Etiquette For Invites To A Reception Only 2 Weeks After Private Ceremony


 

I have used the Search feature but haven’t found a situation that is exactly like mine and I would like to ask for your advice.

My fiancé and I are having what we consider to be a stateside destination wedding – we have rented out a Bed and Breakfast in the White Mountains of NH (an 8 hr drive) for a weekend. Our invite list has 14 people which is composed of our immediate family and 3 of our closest friends. We are having the ceremony on the grounds of the B&B and are having dinner at a local restaurant afterwards.

We each feel that a more intimate ceremony is right for us but we both have large families and numerous family friends and personal friends who have expressed a desire to celebrate the occasion with us. My fiancé and I live very close to his family and friends but the bulk of my family resides about 4 hours from here. We have decided that it would work best for us and our families to host two celebrations – one will be at my future father-in-law’s home and one will be at my parent’s home. We would like our nuptials to be a good excuse to get friends and family together for a more casual backyard affair.

Our concern regarding invitations arises from the fact that our celebration at my fiancé’s father’s house is only two weeks after our wedding. We know that we need to give our guests an appropriate amount of notice (6-8 weeks) and that we will need to know ahead of time how many are attending so we can properly plan for food and beverage. We are struggling with how to word invitations to this event. We don’t want people to feel excluded by calling out attention to our small wedding ceremony. How are we able to let people know that we will have already exchanged vows and that this is not a formal reception but rather more of a celebratory picnic?

As for the celebration at my parent’s home, the date has not been set yet but hopefully we will be able to apply the advice that you give us here to that event as well. I thank you in advance and I really enjoy reading all of the advice on this forum – it very informative!

Some Wedding Invitation Resources:

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites, Inc®, a wedding planning guide, and Recent Mother of the Groom –

This is a very common type of event after a private ceremony, so no worries.

You’ll just send a reception only invitation worded something like this:

The pleasure of your company

is requested at the

wedding reception of

Susan Marie Kerr

and

Mr. William Wonderful

Saturday, the fifth of June
at one o’clock

The Location

The guests will know they are not being invited to the ceremony because the invitation indicates wedding reception.

Note that, for a backyard barbeque type of informal reception, the wording can be even less formal and you could choose to send handwritten notes.

Please be sure to invite all of the wedding guests to these receptions, unless you’re hosting something after the private ceremony, which would be very nice nice everyone is traveling and spending the weekend.

Enjoy this time,

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 10.19.27 PM

Darlene Taylor, PBC
TaylorMade Weddings

These are some of my favorite. Hope they help you!

We, NAME and NAME,
will be married in a
private wedding ceremony
on DATE
You are joyfully invited to an informal
outdoor wedding celebration
after the wedding on DATE
TIME
ADDRESS
CITY, STATE

You don’t need a ticket
or an advance reservation,
just make waves
to our wedding celebration. (This was for a nautical celebration)

BRIDE
and
GROOM
will be married on
DATE
LOCATION
Please join them for a reception
when they return
DATE at TIME
LOCATION
ADDRESS
CITY, STATE

We’re getting ready to depart
on a romantic trip, which is only the start.

BRIDE
and
GROOM
will be married on
DATE
LOCATION
Please join us for a reception
when we return
DATE at TIME
LOCATION
ADDRESS
CITY, STATE

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 10.20.55 PM

Darlene Taylor, PBC
TaylorMade Weddings

Here’s one more I came across:

We kept it quiet
like little mice —
a private wedding
we thought would be nice.
We’re married now
as happy as can be!
Please celebrate with us
at our big party!
DATE
LOCATION

BRIDE
and
GROOM

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites, Inc®, a wedding planning guide, and Recent Mother of the Groom –

I like Darlene’s last suggestion, very cute, but would caution you to leave off date and location of the wedding (as in the first 2 suggestions) as some guests might think they’re being invited to the wedding too. Just leave off the date and location of the wedding and leave the date and location of the reception.

I appreciate your advice! It is comforting to know that we are on the right track!

Do you think that using the word “reception” would indicate a more formal event? We are thinking of it as a celebration however I have noticed that many pre-designed invitations use the wording “wedding celebration” to indicate a ceremony followed by a reception. What would you suggest for wording that would indicate that it is casual?

This is what we have in mind:

Please join us at a
BBQ
to celebrate the marriage of
Melissa and John
Date
Time
At the Doe’s Home
Address

but perhaps it would be more clear as follows:

Please join us at a
BBQ reception
to celebrate the marriage of
Melissa and John
Date
Time
At the Doe’s Home
Address