Wedding Etiquette Forum
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Church and Invitations

Ladies, please help. I am getting married next year, and I want to be married in the church I grew up in. My oldest sister, who never attended this church, is insistent that I must invite all the members of the church's congregation. Otherwise, she claims, I'm being rude. I should also mention that I haven't lived in my hometown for 9 years, and there are members of the congregation that I don't know. My sister has said really nasty things about me because I don't intend to invite the congregation. My fiance and I are paying for the wedding ourselves, and we simply can't afford to invite a lot of people. The church is an older church, so the sanctuary is not very large. We are pushing the limits of its space with our guest list now. I've tried to be rational with her, but now I'm finding out that she's still talking about it and me. She didn't even acknowledge when we set a date. What do I do?

Re: Church and Invitations

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    Have you booked the church yet?  Try and do so, and when you do, find out if they expect all members of the congregation to be invited.  Then you'll know for sure, and you can go from there.  Ignore nasty sister.
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    I have, indeed, booked the church. The pastor is wonderful about everything. I just don't want my sister to ruin the joy of this day by being snarky.
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    Perhaps write her a letter explaining the constraints in terms of the location and budget, and indicate that you're sorry to offend her but you simply can't do as she's requested- and now you've explained to her why, you don't want to hear about it from her agaiin. I would be inclined to simply ignore her, though, given that she has no right to be behaving in such a fashion and it is not her wedding.
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    That's ridiculous.  Why would people who don't even know you expect to be invited to your wedding.  My childhood church, the one I got married in, has 2,000 members.  Do you think I invited them all?  Maybe it's different in small congregations...but that just seems stupid.  You invite people the people that you want to celebrate your marriage with.  Ignore your sister.
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    Why do you care what your sister says about it being rude inviting all of the congregation when no one else is worried about it. Tell your sister thanks for the input, but we're not inviting the whole church.  Then stop talking to her about the invite list.  Don't let her bully you.  Grow a pair.
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    Explain to her that a church is a house of worship and open to the public.  Everyone who wants to come can come to the ceremony.  I think this is the ONLY exception where people can come to the ceremony but not be invited to the reception.My church often puts messages in the bulletin every Sunday about who is getting married that week and that "the congregation is welcome to attend."  I'd never interpret that as a reception invite, so nobody would have to pay for their meals.  Maybe you could compromise with your sister and offer something like that?
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    feck your sister and the horse she rode in on.
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    Yeah, maybe if you were the minister's daughter (as my mom and aunt were), then you'd be expected to open your wedding to the congregation.My mom's reception was even done by the "ladies of the church" in the church hall afterwards. But, this was 43 years ago, too.The large church I used to go to occasionally posted notices in the bulletins about people getting married and the congregation being welcome to attend the ceremony. That did not automatically give them a free pass to the receptions, unless they were there at the church and open as well (man, those were good cucumber sandwiches!). The little old ladies would love to get gussied up and come see a wedding.
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    I've never heard of such a thing.  I am also getting married in the church I grew up in, and since I'm moving back to the area may start going there again.  The one thing the pastor requested of us was to come to a service one Sunday morning so that he could introduce us to the congregation.  He certainly never said anything about inviting them all to the wedding.  Your sister is ridiculous, and if anyone is actually taking her seriously and thinking you're a horrible person for this, they should be ashamed.
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