Ceremony and Vow Ideas

Open ceremony, closed reception.

I've been having a battle with myself determining the best method for having an open ceremony and close reception. My fiance and I know anticipate 300500 people at our wedding and we cannot accommodate for everyone at the reception. Today when I searched for ideas on how to send out invitations I was very disappointed to discover that this is frowned upon. I've been to weddings with closed receptions and to me everyone understood especially when it's a financial issue. My fiance and I will be recent graduates of college and we will be paying for everything by ourselves pretty much, so we just can't afford to have everyone there. But because we are high school sweethearts, with college friends, and families that are prominent in our community a lot of people are anticipating this day for us and I do not want a closed ceremony. My personal feelings on the matter is it's my wedding I have to make decisions based on what we want, outside of traditions or "Norms" no one is helping us pay for our wedding but us and people that are really happy for us will be there whether invited to the reception or not. The idea I came up with was to only send invitations to those invited to both reception and ceremony but to send post card save the dates with ceremony only information to those only invited to the ceremony. I just need feedback, thoughts, and ideas!

Re: Open ceremony, closed reception.

  • elbow23elbow23 member
    10 Comments First Anniversary
    edited April 2013
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_open-ceremony-closed-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:2cd8f393-e671-469e-b928-898ab2b7c73fPost:eaa0a2cc-0633-423a-aa86-7700965623b0">Open ceremony, closed reception.</a>:
    [QUOTE]I've been having a battle with myself determining the best method for having an open ceremony and close reception. My fiance and I know anticipate 300500 people at our wedding and we cannot accommodate for everyone at the reception. Today when I searched for ideas on how to send out invitations I was very disappointed to discover that this is frowned upon. I've been to weddings with closed receptions and to me everyone understood especially when it's a financial issue. My fiance and I will be recent graduates of college and we will be paying for everything by ourselves pretty much, so we just can't afford to have everyone there. But because we are high school sweethearts, with college friends, and families that are prominent in our community a lot of people are anticipating this day for us and I do not want a closed ceremony. My personal feelings on the matter is it's my wedding I have to make decisions based on what we want, outside of traditions or "Norms" no one is helping us pay for our wedding but us and people that are really happy for us will be there whether invited to the reception or not. The idea I came up with was to only send invitations to those invited to both reception and ceremony but to send post card save the dates with ceremony only information to those only invited to the ceremony. I just need feedback, thoughts, and ideas!
    Posted by adqr51[/QUOTE]

    Is the ceremony being held in a church?  Often, church weddings are "public," so if other church members attend the ceremony only, it's not such a problem.  If you are actually inviting 500 people, however, I would strongly advise against a closed reception.  It may be a wise idea to look at cutting down your guest list, as unpleasant as that is.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_open-ceremony-closed-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:2cd8f393-e671-469e-b928-898ab2b7c73fPost:eaa0a2cc-0633-423a-aa86-7700965623b0">Open ceremony, closed reception.</a>:
    [QUOTE]I've been having a battle with myself determining the best method for having an open ceremony and close reception. My fiance and I know anticipate 300500 people at our wedding and we cannot accommodate for everyone at the reception. Today when I searched for ideas on how to send out invitations I was very disappointed to discover that this is frowned upon. I've been to weddings with closed receptions and to me everyone understood especially when it's a financial issue. My fiance and I will be recent graduates of college and we will be paying for everything by ourselves pretty much, so we just can't afford to have everyone there. But because we are high school sweethearts, with college friends, and families that are prominent in our community a lot of people are anticipating this day for us and I do not want a closed ceremony. My personal feelings on the matter is it's my wedding I have to make decisions based on what we want, outside of traditions or "Norms" no one is helping us pay for our wedding but us and <strong>people that are really happy for us will be there whether invited to the reception or not.</strong> The idea I came up with was to only send invitations to those invited to both reception and ceremony but to send post card save the dates with ceremony only information to those only invited to the ceremony. I just need feedback, thoughts, and ideas!
    Posted by adqr51[/QUOTE]

    Are you getting married in a church or public space? It's my understanding that if so, there is no such thing as a truly closed ceremony since you can't deny people access to a public space.

    Inviting people to one part and not the other is considered very rude.

    Send invitations to only the people you want there and can afford to host. If someone else shows up at the ceremony, but was not invited, there's nothing you can do, nor are you responsible to hosting them.

    As for the bolded, that's not a very nice attitude to have. "Oh these people really love us, so they'll be okay with our deliberate rudeness." Does that sound like the way you want to treat people who care about you? It's not a matter of traditions or norms, it's a matter of kindness, graciousness, and decency.
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  • Can't send out seperate invites. You only send out invites to the amount of people that you can afford to host at the reception (and don't count a certain number of people not showing & over inviting, it will backfire on you). Please who love you and support you will understand that you are paying for the wedding yourself and unfortunately can't invite everyone you would love to have at the reception.

    For the open ceremony, I have heard it's not uncommon in churches to invite open the attendance of the ceremony to the members of the church. If you are going that route, then just have them do an announcement at the church. Or if someone you would have liked to attend but couldn't invite says "I know you were limited on your guest list, but would it be ok to just come to the ceremony, I would love to see you exchange your vows." then it's ok to say yes.

    But if I got an invite and it was for the ceremony only I would be hurt. I would be like I'm good enough to come to your ceremony, give you a gift but not participate in the reception itself. I would be like forget you, I'm not going & it would probably have an effect on our relationship, whatever kind of relationship that is.

    If your families don't like this, then they should contribute to the cost of the wedding so you can afford to invite more people.

  • Also - what type of reception are you planning?  If you scale down your reception from an evening of dinner/dancing to an afternoon of drinks/desserts, you'll be able to include more people for the same amount of money.
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  • There is no good way to have an open ceremony and closed reception because it's horribly rude.  Lots of couples pay for their own weddings these days, and even people whose families help out still have a limited budget and can't always invite everyone they would like to.  Limit your guest list to your families and closest friends.
  • Ditto PPs.

    A lot of churches will post in their bulletin or something when couples get married.  If people show up, that's fine.  It's a public space.  But you DON'T send STDs or invitations to people if you're not going to host them.

    It's your wedding... until you invite guests.  Once you invite guests, you now have to be a good hostess, and you're required to host them properly.

    A LOT of people here have budget issues.  A LOT of couples here are paying for it themselves, some of them right out of college.  

    The usual decision has to be this:  Do I have the wedding of my dreams with the dinner, drinks, fancy venue, etc. OR do I invite all the people in my life who I'd like to be there.  There's nothing wrong with either decision.  But if you're on a limited budget, you can't have both, and you CAN'T just invite some people to the ceremony only.

    If you need cost-saving ideas, these boards are great.  You could have a more casual barbecue or pasta buffet and serve just lemonade, tea, and soda.  Or you could just serve cake and punch.  It can be as big or small as you want... but you must host all of your guests in some way.  

