Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions
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Ceremony Etiquette?

Is it okay to invite more people to my reception than my ceremony? A ceremony location I am considering only holds 100 people but our guest list is around 170. Can I invite 100 people to the ceremony/reception and about 70 to only the reception (such as co-workers, etc)? How's that work? What should I put on their invite?

Bah I've had a really hard time finding a ceremony/reception location in my budget in So Cal. ($15k for 170 people)


Thanks!!!

Re: Ceremony Etiquette?

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    Usually this only works if you have a very small, private ceremony (like, 20 people or fewer) and then a larger reception.  If fewer than half of the guests didn't make the ceremony cut, especially when many people consider the ceremony the most important part of the day, they're probably going to feel a bit hurt.

    Why not just get married at your reception location?  It's becoming very common, and it's a great budget saver because you don't have to rent two separate venues and worry about transportation between them.  As far as budget venues, ask your local board.
    This is a neglected planning bio.
    This is a belated married bio, with no reviews yet because I'm lazy.

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    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_ceremony-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:284e90b8-c82a-4159-aaaf-1702fe9ef848Post:06bde373-a96c-4c0b-898d-009de522756f">Ceremony Etiquette?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Is it okay to invite more people to my reception than my ceremony? A ceremony location I am considering only holds 100 people but our guest list is around 170. Can I invite 100 people to the ceremony/reception and about 70 to only the reception (such as co-workers, etc)? How's that work? What should I put on their invite? Bah I've had a really hard time finding a ceremony/reception location in my budget in So Cal. ($15k for 170 people) Thanks!!!
    Posted by cortneyluv324[/QUOTE]


    Sorry, but the simple answer is that you cannot invite over half of your guest list to the ceremony, and then double the amount at the reception.  As aerin wisely counseled, inviting only part of the guest list to a ceremony only works if your ceremony guests number under 20 or so.  Think family only.

    As I see it, you have three options:

    #1:  again as aerin said:  hold your ceremony and reception in the same venue.

    #2:  Find a new ceremony venue.

    #3:  Cut your ceremony guest list to 20 or fewer.  This is, BTW, my least favorite option.  I'd be miffed if I weren't included in the guest list for the ceremony.  IMO, the reception is the chance to celebrate with those who witnessed your wedding ceremony.  If I'm not included in the ceremony guest list because I'm not close enough to you to be there, then why bother inviting me to the celebration of that event?  Sorry.
    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
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    I have only heard of this once and it was due to cultural and religious reasons. The ceremony was some type of asian/chinese ceremony so guests not of that religion/culture were not invited.

    I have never heard of not inviting some guests to the ceremony because the ceremony venue is too small. You are suppose to invite all guests to both. Select a larger venue for your ceremony.
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    Don't listen to what the other people said above.  Yes, of course you can do that.  I would ask the younger crowd and your friends if they would be okay just coming to the reception.  I think most people would be fine with this.  I would be open with them about the situation though, and talk to most of them about it ahead of time.  I have a similar situation if it rains on my wedding day.  All of my guests are invited to the ceremony right now, which is outside, but if it rains I would have to pay an extra $6,000 dollars for a tent for the ceremony.  My site has an alternative site to get married that is indoors that we can use if it rains, but it is much smaller.  It only holds 50 people (I am having 125 guests), so we have a phone tree to call people and let them know just to show up for the reception only if it rains.  We will make sure we have family and the older crowd at the ceremony, but our friends are fine with just showing up for the reception if it rains.  I don't see anything wrong with doing this.  I still get my wedding in my dream location and I won't break the bank and my budget by spending an extra $6,000 on the wedding for a tent.  And for the record, my site is one of the nicest sites in Arizona, and they have people just come for the reception all the time.  Do whatever works best for you!  It is YOUR wedding and you know your family and friends. 

