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Etiquette

small ceremony - big reception?

i'm having a tough time here and wondering what other women think about my dilemma! i've always wanted a small and intimate wedding on the beach at sunset; just a few members of my family and of course my fiance's family, too. however, i've also always wanted a huge backyard BBQ type reception. beings i'm getting married at sunset, i'm going to have the reception the next day. i'm reading all types of posts on google etc that say its incredibly rude to invite people to a reception without inviting them to the ceremony and now i'm starting to get upset over this. i don't want to feel like i'm snuffing people because of what i want on my special day! also, how in the world would i even attempt to word the invitations i'd be sending to those only invited to the reception?? someone, anyone, please help me!
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Re: small ceremony - big reception?

  • edited January 2012
    The point of the reception is to thank your guests for coming to your wedding, so yes.  It is very rude to not invite people to both your ceremony AND your reception.

    Edit: Unless you ask weddingbee.  Because apparently manners don't exist in that universe.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_small-ceremony-big-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:9f1e7548-cd9f-442f-b7dc-c6ccb6b3914dPost:358776f4-6a6f-45b1-8dff-8f57e93bf3e9">small ceremony - big reception?</a>:
    [QUOTE]i'm having a tough time here and wondering what other women think about my dilemma! i've always wanted a small and intimate wedding on the beach at sunset; just a few members of my family and of course my fiance's family, too. however, i've also always wanted a huge backyard BBQ type reception. beings i'm getting married at sunset, i'm going to have the reception the next day. i'm reading all types of posts on google etc that say its incredibly rude to invite people to a reception without inviting them to the ceremony and now i'm starting to get upset over this. i don't want to feel like i'm snuffing people because of what i want on my special day! also, how in the world would i even attempt to word the invitations i'd be sending to those only invited to the reception?? someone, anyone, please help me!
    Posted by peacelove85[/QUOTE]

    Get that "Your day, your way!" nonsense out of your head right now. Once you involve other people it stops being about you.

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_small-ceremony-big-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:9f1e7548-cd9f-442f-b7dc-c6ccb6b3914dPost:358776f4-6a6f-45b1-8dff-8f57e93bf3e9">small ceremony - big reception?</a>:
    [QUOTE]i'm having a tough time here and wondering what other women think about my dilemma! i've always wanted a small and intimate wedding on the beach at sunset; just a few members of my family and of course my fiance's family, too. however, i've also always wanted a huge backyard BBQ type reception. beings i'm getting married at sunset, i'm going to have the reception the next day. i'm reading all types of posts on google etc that say its incredibly rude to invite people to a reception without inviting them to the ceremony and now i'm starting to get upset over this.<strong> i don't want to feel like i'm snuffing people because of what i want on my special day!</strong> also, how in the world would i even attempt to word the invitations i'd be sending to those only invited to the reception?? someone, anyone, please help me!
    Posted by peacelove85[/QUOTE]
    That is exactly what you would be doing if you don't invite your guests to both.
  • I didn't vote (because "your day=your way" makes me grit my teeth), but it's generally acceptable to have a private ceremony and large reception as long as there's a big differnece between them.

    10-person ceremony and 100+ person reception? Competely fine. 80-person ceremony and 150-person reception? Not so fine. Keep the ceremony truly small, say under 15, and you'll be ok.

    One thing to consider is that the reception is a thank-you to your guests for attending, so I'd be a bit annoyed to go to the ceremony and then go home and wait to celebrate until the next day. Taking up two days isn't ideal, so I'd do it all in one day. Just have an evening reception after your sunset ceremony.
  • If you're talking immediate family and grandparents and that's it, a private ceremony and a larger reception later is fine. But if you're talking aunts and uncles and cousins and BFFs from grade school and your lunch buddy from work, then that's a tiered recpetion and very rude.

  • If you are having a very small ceremony, meaning immediate family only (no aunts/uncles, cousins, friends, etc) then it's okay to do that. 

    However, if you are picking and choosing and having a tiered wedding, that is rude. 

