Wedding Etiquette Forum

Small ceremony with big party/reception after

My fiance and I are planning on having a small ceremony for our wedding.   My fiance does not have parents/grandparents alive to be present and so he would like some of his close friends and their parents to be present.  I have my family (parents, brother and very close friends) coming from across the country.  I think we would be able to keep it under 30 people for the ceremony.  I am interested on opinions of having the ceremony on a Friday afternoon and then having all weekend to celebrate and be around great family and friends.  We live in Colorado and are thinking of a weekend celebration (+ ceremony) in the mountains.  Has anyone been to anything like this??  I think it would be fun for some of my friends that have never been to Colorado to have all weekend to relax and experience it with us.

Re: Small ceremony with big party/reception after

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Your family and close friends may not be able to take off from work to attend a wedding on Friday afternoon.

    I'd move the wedding to the weekend.
  • I got married on Friday of a holiday weekend and it worked really well for me and my family. A few things we did that I’d recommend: 1) talk to your close friends and family first, BEFORE you book anything. If they have little PTO or will need to travel this might not work for you. 2) Don’t start the ceremony before 6pm. Give people time to work that day if they want to. 3) no rehearsal or rehearsal  dinner (or make it casual/easy). That’s two days/nights of asking people for time off during the week. 

    Some other things we felt we needed to do: step up the hosting. If we were having a weekday night wedding we wanted to really host well. So top shelf open bar, tons of apps and good food, valet, late night snacks, etc. And then hosting another event during the weekend. My BIL hosted a BBQ the next day for everyone to drop by. We felt if we were asking people to give up their weekend we should have stuff to do. 
    ei34

  • My fiance and I are planning on having a small ceremony for our wedding.   My fiance does not have parents/grandparents alive to be present and so he would like some of his close friends and their parents to be present.  I have my family (parents, brother and very close friends) coming from across the country.  I think we would be able to keep it under 30 people for the ceremony.  I am interested on opinions of having the ceremony on a Friday afternoon and then having all weekend to celebrate and be around great family and friends.  We live in Colorado and are thinking of a weekend celebration (+ ceremony) in the mountains.  Has anyone been to anything like this??  I think it would be fun for some of my friends that have never been to Colorado to have all weekend to relax and experience it with us.

  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I agree about the whole Friday thing - you need to figure out if that works out with your guests. Also, I am a bit confused about the title of your post. Are you planning on inviting additional people to the party who aren't invited to the ceremony? If that is not what you intend, then you are fine. If you are, your ceremony really isn't small enough by etiquette standards for this to be ok. Technically a small ceremony (immediate family only) followed by a larger reception is acceptable. However, you are planning on having other friends to the ceremony. If people are traveling for a party, they should be invited to the ceremony.

    If I miss interpreted the title of your post, my apologies.
    InLoveInQueensernursejahoyweddingthisismynickname2
  • If you want a full weekend of being together with people that you invite to your ceremony, I would suggest the following:

    Friday Night - welcome party at local pub or house.

    Saturday later afternoon/evening - ceremony and reception

    Sunday - brunch and perhaps a hike in the afternoon

    In saying all that, all opportunities are just that, opportunities. You shouldn't expect guests to attend anything or everything outside the ceremony and immediate reception.

    I had a weekday wedding but the majority were in town and shift workers or those that regular go out in the evening and it worked well for my crowd. It wouldn't have worked well if I was trying to get people together for multiple events over a few days or had people coming in after their last workday (like a Friday evening). Everyone that traveled to my wedding was already coming because of previously planned vacation or were retired.

    Like some PPs, I just want to clarify if you were wanting to have an intimate/small ceremony and invite more people to the party? If so, that is not appropriate. If I misinterpreted that, I'm sorry.

    ahoyweddingNBSquared2017
  • I'm confused - are you inviting other people for the weekend but not to the ceremony? I certainly wouldn't travel to not even see the wedding. 
    NBSquared2017short+sassy
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    My fiance and I are planning on having a small ceremony for our wedding.   My fiance does not have parents/grandparents alive to be present and so he would like some of his close friends and their parents to be present.  I have my family (parents, brother and very close friends) coming from across the country.  I think we would be able to keep it under 30 people for the ceremony.  I am interested on opinions of having the ceremony on a Friday afternoon and then having all weekend to celebrate and be around great family and friends.  We live in Colorado and are thinking of a weekend celebration (+ ceremony) in the mountains.  Has anyone been to anything like this??  I think it would be fun for some of my friends that have never been to Colorado to have all weekend to relax and experience it with us.
    Either it is important to celebrate with all your friends and family or it is not. Your choice is: celebrate with everyone you want to invite, or choose to have an intimate  30 person wedding. You can't do both.

