Dinner and Reception Etiquette....
Is it okay to invite people to my ceremony and reception but not the dinner. All three will be taking place at the same location and I feel weird inviting people to come to a ceremony at 4pm and then either leave or hang around while only select people eat. The reception won't start until 7:30 which gives people who are not invited to eat(that sounds horrible!) time to go get their own food. We have a lot of people we really want to invite but our budget limits us to feeding a certain amount of people. All advice is welcome. Thanks!

Married: 09/07/2013
Posted On: Jan 23, 2013 at 2:12 AM • Vendors are allowed • Add to My WatchlistFlag As Inappropriate0 likes

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Married: 2+ years ago
Jan 23, 2013 at 4:53 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
The dinner is part of the reception so yes if someone is invited to the ceremony they need to be invited to the dinner.

Mrs. Wilson
Married: 2+ years ago
Reviews: 3
Jan 23, 2013 at 5:02 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
although i thought it was very tacky and distasteful my cousin had everyone pay for there dinner at the reception... i wouldn't suggest it but people went

Married: 09/14/2013
Jan 23, 2013 at 6:39 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
You really can't invite people to just parts of your wedding.
If I got that invitation I doubt I would come. I wouldn't want to spend the money on a hotel room, travel, a gift, a cab to and from, and then go and buy my own dinner away from the reception and wait around somewhere for the dancing to start.
Could you consider asking guests to pay for their dinner instead of a gift if you really cannot afford to have everyone for dinner? It's not the ideal situation, but it is an option.
You could also change the time of the wedding to breakfast or lunch which are cheaper meals. You could also have it away from a mealtime i.e. afternoon punch and cake or light snacks.
Alternatively, your best option is to take to the guest list very brutually. It can be done! I cut my guest list from 110 to 60 including us!
My favourite blog for inspiration on keeping the wedding small is intimate weddings! It has some tips on how to cut the guestlist too.

Married: 10/15/2011
Reviews: 7
Jan 23, 2013 at 7:29 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
In this scenario, wedding is one event that consists of the ceremony, dinner and reception. It is unacceptable to invite people to some parts but not others.

I understand you may want many people there, but the budget limits what you can do. So cut the guest list, or have a cake and coffee reception in the afternoon.
Edited On: Jan 23, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Candice B.
Married: 07/07/2013
Reviews: 7
Jan 23, 2013 at 9:11 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
Maybe you can have the wedding you can afford. And then have a dinner get-together or BBQ (or some other type of party) a few day, a week or so later for the guests that you couldn't afford to invite to the wedding.

Jamie Q.
Married: 05/04/2013
Reviews: 11
Jan 23, 2013 at 10:11 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
Yea, that would be really rude. And you would turn off alot of people. Have a wedding you can afford or dont do dinner and just apps for everyone.

Married: 2+ years ago
Reviews: 5
Jan 23, 2013 at 3:11 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
when you say (that sounds horrible) it's because it is. If they don't make you're number 1 list don't invite them to anything.

Just Reenski
Married: 2+ years ago
Reviews: 9
Jan 23, 2013 at 3:16 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
What others have said, to do this would be terribly rude and offensive. Also, having guests pay for their dinner would be terribly rude and offensive.

Scale back, have a cake and punch reception or heavy appetizer reception at a non-meal time, or simply scale back the guest list. Haven't seen or talked to them in a year (Facebook doesn't count)? Cut them. Co-workers you don't socialize with outside of work? Cut them.
Jan 23, 2013 at 3:16 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
No. Totally rude. How would you feel if you were asked to leave so only the more important guests could stay?

Have the wedding you can handle and then do something simple for the other people.

Something that no one want to say, but I will; not as many people want to come to your (not just you, anyone's ) wedding as the B/G think. It's much better to have a great party for a small group of people and then do a meet and greet with coffee and cake later on.

Married: 03/17/2013
Reviews: 6
Jan 23, 2013 at 4:03 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
We were having a difficult time with budget, and ended up not doing a dinner because I simply couldn't afford to feed EVERYONE a full meal, and I certainly wasn't only going to feed some of them. Your scenario will end up being extremely awkward, especially if it's all at the same location. Would you have someone make an announcement at the ceremony that everyone (except the people who are privy to the dinner) has to leave and come back in a few hours to the same place? What if some people opt to hang around? Or one person who is not invited is hanging out with someone who is, and they tag along to the dinner and then realize they were snubbed? All around, it is just a really really bad idea.
What we ended up doing is having a cake and hors d'oeuvres reception at a later time and let everyone know a full meal wont be served so that they don't come starving.
IMO, you're asking for a nightmare wedding doing it this way... I would think about other options.