    Say you have 15 ppl at your ceremony, all immediate family and then over 100 at your reception, that's okay.  But a 15:50 ratio is not okay. 
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_small-ceremony-big-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:9f1e7548-cd9f-442f-b7dc-c6ccb6b3914dPost:d8d2a589-2310-473c-b30d-f30276fbb4d9">Re: small ceremony - big reception?</a>:
    [QUOTE]The point of the reception is to thank your guests for coming to your wedding, so yes.  It is very rude to not invite people to both your ceremony AND your reception. Edit: Unless you ask weddingbee.  Because apparently manners don't exist in that universe.
    Posted by professorscience[/QUOTE]
    That's not the case if you have a truly intimate ceremony and then large reception. It's just rude if you have a big ceremony.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_small-ceremony-big-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:9f1e7548-cd9f-442f-b7dc-c6ccb6b3914dPost:73288292-1f4e-41a8-a8e8-402318375ae3">Re: small ceremony - big reception?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: small ceremony - big reception? : That's not the case if you have a truly intimate ceremony and then large reception. It's just rude if you have a big ceremony.
    Posted by polichik[/QUOTE]

    You are correct.  That thought didn't even cross my mind.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_small-ceremony-big-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:9f1e7548-cd9f-442f-b7dc-c6ccb6b3914dPost:85f9482a-b2ca-416c-a6f2-98361e38e139">Re: small ceremony - big reception?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: small ceremony - big reception? : You are correct.  That thought didn't even cross my mind.
    Posted by professorscience[/QUOTE]
    I understand- I think that this question is usually asked in the context of "I found the perfect ceremony location but it can only hold 70 people and we're inviting 100, so 30 people can't come to the ceremony!! Is that ok?!?!", so I could see where you were coming from.
  • i'm talking truly small. on my side, mom dad grandmom and grandpop, sister and her husband (sister is my maid of honour and her husband is my fiance's best man), my brother, and my sister and brother in laws 3 kids (all of whom are in the wedding) plus, mine and my fiance's daughter (also in the wedding) and on my fiance's side it will be his mom dad and grandmom. he has no siblings. thats it. so all together, with me and my fiance included its 15 people at the ceremony.
  • also, for the few people coming to the wedding, we will be having a dinner afterwards. 
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Ditto Poli






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • polichikpolichik member
    2500 Comments
    edited January 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_small-ceremony-big-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:9f1e7548-cd9f-442f-b7dc-c6ccb6b3914dPost:f87c44c1-b015-4756-84a0-e418cd36b70c">Re: small ceremony - big reception?</a>:
    [QUOTE]i'm talking truly small. on my side, mom dad grandmom and grandpop, sister and her husband (sister is my maid of honour and her husband is my fiance's best man), my brother, and my sister and brother in laws 3 kids (all of whom are in the wedding) plus, mine and my fiance's daughter (also in the wedding) and on my fiance's side it will be his mom dad and grandmom. he has no siblings. thats it. so all together, with me and my fiance included its 15 people at the ceremony.
    Posted by peacelove85[/QUOTE]
    That sounds fine, as long as the reception is quite a bit bigger. I'd still do it all in one day, though, or at least take your 15 ceremony guests out to dinner the night of. It doesn't need to be anywhere fancy, but you really should spend some time with them directly after the ceremony.

    I'd still do it all in one day- I think a sunset small ceremony and a blowout evening BBQ reception sounds awesome. You could use tons of candles and string lights to light the outdoor area, and there's a lot you can do to save money with an evening reception as well.

    ETA: Sorry, posted after you said you'd be taking them out to dinner.
  • thats what my opinion of it is, as well. i didn't want to invite anyone other than the above mentioned because even if i invite say, my closest aunt, then i have to invite my uncle and my fiance's uncle and aunt and their kids and if i invite them, then i have to invite his other aunt and uncle and their kids... (thats a general statement, nothing personal against mine or his families) and thats when it starts snowballing out of control with the "intimacy" of the wedding. 
  • thank you so much everyone for your individual opinions! it helps alot!
  • does anyone have an opinion on how i should word the invitations to the reception??
  • Jane Doe
    and
    John Smith
    request the pleasure of your company
    at a reception celebrating their marriage
    on date
    at time

    place
    image
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_small-ceremony-big-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:9f1e7548-cd9f-442f-b7dc-c6ccb6b3914dPost:322aa263-961c-4338-9983-f17d9f1876ba">Re: small ceremony - big reception?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Jane Doe and John Smith request the pleasure of your company at a reception celebrating their marriage on date at time place
    Posted by kcscejal[/QUOTE]

    I know this is technically correct, but I think to avoid the potential confusion of guests thinking they're being invited to the ceremony and wedding, I might go with "Mr. and Mrs. Smith request the pleasure of your company at a celebration of their recent marriage," even though you won't be Mr. and Mrs. at the time the invitations are mailed.
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  • We had a DW with only our parents, and a reception a month later.  I did an announcement that said "Bride and Groom announce their wedding" with the information.  Also included was a reception card that said, "Please join us in celebration" with the reception information.  While I'm sure that it helped that the dates of the ceremony and reception were a month apart, I don't think anyone was confused.