    But you get one day. Please don't do a weekend of tiered events that only some people are invited too. It is a recipe for a logistical nightmare and ruined friendships. 

    If you do your Friday ceremony, you must host everyone immediately afterwards for a meal (especially if people are flying in for it). That is your wedding. Anything held afterwards is not related to your wedding. And you are choosing not to celebrate with the rest of your great family or friends. Which is fine, but you can't be sad about this as it is your choice. 

    If you want to do a bigger event, have a saturday wedding and invite everyone. If cost is an issue, do it more casual. 

    What you can't do is say you want an intimate wedding then be upset that it is considered rude to invite others to later, B-list parties. 

    Either small wedding, or celebrate with everyone- both are fine options. But you have to choose one and stick by it. 

    Own your choice. 
    I agree with LL. No offense but the small ceremony / big celebration never made sense to me at all. Why do you (or anyone considering this plan) want to celebrate your wedding with people you don't want to see your ceremony? Even if budgets were a concern, the ceremony is the cheap part; the celebration/reception is the pricey part. 

    That aside, the mountain resorts would be amazing for a wedding. I'd travel for that (if invited to the ceremony, otherwise, why bother?). The resorts have spas, and if you have the wedding in the shoulder season it would be less expensive, less crowded, and people can go hiking or white water rafting or something while they're there. I like when destination weddings have lots of activities for guests that aren't necessarily "wedding" events- just stuff to do on one's own time besides sit with a frosty at the local Wendy's. 
    ________________________________


    ahoyweddingInLoveInQueensPrettyGirlLost
  • I'm also confused; are you inviting only the 30 people to the ceremony on Friday but then inviting all other guests to come for the weekend? Or is your weekend celebration for only the 30 invited to the ceremony? If it's the latter, no problem. It would be kind of like a DW for your guest, and as long as the events of the weekend are optional, it sounds like a really fun plan! I do agree with PPs about maybe adjusting the timeline so that guest aren't trying to fly in for a Friday night ceremony, but it is kind of a "know your crowd & their schedules" thing. 

    What confuses me is if you invite more guests for the weekend events but not to the ceremony on Friday. I just don't understand the small ceremony/huge party unless it's legit immediate family only and even then it only makes sense if it's local-ish. I personally wouldn't travel for a weekend celebration for a wedding to which I wasn't invited. I'm not a super big fan of planned, group vacations, and would feel even more awkward if I wasn't invited to the wedding. My apologies if that isn't your plan; I couldn't tell from the wording. 
    short+sassyInLoveInQueensSTARMOON44
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    Yeah I don't really get this either. 

    It kind of sounds like you want a ceremony on Friday with 30 people, then more people and another ceremony on Saturday...? 

    Your wedding isn't a weekend festival with performances every night. It's one ceremony, one reception, on one day. Sure you can have other parties like ernursej suggested, but you need to invite everyone to everything and multiple ceremonies just doesn't make any sense unless it's a religious or cultural thing.
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    STARMOON44PrettyGirlLost
  • I'm with the other PPs.  A ceremony with only 30 close friends and family, but then a "destination wedding weekend" for other people who weren't even invited to the actual ceremony is awful and completely ridiculous.  At least, that was my interpretation of your post.

    If I misunderstood and it is all the same group that is invited to the ceremony, then a longer weekend of hanging out with close friends and loved ones does sound nice.  But only if you all understand that some people might prefer to go out and do their own thing.  I also think you should host some of the weekend.  Like a casual cook-out on a different day from the wedding.  Plan and lead a hike on your all's favorite trail.  That kind of thing.

    As an example, I live in NOLA.  But grew up in So. CA. and got married back in my hometown.  Which happens to be a beachside resort town.  Small wedding with 35 guests.  The only people coming from NOLA were ourselves and our BM and his g/f.   5 other guests were family also coming from OOT.  Everyone else was local.  In addition to the wedding on Sat., my mom also hosted a rehearsal dinner on Fri. night and a brunch on Sun., though only family and BM and his g/f were invited to the extra events.

    It WAS great for us!!!  We got to spend so much extra time with family we don't normally see.  But not everyone invited stayed for all or even attended every event.   They also wanted to go out and do their own things.  That was great, too.  I was glad the OOT guests enjoyed other things about their trip, other than just my wedding.

