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Bianca
Master August 2019 Ontario

Invitation Only to the Ceremony

Bianca, on April 10, 2018 at 22:38 Posted in Plan a wedding 0 37
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An engaged friend and I were recently talking about our guest list and talks came up about inviting people to the ceremony only. We both have our own opinions on the matter, but I'm curious what everyone else thinks.

Is it okay?

Is it rude?

What would you do if you had a guest who you knew wouldn't want to come to the reception (age, not knowing anyone, etc.), but you felt was important enough to be at the ceremony?


Invitation Only to the Ceremony 1


37 Comments

Latest activity by Bianca, on September 17, 2018 at 00:49
  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    That's a really good approach to it. Just be sure that your family who is going to the reception tells your friends (who ask) that it is just for family only. Otherwise someone is sure to get the wrong idea about things.

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  • Janaya
    Expert August 2019 Saskatchewan
    Janaya ·
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    Me? I haven't shared any details with anyone who hasn't been invited to the reception as well.
    Anyone who won't be invited to the reception wont get details on it - and if they ask we will be honest that we are only having family at the reception. Our budget just doesn't allow us to have a lot of people
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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    You're definitely right that people can do whatever they want with their wedding! Question for you, are you being open with your friends that there is a reception going on afterwards that they're not invited to? I'm just curious if it's something that's out in the open or not.

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  • Janaya
    Expert August 2019 Saskatchewan
    Janaya ·
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    We plan on inviting all of our friends and family to the ceremony, however only family will be attending our reception as we dont have the money to feed everyone we would like to have there. I dont think its rude at all. its your wedding day and you can do things however you want too!

    if you're planning on NOT inviting everyone to the reception just don't include anything about it - and the people you will invite, add an extra insert in their invitation with the location and time.

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  • Stephanie
    Newbie June 2019 Alberta
    Stephanie ·
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    The ceremony and reception were even in different venues, but I think the big mistake was announcing the reception after the ceremony, so guests just made assumptions. Could definitely have been executed better!
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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    Jessica, you're absolutely right about knowing your audience. What could pass in some circles would definitely be tacky within others.

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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    I absolutely agree with you Catherine! I think it's different if it were reversed and say they wanted an intimate ceremony and a big reception, but I think it's very difficult to execute it the other way around without hurting feelings.

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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    Family-only is fair but if it were family, some friends, and some coworkers and I didn't make the cut, it'd be annoying.

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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    I completely agree! I think it would be awkward otherwise.

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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    That's brutal what happened to your friend, I guess it wasn't executed well? I hope that people who choose to go with this (ceremony-only invite) at least have a gap or something in order to get the guests who are not invited to the reception to leave?

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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    I didn't realize this happened at all tbh. I'll know for the future to always check for a reception card now!

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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    That's a really nice way of looking at things. I feel like there's a lot of "rules" for hosting a wedding and what's tacky, proper, and polite are really subjective sometimes.

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  • Erin
    Super September 2019 Ontario
    Erin ·
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    My ceremony site is very small, so we're having only a select people come to that, but everyone join us at the ceremony. At first, I was really nervous about doing this, but my family has had other weddings where we weren't invited to the ceremony at all, or anything at all, so I feel a lot less bad about it.

    If any one of my guests came to me and said they ABSOLUTELY had to be at the ceremony, I would definitely accommodate that for them because I have the space.

    At the end of the day, it's your comfort level and how much you want a person there or not, for sure.
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  • Joyce
    Newbie April 2019 British Columbia
    Joyce ·
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    I've had ceremony only invites before. It wasn't a big deal. The reception was usually reserved for family only, and I was still happy to come to celebrate. The couples didn't ask for wedding gifts or anything, and they provide refreshments after the ceremony as well.

    That said, I just double check each invitation to see if there's a reception card or if only ceremony is included. If reception is included, there is usually a reception insert with separate details. I mean, I understand, sometimes you only want people you're close to or maybe only family during the reception but you want to be able to celebrate your wedding with everyone which is technically the ceremony part. It's been fine, hasn't been an issue with people. Ceremony and reception were always at different venues in these cases.

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  • Valérie
    VIP September 2019 Quebec
    Valérie ·
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    The only way I could see this working is if her ceremony and reception aren't at the same location. In that scenario, everyone would have to leave, so guests wouldn't see the seating charts, or people going towards the reception area.

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  • Stephanie
    Newbie June 2019 Alberta
    Stephanie ·
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    I have a friend who had every intention of doing this for her wedding, and those who had been invited to the reception got an additional insert in their invitation. Day of the wedding came and a bunch of people ended up crashing the reception anyway, so it definitely didn't work out. My personal opinion is to do whatever you think needs to/should be done, but just be prepared to deal with any fallout from that decision. Don't go announcing or making it obvious that some people are invited to the reception while others aren't, though obviously be transparent if you're asked about it. Be as kind as you can, but stick to your guns - it's your wedding after all.

