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Savvy September 2021

Inviting guests to reception and not ceremony

Samantha, on March 30, 2021 at 9:38 AM Posted in Planning 0 13
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I’m freshly engaged and just trying to do some research before we decide on things. We were thinking of doing a small ceremony at a church only close family invited and then everyone else invited to the reception after. We were thinking ceremony around 2ish and then reception starting at 4:30. I feel like that gives us enough time to do pictures and a few minutes alone. But a few questions/concerns I'm thinking of that I need a little help, 1. My whole extended family won’t be invited to the ceremony (70+ people) but I know they will want a big group photo. Do I give them all a time to be at the picture spot to get the group photo? Do we do the group photo somewhere at the reception? Or scratch a big group photo with them? 2. I kind of like the idea of our bridal party being introduced and us being introduced into the reception. Do you think that’s possible with not inviting everyone to the ceremony? Maybe these are silly questions sorry!

13 Comments

Latest activity by Michelle, on March 30, 2021 at 1:44 PM
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
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    1.) I wouldn’t have them come early just for a photo. You should be able to find somewhere at the reception to take a group picture.
    2.) I don’t see how reception entrances have anything to do with the ceremony?
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  • S
    Savvy September 2021
    Samantha ·
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    Thank you. When I was reading about not inviting everyone to the ceremony, people were saying as long as you are alright with not being introduced at your reception...maybe it meant if you have the ceremony and reception in the same place? Sorry super new to all this haha
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  • SHY
    Master January 2022
    SHY ·
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    I would just take a large group photo at the reception. No need to have them come early or anything like that!

    If you want to have entrances at the reception, then go for it! They don't really have anything to do with the ceremony, so I don't see why you can't still have them!

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  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
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    The second group should start at the reception site. Have your introductions and dinner, then once 4-5 dances are over, announce for the big pictures. As long as you have the room there.
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  • LeeAnn
    Savvy October 2021
    LeeAnn ·
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    This is what one of my friends did! They just had them and their immediate family at the ceremony. She had her two sisters as bridesmaids and they were still introduced at the reception. I would just do the group photo at the reception.

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  • V
    Champion July 2019
    Veronica ·
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    I personally don't agree with not including everyone at the ceremony, but that's just my own personal opinion. My husband wanted to do this, but myself and a lot of our guests were against this and rather offended they weren't going to be invited to the ceremony. Now to answer your questions.

    1. I wouldn't have them arrive early or meet you somewhere special. I would figure out with your photographer a time during the reception that this could be done.

    2. I see no correlation between a grand entrance and who is invited to the ceremony so if you want to do a grand entrance then go for it.

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  • S
    Savvy September 2021
    Samantha ·
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    Thank you! Having the big group picture does make more sense at the reception! Thank you!
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  • S
    Savvy September 2021
    Samantha ·
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    I will be honest it doesn’t matter to me either way if everyone is at the ceremony or not but my other half suggested only immediate family. I think we will talk with our parents and see their thoughts on it. Thank you!
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  • V
    Champion July 2019
    Veronica ·
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    Unless he wants it to be more intimate I don't really see a good reason why you wouldn't invite everyone. The ceremony isn't where most of the money is spent on the wedding as the cost is generally the same whether you have 10 guests or 100+ guests whereas the reception is usually per person so if he suggested it to save money then I would have to say I disagree with that logic. My husband only suggested the idea because the location he wanted to have the ceremony could've only accommodated at most 20 people, but both of our families and friends were hurt by the idea of being excluded. The most important part of the wedding is seeing the couple get married so excluding guests from the ceremony in my opinion means you don't view then as important as others.

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  • S
    Savvy September 2021
    Samantha ·
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    I understand that! I never really asked why he doesn’t want everyone there but i definitely will now! My only positive thought on not inviting everyone to the ceremony is that everyone didn’t have to sit around waiting while we took pictures and could just arrive to the reception when it started. I know we can take a good chunk of pictures before the ceremony but it may still be an hour wait and hate to make people wait. I’m sure drinks and snacks would help haha
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  • V
    Champion July 2019
    Veronica ·
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    Normally cocktail hour is held between the end of the ceremony and the start of the reception where food and drinks are served. We did a lot of photos in advance including a first look, but if you don't want to do a first look you could still do some photos in advance so it wouldn't take as long, but I would definitely find out why he only wants to invite immediate family.

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  • L
    Lady ·
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    Unless there's a really specific reason you want a tiny ceremony and big reception immediately after, I would not do this. If all the people are important enough to be invited to celebrate your marriage, why would you not want them to witness the ceremony? Technically this is fine etiquette-wise, it just has never made sense to me and honestly I don't think I'd attend a reception like this.

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  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
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    Strangely enough the etiquette books do say this is acceptable but is very hurtful to many. Many guests see the ceremony as the most important part of the day and do decline reception only invites. But the reception is where the bulk of the cost goes so a smaller ceremony does not cut costs.

    I wouldn't attend something like this as a reception only invite but that's me.

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