Married: 04/27/2013
Reviews: 5
Jan 23, 2013 at 4:12 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Honestly I think it's not the best way especially because it's all at the same place. My friend had this in October and it was a total mess. A lot of people aren't talking to her because she didn't invite them to the dinner and it was obvious there was a dinner. If it;s all at the same place a lot of people will just come and hang out. Maybe go out to dinner but then if they come back early they will see the dinner. If you have to do appetizers and have a later "snack" lunch of cold cuts, bread, pickles, cheese and dessert... at least that's my opinion... sorry

Married: 10/20/2012
Reviews: 6
Jan 23, 2013 at 4:21 PM • Flag As Inappropriate

A very, very bad idea. If you can't afford a dinner, do cake/coffee reception.

How about brunch - my favorite meal of the day!

We did a wonderful brunch at a country club - with active pancake and omelette stations and my price per person was very reasonable.

Married: 09/07/2013
Jan 23, 2013 at 4:34 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Thanks for all of the input. Major consensus is that it would be fairly rude and I have to agree, though I have been to a wedding where they did this and it seemed to work out okay. I've also been to a wedding where only light snacks were offered and people ended getting extremely drunk, extremely fast. I guess I will have to re-work the guest list a bit and try to find a more affordable caterer because we have to have food (well at least I do or I get really mean when my blood sugar drops).

Thanks again!

Just Reenski
Married: 2+ years ago
Reviews: 9
Jan 23, 2013 at 4:40 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
If you have to have a meal, I'll again suggest cutting the guest list - if they aren't special enough to be invited to dinner, why are they invited at all?

Like Spicy, I also had a brunch reception and was able to save quite a bit doing that. You could even do a lunch reception and save some money if you don't want to start in the morning.

You have plenty of options.

Married: 09/07/2013
Jan 23, 2013 at 5:32 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Breakfast is out and so is lunch. Our wedding is at 4pm and that's not changing :)
Like I said I guess I will have to re-work the guest list to be able to feed everyone because I feel that food at dinner time is kind of an important detail, especially before everyone descends upon the bar.

Married: 08/11/2012
Jan 23, 2013 at 7:08 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I was invited by email to only the ceremony and dance of a distant friend's wedding almost 10 years ago. I could not go to the ceremony as I was working, but did attend the dance later. I didn't think it was rude at the time, but now realize it is and would never do that.

Married: 06/22/2013
Reviews: 5
Jan 23, 2013 at 7:21 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
How many people are you trying to feed? I agree cut the guest list but feed everyone something.

Married: 06/15/2013
Reviews: 11
Jan 24, 2013 at 1:06 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
It's okay to invite people to ONLY the reception/dinner, but if you are inviting someone to the ceremony, it's bad etiquette to not invite them to the rehearsal/dinner especially if all things are at the same location. It's kind of like dangling a twinkie on a string but not giving it to the dog. Good luck!

Future Mrs. C
Married: 08/03/2013
Jan 24, 2013 at 5:51 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I think you should explain you can only invite the closest is your life, but it would be awkward and confusing to be not invited to the rest of the festivities. I had a co-worker do this and no one went to her wedding. I understand she couldn't afford to have us for the reception, but I just felt strange even going if I couldn't go to the reception, like I didn't belong there. People will understand why they can't come at all. Weddings are so expensive. My FH and I are going to host a couple different BBQ get togethers at a park Post-Wedding a few weeks later for those we can not afford to invite ( Where we may only spend 30 for like 20 people). We will provide the food, cupcakes, etc and share our pictures. I didn't plan on getting a caterer and we are paying for it ourselves. I would rather have less people on the actual day, get it catered to all the hall so I am not stressed. This was a hard decision for me to make, but feel it is the best compromise
Edited On: Jan 24, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Married: 05/16/2015
Jan 24, 2013 at 7:11 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
cut back on the people or cut back on the meal
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