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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_ceremony-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:284e90b8-c82a-4159-aaaf-1702fe9ef848Post:a5f91849-605a-48d9-9adc-e173cc909b10">Re: Ceremony Etiquette?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Don't listen to what the other people said above.   Yes, of course you can do that.   I would ask the younger crowd and your friends if they would be okay just coming to the reception.   I think most people would be fine with this.   I would be open with them about the situation though, and talk to most of them about it ahead of time.   I have a similar situation if it rains on my wedding day.   All of my guests are invited to the ceremony right now, which is outside, but if it rains I would have to pay an extra $6,000 dollars for a tent for the ceremony.   My site has an alternative site to get married that is indoors that we can use if it rains, but it is much smaller.   It only holds 50 people (I am having 125 guests), so we have a phone tree to call people and let them know just to show up for the reception only if it rains.   We will make sure we have family and the older crowd at the ceremony, but our friends are fine with just showing up for the reception if it rains.   I don't see anything wrong with doing this.   I still get my wedding in my dream location and I won't break the bank and my budget by spending an extra $6,000 on the wedding for a tent.   And for the record, my site is one of the nicest sites in Arizona, and they have people just come for the reception all the time.   Do whatever works best for you!   It is YOUR wedding and you know your family and friends.  
    Posted by lgoldberry[/QUOTE]

    A phone tree is going to be used to inform your guests last minute not to show up for your ceremony. I can see why you don't see a problem with the OP not inviting all of her guests to her ceremony. LOL. And you don't see anything wrong with either idea.
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    AdeleDazeemAdeleDazeem member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    edited July 2010
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_ceremony-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:284e90b8-c82a-4159-aaaf-1702fe9ef848Post:a5f91849-605a-48d9-9adc-e173cc909b10">Re: Ceremony Etiquette?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Don't listen to what the other people said above.   Yes, of course you can do that.   I would ask the younger crowd and your friends if they would be okay just coming to the reception.   I think most people would be fine with this.   I would be open with them about the situation though, and talk to most of them about it ahead of time.   I have a similar situation if it rains on my wedding day.   All of my guests are invited to the ceremony right now, which is outside, but if it rains I would have to pay an extra $6,000 dollars for a tent for the ceremony.   My site has an alternative site to get married that is indoors that we can use if it rains, but it is much smaller.   It only holds 50 people (I am having 125 guests), so we have a phone tree to call people and let them know just to show up for the reception only if it rains.   We will make sure we have family and the older crowd at the ceremony, but our friends are fine with just showing up for the reception if it rains.   I don't see anything wrong with doing this.   I still get my wedding in my dream location and I won't break the bank and my budget by spending an extra $6,000 on the wedding for a tent.   And for the record, my site is one of the nicest sites in Arizona, and they have people just come for the reception all the time.   Do whatever works best for you!   It is YOUR wedding and you know your family and friends.  
    Posted by lgoldberry[/QUOTE]

    This sounds like a disaster.  Just saying.

    If I travelled to your wedding, "missed my phone tree call," got myself to your ceremony only be told "Guess what??  It's raining and you aren't on the ceremony list!" I'd go home and not come back.

    In fact... the more I think on your situation, the angrier I'm becoming.

    I hope it's sunny that day because otherwise, you're going to have a big mess.
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    Well your entitled to your opinion, but I am not sure why you care so much to say you are angry about another person's wedding.  Of course we are not going to turn people away if they are there.  By the way, I also know someone else who had a wedding where one of the supreme court justices of the United States provided the ceremony, and they had 100 guests come right after for just the reception.  The supreme court justice was a relative of the person getting married, so they performed the ceremony (and of course stayed for the whole reception).  It worked fine for them to have some of the guests come just for the reception. 

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    AdeleDazeemAdeleDazeem member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    edited July 2010
    Well if a supreme court justice did it, then it must be good!
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_ceremony-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:284e90b8-c82a-4159-aaaf-1702fe9ef848Post:def11067-7f39-4307-9e88-dcceffd33921">Re: Ceremony Etiquette?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Well your entitled to your opinion, but <strong>I am not sure why you care so much to say you are angry about another person's wedding. </strong>  Of course we are not going to turn people away if they are there.   By the way, I also know someone else who had a wedding where one of the supreme court justices of the United States provided the ceremony, and they had 100 guests come right after for just the reception.   The supreme court justice was a relative of the person getting married, so they performed the ceremony (and of course stayed for the whole reception).   It worked fine for them to have some of the guests come just for the reception.  
    Posted by lgoldberry[/QUOTE]

    I KNOW!! Because she's right, and the title of the post is "Ceremony <strong>ETIQUETTE"

    </strong>If the title of the post was <strong>"Please come validate my ill-concieved and rude plans!"</strong> then you would be absolutely correct in being upset that you now have two people (and I'm a professional event planner), who thinks your idea could really, REALLY backfire in a big way.

    No one is trying to be mean here, but you have to be able to look at the big picture and see how horribly, horribly wrong this could all go on your special, special day.
    <strong>
    </strong>
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    AdeleDazeemAdeleDazeem member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    edited July 2010
    I mean... what happens if it's cloudy?  Sometimes a rain decision isn't made until an hour before the ceremony.  You think you can call everyone in an hour?  Even if you made the rain decision that morning, getting ahold of everyone is iffy.  You will be getting ready and stressed about the weather and then you'll have to wonder if everyone got the message so you won't have 75 people standing outside in the rain because your magic phone tree didn't work.  Ugh.

    And what about those that didn't make the cut?  At the reception, people will be all "oh, the ceremony was beauitful - wasn't it?" only to have the response be "I wouldn't know.  I wasn't allowed to come."

    I'd seriously rethink your rain plans. 
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    My DD had an outdoor ceremony.  It was threatening rain all day.  The decision to go with outdoors was quite literally made less than 90 minutes before her wedding started. 

    She had people who would have left before the call came in had it been moved indoors.  What are they to do?  Sit in the car until the reception started?  Not good.

    And I don't care who did the ceremony:  Supreme Court judge, Mel Gibson, Bono, or your parish priest.  The fact that someone famous conducted the ceremony doesn't give anyone a pass on being rude to their guests.
    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
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    cortneyluv324 ,

    Regardless if people agree with what I am doing or not for my ceremony the answer to your question is yes.  You can invite people to the reception, but not to the ceremony.  Someone asked this question already on the knot etiquette page.  I posted the question and the answer below.  Hope it helps! 

    Q:  I recently received an invitation to a wedding reception but not the ceremony. Apparently the church is very small. Is this acceptable

    A:  More and more couples are opting to have intimate family ceremonies and larger receptions to include all their relatives and friends. You may feel like you're missing out on the poignant part, but at least you'll be there to party with the bride and groom. It is acceptable to extend an invite only to the reception. But it is never acceptable to extend an invitation only to the ceremony if you're also having a reception
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    The key word there, Igoldberg, is intimate. 
    Intimate means <20 people. 
    It does NOT mean 100 at the ceremony and then 170 at the reception. 

    OP - I'd try to cut your guest list to 100 or find a new venue.  Oooooor... have a really private ceremony (<20 people) then host a large reception.

    And just so Igoldberg doesn't think I'm full of it, I am having an intimate destination ceremony (13 guests) and a larger reception when we return home.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_ceremony-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:284e90b8-c82a-4159-aaaf-1702fe9ef848Post:9b01db7a-19ba-4d40-9614-10ce1b5ef55f">Re: Ceremony Etiquette?</a>:
    [QUOTE]My DD had an outdoor ceremony.  It was threatening rain all day.  The decision to go with outdoors was quite literally made less than 90 minutes before her wedding started.  She had people who would have left before the call came in had it been moved indoors.  What are they to do?  Sit in the car until the reception started?  Not good. And I don't care who did the ceremony:  Supreme Court judge, Mel Gibson, Bono, or your parish priest.  The fact that someone famous conducted the ceremony doesn't give anyone a pass on being rude to their guests.
    Posted by trix1223[/QUOTE]

    I agree with all of your points. It just amazes me that she doesn't comprehend that this last minute phone tree is incredibly rude. What could be more childish and rude?
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_ceremony-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:284e90b8-c82a-4159-aaaf-1702fe9ef848Post:a14124b5-8bfe-445e-b99c-bb140f8d322b">Re: Ceremony Etiquette?</a>:
    [QUOTE]The key word there, Igoldberg, is intimate.  Intimate means <20 people.  It does NOT mean 100 at the ceremony and then 170 at the reception.  OP - I'd try to cut your guest list to 100 or find a new venue.  Oooooor... have a really private ceremony (<20 people) then host a large reception. And just so Igoldberg doesn't think I'm full of it, I am having an intimate destination ceremony (13 guests) and a larger reception when we return home.
    Posted by Joy2611[/QUOTE]


    DITTO this, exactly.

    Culling almost half your guest list to determine who is important enough to "make" the ceremony is not the same as a ceremony with immediate family only, followed by a larger reception. Even if Oprah says it's ok. Not that she would.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_ceremony-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:284e90b8-c82a-4159-aaaf-1702fe9ef848Post:06bde373-a96c-4c0b-898d-009de522756f">Ceremony Etiquette?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Is it okay to invite more people to my reception than my ceremony? A ceremony location I am considering only holds 100 people but our guest list is around 170. Can I invite 100 people to the ceremony/reception and about 70 to only the reception (such as co-workers, etc)? How's that work? What should I put on their invite? Bah I've had a really hard time finding a ceremony/reception location in my budget in So Cal. ($15k for 170 people) Thanks!!!
    Posted by cortneyluv324[/QUOTE]


    $15k for 170 people is a bargain.
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    what about "standing room".  I know thats not a totally great sounding idea, but I think of like Easter how full the churches are and people have to stand through the whole thing.  Is there enough room for the remainder to stand and have seats available as a first come first serve?
    Warning No formatter is installed for the format bbhtml
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    Thank you for all of your help :)

    I've definitely had to re-think my idea of the ceremony being half the reception list... you make a good point that unless it's an intimate ceremony (which I absolutely don't want to have) , it's not fair to the other 50% of the guests. My wedding won't be till next summer so I have time... I just want this part to be over with NOW. 


    P.S. The bickering was quite funny :)
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    This post smells like poo. Oh, oops, II meant brides who are self entitled princesses who don't give a damn about their guests.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_ceremony-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:284e90b8-c82a-4159-aaaf-1702fe9ef848Post:bd75ab30-398e-4017-af24-d95db7025dde">Re: Ceremony Etiquette?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Thank you for all of your help :) I've definitely had to re-think my idea of the ceremony being half the reception list... you make a good point that unless it's an intimate ceremony (which I absolutely don't want to have) , it's not fair to the other 50% of the guests. My wedding won't be till next summer so I have time... I just want this part to be over with NOW.  P.S. The bickering was quite funny :)
    Posted by cortneyluv324[/QUOTE]

    I enjoyed it as well, actually :)

    Good luck to you!!!
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    *sigh* Some people....

    OP I am glad you are re-thinking things. Quite frankly, if I was a guest only invited to a reception the first think that would cross my mind is 'GIFT GRABBY MUCH?!' 
    You can have a beautiful ceremony with all of your loved ones and not leave anyone out. I hope you get all that you want and more and that your day is wonderful!

    IAmPregnant Ticker
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    Besides it being rude, as PP said, if my increase your number of declines.  FI and I have been invited to the reception only for a friend.  She's inviting something like 100 people to the ceremony, so it's not like it's just immediate family.   We're declining the invitation and will probably just send a card rather than a gift.
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