    Otherwise I would just do the "Jane and John request the pleasure of your company at a reception celebrating their marriage."

    Since you're doing a barbeque reception, I saw some examples of more casual reception invitations in some of the catalogs I ordered (RexCraft, Dawn, etc).  You might want less formal wording.
  • I too wanted a small intimate wedding.  I invited 7 people, FI invited 7 people, and with the photog+officiant+significantothers, we were married in front of 25 people and then we all had lunch.  No dance,etc.

    You could do that later in the day to get your SUNSET effect, followed by cake and punch, or a dinner - whatever.

    But after that, you are on your honeymoon.

    You can't have some big reception and invite hundreds of people who weren't invited to witness the ceremony.  It's rude, and even if you insist, few will attend because it's just one big gift grab.  It's like having a gift collection party for those who weren't close enough to be invited to the ceremony but who ARE close enough to get you a terrific gift - oh, and we'll have some BBQ you can snag when you come to the designated time/place to drop off your terrific gift..

    A friend of mine insisted, and her parents pay a LOT of money to rent the entire dinner cruise boat for 100 guests.  Guess how many showed up?  30, and almost all of those people were in the wedding + significantothers.  Huge fail.

    You don't want this to happen to you.
  • GeauxTigers17GeauxTigers17 member
    500 Comments
    edited January 2012
    I don't think there will be any confusion if you just come right out and say the word "reception." The confusion to me comes with the "celebrate the marriage" wording because so many nontraditional wedding invitations use that nowadays to describe ceremonies. Also, I disagree with the use of the word "recent." I think it is unnecessary and looks funny - if you say "in honor of their marriage" or just plain reception, I can't see anyone getting confused. At least, not reasonably so.
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  • MrsMack10612MrsMack10612 The Witch City member
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    edited January 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_small-ceremony-big-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:9f1e7548-cd9f-442f-b7dc-c6ccb6b3914dPost:4cf86b42-c6b2-42be-b317-ce588b411b75">Re: small ceremony - big reception?</a>:
    [QUOTE]<strong>Snuffing your family</strong> would be if you sniffed them loudly through your nose or snorted them like drugs. You're worried about snubbing them. You got good advice here already, that typo just made me giggle.
    Posted by KindaSparkly[/QUOTE]

    Apparently I watch too many crime shows - I read that as killing them i.e. snuffing them out or a snuff film.

     

  • It would be very rude to do this, the point of a reception is to thank them for attending the ceremony and enjoy your big day.  To me, if I recived an invite to the reception only, I would think it was fishing for gifts even if you are not.

    People want to see you get married, not just go to the after party and give you a gift
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  • Personally, I am not offended by being invited to only a "reception" type event.  I would be offended if it was the other way around.

    However, I think Poli covered all the etiquette points well.
  • I don't see an issue if you do it in the same day. Just be explicit in the invitation, and maybe mention something on your wedding website. Still get RSVPs though for the reception
  • I don't see an issue with a very small, private ceremony and a larger reception after, but I think it would be nice to have them on the same day. You can still do a BBQ in the evening.

    If you want to do the BBQ on a different day and take those who went to the ceremony out after the ceremony, I think the BBQ should be a super casual thing, more of a "We want to get together with all our good friends and family, and hey we just got married, so that's cool!" But I wouldn't necessarily call it a reception, just a big party. You can still have a cake and DJ and dancing and what not, but I would make it a more casual affair.


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  • I think that if you go ahead with this plan of yours the people only invited to the party the next day should not be provided with any information directing them to your website because they will get the impression that a gift is expected. 

    I would make it VERY clear that gifts are should not be given by these people. The whole thing looks gift grabby to me.

    Also since the reception does not follow the wedding you would skip things like the first dance, garter toss, ect
  • The point of a reception is to celebrate your marriage.
    In my opinion, all this "It's to thank people for coming" garbage is just that - garbage.
    You want a tiny ceremony? HAVE a tiny ceremony.
    You want a massive reception? HAVE a massive reception!
    If people are gonna get all "Nyaaaaa!" about it, don't invite them at all.
    You are celebrating the union of you and the love of your life - keep it that way :D
    Enjoy yourself, girl!
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  • I think as long as the ceremony is truly small, and you've said it is, you're totally fine. Don't re-enact the ceremony as the big reception. Other than that, I think you're good to go.
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  • Did you really expect people on an ettiquite board to say its not rude to invite guests who are not important enough to witness your vows to a big party where you want to wear the dress and get gifts??

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