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  • Candace
    VIP May 2019 Ontario
    Candace ·
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    I haven't personally but I know a couple people who have been invited to the ceremony only. My coworker went to a wedding where only the family was invited to the reception because it was at the parent's house and they didn't want a huge crowd.
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  • C
    Curious July 2018 Ontario
    Cathy ·
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    I have heard of this inviting only to certain portion thing, and I think it's very offensive and rude. Either invite or not. Is the person close enough to you to invite if the answer would be "yes" then.........
    What ever happened to just having a wedding within your budget and that's it, instead of cutting all these corners and offending ppl?
    Just how I feel
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  • Emily
    Devoted October 2018 Ontario
    Emily ·
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    I’m not sure about this... I guess only if it is a financial issues? For us we are having a smaller more intimate ceremony and then a bigger reception with some extended friends and guests of our parents. Personally I think I would feel guilty inviting someone to the ceremony and not extending the invite to the reception. I guess it’s a personal choice. I’d say if they are important enough to have at the ceremony they should be included in the reception but I guess it also depends on the couple and their relationship with the guests.
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  • Jessica
    Super March 2018 Ontario
    Jessica ·
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    I'm not against inviting only to a ceremony, but I think I would need to know my audience. As others have mentioned, if they are from out of town, that would definitely be a big no. If there are others who are in town, but you really can't afford to have them at the reception (such as co-workers you aren't close with), I think it would be alright to invite them to the ceremony and not the reception. It is a fine balancing act of how to do it, but can for sure be done.

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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    Wow that’s brutal about your friend. I don’t know what the polite thing to do, your friend must have felt awful.

    I don’t know if it’s always about the cost for hosting someone at a reception, but about if they want them there for the party (if they’ll know others, they might be elderly, etc.). I personally am only inviting people to the ceremony who are invited to the reception as well.
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  • Lucy
    Frequent user July 2019 Ontario
    Lucy ·
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    I'm not planning official ceremony only invites however we have spread the word through our coworkers/Acquaintances that everyone is welcome at the ceremony however due to space our reception will limited to close friends and family. People have been fine with it and if they aren't...well then they aren't and they won't come.
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  • Allison
    Master October 2019 Ontario
    Allison ·
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    I think it depends on the circumstances. I'm in a similar boat as Candace, where most of my guests live out of town so to have them travel for a half hour ceremony only would be outrageous! If the guests you're planning to have come to the ceremony only live near enough, they would probably still go.
    For guests you'd like at the ceremony but feel/know they wouldn't enjoy the reception (i.e. kids, elderly relatives, etc.), you could talk to people ahead of time letting them know what you plan on doing for the reception and they can make a better decision on whether they would go to the reception as well. Giving people options (like Jennifer stated) helps relieve the awkwardness of having some guests come to the ceremony only

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  • Kelly
    Expert September 2019 Manitoba
    Kelly ·
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    Yep. I went to a wedding that did that. It was very awkward, because the people that got the ceremony and dance only invites didn't realize they weren't invited to dinner until they didn't see their names on the seating chart. I had picked my friend up, and then we found out she wasn't invited to dinner and I was. She had to awkwardly hang about and wait until dinner was over because I was her ride.

    Just my opinion, but if you don't care enough about a guest to want to pay for their dinner...then don't invite them

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  • Jocelyn
    Expert August 2018 Ontario
    Jocelyn ·
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    Not a chance! i was furious- even my mom (for once!) thought it was flat out dumb!

    t was the day after my birthday, brunch with family planned, AND i had been babysitting my nephew.
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  • Jennifer
    Super August 2018 Alberta
    Jennifer ·
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    Yeah I really like that idea!
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  • Lor
    Frequent user August 2018 Ontario
    Lor ·
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    I wouldn't do a ceremony only. It seems odd and awkward to handle that.... hey so you're only here to see us get married and then everyone else you just saw will be going to dinner and partying with us but you're not.

    That said. we are doing a Reception only starting at 8pm. There are people we would have liked to see at the ceremony but its not required for us to be happy with our wedding so we have invited them for Reception only and that was good for us and for those that we invited. This way they get to party.


    We had invitation for the wedding that indicated the time and and indicated a reception will follow.

    and then we have invitation that ask attendance to our reception, indicating 8pm.

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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    Say what?! Are you saying that you were invited to the ceremony only? AND they asked for cash? ANDDDD they didn't invite your fiancé?! Did you even go?

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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    Have you witnessed ceremony-only weddings? I honestly haven't which is why I'm so interested in seeing what others think.

    Yeah, it would probably be difficult for you to pull that off if you wanted to lol.

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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    I think in theory it's okay to just invite someone to the ceremony but I'd constantly be worried about the "ceremony-only" guests talking to the guests who are invited to the reception and being offended lol.

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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    That's exactly the conclusion we got down to - offering options! This seems like the only way to execute giving guests an option without being rude.

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  • Bianca
    Master August 2019 Ontario
    Bianca ·
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    Do people actually invite people to everything but the dinner? That's awful!

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