Wedding Etiquette Forum

Reception after private ceremony?

After the dreaded budget discussion with my otherwise gracious mother, I'm reconsidering a destination wedding in Savannah, GA. She wants us to serve cake and punch, and doesn't think giving everyone a place to sit is even necessary. She would never do this at a party in her own home, so I don't know where this is coming from. I think, if people have traveled that far, they deserve a meal, and I don't expect them to stand for 2 or 3 hours.

We don't expect a lot of people to be able to make the trip, but there are about 20 who would come no matter what, and probably another 20+ who might show up. And there really isn't anywhere we could have a wedding that wouldn't be a "destination wedding" for at least half the guests.  

The problem is that I really want an indoor venue because I'm afraid of rain, and most of the affordable venues are historic parks (city squares) and beaches. Most of the inns either do elopements (zero guests allowed) or weddings that require really expensive full-house bookings.

Would it be really rude to send reception-only invites and have a private ceremony?

Re: Reception after private ceremony?

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    If you're asking people to travel, then I think they should be invited to the actual ceremony.

    Have you tried posting on the GA board and asking for venue recommendations?
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    I vote for the first and last options.  It's rude and you can't have it both ways.  If you invite people to a reception, you should invite them to the wedding, giving them the option of seeing you exchange your vows.
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    I can understand a private ceremony,  but it better be very private, like immediate family.  Parents, siblings, grandparents.
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    NebbNebb member
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    I did that, for similar and for different reasons. We only had 14 people attend our ceremony (immediate family, bridal party), and then a larger reception later. The only people who were local to our location were friends, all of our family on both sides had to travel - and all of them did despite not being invited to the ceremony. It was a personal choice to have a private ceremony and they all respected that, one of my aunts was quite vocal about not liking it but she still attended the reception and had a good time.
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    It sounds like your total guest list would be 40 people, unless I'm misunderstanding. I think private ceremonies are fine if it's under 30 people, but with a much larger reception (like over 150).
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    I think private ceremonies are generally fine.  But not for destination weddings.  You're going to expect people to travel for this, and not even invite them to the ceremony?  Come on. 


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    Aren't they only traveling 2 hours, though, if I remember correctly? That doesn't seem like a DW to me. If so, I wouldn't be opposed to having like 8 people at the ceremony and the rest of the 40 at the reception.

    OR get a park/square and set up a tent in case of rain.
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    I'm late to this, but I really hate private ceremonies.  All I hear when I see somebody having one is "your gift is good enough for me, but you're not good enough to hear our vows."  I think it's a smidge offensive, really. 
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    I think I'm missing something.  You have a budget to feed all the guests but not a budget for them to watch you get married?  And yes they definitely need seats!
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    We are having a small family only ceremony and maybe 1 or 2 very good friends of mine. The way I felt was that since my family lived across the country and most of my friends do too, the ceremony would be full of people we hardly know. I always thought it should be 50/50. Am I wrong here? I did have one of Fi's sister's friends tell me that her son would be our ring bearer... I had only just met her and she has not been invited. I was aghast and unable to respond. Her son is cute; but since none of our siblings have children- we were not going to use someone else's in the ceremony.
    If you have a nice reception; then it is fine. But you must give people something to eat. It would be different if you had a church wedding and served cake and champagne in a separate room at the church. Friend did that and it was really very beautiful!
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