Callie
Beginner October 2020

How to ask people to attend both ceremony and reception??

Callie, on April 4, 2019 at 12:59 PM Posted in Planning 0 35
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Hello helpful wedding people!! I was wondering if anyone has any polite ways to word on the wedding invitation/RSVP to KINDLY RSVP Attending ONLY if they can make both the ceremony and reception?

A lot of my family and friends have gotten married recently and it’s almost disgusting how many people RSVP and only show up for the party. For my brothers wedding, only 10% of the people that attended his reception attended the ceremony!!!

I’m sorry but my wedding isn’t a birthday party. It’s a CEREMONY uniting my fiancé and I together, and I TRULY feel if you can’t make it to the CEREMONY (the whole reason we are having a reception) that you should NOT attend at all.

But it how can I word that on an invitation??
Thank you all in advance!!

35 Comments

Latest activity by Vicky, on April 6, 2019 at 11:16 PM
  • Kelly
    Champion October 2018
    Kelly ·
    • Flag
    I don’t really think there’s a way to do that. The only time I’ve ever seen people skip the ceremony is if there’s a large gap in between.
    • Reply
  • LB
    Champion November 2016
    LB ·
    • Flag

    I don't think there is anyway to do this without being rude...

    Are you having a large gap? Like Kelly, that's the only reason I've ever seen someone skip one or the other.

    • Reply
  • MrsD
    Legend July 2019
    MrsD ·
    • Flag

    I don't think you really can word that? You can't control what events people show up to. If your ceremony & reception are at the same location, it's way more likely more people go. Or if the ceremony & reception don't have a gap in between and are really close. If I saw that worded on an invite, I'd be pretty offended and probably just not go at all.

    • Reply
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag
    You can’t. It’s rude no matter how you put it.
    • Reply
  • CDickman
    VIP September 2019
    CDickman ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    I agree. Mostly I have see. This done for large gap or if the ceremony is very long. As far as your friends that you have seen. Some people are choosing to have a small intimate ceremony then a big reception. In all honesty if someone could not make it to my ceremony I would love if they could make it itvto the reception. To me yes part of the wedding is a ceremony. But a bigger part of a wedding is celebrating the day. Sharing you and your fiancé’s love togather.
    • Reply
  • Mrs. S
    Master November 2019
    Mrs. S ·
    • Flag
    I totally get what you are saying. I agree that it so rude to just come for drinks and not celebrate the ceremony uniting you in marriage. It really irritates me too. But honestly I don’t think there’s anything you can do.
    • Reply
  • Mrs. H
    Master September 2019
    Mrs. H ·
    • Flag

    I've really never encountered this before and don't see why it would or should be an issue unless you are having a large gap in between your ceremony and reception, as pp's have stated. There's really no "tactful" way to address this without coming off as rude either, so I would just ensure you don't leave more than a 2 hr gap between the two.

    • Reply
  • Danielle
    Master June 2019
    Danielle ·
    • Flag

    That is unfortunate that your friends and family are like that, but I would just keep the invitation wording traditional and hope for the best. Btw, I agree that they should attend both, and how weird of them not too.

    • Reply
  • Amber
    Super September 2020
    Amber ·
    • Flag
    Our ceremony and reception is all at the same venue and if they replied they will be there for the reception and decide to leave after our ceremony I'll be highly mad and will be sending them a bill for their meal they skipped out on. But I'm more worried about the ones that don't RSVP and then show up n there's no place to sit and no food for them to eat.

    They better bring a lawn chair and a sandwich💯👌
    • Reply
  • Melissa
    VIP October 2018
    Melissa ·
    • Flag

    I don't think there is any way for you to specifically word this without coming across as a bit rude. No matter how nice the tone or how helpful you're trying to be!

    The only thing I could possibly think of that you really could do is omit the reception info somehow on the invitation - like leave off the details and just say "reception to follow." No other info, start time, directions, etc. Not a perfect solution by any means, but if it were me and someone reached out to me directly to ask for more info on the reception, I'd be pretty good at being able to tell who would only be asking so they could skip the ceremony. But again, this definitely isn't a perfect solution!

    Unfortunately, people are people. They will do what they want to do, and attend the things they decide to attend. All you can do is roll with it. It's a shame most people just want to attend for the party, but there's always a crew like that in every circle. Best of luck!

    • Reply
  • Fmv
    Super October 2020
    Fmv ·
    • Flag
    I dont think there is a polite way to ask that
    And in all honesty the day off you are going to be living in the moment. Are you really going to look around and say omg this person and this person is not at the ceremony but showed up for the reception. All of this will probably seem so small the day of your wedding
    • Reply
  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
    • Flag
    There is no polite way to do it. In recent years, people have extended what used to be a max of 15 min photos after a ceremony, and almost all receptions within the town, or max 15 minutes, from the reception, to an hour or more that the hosts have been absent from their own party, and up to an hour to dream reception areas. Not surprisingly, lots of people think that rude, and in return, attend only the first part of the celebration, the ceremony, or only the last part, the reception. If you want maximum attendance, YOU can largely control it by doing all but a few married couple pictures before the ceremony, and scheduling your reception location so that the cocktail or dinner start, with you present, no more than 15 minutes from the end of the ceremony. There will always be a few who simply cannot get out of work on time, or get child care before a certain hour, or who have religious differences, and do not attend services in another faith. But from what I have heard from people who routinely go directly to the reception, they do it because so many couples do not have the common courtesy to be present throughout their whole wedding, except maybe 15 minutes, and judge their pictures and dream settings more important than their guests. If people plan a wedding in a self-centered way that guests perceive as discourteous, they should expect that guest will reject arriving hours earlier for a reception, due to photo time, and venue travel distance. If you make it clear the two places are close together, or done in the same place, and there is no more than 15 minutes between them, most people will come to the ceremony, then to the reception.
    • Reply
  • Iva
    Super September 2019
    Iva ·
    • Flag
    Only 10% of people who were at the reception came to the ceremony? Wow, that’s absurd 😳 I’ve never heard of people doing this, unless they had an emergency or something like that.

    If you know from experience that your friends/family do this often & especially in large numbers (and not like few guests will do this, in which case I wouldn’t do anything about it & just let it be, because emergencies or unforeseen circumstances happen all the time), I would do RSVP on your website. There, you can create RSVP for each wedding event: ceremony & reception, so you will see who is planning on coming to what.

    If your venue has security who after certain time “locks” the venue for safety reasons (so people can only leave the property) you could say something like this on your FAQ page: due to security reasons, venue entrance will be closed after (certain) time. If you intend on coming after (certain) time, please inform us ahead of time, so we can make necessary arrangements. Goal is to hopefully get the message across that showing up on time is appreciated.
    • Reply
  • Sara
    Expert June 2019
    Sara ·
    • Flag

    I'm so sorry! I don't know that I've ever come across that scenario... Especially when they're back to back and in the same location. Like PP, I'm also wondering if you have a large gap of time in between the ceremony and reception? Is there a way to talk to some of the family matriarchs or patriarchs or specific people ahead of time, separately, and tell them your feelings about this? That's what I've been doing about some topics..

    • Reply
  • Sherry
    Master September 2019
    Sherry ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    LMAO! Love this!

    • Reply
  • Sherry
    Master September 2019
    Sherry ·
    • Flag

    Sounds like this is really an issue and not just a worry that someone put into your head. Is there a way that you can have them RSVP for both or just 1 event on the RSVP cards?

    Will you be attending the ceremony? Y or N

    Will you be attending the reception? Y or N

    Not in that exact format but you get the idea. So sorry this is a worry for you. I can't imagine my guests doing this.

    • Reply
  • Becca
    Expert July 2019
    Becca ·
    • Flag

    On your wedding website (if you use this one) you can have them specify ceremony or reception so you may be able to do so with that. You could also discretely just put the start time and the venue on the invite but not say "reception to follow at _____ time". This then leaves people with either coming to the ceremony because that is the only time they know or not at all. Otherwise they would be risking walking midway through!

    • Reply
  • Bridget
    Devoted October 2019
    Bridget ·
    • Flag
    I agree that it is annoying that people only want to party but I know when a wedding is in church and the reception elsewhere a lot of people will skip the ceremony. Particularly if they have children that need a babysitter. Think about it if you had to pay $10-$15 an hour for an extra 2-3 hours it would seem like an option to skip. Some people aren’t comfortable in a church, maybe they couldn’t get the whole day off etc. Most people aren’t intentially trying to be a jerk, but they have other things going on. Your wedding is all you have been focused on for a long time but it’s not the end all for your guests.
    I’m getting married at our venue, and There’s an $8 per person charge to set up the chairs for the ceremony. If people just show up for the reception man that’s money I’m out but 🤷🏼‍♀️ Can’t really do anything about it.
    Maybe if not many people are at the ceremony think of it as a more intimate time with you and your closest.
    • Reply
  • Jessica
    Master September 2020
    Jessica ·
    • Flag

    I agree to try and get your guests to RSVP on a website and create two events so you can get an idea of whether or not people plan on just coming to the reception. I wouldn't let it bother you. You're inviting these people to celebrate with you, and if you feel like they are just going to show up for a free meal and drinks ask yourself why you're even inviting them in the first place.

    I also agree with doing as many pictures pre-ceremony as possible so you and your wedding party don't disappear for an hour or more between, but if you don't want to do a first look that complicates it.

    • Reply
  • Mrs.
    Super May 2019
    Mrs. ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    Haha seriously! I was going to be sassy on my seating chart and add an extra table and write under it: "didn't RSVP and don't see your name? we have room for you at table __"

    Our ceremony is only about 15-30 minutes long and is at the same place as our reception... but we're located 1.5 hours away from most of our guests so it's probably in their best interest to stick around for a free meal haha

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