Wedding Etiquette Forum

Small ceremony then big reception - 2 questions

2 quick questions.

If you have a small ceremony (I do mean small, a handful of people) and then a larger reception is it okay to...

1) split families up - say invite Joan and James to ceremony but only invite their children (lets say) to the reception 
2) Invite someone to ceremony and then offer them a +1 to reception (I dont necessarily just mean a stranger but also maybe someone they have only just started dating)
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Re: Small ceremony then big reception - 2 questions

  • 2 quick questions.

    If you have a small ceremony (I do mean small, a handful of people) and then a larger reception is it okay to...

    1) split families up - say invite Joan and James to ceremony but only invite their children (lets say) to the reception 
    2) Invite someone to ceremony and then offer them a +1 to reception (I dont necessarily just mean a stranger but also maybe someone they have only just started dating)

    I think this complicates things. How are the parents supposed to get the children there? And then someone's date has to drive separately?
    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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  • AddieL73 said:
    2 quick questions.

    If you have a small ceremony (I do mean small, a handful of people) and then a larger reception is it okay to...

    1) split families up - say invite Joan and James to ceremony but only invite their children (lets say) to the reception 
    2) Invite someone to ceremony and then offer them a +1 to reception (I dont necessarily just mean a stranger but also maybe someone they have only just started dating)

    I think this complicates things. How are the parents supposed to get the children there? And then someone's date has to drive separately?
    Maybe the children/dates could wait outside in the car during the ceremony?
  • If I were either a family with children only invited to half, or someone's SO that wasn't invited to the ceremony, I wouldn't like that and probably wouldn't go.  Logistically it makes things very awkward for your guests (like PPs said, who will drive the kids to the reception?) and seems to put your desire for a very small ceremony over the comfort of your guests.

    Honestly, I understand wanting your wedding ceremony to be intimate.. but I don't think it's worth it to do this to your guests - especially if there are any that will be traveling to see you get married.
  • When you do this sort of arrangement, the ceremony should be immediate family only, and the reception much larger.  

    Either invite the kids or don't.  Anyone in a relationship (even if it's new, as you suggest) should be invited with their SO to both the ceremony and the wedding.  If you're talking about extending a +1 to truly single people, either give the +1 for both or don't give it at all.  
  • Jen4948Jen4948 member
    First Anniversary First Answer First Comment 5 Love Its
    edited January 2014
    I think that logistically, if you're inviting the parents to both the ceremony and the reception and you want to invite the kids at all, you need to invite them to the whole thing-even if you want it to be intimate-because it's just too much trouble to expect kids to wait outside.  And for safety reasons, I think many parents won't be okay with that.

    Nor should you give +1s for only part of the event.
  • FWIW, the "small ceremony, big reception" thing is ONLY ok if the ceremony is very very small (as in only immediate family with their SOs and your wedding party).  The function of a reception is to thank your guests for coming to the ceremony, so if they're not there it almost seems pointless.  Additionally, many people view the ceremony as the most important part of the day, and wouldn't want to come to a reception if they couldn't witness the marriage. 

     

    The general feeling is that if you ceremony is like 15 people and your reception 200, it's fine to do this.  However, if you're planning a ceremony for 50 and a reception for 75, that's offensive to the very few that weren't invited to the ceremony.

     

    Don't split families/SOs on invitations - invite all people within a family/SO to the same events.  You can't split SOs no matter what, and due to logistics, it doesn't make sense to excluse children from one part but not the other.

  • You don't do this. It is terribly rude.

    What is your rational for doing this?

    In Addition, how on earth would you even send invitations like this? You send a different one for ceremony and then a different one for receptions? Making it even MORE clear to a family that it is a tiered reception?


    HORRIBLY idea
  • If you're having a small ceremony, have a small ceremony. DH and I invited only 5 people to our ceremony, each of our parents, and the photographer. You can't tier your reception, because that is a no-no. So you have to really consider who you want there, even though it may hurt feelings. But I think only inviting some people such as one half of a couple is a no-no.
  • delujm0 said:

    FWIW, the "small ceremony, big reception" thing is ONLY ok if the ceremony is very very small (as in only immediate family with their SOs and your wedding party).  The function of a reception is to thank your guests for coming to the ceremony, so if they're not there it almost seems pointless.  Additionally, many people view the ceremony as the most important part of the day, and wouldn't want to come to a reception if they couldn't witness the marriage. 

     

    The general feeling is that if you ceremony is like 15 people and your reception 200, it's fine to do this.  However, if you're planning a ceremony for 50 and a reception for 75, that's offensive to the very few that weren't invited to the ceremony.

     

    Don't split families/SOs on invitations - invite all people within a family/SO to the same events.  You can't split SOs no matter what, and due to logistics, it doesn't make sense to excluse children from one part but not the other.

    To the bolded--for a "private" ceremony, I would keep it immediate family and not have a wedding party.
  • OP- what is your rationale for having a private ceremony anyway? The reception will then be the same day?  I've been to AH receptions, where the bride and groom had a DW, one was a private ceremony with immediate family only, and one where the bride and groom got married in Hawaii and not everyone could attend. I've never had anyone I know have a private ceremony, and then havie a big reception that same day.
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  • 2 quick questions.

    If you have a small ceremony (I do mean small, a handful of people) and then a larger reception is it okay to...

    1) split families up - say invite Joan and James to ceremony but only invite their children (lets say) to the reception 
    2) Invite someone to ceremony and then offer them a +1 to reception (I dont necessarily just mean a stranger but also maybe someone they have only just started dating)
    1) if they adult kids then that would be okay.   Underage kids, no. It would be too much of an inconvenient  for the parents.

    2)  No, just no.  


    I'm all okay with private ceremonies, but not at the expense and inconvenience of the guests you are including.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • Thanks.
    We are just playing with ideas at the moment.

    @laurynm84 - We care more about the reception than the 'I dos', I dont want everyone watching and listening to me and where planning on just the legal 5 minute ceremony 
    @lyndausvi - Adult kids and teens, no kid under 14 (excusing maybe one baby in arms which I'm not counting, doesnt need a stick)
    @jessicabessica @deannagirly @delujm0 @Jen4948 - We mean a small immediate family ceremony which would be about 13. 

    Thanks.
    I just dont want all our guests watching us get married - hmmm
  • I just can't wrap my head round inconveniencing the few guests you do want there by excluding their date and/or minor children so these few people can't see you?  It's weird.  
      

    IDK, if you don't want their date, don't invite them either.  It's pretty easy. Although for me, if they are close enough to be one of a very select few invite then you should just suck up and invite the date also. In the grand scheme of things it's not something I think is worth fighting over.

    As far as the kids, that is a little tricker.  I'm not sure the relationship of the one with kids are to you.   I think knowing that would help me respond better.   For example,  if you are inviting say only aunts and uncles, but one set has minor kids in their teens I can see not including them.  You can pull the only aunts and uncles are invited card saying it would not be fair that all the other cousins are not invited.   







    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • lyndausvi said:
    I just can't wrap my head round inconveniencing the few guests you do want there by excluding their date and/or minor children so these few people can't see you?  It's weird.  
      

    IDK, if you don't want their date, don't invite them either.  It's pretty easy. Although for me, if they are close enough to be one of a very select few invite then you should just suck up and invite the date also. In the grand scheme of things it's not something I think is worth fighting over.

    As far as the kids, that is a little tricker.  I'm not sure the relationship of the one with kids are to you.   I think knowing that would help me respond better.   For example,  if you are inviting say only aunts and uncles, but one set has minor kids in their teens I can see not including them.  You can pull the only aunts and uncles are invited card saying it would not be fair that all the other cousins are not invited.   

    It's not a few if it was kids as well we would be hitting nearly 30 and at that point having a private ceremony becomes obsolete.

    Thanks
  • My DH's cousin had the same issue.   They just decided to have siblings, parents, MOH and BM (and their SO/date).  Adding the Aunt/uncle generation made the list jump up too much.

    Either accept 30 as the number (which is not horrible) or cut a circle.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • .
    I just dont want all our guests watching us get married - hmmm

    Forgive me for asking what may be a stupid question, but...if you don't want people watching you get married, then why are you having a wedding at all? Elope just the two of you or with your parents (or get married privately at home) and all this becomes a non-issue. If you don't want them watching, don't invite them.
  • .I just dont want all our guests watching us get married - hmmm
    Forgive me for asking what may be a stupid question, but...if you don't want people watching you get married, then why are you having a wedding at all? Elope just the two of you or with your parents (or get married privately at home) and all this becomes a non-issue. If you don't want them watching, don't invite them.


