Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions

Small Wedding then Big Party/Reception??

Hello lovely ladies out there. I was just throwing around some ideas about my wedding and wanted some input. Getting married is so important to me and I want to make it a special day for my family, mainly my parents, grooms parents and close brothers and sisters we have. I've never been a fan of huge weddings, but I want my intimate family to be there to watch us say our vows. Would it be OK to have a small wedding, followed by a big party/reception that's not necessarily on the same day or weekend and invite everyone else to just the party? I'm trying to scale back, and I thought it would be more special to have just intimate family there when we are saying our vows, the part that is the most important, then having a casual get-together. The casual get-together would include our extended family, friends and basically anyone else who wants to come. Nothing formal (which is totally not me anyways), just a good time with some good food. What do you other knotties think about this? Is it s a good move? Not to mention i'm a little concerned about my extended family being very inconsiderate at my wedding. Would a more casual party be better? PLEASE let me know your thoughts. I'm flexible and open to suggestions! THANKS!

Re: Small Wedding then Big Party/Reception??

  • The most "accepted" way to do this is a VERY small ceremony (pretty much just parents, siblings, maybe grandparents and kids if that applies). I personally wouldn't feel offended if there were a couple close friends too, but some people look down on that.

    As for the reception, what you're describing sounds great! If you're not doing it right after the ceremony, a lot of people frown upon the typical reception things such as the first dance, wedding party, wearing your dress, etc. But it doesn't sound like that's what you're looking for. It's totally fine to have a celebration with whoever you want!
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  • This is what we did.  We had a small wedding - parents, siblings + spouses (12 people total).  Ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner on the beach.  We married in Bermuda.

    A few weeks later, we had a big party in our current city for extended family and friends.  I wore my gown for about an hour then changed.  I'll tell you that I felt like an idiot in it, but many people were thrilled to see it.  We didn't do anything else wedding-y except cutting cake.  It was mainly just a big party with good food and drink. 

    If you want to do this, keep two things in mind:

    1. Ceremony / wedding must be VERY small.  No more than 15 people and immediate family ONLY.  Not parents, siblings, a friend or two and your favorite aunt.  You have to draw that line at the wedding.

    2. Reception numbers should be ~ 10x the ceremony number.  Our wedding was 12 and our reception was 125. 

    Good luck!
  • We are going to a reception next weekend that is the day after their very private ceremony. I can tell you, as a guest, it doesn't bother me one bit. And I hope she wears her wedding dress!
  • thanks everyone for the input! lots to think about!
  • I have only experienced a friend's family-only wedding followed by a large reception. Only 8 people showed up for the reception. In our area, if you don't think enough of someone to invite them to the wedding, they won't show up for the reception. Please know that many people will feel offended and left out and will blow off your reception/ party.
  • hoffsehoffse member
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    I'd probably blow off the reception party because to me the ceremony is my favorite part, unless you're having a really fun live band at your reception.  Most people don't though, and if the invitation suggested that your reception was going to be pretty casual, I probably wouldn't bother.  I think it's a know your crowd type thing as to whether people would still want to participate after the fact.
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  • I love this idea!
    My fiancé and I always knew we didn't want a big wedding.  We are holding an intimate ceremony at my mom's house on the river (parents, grandparents, siblings) and the next weekend, we are throwing a big party.  The key is that this is NOT a reception, but just a very casual celebration (my family loves throwing big blow out parties). If it were up to me, we would ONLY have the small ceremony but we both have very large families that want to celebrate with us.  I am not allowing any pre-wedding parties (showers, engagement parties, etc) because I feel like it is rude to invite people to gift giving parties if they are not invited to the wedding.  Also, I am not registering or asking for gifts, although I know there are people who will give anyway.  
    I was hesitant about doing this, but after talking to so many family members and seeing that everyone is alright with our plans, we are going forth with it.  I think it all depends on your crowd.  We both have such wonderful families that know how we are so everyone understands and loves us. 
    Also, where I'm from, the best part of a wedding is the reception because they are basically just a huge party anyway, so people generally don't mind skipping the ceremony!
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  • You say you're 'trying to scale back' but the reception is the expensive part anyway. I would just skip inviting people who would be 'inconsiderate.' Who needs that?
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  • This post is over two years old!  The OP is long gone!  Please don't dig up zombie posts.  Start a new one if you have a question, please!

    @Knotporscha Please close this zombie thread.
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