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  • Yes I was thinking of having something for all guest immediately following the ceremony maybe for an hour and then heading to a private reception with family and close friends. Ideas?
  • edited April 2013
    This was very very helpful!!! Thank you so much for these suggestions !!
    In Response to Re:Open ceremony, closed reception.:[QUOTE]Ditto PPs.A lot of churches will post in their bulletin or something when couples get married. nbsp;If people show up, that's fine. nbsp;It's a public space. nbsp;But you DON'T send STDs or invitations to people if you're not going to host them.It's your wedding... until you invite guests. nbsp;Once you invite guests, you now have to be a good hostess, and you're required to host them properly.A LOT of people here have budget issues. nbsp;A LOT of couples here are paying for it themselves, some of them right out of college. nbsp;The usual decision has to be this: nbsp;Do I have the wedding of my dreams with the dinner, drinks, fancy venue, etc. OR do I invite all the people in my life who I'd like to be there. nbsp;There's nothing wrong with either decision. nbsp;But if you're on a limited budget, you can't have both, and you CAN'T just invite some people to the ceremony only.If you need costsaving ideas, these boards are great. nbsp;You could have a more casual barbecue or pasta buffet and serve just lemonade, tea, and soda. nbsp;Or you could just serve cake and punch. nbsp;It can be as big or small as you want... but you must host all of your guests in some way. nbsp; Posted by monkeysip[/QUOTE]
  • The ceremony is not a problem at all I want it to be open. Thank you for this suggestion. I also stated in another reply how its the environment that you grow up in and for me I've seen couples have closed receptions and it doesn't hinder relationships in any way. But I will definitely find ways to accommodate everyone. Response to Re:Open ceremony, closed reception.:[QUOTE]Can't send out seperate invites. You only send out invites to the amount of people that you can afford to host at the reception and don't count a certain number of people not showing amp; over inviting, it will backfire on you. Please who love you and support you will understand that you are paying for the wedding yourself and unfortunately can't invite everyone you would love to have at the reception.For the open ceremony, I have heard it's not uncommon in churches to invite open the attendance of the ceremony to the members of the church. If you are going that route, then just have them do an announcement at the church. Or if someone you would have liked to attend but couldn't invite says "I know you were limited on your guest list, but would it be ok to just come to the ceremony, I would love to see you exchange your vows." then it's ok to say yes.But if I got an invite and it was for the ceremony only I would be hurt. I would be like I'm good enough to come to your ceremony, give you a gift but not participate in the reception itself. I would be like forget you, I'm not going amp; it would probably have an effect on our relationship, whatever kind of relationship that is. If your families don't like this, then they should contribute to the cost of the wedding so you can afford to invite more people. Posted by Erikan73[/QUOTE]
  • I would appreciate only suggestions and not the rudeness because you do not know me so I needed to put details in that would help to explain my situation thoroughly. The truth is the truth is wasnt to make us sound extra important because were young and a lot of people have seen us grow up they are looking forward to this day for us. Thank you for the suggestion but please leave the negativity to yourself! In Response to Re:Open ceremony, closed reception.:[QUOTE]How many people would go to the private reception? If it's a fair amount then this isn't okay either. You are having a tiered reception. Again, hosting some people more than others. It's rude. Host everyone you can in the same way. That might mean cutting the guest list but that is part of life. Everyone has budget and guest limitations.'Also, sorry but get over yourself a little with the crap about how everyone loves you and wants to see you get married and you are from prominent families. Whatever. Posted by scribe95[/QUOTE]
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  • So i think i fully understand what everyone means! Just send invitations to those invited to both ceremony and reception and since the ceremony will be in an open space allow people to just come as they please!!??
    In Response to Re:Open ceremony, closed reception.:[QUOTE]This was very very helpful!!! Thank you so much for these suggestions !!
    In Response to Re:Open ceremony, closed reception.:Ditto PPs.A lot of churches will post in their bulletin or something when couples get married. nbsp;If people show up, that's fine. nbsp;It's a public space. nbsp;But you DON'T send STDs or invitations to people if you're not going to host them.It's your wedding... until you invite guests. nbsp;Once you invite guests, you now have to be a good hostess, and you're required to host them properly.A LOT of people here have budget issues. nbsp;A LOT of couples here are paying for it themselves, some of them right out of college. nbsp;The usual decision has to be this: nbsp;Do I have the wedding of my dreams with the dinner, drinks, fancy venue, etc. OR do I invite all the people in my life who I'd like to be there. nbsp;There's nothing wrong with either decision. nbsp;But if you're on a limited budget, you can't have both, and you CAN'T just invite some people to the ceremony only.If you need costsaving ideas, these boards are great. nbsp;You could have a more casual barbecue or pasta buffet and serve just lemonade, tea, and soda. nbsp;Or you could just serve cake and punch. nbsp;It can be as big or small as you want... but you must host all of your guests in some way. nbsp; Posted by monkeysip Posted by adqr51[/QUOTE]
  • We all have people who have seen us grow up and who are happy for us and want to come to our wedding, so I don't understand what that has to do with anything, but I think what you've suggested above- sending invitations to both the ceremony and reception to your entire guest list- will be fine.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_open-ceremony-closed-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:10Discussion:2cd8f393-e671-469e-b928-898ab2b7c73fPost:74ef2b9a-cf1a-4608-94da-55f94be3239e">Re:Open ceremony, closed reception.</a>:
    [QUOTE]I would appreciate only suggestions and not the rudeness because you do not know me so I needed to put details in that would help to explain my situation thoroughly. The truth is the truth is wasnt to make us sound extra important because were young and a lot of people have seen us grow up they are looking forward to this day for us. Thank you for the suggestion but please leave the negativity to yourself! In Response to Re:Open ceremony, closed reception.:
    Posted by adqr51[/QUOTE]



    You are getting suggestions. It is NEVER okay to have a large ceremony and a smaller reception (unless you are married in a public place and people attend the ceremony on their own volition).

    Anyone you send an invitation to need to be hosted in the same way - no exceptions.

    If you cannot afford to host 300-500 people after your ceremony, don't invite 300-500 people. Nobody will be as excited about your wedding as you are, whether they saw you grow up or not. And people will be much more understanding about not being invited than to be invited and find out they didn't make the cut for the super special reception following your ceremony.

    If you want a small reception, have a small ceremony. If you want a big ceremony and a private dinner with your family, have a big ceremony AND a big reception, then have a small private family dinner the following night.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_open-ceremony-closed-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:2cd8f393-e671-469e-b928-898ab2b7c73fPost:eaa0a2cc-0633-423a-aa86-7700965623b0">Open ceremony, closed reception.</a>:
    [QUOTE] I have to make decisions based on what we want, outside of traditions or "Norms" no one is helping us pay for our wedding but us and people that are really happy for us will be there whether invited to the reception or not.
    Posted by adqr51[/QUOTE]

    Welcome to being an adult.  We all have to make decisions every day.  This is your first big time facing these decisions and you are going to have to learn the hard lesson that NO, you don't always get your cake and eat it, too.

    If you are inviting people with an invitation in any format, they need to be invited to both the ceremony and the ENTIRE reception.  No ifs, ands, buts, or "I'm paying!!!"s.  None.  Get over it and make the tough decisions that we all had to when planning our weddings.  Your situation is neither unique nor special.
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited April 2013
    Help me understand this.  

    You intend to invite, let's say, 50 people to the ceremony and reception, but you have 300-500 people you just know would love to come watch you get married, so you're wanting to let the masses know when the ceremony is, but not actually send them an invitation, just pass along date, time,venue, and they can witness the ceremony and then have a little reception with you (300-500 people???), and then you're going to do a bigger reception for the 50 people you actually invited with paper invitations? 

    I don't see how this is possible. To me, providing the date, time, and venue information for the purpose of allowing them to come watch, even verbally and certainly via STD, is like an invitation, and you need to host everyone the same. If I were in a coffee shop with you and overheard the information and took it upon myself to just show up to the "open" ceremony, that would be different. You did not deliberately provide me the information, so it's not your responsibility to host me like your invited guests.  Do you see the difference?




    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Private receptions are not appropriate.  If you invite someone to the ceremony, you are required to invite them to the reception, which is a "thank you" to the guests for celebrating your wedding with you.  If you don't want them at the reception, you don't invite them to the ceremony.  It's as simple as that.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_open-ceremony-closed-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:10Discussion:2cd8f393-e671-469e-b928-898ab2b7c73fPost:2ed651f1-39b3-497b-8a05-396155ea3cdf">Re:Open ceremony, closed reception.</a>:
    [QUOTE]So i <strong>think i fully understand what everyone means! Just send invitations to those invited to both ceremony and reception and since the ceremony will be in an open space allow people to just come as they please!!??</strong> In Response to Re:Open ceremony, closed reception.:
    Posted by adqr51[/QUOTE]

    this is ok ONLY if you are not announcing or inviting any of those additional people.  If it is posted in a church bulletin, or something like that.  If you TELL them about the ceremony, you have invited them, and that means you need to accomodate them at the reception.

