Wedding Reception Forum

"Split Reception"

I am having a smaller wedding and then inviting everyone else to the reception later. It's outdoors and the wedding/reception is at the same venue. Since I am having the wedding around 4:00 (so that there is still some sunlight to get pics afterward, I was going to do a catered meal for the 50 or so people attending the actual wedding part. I was thinking I would just invite the others to the reception that would follow about an hour and a half after the wedding ended. Then, cake and punch would be offered. Is this a bad idea? I just thought it would help on cost and since there will be no alcohol, I expect people to be in and out instead of hanging around drinking all night. Any different ideas?

Re: "Split Reception"

  • I have a high tolerance for alternative wedding/reception arrangements, but your plan is straight up rude.  If you are inviting 50 people to see you get married, and you're going to be in the same place for the reception, why on earth aren't you inviting everyone to the whole thing?  And then to feed your wedding guests a reception meal but not offer the same to your other reception guests is a horrible idea - like you're rationing food.  If I got an invitation to the latter part of this and learned what had gone on earlier, I would be very offended, and I am very hard to offend!

    To avoid this, you've got to either pare down your ceremony list to a very small number (like, parents + siblings, or maybe a best friend), or invite everyone to everything.  And regardless of how you work this out, some people should not get more food and drink than others.  If cost is an issue, you'll have to pare down the food.
  • Have your wedding with 50 people and don't invite the rest.

    Tiered receptions are pretty rude because they are going to cause a lot of hurt feelings.

    Can you imagine this conversation?
    - Oh, hey Helen!  Did you enjoy the dinner?
    - Um, no.  I was invited for cake and punch.  How long have you been here?
    - Um, awhile.

    Or what about people who show up early and see the festivities that they weren't invited to? 

    This has bad idea written all over it.  Just enjoy your wedding with 50 people.
  • Bad idea.    First of all, how many people are you planning to invite to the reception that aren't invited to the ceremony?  50 is not a small wedding - 20 would be small.  If you invite 50 to the ceremony and then another 50 to the reception, you've essentially ranked your friends and family by who you like best.  The only way to have a ceremony with one set of guests and then add people for the reception is to keep the ceremony very small and intimate - immediate family only.  Then everyone else should be invited to the WHOLE reception.

    As a guest, a cake and punch reception for a ceremony I didn't attend wouldn't be very appealing.  Not to mention, what if the meal runs over?  What if the servers aren't fast enough at cleaning up?  So I arrive, and it's clear that some people were good enough to be served a meal, but I'm only good enough for cake?  Not cool.

    The best option is to invite everyone to the entire reception, and either keep it just cake and punch, or do a meal, but don't split it.
  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    This is also called a tiered reception, and is hella rude.  You're telling some people that they're good enough to come party and bring you a gift, but not important enough to witness your ceremony and eat a meal with you.  And what if the party people show up during the dinner, while the More Important People are still eating?  Don't you think that'll make them feel crappy?  If you did that to me, I can pretty much guarantee the end of our friendship.

    A wedding is one event.  You need to invite everyone to everything, the whole event, and plan that event so that it fits your budget.  If you can't afford to provide a meal, then have the wedding at a non-mealtime and serve cake and punch, or whatever you can afford.  Or, cut back the guest list and serve a meal to everyone you invite. (Alcohol doesn't matter.) 
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_split-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:5f42e3ee-b5b3-470d-aaf0-3c2733bad222Post:16ad0e70-6f6f-4efd-ac35-5f22fc1265b0">"Split Reception"</a>:
    [QUOTE]I am having a smaller wedding and then inviting everyone else to the reception later. It's outdoors and the wedding/reception is at the same venue. Since I am having the wedding around 4:00 (so that there is still some sunlight to get pics afterward, I was going to do a catered meal for the 50 or so people attending the actual wedding part. I was thinking I would just invite the others to the reception that would follow about an hour and a half after the wedding ended. Then, cake and punch would be offered. Is this a bad idea? I just thought it would help on cost and since there will be no alcohol, I expect people to be in and out instead of hanging around drinking all night. Any different ideas?
    Posted by mickey46902[/QUOTE]


    Bad idea.  You can't serve a full meal to some of your guests and then cake only to others. What happens if some of your 2nd tier guests arrive early and see a meal being served?   Also, 50 guests isn't really intimate enough to be able to pull off a more private ceremony and larger reception.    If your budget is tight you can either move the time of the wedding so that everyone can be included in a non-meal time reception of cake and punch (no meal served at all) or keep your current time and cut the guest list down to <u>only </u>those 50 and serve the meal.
    The Bee Hive Est. June 30, 2007
    "So I sing a song of love, Julia"
    06.10.10

    BFAR:We Defined Our Own Success!
    image

  • I agree with Casyme.  I am a huge advocate for saving money where you can and usually encourage creative ideas, but asking people to come to the reception an hour and a half after you got married and fed your favorite 50 people, would strike me as a way to get extra gifts.  I would absolutely decline.

    Scale back the food, change the time of your wedding so it isn't right at a meal time, and then offer snacks/finger foods/appetizers and cake and punch.   Or figure out a way to have a meal for everyone. Do a barbecue style buffet food instead of a full catered meal.  You can usually get that very reasonably priced.  But, under no circumstances should you invite people to come to a reception after everyone else is finished with their meals.

  • WOW, I guess this is the reason I posted this. I felt that it was probably not a great idea...but I didn't figure people would stomp on me for asking. I am planning this on my own because my mother and I are on the outs. I wanted opinions but also asked for alternative ideas. 50 people is because that is our family count. Absolutely no one else....just family. My fiance is a foster child who grew up with the same family for years. So, that being said...NO I'm not RANKING most important. I have no input here so I guess that's why I turned to this board. Thank you cmgilpin and MrsB for offering ideas.
  • Sorry to hear that you and your mom aren't speaking.  That has to be hard as it is, let alone when you're trying to plan a wedding and could use her advice.

    Something to keep in mind for the remainder of your planning - ALWAYS think of your guests and their comfort first and try to see your plans from their point of view.  As long as you're not doing anything that is rude to them, you'll be fine.
    The Bee Hive Est. June 30, 2007
    "So I sing a song of love, Julia"
    06.10.10

    BFAR:We Defined Our Own Success!
    image

  • Now that I have seen viewpoints from outsiders, I get why it would seem rude. I am having a "dry" reception and would like to spend as little as possible on catering. Are there any other ideas that might be better? I thought about moving the wedding to 2 or 3pm. I figure most people won't want to sit around long since they won't be drinking. Maybe leave their evenings open? I wanted to have a wedding with just myself, my daughter and my fiance somewhere like on a cruise or something. Others voiced that they would rather me stick around here and have it. That's why I opted on family only, but maybe I should just invite everyone? I didn't know it was so rude to just invite someone to the reception only.
  • Why don't you do pictures before, have the ceremony later, and just serve cake and punch to everyone. Then, have a plated dinner for family the next day, or even brunch the next day?
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  • Either invite everyone to the ceremony, or keep your reception at 50 only.

    Look, I feel your pain.  I wanted to elope, H wanted the grand wedding.  He won, and I was stuck planning the thing.  Unfortunately, there really isn't an inbetween.  The *only* option for having separate ceremony and reception guest lists is to have a very small immediate family only (siblings, parents, possibly grandparents - no aunts, uncles, cousins, etc) which should be around 20 or 25 people even with a large family followed by a large reception with everyone.  Regardles, if you serve a meal it needs to be to everyone invited to the reception.  So, your options

    1 - Tiny ceremony, tiny reception, non meal time so you can just serve apps and cake
    2 - Large ceremony, large reception, non meal time so you can just serve apps and cake
    3 - Tiny ceremony, tiny reception, meal time with a meal and cake
    4 - Large ceremony, large reception, meal time with meal and cake
    5 - Tiny ceremony, large reception, non meal time with apps and cake
    6 - Tiny ceremony, large reception, meal time with meal and cake

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_split-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:5f42e3ee-b5b3-470d-aaf0-3c2733bad222Post:7de02bca-879a-44c2-9392-c890075eed6f">Re: "Split Reception"</a>:
    [QUOTE]WOW, I guess this is the reason I posted this. I felt that it was probably not a great idea...<strong>but I didn't figure people would stomp on me for asking</strong>. I am planning this on my own because my mother and I are on the outs. I wanted opinions but also asked for alternative ideas. 50 people is because that is our family count. Absolutely no one else....just family. My fiance is a foster child who grew up with the same family for years. So, that being said...NO I'm not RANKING most important. I have no input here so I guess that's why I turned to this board. Thank you cmgilpin and MrsB for offering ideas.
    Posted by mickey46902[/QUOTE]

    Not a single person "stomped" on you.  You asked a question and you were told it was rude.  Which it is.

