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AIBU to invite all guests to wedding ceremony and evening reception...

(72 Posts)
OveranxiousUnderated Thu 28-Jul-11 11:12:05

But...pinch 50 of them for a Wedding Breakfast in-between. grin

Basically, I have a huge dilemma and I need help/advice!

We are on a very limited budget, and the breakfast/ceremony are all included in a fixed price which consists of 50 guests for the breakfast, and 100 for the evening. The church holds 100+ which is approximately how many guests we have on the list, so technically it is feasible for everybody to attend the ceremony AND evening reception, however at £50 per head for the meal...this is not an option!!

Now, I am aware that I probably am BU, as it's rude to expect people to come to the ceremony and not the breakfast, no?! So should I just have the people coming to the meal to the wedding? Then have an entirely seperate evening list?

(Please don't tell suggest elimating the breakfast etc, as deposit is no changing the set up now! However I realise that it would have been far less hassle to have a later wedding (3pm as opossed to 1pm) followed by an evening reception. Meh. blush )

So does anyone have any advice for me/experience regarding this situation? As time is running out & I have no idea how to 'word' the invitations either.

Oh and just for reference the 50 people would consist of close family & friends.

This is my first post so please be kind! TIA. wink

worraliberty Thu 28-Jul-11 11:17:55

I'd just have the 50 at the ceremony and the meal, then a seperate evening list.

I'm not sure I'd want to go to a wedding ceremony, then go all the way back home, then back again in the evening....well not unless the people getting married were very close.

Having said that, if they were really close I'd expect an invite to the meal anyway grin

eurochick Thu 28-Jul-11 11:20:57

Hmmm. It's tricky.

I have been invited to one Jewish wedding (my first) where they did this. The wording of the invitation wasn't v clear so I went to the wedding breakfast venue and thought there had been a cock up with the seating plan so asked the groom, only to find out I wasn't invited to that bit! V embarrassing all round. At that point I really wanted to go home (I didn't know anyone at the wedding other than the groom - he was a close friend at work and hadn't invited anyone else from the office) but thought that would have looked like a snub, so spent several hours sitting on my own in a hotel reception like billy no mates, listening to everyone else having fun through the wall... TBH, it was awful.

It's more usual to just invite evening guests to the reception, not the wedding ceremony as well. Otherwise, like me, they will be left hanging about like a spare part for hours. Aside from the Jewish wedding cringiness, I have only ever been invited to the whole thing or just the evening do. I'd stick with the usual if I were you and not invite the evening guests to the ceremony too.

worldgonecrazy Thu 28-Jul-11 11:23:48

I've been to a couple of weddings like this where we have gone to the Church, skipped the Breakfast due to cost/numbers, and then headed back for the evening event. I'm sure most people are aware of costs these days and would be understanding, especially if you have a large family who need to be accommodated.

Just make sure the invite is clear. We didn't feel snubbed at all, we understood perfectly why the bride and groom couldn't fit us in to the Breakfast.

hocuspontas Thu 28-Jul-11 11:24:58

That way, if they want to come to the ceremony they can (I'm presuming it's in a parish church) but under no obligation to come and then go away again for a few hours!

Groovee Thu 28-Jul-11 11:25:18

Some of our friends who came to the night do, popped past the church to see us get married as there was room. I sent them an evening do invite then dh told his friends where we were getting married and the time.

whoneedssleepanyway Thu 28-Jul-11 11:26:07

If I were you, for the people who are invited to the evening reception tell them they are more than welcome to come to the ceremony if they would like as there is plenty of room, but due to numbers it has only been possible to invite very close family and friends to the afternoon part of the reception.

if they are all good friends they will understand and I think you will find that a number will come tot the ceremony, I have always gone to the ceremony if I have been able to even as an evening guest and we have gone for a meal or something afterwards locally and then onto the evening do.

If you don't want the hassle/ confusion I would just send the invitations to evening people for evening do only.

PrincessJenga Thu 28-Jul-11 11:26:55

Honestly? I hate the idea of inviting different people to different bits of the wedding, but since starting to plan my own (&seeing costs!) I can understand why people do it. I'm still trying every possible alternative to avoid it, but it seems like you don't have that option.

I think whether YABU or not depends on context. How far will guests be travelling for the wedding? Is there much locally for them to see & do if it's not close to home?

I've been in this situation twice. Once the wedding was in Bath (about a two hour drive for me so I also needed a hotel) and I quite happily went to wedding, pottered round town for a few hours and then went back for the party. The other time the wedding was in the middle of nowhere. I went to the ceremony then sneaked off home as hanging around in between would have been boring & pointless.

In terms of how to word it, I think you just have to be honest. 'we'd love to have you at our wedding, but due to space restrictions can't invite you to the breakfast'. You could also suggest local places guests could visit (&eat!) in between.

Oh, and here ---> have a [hard hat] for the flaming you may get for starting a wedding thread grin

minipie Thu 28-Jul-11 11:28:20

Hmmm. Tricky one. My initial view was that it's a bit rude to do this, but then I saw world's reply and think maybe it's ok as long as you're clear.

I think it partly depends on where you are getting married. Will there be anything for the "excluded 50" to do while the "invited 50" are having the meal? Will there be anywhere for them to eat/hang around/etc?

One option is to invite them to the evening do only - but include a note that says they are also very welcome to the ceremony if they happen to be travelling up earlier.

PGTip Thu 28-Jul-11 11:31:19

We sent separate evening invites to those we couldn't have at the day reception but put a note in the invite saying they were welcome go come to the ceremony as well.

