Etiquette

Small Ceremony & Dinner... open to everyone for reception?

Just wondering how you would go about having family and only very close friends at the ceremony and dinner and then opening up the venue to other friends for the reception to celebrate with us.  I know this isn't traditional, but our entire budget is $3000.  The venue can only hold about 50 people, so I'm really torn about this, also do we have a dance or not. His side of the family doesn't drink, mine does.... so many questions I don't even know where to start.

We were going to provide a couple of bottles of wine per table with dinner, but then everything else is cash bar. ( I know how most of you feel about that, but we are both students and can't afford anything else)

Please provide friendly responses only.  We can't help that we have a very small budget.

Thank you for your thoughts. Smile

Re: Small Ceremony & Dinner... open to everyone for reception?

  • No can do


    Have a cake & punch reception that you can afford

    GL
  • ricksangricksang member
    10000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited February 2012
    You should  not have a tiered wedding, it's tacky. Cash bars don't bother me but in some areas they are a no-no. I am from New Orleans and a cash bar would have been tacky.
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  • JCB that wasn't a friendly face, now was it? :P
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  • Another problem is directly after the wedding we are moving to the other side of the country, so part of wanting to open the reception is to see friends that we aren't super close with but still want to visit with before we move.

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_small-ceremony-dinner-open-to-everyone-for-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:b6a4be57-07ce-4094-8bfd-dfff9cee1250Post:6c4c5d80-2524-417b-8255-7060771204c3">Re: Small Ceremony & Dinner... open to everyone for reception?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Another problem is directly after the wedding we are moving to the other side of the country, so part of wanting to open the reception is to see friends that we aren't super close with but still want to visit with before we move.
    Posted by girardsc[/QUOTE]
    Have a night out with friends one night and invite people out to party. You can't invite some people to the "good reception" and then others to the downgraded reception, it will make them feel second rate.
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  • aragx6aragx6 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited February 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_small-ceremony-dinner-open-to-everyone-for-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:b6a4be57-07ce-4094-8bfd-dfff9cee1250Post:6c4c5d80-2524-417b-8255-7060771204c3">Re: Small Ceremony & Dinner... open to everyone for reception?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Another problem is directly after the wedding we are moving to the other side of the country, <strong>so part of wanting to open the reception is to see friends that we aren't super close with but still want to visit with before we move.
    </strong>Posted by girardsc[/QUOTE]

    If you do what you're planning right now you will likely offend all these people right before moving away. I suspect that's not what you want and as such I urge you to reconsider this plan. If you really want to see everyone, a casual wedding with cake and punch in a park would be a great idea!
    Lizzie
  • Scale down. You don't need to have anything fancy if you cant afford it. If you want everyone there, scale down. If you want a fancy wedding, make sacrifices with who you can invite. Its not the end of the world. I am sure your close friends would rather enjoy a night out with you before you move instead of a huge party with people they don't know where they would probably be able to spend maybe 5 minutes with you.
  • It is very rude to invite people to the end of the reception, not to the ceremony or the dinner.  Invite the people you can afford to have, to everything.
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  • I like the idea of a going away party, as a separate event, but don't have the time to do both. I will be away in school until a week before the wedding, coming home just for it and then going directly back across the country to school.

    I don't want to offend everyone, that's why I was looking for other people's thoughts before I made any decision. Guess it will have to be just close friends and family.  Others can see us off before the wedding if it works I guess :(  I hate being short of time!
  • edited February 2012
    Have a ceremony and reception you can afford and invite everyone. Tiered receptions are rude. You can have it at a non-meal time and do cake and punch only. With no alcohol, no full meal, no appetizers, this would be quite affordable.

    Then on a separate day, you can have a going away party to say goodbye to your friends and family before moving. Don't make it about your wedding; make it a get-together to see people before leaving. Problem solved.

    ETA: We posted at the same time. So if you are only flying in for the week of the wedding, I'm assuming you already moved across country? Yeah, the going away party boat would have sailed then. I thought you were saying you would be moving across country after your wedding. You could still do the cake and punch reception to invite everyone and save on costs.


