Wedding Etiquette Forum

Church congregation invitation issues

Ok so my fiance and i attend a church where he is the "associate pastor". We recently got engaged and our senior pastor was so excited, he annouced it that Sunday morning.

Consequently, we've had NUMEROUS people approach us telling us they can't wait til our wedding! We super appreciate their support and desire to celebrate with us, but without inviting our congregation (which is upwards of 400 people) we're looking at a guestlist of about 250 people.

How do we not offend them? How do you say they're not invited? Some are really sweet and closer than others. Is it rude to invite them to the ceremony only? If not, how do you tell them they aren't exactly invited to the second half. I feel really bad not inviting them seeing as how my fiance is a part of the "pastoral staff". I don't want any hurt feelings.


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4/5 Thanks guys! It appears everyone pretty much has the same opinion. I have no problem with them being there during the ceremony, it's the reception I can't invite them all to.

The reception will be taking place elsewhere at a downtown venue. I just hope it's not too awkward when i have to explain why they're not invited to the reception (yes we can think of some people that WILL ask)... perhaps we'll just rent a chapel downtown to avoid all the awkwardness...

Re: Church congregation invitation issues

  • You can't invite some people to the wedding and not the reception.  They're either invited to the whole thing or they're not invited to any of it.

    You can invite some members of the congregation and not invite others.  No one should automatically assume they're invited; that is rude.  If someone confronts you about not being invited to the wedding just politely explain to them that you can only invite X amount of people.
    panther
  • If you're getting married in a church, anyone can come view the wedding ceremony.
    I'm not good at feelings.

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  • Ditto AATB. You invite people to everything or nothing at all.

    The only situation that I could imagine it would MAYBE be okay for people to just go to the ceremony is if there is a precedent (sp?) set for that in your church; as in, people expect to attend the ceremony of other members of the congregation but not the reception. That's still not an ideal situation, though...
    image
  • You can't invite someone only to the ceremony. You aren't obligated to invite everyone. However, where I grew up many church members would attend the weddings of other church members, but not the receptions. Annoucements were printed in the church bulletin about the day/time. This might be appropriate for your situation if you are getting married in the church. However, if your reception is at the church, you'll have a problem as they might just show up.

    It is rude for people to assume they are invited to everything. 
  • edited April 2011
    Also, I know he was excited but I think it was a little rude of your senior pastor to announce your engagement to the entire congregation.  I know your FI is part of the church staff, but that news is for your FI or you to share with the church, not for your senior pastor.  I kinda think he was a little out of line for doing that.
    panther
  • Engagements are commonly announced at our church.  Ours was announced the day after we were engaged.  However, we aren't getting married at the church, so people aren't assuming it's an open invite.  Not sure our church works that way anyway. 

    If your church is the type that people can just come watch the ceremony, then leave it with them.  No need for an invite or anything.  Only send an invite to those that are invited to the entire wedding. 
    Warning No formatter is installed for the format bbhtml
  • While I'm sure it's technically against etiquette, I have seen this done before. There is a church-wide invitation to the ceremony with a smaller reception.

    In this case, we did not receive an actual invitation to the ceremony, but it was listed in the church bulletin. I'm sure those invited to the reception received normal invitations.
  • Consider asking the girls on Christian weddings what they think.

    Do not mail invitations to anyone who is not invited to the reception.

    Churches are public spaces.  Anyone can attend and witness a wedding.  Sometimes members of the congregation will read the wedding announcement and go to see the ceremony.  These people make that choice to attend on their own and do not expect an invitation to the reception. 
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_church-congregation-invitation-issues?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:e172097a-41e4-431f-9d8e-070ab41e7254Post:baff6759-95ad-400f-bdd8-4c1069d54ca2">Re: Church congregation invitation issues</a>:
    [QUOTE]Consider asking the girls on Christian weddings what they think. Do not mail invitations to anyone who is not invited to the reception. <strong>Churches are public spaces.  Anyone can attend and witness a wedding.  Sometimes members of the congregation will read the wedding announcement and go to see the ceremony.  These people make that choice to attend on their own and do not expect an invitation to the reception. </strong>
    Posted by mica178[/QUOTE]

    Everything mica said, especially the bolded parts.  If you mail invitations to only those who are invited you should be OK. 
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  • JCM10JCM10 member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
    I have been to several weddings at my church that I wasn't technically invited to. It's not uncommon for people at my church to go to just the ceremony in this case...because they want to support the marriage, with no expectation of being invited to the reception. 

    Your FI's congregation is his "church family" and should at least be allowed at the ceremony. Just don't send invitations to those people. If they want to go to the ceremony, be prepared in terms of programs/seating...but no need for any further action.
  • If you're getting married at your church, anyone can technically come view it. Which is especially why it's so common for couples to have wedding announcements and open invitations for the ceremony in the church bulletin.

    If this happens at your church, then I would assume that the people who mentioned this probably are not expecting a reception invite and are assuming they can just attend the ceremony.

  • I'm very involved in my church also and would love to invite the entire church. I feel your pain! I am sure that some people will show up to the Wedding Ceremony without an invitation, as everyone will know when it is even if it's not in the bulliten. Only problem is that my sanctuary will barely fit the amount of people that will be officially invited. They'll be in for a suprise when they show up and can't find a seat...
    But I would invite those people that you are closest with to both and explain the situation to anyone else who approaches you about it..if they even do. Easier said than done, I know because I have to go through the same thing and I know how people can be. In the end, they'll understand though.
  • At my church, weddings are just like any other church service, and anyone can come. I agree with those saying just don't mail invitations to anyone you aren't inviting to the reception. If they show up to the ceremony anyway, you aren't under any obligation.
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  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I plan to ask my church to keep my wedding date and time private and not announce it at services, or in the bulletin, until after it has taken place.  If no one knows when it is, they can't show up uninvited. 

    I kind of find the whole 'anyone can drop by and watch' thing kind of presumptuous.  I would never dream of crashing a wedding ceremony like that.  Even if it is a public place, I can't imagine how someone would think that is okay.  But, apparently it is okay in some areas.  I still wouldn't do it.
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