    @RebeccaB88 - I dont want to be watched, I idea terrifies me. But we want to see everyone and have the big party - it is important to us (and to our families) 


    lyndausvi said:
    My DH's cousin had the same issue.   They just decided to have siblings, parents, MOH and BM (and their SO/date).  Adding the Aunt/uncle generation made the list jump up too much.

    Either accept 30 as the number (which is not horrible) or cut a circle.
    The 30 (counting children) is the samllest circle we have without just having our parents
    I thought having 30 people watching you get married made the private ceremony vs receptions guests not viable as it became too big
  • .I just dont want all our guests watching us get married - hmmm
    Forgive me for asking what may be a stupid question, but...if you don't want people watching you get married, then why are you having a wedding at all? Elope just the two of you or with your parents (or get married privately at home) and all this becomes a non-issue. If you don't want them watching, don't invite them.


    @RebeccaB88 - I dont want to be watched, I idea terrifies me. But we want to see everyone and have the big party - it is important to us (and to our families) 


    lyndausvi said:
    My DH's cousin had the same issue.   They just decided to have siblings, parents, MOH and BM (and their SO/date).  Adding the Aunt/uncle generation made the list jump up too much.

    Either accept 30 as the number (which is not horrible) or cut a circle.
    The 30 (counting children) is the samllest circle we have without just having our parents
    I thought having 30 people watching you get married made the private ceremony vs receptions guests not viable as it became too big
    These are really just guidelines.  Everyone's family is different in size so it's pretty silly to think every couple's guest list can fit it into some random number.     For example, If we only invited parents, siblings + SO and nieces and nephews our count would be 20 people.   That is just immediate family.    My best friend's would be 6 because she only has 1 sibling and married an only child.

    Sure 30 people is a little on the higher end, but if it really just immediate family then don't sweat it.   It appears you have drawn a very clear and sensible line. You can't help that your family(s) are larger than others.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • If I were invited to a wedding and my SO only invited to the reception, I would only go to the reception myself.

    I cannot speak on behalf of your friends or family though.

    But I am a bit appalled by your "they can sit in the car!" Comment, and that does seem a bit offensive (if someone said that to me I'd seriously reconsider attending any part of the wedding or reception, as it does strike me as quite a bit rude, not to mention insulting - my partner is not a dog!).

    I can relate to only wanting a few eyes to watch such an intimate moment (me and my Fi are feeling the same way!). Maybe consider having some sort of activity (like a cocktail hour...or a cocktail dozen minutes, lol) for these guests? That way they don't feel pushed out into the street? Although it still seems quite off to me.
  • Why can't you elope, come home and throw a party (maybe a bbq or picnic) but don't slap the name "reception" on it, don't wear your wedding dress and just treat it like a family get together? Less awkward and not all the attention will be focused on you, which will most definitely happen at a wedding reception (not just the ceremony) and at the party if anyone asks "How is your life?" you can respond with "Great! Mr. Husband and I just got married! How are your kids/wife/husband/etc?"

    This way it will be less awkward for you and less uncomfortable and you would not be breaking ettiquite. If anyone asks why you didn't have a big ceremony, you can say your FH and you really preferred the quiet and more close atmosphere of a small ceremony.

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  •  But I am a bit appalled by your "they can sit in the car!" Comment, 
    I didnt say that - someone else did and I think they were joking 

    Why can't you elope, come home and throw a party (maybe a bbq or picnic) but don't slap the name "reception" on it, don't wear your wedding dress and just treat it like a family get together? Less awkward and not all the attention will be focused on you, which will most definitely happen at a wedding reception (not just the ceremony) and at the party if anyone asks "How is your life?" you can respond with "Great! Mr. Husband and I just got married! How are your kids/wife/husband/etc?"

    This way it will be less awkward for you and less uncomfortable and you would not be breaking ettiquite. If anyone asks why you didn't have a big ceremony, you can say your FH and you really preferred the quiet and more close atmosphere of a small ceremony.

    FH is from SA and so has no family over here, so we cant just throw a party as his family couldnt just come for a party, it would need to be way more wedding-y
    (he also wants to see his parents and siblings see him get married as well)
  • I think if you want a small ceremony I'd go with option 1 but it needs to be immediate family and bp. As for option 2 I find it rude also but I can understand not wanting small children screaming or crying during the ceremony so what I would do is provide a sitter and let parents know it's an option but don't require them to utilize the baby sitter as you are inviting the kids
  •  But I am a bit appalled by your "they can sit in the car!" Comment, 
    I didnt say that - someone else did and I think they were joking 

    Why can't you elope, come home and throw a party (maybe a bbq or picnic) but don't slap the name "reception" on it, don't wear your wedding dress and just treat it like a family get together? Less awkward and not all the attention will be focused on you, which will most definitely happen at a wedding reception (not just the ceremony) and at the party if anyone asks "How is your life?" you can respond with "Great! Mr. Husband and I just got married! How are your kids/wife/husband/etc?"

    This way it will be less awkward for you and less uncomfortable and you would not be breaking ettiquite. If anyone asks why you didn't have a big ceremony, you can say your FH and you really preferred the quiet and more close atmosphere of a small ceremony.

    FH is from SA and so has no family over here, so we cant just throw a party as his family couldnt just come for a party, it would need to be way more wedding-y
    (he also wants to see his parents and siblings see him get married as well)
    This is just sad to me.  Your poor FH.  His family will not travel to a casual celebration of marriage, only to a formal wedding?  Really if he said to them, we are having a private ceremony and then a celebration of our marriage at home, they wouldn't come?  But they would come for a big poofy reception?  Ouch.
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    "I'm not a rude bitch.  I'm ten rude bitches in a large coat."

  • scribe95 said:

    I kind of get that. People definitely travel for weddings. But would I go out of state, take off work etc for a bbq? Probably not.

    Same here. I'd send my regards but having something informal makes it, well, less formal.
  • lyndausvilyndausvi mod
    First Anniversary First Answer 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited January 2014

    I kind of get that. People definitely travel for weddings. But would I go out of state, take off work etc for a bbq? Probably not.
    Same here. I'd send my regards but having something informal makes it, well, less formal.
    Most importantly her FI WANTS his family there to witness the ceremony. 

    It's also speculation if they would come or not.   As a host I wouldn't dream of asking my future-in-laws to fly more than halfway up to another hemisphere to attend a casual backyard BBQ for a wedding I wouldn't let them attend.    Since I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing my guests never had the chance to decline or not.

    There is also middle ground from a backyard BBQ and a big, huge expensive wedding.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • Amyzen83 said:
    I think if you want a small ceremony I'd go with option 1 but it needs to be immediate family and bp. As for option 2 I find it rude also but I can understand not wanting small children screaming or crying during the ceremony so what I would do is provide a sitter and let parents know it's an option but don't require them to utilize the baby sitter as you are inviting the kids
    I don't get why people seem to think that small children = screaming and crying. My SO's family is GIGANTIC with a million kids under the age of 5 and we've attended plenty of family functions without hearing a peep from them. Seriously, the possibility of an adult's cell phone ringing--not to mention them getting up and answering it--is just as obnoxious and probably even more likely. 
  • @JellyBean52513 I completely agree. I've got some little family members who raise hell on a regular basis, but for every one of them, there are two little family members who are better behaved than the vast majority of people I interact with on a daily basis.
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  • Amyzen83 said:
    I think if you want a small ceremony I'd go with option 1 but it needs to be immediate family and bp. As for option 2 I find it rude also but I can understand not wanting small children screaming or crying during the ceremony so what I would do is provide a sitter and let parents know it's an option but don't require them to utilize the baby sitter as you are inviting the kids
    I don't get why people seem to think that small children = screaming and crying. My SO's family is GIGANTIC with a million kids under the age of 5 and we've attended plenty of family functions without hearing a peep from them. Seriously, the possibility of an adult's cell phone ringing--not to mention them getting up and answering it--is just as obnoxious and probably even more likely. 
    This.  100%.  I had several children under 4.  Not a peep during the ceremony.  (Or any ruckus during the reception, for that matter.)
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