    Scale back your wedding. Host a backyard bbq, or a bbq at a park.  There are a lot of ways to cut your budget, but once you invite anyone. Whether it is with a formal invitation, or verbally, text, email, etc., you have invited them, and you need to host them properly at the reception.

    I realize that you said your friends or people in your community have done the whole open ceremony, closed reception thing, and people were "ok" with it, but that doesn't make it less rude.  You have found out that this is horribly frowned upon. You are no longer unaware that it is completely against etiquette.   Now, you have to make adult decisions not to be offensive to your friends and family, even if they don't know any better.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_open-ceremony-closed-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:2cd8f393-e671-469e-b928-898ab2b7c73fPost:eaa0a2cc-0633-423a-aa86-7700965623b0">Open ceremony, closed reception.</a>:
    [QUOTE]I've been having a battle with myself determining the best method for having an open ceremony and close reception. My fiance and I know anticipate <strong>300500</strong> people at our wedding and we cannot accommodate for everyone at the reception. Today when I searched for ideas on how to send out invitations I was very disappointed to discover that this is frowned upon. I've been to weddings with closed receptions and to me everyone understood especially when it's a financial issue. My fiance and I will be recent graduates of college and we will be paying for everything by ourselves pretty much, so we just can't afford to have everyone there. But because we are high school sweethearts, with college friends, and families that are prominent in our community a lot of people are anticipating this day for us and I do not want a closed ceremony. My personal feelings on the matter is it's my wedding I have to make decisions based on what we want, outside of traditions or "Norms" no one is helping us pay for our wedding but us and people that are really happy for us will be there whether invited to the reception or not. The idea I came up with was to only send invitations to those invited to both reception and ceremony but to send post card save the dates with ceremony only information to those only invited to the ceremony. I just need feedback, thoughts, and ideas!
    Posted by adqr51[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>Holy crap, that's a lot of people.</div><div>
    </div><div>Please don't do this. I would never go to the ceremony ever. I'd consider that a huge insult.

    </div>
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_open-ceremony-closed-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:2cd8f393-e671-469e-b928-898ab2b7c73fPost:b3a36aec-f91e-4f41-b1da-ee431e42a5cb">Re:Open ceremony, closed reception.</a>:
    [QUOTE]An open ceremony is like if you get married at the church and they put it in the bulletin or at a botanical garden and the people who aren't invited to your wedding that come to the garden that day decide to watch your ceremony. It is NOT telling people verbally to come to the ceremony. That is inviting them.
    Posted by bAnnEdstage[/QUOTE]

    It's super common in our area to have the time and church listed in engagement announcements in the newspaper, followed by "the policy of open church will be observed." One of the biggest reasons I skipped announcements.
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  • Just because people MAY forgive you for being excessively rude to them, doesn't mean it's ok to do it.  They love you, that's the reason for you going out of your way and making hard choices to treat them right.  Because hopefully you love them too.
    Don't make me mobilize OffensiveKitten

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  • The guest list was something that we were not looking forward to organizing in the least; having to figure out where to make cuts is undoubtedly difficult. But think about it: does every single second cousin twice removed and every classmate you had in college have to be invited? Yes you want everyone to be happy for you, but think to yourself: how would I feel if (insert name here) wasn't at my wedding?? If you can barely remember their name, you probably don't have to count them in. We wholeheartedly understand where you are coming from: working multiple jobs, with huge influential families, and lots of people to please. Also, if your relatives are pressuring you into a huge wedding that you can't afford/the financial burden is solely on you, it should be your decision on how many people to invite. PP's are right: being rude just because you're the center of attention is not okay.

  • Dreamergirl8812Dreamergirl8812 your closet member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    This would be the type of wedding where you don't thank guests for coming, you say "you're welcome."



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