Occasionally when couples get married at my church, they will open the ceremony up to the entire congregation, but only invite certain people to the reception. Since the first time I ever became aware of this practice was as a non-reception guest at such a wedding, I've always considered it to be rather tacky and insensitive. However, my parents suggested it to me a couple weeks ago, and now I'm not sure what to do. The only reason I am considering it is because I know there are many, many people who would like to come, but there is simply not enough room at our reception venue. We have so many people offering to help us out with various aspects of the wedding, and they have been very gracious about the fact that we only have enough room to invite our close family and friends, but I just keep feeling like the least we could do is give them the opportunity to witness the ceremony itself, since everyone is being so kind and helpful to us. Our church really is like a family, and I want so much to be able to include them in our special day, as much as we can.
We wouldn't send out invitations to the people we weren't also inviting to the reception, but our church would put a note in the bulletin about a month before our wedding and there would be an announcement made about it as well. We could make it clear at that point that the open invitation was for the ceremony only. Our ceremony is going to be on a Friday afternoon, so the majority of people from the congregation who would be able to come with a month's notice will probably be mostly the older couples. Many of the older couples at our church tend to look down on dancing, and it is not allowed at our church-which is why we are not just having our reception at the church and inviting the whole congregation-so they probably would be uncomfortable at the reception anyway and end up leaving once the dancing started.
Like I said, this is something that many couples from our church do, so I think the congregation is pretty used to it by now, but I'm still worried that it may be incredibly rude. I still plan on getting advice from some of the woman at my church who generally help out with weddings, but I was wondering what you all thought as well. Thanks for reading, I know this is a bit long and rambling!