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    ahoyweddingSTARMOON44
  • ei34ei34 member
    Tenth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I think the plan sounds a bit dicey.  Selective ceremony invites really only work if we’re talking a tiny group at the ceremony- like 10 guests max.  If I was invited to only the party and found out that there’d been 30 guests (including parents of friends of the groom) I’d feel very much like I missed the cut.
    I’d also plan one really well-hosted party for everyone to attend, as opposed to several events at different points of the weekend.
    ahoywedding
  • Think about it from your guests perspective you're only inviting to the party part, it's gift-grabby, rude, and who wants to attend a PPD if you're having a second "ceremony" - hint - NO ONE!  They want to see the real deal!  Either have the small 30-person ceremony and party or have the larger wedding that fits your budget and you can invite everyone to both.  The other thing is surprisingly more people will attend the ceremony than attend the reception/cake & punch if that's all you can afford because the main reason for the event is to watch the two of you exchange vows!
    InLoveInQueens
  • LtPowersLtPowers Upstate New York member
    Knottie Warrior 100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    I'm going to buck the trend a bit. I think it's perfectly acceptable to have an intimate wedding ceremony and then celebrate the occasion with all and sundry. For some people, the ceremony is a private affair, but they still want to celebrate with all of their friends and relatives.

    Etiquette is fine with this; the only thing etiquette objects to is the converse: hosting only a small celebration after inviting a larger number to witness the ceremony.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    LtPowers said:
    I'm going to buck the trend a bit. I think it's perfectly acceptable to have an intimate wedding ceremony and then celebrate the occasion with all and sundry. For some people, the ceremony is a private affair, but they still want to celebrate with all of their friends and relatives.

    Etiquette is fine with this; the only thing etiquette objects to is the converse: hosting only a small celebration after   inviting a larger number to witness the ceremony.
    I think that there are some times when bare etiquette falls short of the mark when it comes to treating others graciously. This is such an instance. 
    ShesSoCold
  • maine7mobmaine7mob Maine, USA member
    500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments First Answer
    LtPowers said:
    I'm going to buck the trend a bit. I think it's perfectly acceptable to have an intimate wedding ceremony and then celebrate the occasion with all and sundry. For some people, the ceremony is a private affair, but they still want to celebrate with all of their friends and relatives.

    Etiquette is fine with this; the only thing etiquette objects to is the converse: hosting only a small celebration after inviting a larger number to witness the ceremony.
    It wasn't always the case that inviting a large number to the wedding and a smaller one to the reception was a violation of etiquette. In the 1950s and 60s, people would routinely do this. It was considered an honor to witness the ceremony, so that's what the invitation was for. Those invited to the reception got a reception card in their invitation envelope. My in-laws had a wedding like this in California in 1958, and my parents did in Alabama in 1962.

    More recently, the focus has shifted to the reception, so people feel slighted if they aren't included. For this reason, I agree with you that it's fine to have a small ceremony, especially if it's a religious one, and a large party afterward, but it can be hurtful. Last summer, a friend of my daughter's got married in the state where she went to college and only had a few people (his family, some of her family, and a handful of college friends) there. She later had a large party at her parents' home (in her home state), but to my daughter, it felt like a consolation prize.
  • LtPowers said:
    I'm going to buck the trend a bit. I think it's perfectly acceptable to have an intimate wedding ceremony and then celebrate the occasion with all and sundry. For some people, the ceremony is a private affair, but they still want to celebrate with all of their friends and relatives.

    Etiquette is fine with this; the only thing etiquette objects to is the converse: hosting only a small celebration after inviting a larger number to witness the ceremony.
    It wasn't always the case that inviting a large number to the wedding and a smaller one to the reception was a violation of etiquette. In the 1950s and 60s, people would routinely do this. It was considered an honor to witness the ceremony, so that's what the invitation was for. Those invited to the reception got a reception card in their invitation envelope. My in-laws had a wedding like this in California in 1958, and my parents did in Alabama in 1962.

    More recently, the focus has shifted to the reception, so people feel slighted if they aren't included. For this reason, I agree with you that it's fine to have a small ceremony, especially if it's a religious one, and a large party afterward, but it can be hurtful. Last summer, a friend of my daughter's got married in the state where she went to college and only had a few people (his family, some of her family, and a handful of college friends) there. She later had a large party at her parents' home (in her home state), but to my daughter, it felt like a consolation prize.
    I think some things have shifted for the better.   We know that a ceremony in a house of worship is (most of the time) open to the public.   But we also know that to ask people to show up means you host them.   We wouldn't think of it the other way now.


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