GetOffOfMyCloud Thu 28-Jul-11 11:34:48

I agree with others; invite people to the evening reception, but tell them informally that they are very welcome to come to the church for the ceremony if they would like to.

I would not suggest formally inviting them to the ceremony and then saying they can't come to the Breakfast, that just seems a little rude to me iyswim.

Xiaoxiong Thu 28-Jul-11 11:37:18

We ditched the sit-down entirely because we felt the whole thing was really divisive as soon as we started trying to sort out "day" and "evening" guests. It quickly became apparent that it was really an a-list and b-list unless you are only inviting immediate family to the day.

We ended up having the wedding at 5pm (the latest they would allow) with everyone invited, going straight into cocktails and nibbles, then a fork buffet, then speeches while they cleared away the buffet tables, and then dancing.

It worked brilliantly and definitely saved us money because we didn't have to deal with table settings, decorations, linen, chair rental etc, saved on staff for serving the meal as just two people were needed with a buffet but 15 were needed for sit-down meal & prep. And best of all no bloody seating arrangements.

Everyone loved it and also said it allowed them to talk to more people as they weren't stuck on one table.

OveranxiousUnderated Thu 28-Jul-11 11:39:57

Thanks for your replies everyone. smile

Basically 90% of the guest list live very close. (The church and reception venue are only 10 mins drive apart too). Those that do live a bit further are invited to the meal anyway so not a problem. However, they are uncles/aunts...who have children, who also have children!! So can't really have them all to the meal, so might just have my Uncle/Aunt and then invite cousins and second cousins to the evening do I doubt they will want to travel for an then have to wait around for hours until the evening.

Oh the fun. grin

Xiaoxiong Thu 28-Jul-11 11:41:16

Sorry, that seemed quite judgemental. I recognise that some people don't want their friends and colleagues at what they feel is a family occasion and it makes sense to have a separate breakfast for fewer people, we just felt differently, didn't mind 100 people listening to our speeches and would rather have served cake and lemonade to everyone than a sit down meal for some and not others.

It's a massively tough call and as long as you are clear about things, do what feels right to you. Agree with PrincessJenga and others.

lachesis Thu 28-Jul-11 11:47:50

What do they call it a breakfast? What a stupid term.

pointydog Thu 28-Jul-11 11:53:46

Formal invite to the evening reception. Small, very informal note saying they are welcome to attend church for the wedding if they want.


LoveInAColdChamberOfSecrets Thu 28-Jul-11 11:55:16

I went to a wedding where the couple did this and it was awful for the guests, sorry! We weren't invited to the Exclusive Special Guests lunch and so spent about 5 hours between ceremony and evening do hanging around some crapulous village pub which transpired not to serve food with nothing else for miles around. I would just ask people to the evening do but explain informally that if they're able to come to the ceremony that would be great?

TBH I hate two tier weddings full stop.

coastgirl Thu 28-Jul-11 11:56:02

By the way, a church wedding is a public ceremony so technically anyone can come who wants to - therefore I don't think it's rude to invite people to the ceremony + evening if they live close. I've been to weddings like this where we weren't close friends with the couple (workmates etc) and didn't feel second-best - wedding meals are expensive!

TheOriginalFAB Thu 28-Jul-11 11:57:27

Could you move the time of the wedding?

We decided everyone was coming to everything but we had a 12 pm wedding, after photos it was 2 before we had the meal and then DH and I left about 6 and everyone went off.

sparkle1977 Thu 28-Jul-11 12:03:49

We did the exact same thing for our wedding OP. It was a little awkward as some people seemed to expect that they were also invited to the breakfast as they were invited to the church but we politely told them that we had to limit numbers as that was the most expensive bit. I think everybody was ok with this and certainly no one didn't come because of our decision.

We sent out slightly different invitations. some had ceremony and breakfast on them. some just had ceremony only. then everybody had a separate evening invite. therefore people who we couldn't invite to the breakfast had no details of time/venue so we wouldn't be in the situation where they turned up unexpectedly.

LoveInAColdChamberOfSecrets Thu 28-Jul-11 12:09:46

Ah, have just seen that most of your guests at least live nearby which makes it slightly easier.

microfight Thu 28-Jul-11 12:16:19

I think it's an awful idea. It means peoples whole day is taken up but they don't get to go to the breakfast. If you can't invite them to the breakfast just invite them in the evening and then they can do things in the day and come later. It also means they may have to consider 2 outfits, and be waiting around to return for the evening.

elphabadefiesgravity Thu 28-Jul-11 12:17:29

I sort of did this.

I had around 100 at the sit down meal and 200 in the evening. However I put a wedding announcment in the local paper which stated that all were welcome at the church ceremony - it was the kind of church where the old dears from the congregation would turn up anyway.

I was delighted to find that an old school friend I hadn't seen for years came along.

Insomnia11 Thu 28-Jul-11 12:22:06

We had everyone going to everything because a lot of people were coming from far away, but we didn't get married until 3pm, the meal was at 6pm, and the buffet was the same price as the meal so there was no point doing a separate evening bit. I am shock at £50 a head though, I'd rather choose something cheaper and have everyone come.

Ephiny Thu 28-Jul-11 12:28:32

I would probably not have the evening reception at all, don't really understand this thing of having two receptions! But then I wouldn't have nearly as many people to invite (don't think I could scrape together even 50 people I know/like well enough to invite to a wedding however hard I tried) so I can see it's more of an issue if you have a large number of people.

I do think it makes things awkward for the guests to have to 'fend for themselves' in the middle of the day, especially if it's not their home town and they've travelled to be there. I guess most people would understand though, as it seems to be quite common these days.

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