• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO
Etiquette

Private Ceremony / Open Reception

Hello All, 

My fiancé and I are considering a courthouse or a private ceremony, a quick vow exchange and rings then snap a few photos. Then having an open reception with buffet dinner for everyone else. From what I have been hearing and reading private ceremonies its hard to know what the proper etiquette is.

My fiancé and I orginall planned to elope out with just the two of us, however our plans changed to having a initiate ceremony. We were planning on having parents, grandparents, and wedding party (which my sister is my MOH and my cousin is a Bridesmaid). Now I didn't know if wedding party is the proper etiquette or not at a private ceremony. 

We are absolutely prepared to have some upset and disappointed friends and family members about not attending the ceremony.

thanks everyone! 

Best Answer

Re: Private Ceremony / Open Reception

  • I've been reading up to ensure the other guests are OK with our decision. Any helpful tips are welcome, please share!
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I've been reading up to ensure the other guests are OK with our decision. Any helpful tips are welcome, please share!
    Taking you at your word.

    1) Don't invite anyone to a "wedding" related event who isn't invited to the wedding itself. That means, turn down offers for showers, b-parties, and any other events with the word "wedding" in the title or that suggest that they are wedding-related.

    2) Don't register for gifts. If someone wants to give you a gift, that's certainly okay, but registering does suggest that you are open to more people being at the wedding than you say that you are.

    3) Omit certain wedding traditions like spotlight dances and cake cutting at your later celebration. The boat will have sailed on that.

    4) Keep photos of the actual ceremony and hospitality offered to actual wedding guests off social media. And don't display them at your celebration. Limit their availability to people who are at the actual events.
    redwoodoriginalInLoveInQueensCasadenaPrettyGirlLost
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited August 2017
    lyndausvi said:
    Jen4948 said:
    I've been reading up to ensure the other guests are OK with our decision. Any helpful tips are welcome, please share!
    Taking you at your word.

    1) Don't invite anyone to a "wedding" related event who isn't invited to the wedding itself. That means, turn down offers for showers, b-parties, and any other events with the word "wedding" in the title or that suggest that they are wedding-related.

    2) Don't register for gifts. If someone wants to give you a gift, that's certainly okay, but registering does suggest that you are open to more people being at the wedding than you say that you are.

    3) Omit certain wedding traditions like spotlight dances and cake cutting at your later celebration. The boat will have sailed on that.

    4) Keep photos of the actual ceremony and hospitality offered to actual wedding guests off social media. And don't display them at your celebration. Limit their availability to people who are at the actual events.
    I don't agree with the bold.    The reception guests are there to celebrate the wedding.   Seems odd to ban photos of said ceremony.    

    Plenty of my social media friends have gotten married and I was not invited.   I still like seeing the pictures.  


    That's just it. Since they weren't invited to the wedding, putting those pictures on display may come across as a smack in the face to the non-wedding guests.

    You may enjoy seeing the photos of a ceremony you weren't invited to at a later "celebration" but that isn't the case for everyone.
  • We are not looking to do anything that is "standard" or "traditional" at all the reception like cake cutting, dances, and entrances. 

    Regarding gift registry that's OK with us, since in the first place since we consider ourselves minimalists. However my sister who is the MOH insists that she throws a Bridal shower. I don't want to offend anyone... 

    Regarding photos what about sending a photo at the ceremony in with the Thank You cards?
  • What about posting photos photos of the reception on social media?
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    We are not looking to do anything that is "standard" or "traditional" at all the reception like cake cutting, dances, and entrances. 

    Regarding gift registry that's OK with us, since in the first place since we consider ourselves minimalists. However my sister who is the MOH insists that she throws a Bridal shower. I don't want to offend anyone... 

    Regarding photos what about sending a photo at the ceremony in with the Thank You cards?

    Photos from the "post-wedding celebration" would be okay, but I would not include ceremony photos in thank-you notes to party guests who were not invited to the ceremony.
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    banana468 said:
    Jen4948 said:
    lyndausvi said:
    Jen4948 said:
    I've been reading up to ensure the other guests are OK with our decision. Any helpful tips are welcome, please share!
    Taking you at your word.

    1) Don't invite anyone to a "wedding" related event who isn't invited to the wedding itself. That means, turn down offers for showers, b-parties, and any other events with the word "wedding" in the title or that suggest that they are wedding-related.

    2) Don't register for gifts. If someone wants to give you a gift, that's certainly okay, but registering does suggest that you are open to more people being at the wedding than you say that you are.

    3) Omit certain wedding traditions like spotlight dances and cake cutting at your later celebration. The boat will have sailed on that.

    4) Keep photos of the actual ceremony and hospitality offered to actual wedding guests off social media. And don't display them at your celebration. Limit their availability to people who are at the actual events.
    I don't agree with the bold.    The reception guests are there to celebrate the wedding.   Seems odd to ban photos of said ceremony.    

    Plenty of my social media friends have gotten married and I was not invited.   I still like seeing the pictures.  


    That's just it. Since they weren't invited to the wedding, putting those pictures on display may come across as a smack in the face to the non-wedding guests.

    You may enjoy seeing the photos of a ceremony you weren't invited to at a later "celebration" but that isn't the case for everyone.
    I don't know.   If I was going to be put off about seeing photos of a wedding ceremony at a reception I probably wouldn't be the type to attend the reception either.  
    exactly.

    Who would attend a party celebrating a marriage and get offended by seeing pictures of said 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. 
    JediElizabethSP29
  • You have received some good advice so far except for the photos. You defiantly want to have photos of the ceremony at the reception if possible. I have been to several at home receptions and one delayed reception for a private ceremony and I expect to see photos of the ceremonies, I love it. If it is the same day ceremony/reception maybe that expectation is lower but even for a next day reception I would love to see some digital images on a computer off to the side somewhere. I have seen some lovely ceremony albums at the at home receptions because they often take place several weeks/months after the ceremony.    

    I am at these receptions to help celebrate the marriage, I want to see photos of the marriage ceremony I am helping to celebrate! Anyone who would be offended at seeing marriage ceremony photos has no business being at the reception to celebrate that marriage
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited August 2017
    Here is the traditional wording for your invitation:

    The pleasure of your company is requested
    at the wedding reception of
    Bride's Full Name
    and
    Groom's Full Name
    Day, date
    at two o'clock
    Venue Name
    123 Maple Street
    Anytown, Iowa

    You then insert this card for the people who will be invited to your ceremony.  (Close family members only!)

    The pleasure of your company is requested
    at the marriage ceremony
    One o'clock
    Brown County Courthouse
                                                         Anytown, Iowa

    No showers.  No bachelorette parties.  You give them up when you decide to have a private ceremony.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    InLoveInQueensSP29
  • Thank you everyone this has been helpful!
    SP29
  • Ditto PPs. My cousin had a similar wedding (immediate family only ceremony in a park, then larger reception). It was great! 

    She's not on social media, but she did email our family a few pictures of the ceremony, as well as the pictures of us all from the photo "booth" setup they had. No one felt slighted not being invited to the ceremony, because we knew it was just their immediate family, and we did enjoy seeing the pictures. 

    But also decline a shower (which it sounds like you're going to). If your sister wants to host something, a non-gift event like a lunch would possibly be okay. I had another cousin who did a BBQ for their families to meet before the wedding, but again no gifts. That was really fun!
Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards