Wedding Etiquette Forum
Options

"Refreshment Hour" - Ceremony-Only Guests

Hi everyone! I am curious to know what everyone's thoughts are on whether it is proper/polite to ask acquaintances (such as from work and church) if they would like to attend the ceremony along with a refreshment hour to follow, but not the reception.

My circumstances are that I was planning a wedding for only our nearest and dearest family and friends and will be hosting dinner at a restaurant with a small capacity. However, the ceremony will be taking place in a public park with lots of space. I have been considering inviting acquaintances from the area and offering light refreshments right after the ceremony - picnic-style foods with cake, soda, and juice for all attendees, sort of like a cocktail hour minus the cocktails. Just as a small expression of gratitude for all who attend. However, a smaller and more intimate number of guests will attend the formal reception, which will have a bigger meal as well as alcohol and music.

Do you think that this is a good idea or is it best to restrict the ceremony to our smaller party as well? Despite my wishes for a small party, a lot of acquaintances have been enthusiastic about my wedding and I would like them to be a part of our special day with no hurt feelings. Would you feel offended being offered this kind of arrangement?

Re: "Refreshment Hour" - Ceremony-Only Guests

  • Options
    rajahmdrajahmd member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Comment First Answer
    edited August 2013
  • Options
    Yes.  I would be offended by this arrangement.
    imageimage
  • Options
    From what I've gleaned from lurking this board for the last year or so, inviting people to the ceremony but not the reception is quite rude. You're basically saying "Come see me get married but I don't want to pay for your dinner". That being said, while it's nice that you want to host at least something for people who aren't invited to the reception/dinner at the restaurant, as a guest I'd still be pretty choked if I wasn't invited to both.

    It's one thing to invite a limited amount of people to the ceremony if you want to keep it to immediate family and super close friends, but it's an all or nothing thing with the reception (from what I've seen at least). More experienced Knotties, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Options
    I vote no. The point of the reception is to thank your guests for witnessing your ceremony and to celebrate with them. Please only invite those you can afford to host 
    Anniversary
    image
  • Options
    That is incredibly rude.

  • Options
    Please dont do this. Its really rude to do this to your guest.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    image
  • Options

    Hi everyone! I am curious to know what everyone's thoughts are on whether it is proper/polite to ask acquaintances (such as from work and church) if they would like to attend the ceremony along with a refreshment hour to follow, but not the reception.


    My circumstances are that I was planning a wedding for only our nearest and dearest family and friends and will be hosting dinner at a restaurant with a small capacity. However, the ceremony will be taking place in a public park with lots of space. I have been considering inviting acquaintances from the area and offering light refreshments right after the ceremony - picnic-style foods with cake, soda, and juice for all attendees, sort of like a cocktail hour minus the cocktails. Just as a small expression of gratitude for all who attend. However, a smaller and more intimate number of guests will attend the formal reception, which will have a bigger meal as well as alcohol and music.

    Do you think that this is a good idea or is it best to restrict the ceremony to our smaller party as well? Despite my wishes for a small party, a lot of acquaintances have been enthusiastic about my wedding and I would like them to be a part of our special day with no hurt feelings. Would you feel offended being offered this kind of arrangement?
    This is called a tiered reception and it's very rude. Please don't do it. Either host all of your guests the same way (the light refreshments post-ceremony) or don't invite more people than you can afford to feed at the big to-do you want.

    But don't treat some guests as 'more special' than others. That's rude and very tacky.

    Anniversary

    image
    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
  • Options
    rajahmdrajahmd member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Comment First Answer
    edited August 2013
  • Options
    Please don't do this.
    image   imageimage
    You'll never be subject to a cash bar, gap, potluck wedding, or b-list if you marry a Muppet Overlord.