    I would scale down your reception to be able to host everyone that you are inviting to the ceremony.  Is there anyway that you can cut back in other areas such as favors and programs?  There are a lot of things that you could probably DIY to save money as well.

     

  • I would consider starting your ceremony at 2pm.  In theory, the ceremony would be over by about 2:30... and then the reception would start... and maybe be over by 6, especially if you aren't having drinking.  I don't remember if I saw if you were having a DJ or dancing.. but, if there isn't dancing, the reception could easily be over by about 4:30 or 5:00.  Long enough for you to thank each of your guests, for them to have a snack and you to have a toast (can be with sparkling cider) and cut your cake.

    timeline could go like this:
    wedding, 2pm
    Greet and thank each guest while they are eating very simple snacks2:30-3:30
    Cut cake and serve with coffee/punch 3:30-4:00
    Continue mingling from 4:00-4:30
    4:30 - Do "thank you" toast and let your MOH and Father, or whomever else, do their toasts.
    5:00, end reception.

    That way, everyone is home by 6pm and can make themselves dinner. 

    I know planning the wedding by yourself is VERY hard. I'm doing mine myself too, with very little input from friends.  Just try to stay as organized as possible and take help if it is offered by anyone.  Assume people are offering to help because they want to, and not because they feel obligated.

    Good luck! 

    P.S. - I know these boards can sound a little harsh at times.  And trust me, they ARE harsh sometimes.  Folks get very connected to their throne and refuse to step down sometimes and realize (a) not everyone has $20-30K to spend on a wedding and (b) not everyone has experience in planning events/weddings and don't know what is considered rude or not.   Try not to let it get to you.  Even though people come across sometimes as snotty and condescending... most folks here really are trying to help.
  •  P.S. - I know these boards can sound a little harsh at times.  And trust me, they ARE harsh sometimes.  Folks get very connected to their throne and refuse to step down sometimes and realize (a) not everyone has $20-30K to spend on a wedding and (b) not everyone has experience in planning events/weddings and don't know what is considered rude or not.   Try not to let it get to you.  Even though people come across sometimes as snotty and condescending... most folks here really are trying to help.
    Posted by cmgilpin[/QUOTE]

    Thank you for that sidenote. I guess I feel intimidated by the people that obviously have more experience/money than I do. I am ok doing this on my own...I just wasn't sure if the idea was a bad one...(which I learned quickly that it was). You gave me a great idea THANK YOU!
  • cmgilpin - that's not really a fair assessment to make.  About the money I mean.  Many of the brides on here have no where close to $30k budgets.
    The Bee Hive Est. June 30, 2007
    "So I sing a song of love, Julia"
    06.10.10

    BFAR:We Defined Our Own Success!
    image

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_split-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:5f42e3ee-b5b3-470d-aaf0-3c2733bad222Post:6601edf8-3d2d-4a90-8ade-049327b30ed9">Re: "Split Reception"</a>:
    [QUOTE]cmgilpin - that's not really a fair assessment to make.  About the money I mean.  Many of the brides on here have no where close to $30k budgets.
    Posted by Mrs.B6302007[/QUOTE]

    I realize that.  Which is why I put the second qualifier on there "not everyone has experience in planning events/weddings and don't know what is considered rude or not."   

    I didn't mean that all of the "rude" brides on these boards have BOTH of those qualitiies (money AND life experience that would give you a head's up about what is rude and what isn't), but some seem to have at least one or the other.

    It seems like often, people on here have an expectation that other people have had their same (or similar) life experiences and should KNOW that what they are doing is rude, against etiquette, etc.   

    I can't imagine, if you have spent any time on these boards, that you haven't seen some of the outwardly RUDE responses that some of the posts get.  I am all for helping folks along and reminding them that certain things are considered rude (like a money tree, for example), but we don't have to be mean about it.    Money trees or the dollar dance were a staple in weddings when I was growing up... but, now, I wouldn't DREAM of having one.  But, when you consider that some brides have no other experience than the one they grew up with... they wouldn't even think twice about having a dollar dance/money tree.   

    I guess, all I'm saying is... we are all working towards similar goals. It would be nice if some people tried to be a little softer in their delivery of their "advice". 
  • Mrs.B6302007Mrs.B6302007 member
    5000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 25 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited March 2012
    I guess what I'm getting at it's that it's not fair to bring money into this part of the discussion at all because how much someone's wedding is costing them is not going to be a major influence on how kindly or rudely they respond.  I have seen occassional comments that are condescening and give off the "my wedding's better than yours" vibe but those don't generally come from long-term posters or the types of replies to which you are referring. I think a lot of the delivery has to do with the posters' personalities, kwim?  If they're sarcastic IRL, they're going to throw out some sarcastic replies.  If they're very direct, they're not going to sugar coat their replies. 

     The short of it, there are all kinds of personalities whether it's in your (general) workplace or here or on any other online community and you (again, general) have to learn to not take anything personally.   ETA: Well, unless someone directly calls you a name.  ;-)
    The Bee Hive Est. June 30, 2007
    "So I sing a song of love, Julia"
    06.10.10

    BFAR:We Defined Our Own Success!
    image

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_split-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:5f42e3ee-b5b3-470d-aaf0-3c2733bad222Post:06f7492c-019e-431f-81b2-9d9b7131f1c9">Re: "Split Reception"</a>:
    [QUOTE]    ETA: Well, unless someone directly calls you a name.  ;-)
    Posted by Mrs.B6302007[/QUOTE]

    :)   all bets are off once name calling is involved.
  • I love the idea of a "high tea" (2 pm) or dessert (after 8) reception. Even a breakfast/brunch thing would be cheaper and still very classy. 
    Two Drifters Off To See The World...
  • HobokensFuryHobokensFury member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited March 2012
    No just no. Tiered receptions are rude and tacky PP gave you great ideas on how to host everyone and still keep in budget.
     
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  • Here is my guest perspective. I was invited to a "drinks and dancing" reception back in September. My little invite said that drinks and dancing would start at 8pm. From what I knew, though, they were having an afternoon wedding. And I never received an invite for the wedding. The groom was a new coworker of mine. I'd only worked with and known him for about two or three months. From my perspective, I thought the dinner and dancing was appropriate for me. After all, I met the guy just a few months before, and I didn't have a personal or close relationship with him. Lots of people were there when we arrived at 8pm. So, I did not walk into the reception hall with some huge mass of other people who must have been invited to everything after the ceremony and dinner. I would recommend inviting everyone to your whole event - ceremony, reception, dinner - all of it. For those people you may not know well (like you met a few months ago!) it's probably okay to let them come just for drinks and dancing.
  • PS - and if I received the drinks and dancing invite from a friend, relative or someone I felt closer to than my coworker at my new job, I must say that I would feel very insulted!
  • I'm just going to throw my 2 cents in.

    I had never heard of a "cake & punch" reception or a "heavy apps" reception before coming to TK.  If I were invited to a wedding, no matter what the time, I would expect to be fed a meal.
    Anniversary
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_split-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:5f42e3ee-b5b3-470d-aaf0-3c2733bad222Post:4b040094-5326-46f3-a375-3f90743a50e3">Re: "Split Reception"</a>:
    [QUOTE] I'm just going to throw my 2 cents in. I had never heard of a "cake & punch" reception or a "heavy apps" reception before coming to TK.  If I were invited to a wedding, no matter what the time, I would expect to be fed a meal.
    Posted by MrsKathyC[/QUOTE]

    Really???   that's so surprising. I've probably been to at least 5 or 6 in my lifetime. they aren't the "parties" that other weddings have been, but they have been very nice.       My nephew and his wife don't drink, don't really dance, and are pretty religious, so the idea of a big party with everyone drinking and carrying on was not appealing to them. 

    They had their ceremony at 2pm in the church and then had a cake/punch reception in the building that is attached to the church.  The whole thing was over in 2 hours and then we (the immediate family) all went out to dinner and they left on their honeymoon.

    It ends up looking more like a cocktail party (without the cocktails) than a huge wedding reception/party.   Just the ceremony, and then mingling with your people and thanking them for witnessing your marriage.
  • I think the full meal vs. cake-and-punch/appetizers thing is a geographical split.  I grew up in the mountain West, and I had NEVER been to a wedding where there was anything more than a buffet table.  People in our area just don't do formal, served meals at weddings.  Now contrast where I've been for the last 15 years, New York City, where EVERY wedding I've been to has had a full, served dinner.
  • no. either invite all to ceremony and then all to reception or onyl some to both. you cant have it both ways.

    fwiw-if i showed up only for the 2nd part and then found out that there was anearlier reception for only a few i'd think twice about my relationship with you.

     

  • Thanks everyone. I felt that it was tacky as well, but was just testing the waters. I guess I will just have a big wedding. Now to settle on a time! I really appreciate everyones advice!
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