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  • ceh789ceh789 member
    1000 Comments First Anniversary
    edited February 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_small-ceremony-dinner-open-to-everyone-for-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:b6a4be57-07ce-4094-8bfd-dfff9cee1250Post:ac877c0c-51b5-4d9c-8c1b-e1896bd24a3b">Small Ceremony & Dinner... open to everyone for reception?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Just wondering how you would go about having family and only very close friends at the ceremony and dinner and then opening up the venue to other friends for the reception to celebrate with us.  I know this isn't traditional, but our entire budget is $3000 .  The venue can only hold about 50 people, so I'm really torn about this, also do we have a dance or not. His side of the family doesn't drink, mine does.... so many questions I don't even know where to start. We were going to provide a couple of bottles of wine per table with dinner, but then everything else is cash bar. ( I know how most of you feel about that, but we are both students and can't afford anything else) <strong>Please provide friendly responses only.  We can't help that we have a very small budget.</strong> Thank you for your thoughts.
    Posted by girardsc[/QUOTE]
    Why are you posting if you don't want people to disagree with you?
  • We already have the invitations, wedding at 2 dinner at 5, no mention of reception at all because we were undecided when we ordered them.

    I'm just looking for other people's thoughts. I've never planned a wedding before and only been to two before.  Its not something I spent a lot of time thinking about prior to getting engaged, this is why I'm asking, but I don't need snarky rude comments, you can say your piece but there is a LOT to be said about tact!

    Thank you to those of you who showed some. :)
  • You have 2 options

    1) Invite everyone and have a cake and punch reception (this should take place out side of the normal meal time i.e. 2-5 or 8-11 or 12

    or

    2) Have the smaller more elaborate wedding for the 50 people only. (With either dry, beer & wine or open bar as you can afford. No cash bar).

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  • Whatcha gonna do with your guests between the ceremony and the dinner? 
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  • If I were you I would have a wedding later in the day and then have a reception that serves cake and drinks, like a desert hour. I had a friend who got married at 7pm and then had a reception like I mentioned above. That way everyone could be invited to everything and still stay within budget. After the desert hour they had dancing. It was a lot of fun and everyone had a great time. Just my opinion.
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  • You blew it on getting the invites already.  Had you browsed around or asked first, this would have been easily solved.  You could have done a ceremony at 2, immediate cake and punch reception for all, expecting them to scooch at dinner time and voila!  Easy peasy.  Everyone could come see you marry, have a couple drinks (limit to punch and wine, maybe cheap domestic beer) and dessert. 

    Instead, you're going to offend and hurt people right before you move and well.... say goodbye to your friendships.  I'm a student and we're inviting everyone to all parts of the wedding.
  • I think it's trying to have your cake and eat it too. 

    Have a large wedding with just cake/punch/snacks/whatever in mid afternoon.  Or late evening 8pm or later and just cake and champagne. Or have a mid-evening reception with dinner, but only invite a few people. Don't try to have it both ways. Don't invite some people to only part of the day. 
  • I have about the same budget and guests as you and everyone I invited to the ceremony is invited to the reception which is going to be dinner.  We made some decisions on what we didn't need and looked around for deals on what we needed.   
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    The dinner is your reception - it's when you're receiving (hence the name) and hosting your guests as a thank you for attending your wedding ceremony.  You can't invite some people to part of the reception (dinner) and not others.  You can't invite people to come to the reception after the dinner if they're not invited to the dinner itself.

    You have to decide what's more important to you - spending time with your wider circle of friends and family before you leave town with lighter refreshments, or having an intimate dinner with your closest friends and family.  You can't have your cake and eat it too with this.  You can easily do a cake and punch reception between 2:30/3 and 5 for all of your guests (NOT followed by a dinner for only some), keeping your 2 pm ceremony time.  You can chuck your current invitations and get something cheap from Vistaprint, as well, so you're not stuck with the information as it's given on the invitation at the moment.  It's rude to have a gap anyway.



  • Actually, what you are describing is not rude by British wedding standards. I attended a relatives wedding there and they did the ceremony in the early afternoon followed by the Wedding Breakfast (really a mid-afternoon formal dinner) for about 50. Then around 8 or so it was the reception part for a much larger crowdwith a cash bar, DJ and some light snacks. There were people at the church who weren't at the Breakfast and were only invited to the reception. It seemed to work. I was very impressed. Whatever you choose to do, just be prepared to deal with the grumbling. Someone will moan regardless of your decision (tiered, only doing something small, having light refreshments, cash bar, etc). Stand firm and own it. And good luck!!!
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  • For someone sooo worried about TACT...you are not going to be showing any of it if you do what you are considering.
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