  • Options
    NYCMercedesNYCMercedes member
    First Anniversary First Answer First Comment 5 Love Its
    edited June 2013
    @princessnickyj13, that's ok. @kimcheekim, that's not, although a nice idea to want to include and partially feed them.
  • Options
    Okay, I'm going to ask a question and feel free to correct me if I am wrong.  Would it change people's opinions if the "refreshment hour" was upgraded to the title of "reception", and then the bride and groom just went out for a regular dinner with their nearest and dearest?  I don't see that as being tiered.  I could be wrong, but if you have the reception and it ends earlier in the day (for example, I am having an afternoon reception that should be done by 5) and you go out later that night with some close friends to celebrate (either for drinks or a dinner etc . . .) I don't view that as part of the reception per se.  Every event you do that day is not a wedding event that should be open to all guests.  My sister had a breakfast for her BMs and her family - would that have been considered tiered because only close family and not everyone invited to the wedding was invited?  How is having a dinner afterwards any different aside from the time?

    Again, I could be way off base. 

  • Options
    edited June 2013
    kerbohl said:
    Okay, I'm going to ask a question and feel free to correct me if I am wrong.  Would it change people's opinions if the "refreshment hour" was upgraded to the title of "reception", and then the bride and groom just went out for a regular dinner with their nearest and dearest?  I don't see that as being tiered.  I could be wrong, but if you have the reception and it ends earlier in the day (for example, I am having an afternoon reception that should be done by 5) and you go out later that night with some close friends to celebrate (either for drinks or a dinner etc . . .) I don't view that as part of the reception per se.  Every event you do that day is not a wedding event that should be open to all guests.  My sister had a breakfast for her BMs and her family - would that have been considered tiered because only close family and not everyone invited to the wedding was invited?  How is having a dinner afterwards any different aside from the time?

    Again, I could be way off base. 

    I get what you're saying, and that arrangement would not be rude if it was truly just like a word-of-mouth after party. But the line between tiered reception and after-party can be a very blurry one and in THIS case the inclsuion of invitations, music, dancing, etc. just screams tiered reception. 

    I get nervous about after-parties from an etiquette-perspective because you really are towing the line.  Obviously, a situation where at the end of the reception a bunch of people go "Hey let's move the party to XYZ Bar" is completely fine.  But what about situations where the after party is planned? What if actual physical invitations were sent? What if the after party drinks are hosted by the couple? What if there's another meal hosted by the couple at the after party?  You can end up having a tiered reception under the guise of an after party. 

    It's really, really difficult to come up with a set of concrete rules that would define an acceptable after party or an unacceptable tiered reception.  But basically, if looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and waddles like a duck.....it's a duck. The OP's suggestion is a tiered reception and is definitely rude.
  • Options
    Ha! I am going to one of these in October. I was invited to the reception, but there is a "cake and punch" after the wedding that most people are going to. I think it's incredibly rude, and am kind of evilly looking forward to how the bride and her family handle all the people who aren't invited to the "real" reception.
  • Options
    @NOLAbridealmost Ah, I see what you mean.  But it does still suck that it looks that way.  It really limits what you can do on the day of your own wedding.  So say you have your wedding, and you know it will end early in the day, and you want to take your wedding party and/or family out for dessert or coffee afterwards (no invites, but still planned in advance).  Because of these stupid tiered weddings, the bride and groom don't have the option to do this without looking rude because it's their wedding day.  Any other day it would be fine.  I find that weird, but I do understand the logic of it.  

  • Options
    I think OP could do this if the park became the reception (several hours, food, dancing, etc) and nixed the dancing and wedding decor at the restaurant, and sent invitations for the park and did a verbal invite for dinner. I would feel second tier if I was invited to a short cake and punch thing and found out it wasnt the real reception, but if I'm properly hosted for a few hours in the afternoon and I find out you happen to be doing a restaurant dinner with yout immediate family and WP after the reception I wouldn't feel slighted by that.
  • Options
    Thanks for all of the feedback! From what it sounds like, I should keep things small the whole day through. I wish doing a full reception at the park were possible, but there are too many restrictions (no amplified sound, decor, alcohol) and I would end up with a large party after all, which is not what we really want.

