 200 people to a DW you know they won't be able to attend seems really gift-grabby. Usually the point of a DW is to have a smaller wedding, typically with immediate family and close friends. It also seems gift grabby or braggy to me to have an at home reception after a DW, because...like...why didn't you just have a local wedding and invite those people then?

    It makes no sense at all to have a "reception" before your actual wedding date. You're welcome to host a summer party or cookout any time you want, but hosting pre-wedding events for yourself is also poor etiquette. 

    Where is your DW going to be? How many people are you planning on attending/have you budgeted for? MobKaz brings up a good question asking if you would be able to host them, should a bunch of guests decide they DO want to attend.
    MobKazInLoveInQueenseileenrobshort+sassy
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    Inviting 200 people to a DW you know they won't be able to attend seems really gift-grabby. Usually the point of a DW is to have a smaller wedding, typically with immediate family and close friends. It also seems gift grabby or braggy to me to have an at home reception after a DW, because...like...why didn't you just have a local wedding and invite those people then?

    It makes no sense at all to have a "reception" before your actual wedding date. You're welcome to host a summer party or cookout any time you want, but hosting pre-wedding events for yourself is also poor etiquette. 

    Where is your DW going to be? How many people are you planning on attending/have you budgeted for? MobKaz brings up a good question asking if you would be able to host them, should a bunch of guests decide they DO want to attend.
    Yes to all of this. 

  • All other things aside - it's one thing to have it a week or two before your DW, it's another for months ahead of your wedding since A LOT can change in a few months (a shifting weather pattern for example).  SIL/BIL had theirs the weekend before their DW, and still...

    You're having a DW for a reason, and that's certainly not the convenience of your guests.  IMO, have a "Celebration of Marriage" after if you're insisting upon something close to home, but really, months before is an engagement party.  
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    InLoveInQueensahoywedding
  • I guess this would be considered more of a coed wedding shower. We wanted everyone to be able to celebrate with us. We don’t expect any gifts from anyone. We are going to let them know this when we send out the shower invites. So if they do decide to give something that will be all up to them. 

    We we were also trying to be able to get everyone together all at once. We didn’t want to have to book another venue. I’m sure that’s poor etiquette. 

    We are having our DW in Barbados. We choose this place because my fiancé’s uncle lives there and we have been wanting to go there ever since. 

    If all 200 guests were to actually show up we would be able to accommodate them. 

    We sent out save the dates this January. Then just sent out the wedding invites and RSVPs this week. We were wanting to try to give them all enough time to plan for this event and we even provided them the information of when the wedding was going to be prior to all of this by word of mouth on Thanksgiving and again on Christmas.

     
  • I guess this would be considered more of a coed wedding shower. We wanted everyone to be able to celebrate with us. We don’t expect any gifts from anyone. We are going to let them know this when we send out the shower invites. So if they do decide to give something that will be all up to them. 

    We we were also trying to be able to get everyone together all at once. We didn’t want to have to book another venue. I’m sure that’s poor etiquette. 

    We are having our DW in Barbados. We choose this place because my fiancé’s uncle lives there and we have been wanting to go there ever since. 

    If all 200 guests were to actually show up we would be able to accommodate them. 

    We sent out save the dates this January. Then just sent out the wedding invites and RSVPs this week. We were wanting to try to give them all enough time to plan for this event and we even provided them the information of when the wedding was going to be prior to all of this by word of mouth on Thanksgiving and again on Christmas.




    SITB


    What no! Don't throw yourselves a shower, showers are thrown for you and are for showering the guest of honor with gift! Don't call it a shower, you can't just decide shower = party, it means a specific type of party and throwing your own is beyond inappropriate. The fact that you think booking another venue to throw yourselves another party for some reason is "poor etiquette" but want to throw yourselves a shower just goes to show that you actually don't understand etiquette at all. Please, reread what everyone in this thread has said so far and actually try to understand what they're saying. They're trying to keep you from being rude and tacky and gift-grabby in front of your friends and family..

    Seriously, just throw a party after you get back, meet the newlyweds or whatever, if you are still insistent on having a second party for whatever reason.
    ahoyweddingeileenrobMyNameIsNotshort+sassy
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    I guess this would be considered more of a coed wedding shower. We wanted everyone to be able to celebrate with us. We don’t expect any gifts from anyone. We are going to let them know this when we send out the shower invites. So if they do decide to give something that will be all up to them. 

    We we were also trying to be able to get everyone together all at once. We didn’t want to have to book another venue. I’m sure that’s poor etiquette. 

    We are having our DW in Barbados. We choose this place because my fiancé’s uncle lives there and we have been wanting to go there ever since. 

    If all 200 guests were to actually show up we would be able to accommodate them. 

    We sent out save the dates this January. Then just sent out the wedding invites and RSVPs this week. We were wanting to try to give them all enough time to plan for this event and we even provided them the information of when the wedding was going to be prior to all of this by word of mouth on Thanksgiving and again on Christmas.

     
    A shower is a GIFT GIVING event.  You DO NOT, under ANY circumstance, host your own shower.  EVER!  This goes waaaaay beyond whether or not it is "appropriate" .  It is the definition of tacky, rude, and inappropriate.

    Who has a shower for 200 people??

    Your wedding is in November.  NOVEMBER.  November is FIVE months from now.  Invitations are NOT sent out 5 months ahead of time.  When you sent your STD's in January, that was the expected and appropriate way to alert guests to make decisions about your DW.

    Will this event in Barbados be your one and only legal wedding?

    ahoyweddingInLoveInQueenseileenrob
  • I’m considering not having anything before hand now. Our parents told us we needed to do something to get everyone together and we thought we should too. That is why I am getting your opinion. We wanted to do it outside but for many months it is cold here after the wedding. My fiancé and I will need to discuss this. 

    We we also sent the invites out this early so our guests can send their RSVPs in. They need a good head count by beginning of August to move further with the planning. We get Married November 3. It will be our one and only legal wedding. 

    I do appreciate eveyone’s opinions. I just really don’t know what the right way is to do all of this. 
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    I’m considering not having anything before hand now. Our parents told us we needed to do something to get everyone together and we thought we should too. That is why I am getting your opinion. We wanted to do it outside but for many months it is cold here after the wedding. My fiancé and I will need to discuss this. 

    We we also sent the invites out this early so our guests can send their RSVPs in. They need a good head count by beginning of August to move further with the planning. We get Married November 3. It will be our one and only legal wedding. 

    I do appreciate eveyone’s opinions. I just really don’t know what the right way is to do all of this. 
    This is a situation where you love the idea of something, but once you get down to it, it will be a total nightmare. 

    I think you are underestimating the logistics of this. You have to bring in EVERYTHING to a park. Can your local park even hold 200 people? What is the loo situation? You are going to have to hire in toilets. How will you be doing the catering? Is there enough space for the caterers to set up? Enough power to keep hot food hot, and cold food cold? How are you doing drinks? Is there a bartender and fridge you can bring in?  Who is doing the cleaning up? Do you have seats and tables in the park enough for 200 people? What happens if it rains?

    Even a 100 person BBQ in the park is pretty massive. And super expensive!

    It sounds like you like the idea of a casual summer BBQ, but aren't really thinking how time consuming and expensive this will be. It isn't like your fi can man the BBQ whilst you mingle. 

    It would seriously be cheaper, easier and less stress to just rent out a private room of a pub/ restaurant/ local brewery and have a "meet the newlyweds" party when you get back with light snacks, cake and limited bar selection. This way you don't have to set up tables,  chairs, bars, catering, wait staff, hire in toilets, worry about power, cleaning up, party permits, alcohol serving regulations, rain plans etc.   

    If you did this after Christmas in January, I bet you could get a steal of a deal- it is such a dead month.

    Bring in a couple nice framed photos of the wedding, invite only people who were invited to the wedding, and you could even splurge on a few flower decorations that were the same from your bouquets.

    Trust me, you will so appreciate being able to just get ready, and show up to the party with everything sorted. 
    OP, I highlighted the key words that require your focus and attention.  I think the 4 most important words to emphasize are, "WHEN YOU GET BACK". 

    You said your venue requires a "good head count by (the) beginning of August".  Why, oh why, would you plan a massive, and unnecessary event even before you have received your RSVP's??

    NBSquared2017eileenrobahoywedding
  • So, one of the things you forego when you have a DW is getting everyone together. DW's are often hard to people to attend because of costs/travel/time/lots of reasons. That's not to say you shouldn't have one (you do you), but when choosing one you recognize that many people won't be able to attend. That's perfectly fine. 

    But it also often means you can't get everyone together for a "wedding-related-event". It's fine to have a party, for any reason, but I think what you're finding is it's hard to do a "meet the newlyweds party" or shower (which you shouldn't be throwing for yourself) because of time/logisitics/cost. Even if you do want to do another party, many people who went to the DW might not make it to the other party (and why would they, they went to the real thing!). 

    It's perfectly fine to tell your parents a gathering won't work out. Throw a big summer party next year. 
    eileenrobInLoveInQueensahoyweddingSTARMOON44
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    member
    A lot of what you're suggesting here just doesn't fly according to etiquette.

    It is rude and gift-grabby to host a shower for yourselves, especially if the guests include persons who are not invited to the wedding.

    Also, a "reception" must immediately follow the actual wedding ceremony, not precede it. You can have a "celebration" after you return from your DW and include non-wedding guests, but you would have to forgo a reenactment of the ceremony and any other trappings that are wedding-related, such as gift registries, spotlight dances, and IMO cake cuttings.

    I agree with PPs: tell your parents that getting everyone together just isn't a possibility and have a nice anniversary party.
    InLoveInQueens
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
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    Seriously, every time I hear about second receptions or whatever, it's always the parents. The parents think something has to be local. To me, this always indicates the parents don't want the DW to begin with. 

    OP, tell your parents no. 200 people are invited to your DW, and sounds like you can host all 200 if they show up. And it'll be legal- awesome. That's the correct way to do it. Just focus on the big event and don't host anything else for yourself. 
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    missJeanLouiseshort+sassy
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