    I had no idea about Tiered Receptions before I thought of this idea and hope I didn't come across as rude or "gift-grabby" (in fact, my fiance and I are trying to emphasize that gifts are optional and that we do not really need anything). But I would rather play it safe.

    Anyway, thank you again for the advice! The verdict seems to be unanimous :)
  • Options
    Please don't do this.  I completely understand that you want to include everyone but it's not polite to do it this way.  It's like when I was little and went to an afternoon birthday party for a friend and then found several other friends' overnight bags in her room while we were playing...and then realized that only a handful of the girls were invited to also spend the night.  Obviously I still haven't forgotten that!  ha

    It's a tiered approach and makes it clear to everyone that while you'd like for them to come celebrate with you, you can't pay for their food so they have to leave for that part.

    To your face your guests will tell you that this is fine and they completely understand, but it will be talked about behind your back.  I've seen this happen to 2 friends who tried this approach to including everyone.  

    You'll be much better off just having a small wedding and being able to concentrate on the people you were able to invite :)
  • Options
    Thanks for all of the feedback! From what it sounds like, I should keep things small the whole day through. I wish doing a full reception at the park were possible, but there are too many restrictions (no amplified sound, decor, alcohol) and I would end up with a large party after all, which is not what we really want.

    I had no idea about Tiered Receptions before I thought of this idea and hope I didn't come across as rude or "gift-grabby" (in fact, my fiance and I are trying to emphasize that gifts are optional and that we do not really need anything). But I would rather play it safe.

    Anyway, thank you again for the advice! The verdict seems to be unanimous :)
    I understand your intentions here are nothing but goodhearted, but you will find out here that ANY reference to gifts through the invitation are incorrect.  Gifts are ALWAYS optional and saying things like "Your presence is presents enough" implies that had you not said that, a gift would be expected.  This is something I would have never thought of before TK but makes a lot of sense 
  • Options
    Hi everyone! I am curious to know what everyone's thoughts are on whether it is proper/polite to ask acquaintances (such as from work and church) if they would like to attend the ceremony along with a refreshment hour to follow, but not the reception.

    My circumstances are that I was planning a wedding for only our nearest and dearest family and friends and will be hosting dinner at a restaurant with a small capacity. However, the ceremony will be taking place in a public park with lots of space. I have been considering inviting acquaintances from the area and offering light refreshments right after the ceremony - picnic-style foods with cake, soda, and juice for all attendees, sort of like a cocktail hour minus the cocktails. Just as a small expression of gratitude for all who attend. However, a smaller and more intimate number of guests will attend the formal reception, which will have a bigger meal as well as alcohol and music.

    Do you think that this is a good idea or is it best to restrict the ceremony to our smaller party as well? Despite my wishes for a small party, a lot of acquaintances have been enthusiastic about my wedding and I would like them to be a part of our special day with no hurt feelings. Would you feel offended being offered this kind of arrangement?
    Personally, when I get invited to a wedding I'm most excited about the reception... So if I was showing excitement at the prospect of being invited to your wedding, the excitement would mostly be in anticipation of the party at the reception.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Options
    I think if you host a ceremony and cake & punch reception in the park for all your guests, and then want to do dinner for a select few afterwards, there would have to be a pretty significant time in between to make it clear that they are two separate events.  

    For example, do your wedding at 11am, with the reception from 12-2, and then do your dinner at 6 or 7. This way, you aren't leaving directly from the reception to go to the dinner, which your other guests who aren't 'invited' might take offense to.  
  • Options
    I wouldn't do this.  If you want to keep things small and quiet, keep them small and quiet all the way through.  Don't invite people to a cake-and-punch reception immediately after the ceremony that won't be invited to dinner later on.
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards